Image source: Heisenberg Media (Flickr)

Europe is a 'slacker with low expectations', says Paypal founder

The Paypal founder and Silicon Valley investment veteran, Peter Thiel, has said that Europeans have a poor work ethic because of their low expectations.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 06 Oct 2015

Peter Thiel, the founder of Paypal and one of the biggest names on the Silicon Valley venture capital circuit, has rounded on European entrepreneurs and regulators, accusing the continent of lacking a strong work ethic and being heavy handed with regulations.

'If you’re a slacker with low expectations, those low expectations are likely to be met,' he told the FT.

'People in Europe are generally pessimistic about the future, they have low expectations and aren't working hard to change things,' he said.

While pessimism in China motivates people to work harder so they aren't still poor when they reach old-age, in Europe it has a negative effect, he said.

Thiel saved much of his ire for European regulators, who have been battling with tech companies like Google and Uber over how they should be regulated amid concerns over privacy and competition. Acknowledging Google's monopoly over search, Thiel said he hoped the technology industry was dynamic enough that this wouldn't last for ever.  

He said, 'In practice, anything [the EU does] to micromanage the Google product will produce a cure that’s worse than the disease.'

To his credit, Thiel did acknowledge the strength of London's financial technology sector, suggesting that it had the potential to produce world-class companies in this field. He himself is an investor in London fintech firm Transferwise.

Thiel added that London had overtaken Berlin as the logical place to build a tech company - 'They just work harder here,' he said. Well that's alright then.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Could coronavirus lead to gender equality?

Opinion: Enforced home-working and home-schooling could change the lives of working women, and the business...

Mike Ashley: Does it matter if the public hates you right now?

The Sports Direct founder’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism, but in the...

4 films to keep you sane during the coronavirus lockdown

Cirrus CEO Simon Hayward shares some choices to put things in perspective.

Pandemic ends public love affair with Richard Branson et al

Opinion: The larger-than-life corporate mavericks who rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s suddenly...

The Squiggly Career: How to be a chief strengths spotter

When leading remotely, it's more important than ever to make sure your people spend their...

"Blind CVs don't improve your access to talent"

Opinion: If you want to hire socially mobile go-getters, you need to know the context...