The co-founder of PayPal is worth highlighting if for no other reason than he was the first outside investor in Facebook and is now a billionaire. But Thiel is also an intellectual agitator who is constantly doing offbeat things. Exhibit A is the floating technology incubator 12 miles off the Northern California coast that he recently helped launch.
He's a constant critic of small thinking and what he sees as a dearth of important and innovative startups. "What happened to the future?" is the title of the mission statement for his venture firm, Founders Fund , which is now reportedly raising $600 millionfor its fourth fund. The statement's opening line: "We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters." Despite which, Thiel does have a Twitter account--one that perversely demonstrates his influence. Tweets by @peterthiel to date: Zero. Number of followers: 4,674.