David Kirkpatrick

April 14, 2009

Skype to IPO in 2010

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:51 pm

Looks like eBay is going to give Skype it own legs early next year.

From the link:

EBay Inc. said it would spin off its Internet-calling business Skype through an initial public offering in the first half of next year, after the online auctioneer faced calls for months to unload the company, which has fallen short of expectations.

“Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum,” said eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe. “But it’s clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its potential.”

Ebay bought Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005.

A group of private-equity firms recently teamed up to back Skype’s founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis in an attempt to buy back the business from eBay, according to people familiar with the bid. The proposal involved private-equity firms contributing some $1 billion to the deal, according to people familiar with the situation, though a full deal price could not be learned. The founders’ offer fell on deaf ears, as it was well below the price at which eBay was willing to sell the business.

May 22, 2008

Peter Thiel invests in libertarian micronations

From KurzweilAI.net — I’ve recently blogged about PayPal founder, Peter Thiel. He’s making news again by investing in offshore communities destined to become libertarian strongholds. Pretty cool idea if you ask me …

Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies
Wired, May 19, 2008

With a $500,000 donation from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a Google engineer and a former Sun Microsystems programmer have launched The Seasteading Institute, an organization dedicated to creating experimental ocean communities “with diverse social, political, and legal systems.”


Artist’s conception of a large seastead based on the spur design (Valdemar Duran)

The seasteaders want to build their first prototype for a few million dollars, by scaling down and modifying an existing off-shore oil rig design known as a “spar platform.”

 
Read Original Article>>

May 6, 2008

Reason mag interviews Peter Thiel

Here’s an interesting Reason interview with Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and angel investor of Facebook. They discuss libertarianism, The Singularity and the ongoing progress of science.

From Ronald Baily’s introduction:

I first met Peter Thiel—co-founder of PayPal, angel investor in Facebook, founder of the hedge fund Clarium Capital Management, adviser to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and self-described libertarian—at a party in his San Francisco home last September. Perhaps 100 digerati wandered through Thiel’s sleek Marina District townhouse, chatting amiably over wine and canapés in rooms filled with up-to-the-minute abstract art.

The party launched the second annual Singularity Summit, held at the nearby Palace of Fine Arts during the ensuing two days. The Singularity, a term coined by the science fiction writer Vernor Vinge in 1983, refers to the eventual technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence. Just as our model of physics breaks down when it tries to describe the center of a black hole, Vinge observed, our attempts to model the future break down when we try to foresee a world that contains smarter-than-human intelligences. The Singularity Institute takes it for granted that exponentially accelerating information technology will produce such artificial intelligences; its chief goal is to make sure they will be friendly to humans.

In 1987, while studying philosophy at Stanford, Thiel helped found the libertarian/conservative student newspaper The Stanford Review. As a law student at Stanford he was president of the university’s Federalist Society. After working briefly for the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, Thiel switched to trading derivatives for Credit Suisse Financial. In the mid-1990s, Thiel transformed himself into a venture capitalist and a serial entrepreneur. He returned to California, where he has backed a number of startups. In addition to PayPal and Facebook, Thiel has invested in the social networking site LinkedIn, the search engine company Powerset, and the Web security provider IronPort.

Thiel also joined the culture wars by co-authoring The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford (1996), and was an executive producer for the 2005 feature film Thank You for Smoking, based on Christopher Buckley’s politically incorrect novel of the same name. Besides backing the Singularity Institute, Thiel pledged a $3.5 million matching grant in 2006 to the Methuselah Foundation to support its anti-aging research agenda.

I interviewed Thiel between sessions at the Singularity Summit.

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