Fascinating interview with Peter Thiel, the billionaire Silicon Valley identity behind PayPal. Here's a grab on competition:
...as a business, you should strive for monopoly...competition is very overrated. We live in a world where we're always told to compete intensely. It's how we're educated. It's how so much of our system is organized. I think that if you want to compete super intensely, you should open a restaurant in DC. There'll be competition — but you won't make any money or do anything. Competition makes us better at that which we're competing on, but it narrows our focus to beating the people around us. It distracts us from things that are more valuable or more important or more meaningful.
And this assessment of the US intelligence community is dead-on:
I have a slightly different cut on the Snowden revelations. I think it shows the NSA more as the Keystone Cops than as Big Brother. What is striking to me is how little James Bond-like stuff was going on and how little they did with all this information. That's why I think, in some ways, the NSA is more in this anti-technological zone where they don't know what to do with the data they find. So they just hoover up all the data, all over the world. I think it was news to Obama that he was tapping into [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel's cell phone.
One way to think about this is that if the NSA bureaucracy actually knew what they were doing, they would probably need way less information. What's shocking about Snowden is how much information they had and how little they did with it...
...It's hard to judge but my sense is they're quite good at getting data and they're quite bad at finding any meaning or knowing what to do with it. I suspect that the bureaucratic momentum has pushed towards more and more data because, perversely, if you don't know what to do with the data, the tendency is to just get more and more, even though that never actually solves the core problem.