I just finished Ryan Holiday’s Book Conspiracy on How Peter Thiel took down Gawker.
In the book Holiday explains how Nick Denton and his staff at Gawker Media outed tech billionaire Peter Thiel in 2007 against his consent.
At the time, it was said that Thiel was exploring getting financed in the Middle East, and being outed as gay would hurt potential investment from that region. Thiel is also a notoriously private person, and wanted to be known for his achievements as opposed to his sexuality, which I think is fair.
Needless to say, when Gawker out him, Peter Thiel wasn’t happy.
He asked them to take down the article and they didn’t.
He asked them to stop attacking him and they didn’t.
They didn’t stop attacking him and the people he knew for years.
Gawker didn’t stop because they thought they we’re untouchable.
They we’re wrong.
And they f$#@ed with the wrong guy.
A billionaire with pride, patience and cunning.
Peter Thiel spent the better part of a decade and upwards of $20 million dollars getting his revenge.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and that’s how he served it.
Thiel calmly and coldly put Gawker out of business and bankrupted it’s owner Nick Denton.
One post in 2007, that took 10 minutes to write cost Nick Denton his $500 million company and all of his assets.
So guys people make the same mistake
They give people a reason to hate them when you don’t have to.
The truth is, as you start to get more successful, you start to get haters.
Whether you’re becoming popular socially or you’re the boss or you’re a public figure…
As you expand and get more exposure, you open yourself up to criticism.
What’s not smart is to start fights you don’t need to.
What’s not smart is to turn strangers or friends into enemies when you don’t need to.
Because one day you could end up f$#@ing with the wrong guy.
Because one day you could end up f$#@ing with Peter Thiel and he’ll turn your lights out.
The smart thing to do is avoid making enemies whenever you can.
Because it literally costs you nothing not to.
To hold your tongue, to soften your criticism, to not send that email, to not send that text, to not respond to that comment…
Costs you nothing.
But without that discipline, you risk turning strangers, friends and employees into enemies.
This is especially true as you continue to expand and build your profile.
Look no further than Harvey Weinstein.
All actions have consequences, you just might not see it until a decade from now and it’s too late.
When you’re bankrupt because you picked a fight with a billionaire.