- Chamath Palihapitiya once insulted a prospective Virgin Galactic investor, the New Yorker reported.
- The investor was an older gentleman who questioned the billionaire’s track record and projections.
- “Did you even f—ing Google me before you came in here?” Chamath said to him.
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Chamath Palihapitiya once blasted an older man for challenging the billionaire’s track record and projections for his first blank-check company deal, Virgin Galactic, according to a report published Monday by The New Yorker.
While he was pitching the company’s prospects to investors in 2019, the Social Capital CEO met a bunch of mutual-fund managers in New York. He delivered an impressive speech about helping mankind reach the stars with the spaceflight company, and underlined how it could change the world.
Chamath is the chairman of Virgin Galactic. He failed to include that millions had gone up in smoke for the company after it spent heavily to ready its spaceships, and that it had missed every self-imposed deadline in its 15-year history, the New Yorker’s Charles Duhigg wrote.
A conservatively-dressed older attendee present in the audience cut into the billionaire’s speech, questioning his proclamations, the report said. After allowing him to sound off for a while, Palihapitiya retorted with: “You’re a complete f—ing idiot.”
Astonished, the older gentleman had no response as the “SPAC King” laid into him. “Have you even looked at the prospectus? Did you even f—ing Google me before you came in here?”
More wide-eyed attendees were waiting in silence to see how the situation would end. “How lazy are you?” Palihapitiya said. “I don’t even want your f—ing money.”
But soon after, his remarks were met with laughter as everyone aged under 50 began smiling broadly. “It was brilliant,” one attendee told the New Yorker. “It was completely calculated. That old guy wasn’t ever gonna invest in space tourism. But the other people in the room – they loved it!”
About 50% of the group called the billionaire’s office later to declare they wanted to support the Virgin Galactic investment, the report said.
“People either love Chamath or they hate him, and that’s fantastic, because polarization gets attention,” the attendee was reported saying. “Polarization gets you on CNBC, it gets you Twitter followers, it gets you a megaphone. If you believe that Chamath can get an hour on CNBC to explain Virgin Galactic, then you want to buy into this deal, because attention is money.”
He and his business partner Ian Osborne indirectly own millions of shares in the space-tourism company via their investment vehicle, SCH Sponsor Corp.
Social Capital didn’t immediately respond on behalf of its CEO Chamath Palihapitiya to Insider’s request for comment.