According to Thiel, this interview question helps pinpoint applicants who are innovative thinkers with an abundance of ideas — the type of person who can survive Silicon Valley’s competitive atmosphere.
The question, according to Thiel, tests both originality and courage. “It’s always socially awkward to tell the interviewer something that the interviewer might not agree with,” the billionaire explains.RUTH UMOH, “WHY PAYPAL CO-FOUNDER PETER THIEL SWEARS BY THIS CURVEBALL JOB INTERVIEW QUESTION” AT MAKE IT/CNBC
Even if no one ever asks, it’s a good mental exercise. Most of us could alter it slightly to “Tell me something that’s true that almost nobody in your group agrees with you on.” Focusing on what makes us unique helps with job searches and assorted other challenges.
Thiel, who will be speaking at the COSM conference in Bellevue, Washington, October 23–25, 2019, isn’t afraid to ruffle much bigger feathers. As a Silicon Valley great, he has been unsparing in his public concern over Google’s cloudy relations with China.
Earlier this month, as an early investor in Google’s DeepMind (of chess- and gobot fame), he questioned Google’s cozy relations with China. China makes no distinction between military and civilian enterprises and openly seeks total control over citizens’ lives (via an AI-enforced social creditsystem):
A.I.’s military power is the simple reason that the recent behavior of America’s leading software company, Google — starting an A.I. lab in China while ending an A.I. contract with the Pentagon — is shocking. As President Barack Obama’s defense secretary Ash Carter pointed out last month, “If you’re working in China, you don’t know whether you’re working on a project for the military or not.”
No intensive investigation is required to confirm this. All one need do is glance at the Communist Party of China’s own constitution: Xi Jinping added the principle of “civil-military fusion,” which mandates that all research done in China be shared with the People’s Liberation Army, in 2017.PETER THIEL, “GOOD FOR GOOGLE, BAD FOR AMERICA” AT NEW YORK TIMES
His question, “How can Google use the rhetoric of ‘borderless’ benefits to justify working with the country whose ‘Great Firewall’ has imposed a border on the internet itself?”, is timely. China’s government uses high tech for, among other things, sophisticated racial profiling.