At yesterday’s rally to support NSA leaker Edward Snowden, a software engineer who identified himself only as Michael huddled under Union Square subway entrance (just out of the pouring rain). ”The fact that we have this man coming out now puts a face on this,” he said. “The human element is what’s most important, because most people think of these big surveillance things as these impassive, cold structures, but they’re the creation of humans, they’re the creation of people like me and you and all of us and there is a moral equation to all of that.”
He gestured to the northern edge of the park.
“Even in New York City, Union Square Ventures is right over there, which funded Tumblr, which is now owned by Yahoo, which is one of the companies that reported back to PRISM.”
But not everyone’s so sure of their feelings about Mr. Snowden. The occasional 1984 quote from Fred Wilson notwithstanding, the industry’s position in this whole mess is awfully conflicted.
IP Uh Oh
Back in May, when the Facebook IPO still seemed the like largest driver of wealth creation this side of the Gold Rush, Peter Thiel opted to sell only half his position in the social network, restricted somewhat by a lockup agreement requiring early shareholders to hold on to some of their stock.
However, financial documents filed today with the Security and Exchange Commission show that Mr. Thiel rushed to sell “nearly all” of his shares once the lockup expired by last Thursday, netting $395.8 million last week. That’s in addition to the $638 million he made in May selling 16.8 million shares during the IPO, which brings Mr. Thiel’s total earnings to more than $1 billion and counting.
Not bad for a $500,000 investment made in 2004, especially considering public shareholders have watched the stock’s value drop almost 50 percent from the misguided IPO price of $38 per share.