Bruce Gibney

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Bruce Gibney
Bruce Gibney.jpg
Bruce Cannon Gibney

(1976-02-16) 16 February 1976 (age 47)
EducationStanford University (BS)
University of California, Los Angeles (JD)
Notable workA Generation of Sociopaths (2017) Edit this at Wikidata

Bruce Cannon Gibney (born 16 February 1976)[1][2] is an American writer and venture capitalist. He was one of the first investors at PayPal, and went on to work for PayPal founder Peter Thiel's hedge fund Clarium and his venture capital company Founders Fund. His first book, A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America, was published by Hachette in 2017.


Gibney started investing when his Stanford University roommate Ken Howery co-founded PayPal, the electronic payments company, and offered Gibney the chance to buy "friends and family" shares.[3] After investing in PayPal, Gibney worked as a litigator but was soon hired by Peter Thiel after Thiel sold PayPal to eBay in 2002. Gibney worked at Thiel's hedge fund, Clarium, until 2008, making occasional private investments including in Palantir Technologies in 2005 and later in DeepMind, which was acquired by Google[4] for around $450 million in 2014. He then moved to Founders Fund, a venture capital fund started by Thiel. Thiel and Founders Fund were the earliest outside investors in Facebook, SpaceX, and Palantir, and made other investments including in AirBnB, Lyft, Spotify, and Stemcentrx, which AbbVie acquired for $10 billion a few years after Founders Fund's investment.[5]

Gibney wrote Founders Fund's controversial statement of ideology, What Happened to the Future?, in 2011, which called for more aggressive investments in breakthrough technologies and became a widely cited article in the technology community.[6][7][8][9] He also wrote other articles about start-ups and technology and lectured on these subjects, as well as Silicon Valley's "libertarian problem".[10][11][12][13][14] Gibney left Founders Fund in December 2012.[15] He continued to make personal investments, though he made few since 2015, stating in a January 2016 speech in Zurich that he believes start-ups are richly valued and expressing concern that too many start-ups are remaining private for too long, creating misalignment of incentives between executives and employees and investors.[16]

A Generation of Sociopaths[edit]

Gibney's first book, A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America, linked American stagnation to the baby boomers (which he generally defines as "the eroding middle-class white cohort born 1940 to 1964"), characterizing the generation as being unusually prone to anti-social personality disorder, which Gibney believes unraveled the pro-social, pro-growth policies of mid-20th-century America.

In her review for The Guardian, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction–winning novelist Jane Smiley praised Gibney's "wry, amusing style", noting that "he is at his best analysing the financial details of the various forms of national and environmental debt that our children and grandchildren will eventually have to pay."[17] She concluded that "Gibney does convince me that those of us born between 1940 and 1965 (his definition) are a drag on the future."[18] In her summer book list review for the Financial Times, Merryn Somerset Webb called A Generation of Sociopaths "convincing stuff. Look around you in the UK and you will see hints of the same thing: our own boomers aren't rushing to give up any of their goodies for the young. Anyone in any doubt need only ask a dinner party of them how they feel about capital gains tax on primary residences or worse, asking pensioners to help finance their own medical care by paying national insurance."[19]

In his review in The Washington Post, Dana Milbank wrote that although Gibney overstated his case concerning the Boomers, "The core of Gibney's argument, that the boomers are guilty of 'generational plunder,' is spot-on."[20] Booklist described the book as "informative, provocative, and entertaining" in its review.[21] Kirkus Reviews called the book an "endless, broadest-possible-brush harangue" that has "some points, all of which would have been better made without assigning damning agency to them: of course health care has to be restructured, and of course taxes have to be raised if the nation is to escape insolvency. His prescriptions on those fronts are sound, though some are surely controversial."[22]


  1. ^ Q&A: A venture capitalist on how boomers wrecked America
  2. ^ United States Public Records, 1970-2009 (California, 2002-2008)
  3. ^ Birkwood, Susannah. "Profile: Founders Fund's Bruce Gibney". Asian Venture Capital Journal. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  4. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (27 January 2014). "Google buys UK artificial intelligence startup Deepmind for £400m". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  5. ^ Ramsey, Lydia (28 April 2016). "A startup that just launched out of stealth a few months ago thinks it's found a way to treat cancer, and it just got bought for up to $10 billion". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  6. ^ Packer, George (28 November 2011). "No Death, No Taxes". The New Yorker. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  7. ^ Gobry, Pascal-Emmanuel (30 July 2011). "Facebook Investor Wants Flying Cars, Not 140 Characters". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  8. ^ Pontin, Jason (24 October 2012). "Why We Can't Solve Big Problems". MIT. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  9. ^ Kelly, Heather (1 January 2012). "Our favorite tech long reads of 2011". Venture Beat. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  10. ^ Gibney, Bruce (13 August 2012). "Silicon Valley's Libertarian Problem". Inc.
  11. ^ Masters, Blake (2 May 2012). "CS 183: Class 8 Notes". Blake Masters. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  12. ^ Stillman, Jessica (1 February 2012). "Entrepreneurship Is Really Risky, Right?". Inc. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  13. ^ Gibney, Howery, Bruce, Ken (9 May 2012). "Four Things to Get Right When Starting a Company". Harcard Business Review. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  14. ^ "The HBR List of Audacious Ideas". Harvard Business Review. January–February 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  15. ^ Josh Constine (11 December 2012). "Founders Fund Partner Bruce Gibney Has Left The Firm". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  16. ^ "World Web Forum (2016)". World Web Forum. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  17. ^ Smiley, Jane (17 May 2017). "A Generation of Sociopaths review – how Trump and other Baby Boomers ruined the world". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  18. ^ Smiley, Jane (17 May 2017). "A Generation of Sociopaths review – how Trump and other Baby Boomers ruined the world". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  19. ^ "We're going to hell in a handcart- but whose fault is it?". Financial Times. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  20. ^ Milbank, Dana (9 March 2017). "If America's messed up, blame it on the boomers". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  21. ^ Pun, Raymond (9 January 2017). "Booklist Review: A Generation of Sociopaths". Booklist Online. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Kirkus Review: A Generation of Sociopaths". Kirkus Reviews. 3 January 2017.

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