What do you do if you’ve got $625 million lying around and the ambitious goal of propelling the world faster towards the future? Founders Fund, which has invested in world-tilting companies like Facebook and Palantir, is putting some of its most recent raise towards an especially unorthodox sort of conference.
Partners Peter Thiel, Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Brian Singerman, Bruce Gibney and Sean Parker have culled 50 of the “most-promising” engineers and entrepreneurs in the tech sector and will offer them the opportunity to hop on a 737 to a remote,”5-star” destination in the Pacific this spring. For free.
In addition to the partners themselves, entrepreneurs will be joined by 10 to 12 multi-disciplinary tech luminaries who will serve as mentors. Everyone involved must have a “burning desire to change the world,” partner Bruce Gibney tells me.
Like Foo Camp the three-day gathering will be 95% unstructured; “The only agenda is thinking about the future and how to get there.” The event, which has no official name, is intended to be thought-provoking, though thinking for thinking’s sake isn’t the end goal — action is. Gibney likens it to a combination of TED, Davos, Nobel Prize and dorm chat session all in one package.
“We want to make the conversation as frictionless as possible,” Gibney tells me, “It’s a great opportunity to catalyze the future; Extremely brilliant and motivated people should be given an open space for dialogue and the opportunity to translate their brilliant idea into actions.”
He holds that one of the problems with the tech industry as it stands is that it’s very difficult to have macro-level conversations amidst sweating the small stuff. Essentially Founders Fund wants the event to distill the core value proposition of a conference, “intellectual exchange without the structural nightmare that’s gone up around it.”
While Gibney won’t tell me exactly where or when this powwow will take place, he does reveal that it will be held sometime in early May, with the invites coming out this week.
“The chance to think about things more broadly is extraordinarily rare,” he says, “It’s basically non-existent.” Founders Fund is hoping that the annual conference will profoundly change the world, but will also be satisfied if a bunch of smart people get together and have a great time in a tropical paradise.
Invitations, which have both a virtual and physical component, start going out tomorrow. “It’s kind of strange, but that’s what what we do,” Gibney casually remarked towards the end of our conversation, reminding me of this sage Bret Easton Ellis quote; This is how the world changes, someone tells you something.
Image via: lostgenerationofgrads