Last week, hundreds of companies, law firms, and nonprofits united to oppose restrictive voter laws in an ad published in The New York Times and Washington Post.
Hoffman, now a partner at the venture capital investment firm Greylock, was one of the business leaders who signed the statement, which said in part: “Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy, and we call upon all Americans to take a nonpartisan stand for this basic and most fundamental right of all Americans.”
Following widespread claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, legislators from nearly every state have introduced a total of 361 bills with restrictive voting measures, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University said. Five of those have already been signed into law, with dozens more moving through legislatures, according to the center.
A new board game let’s you pretend to be a billionaire tech CEO intent on saving the world.
Called “Evil Corp: The Board Game,” the game was created by UK-based activist Alfie Dennen to warn against the downsides of Big Tech and protest the power wielded by tech moguls.
The game was launched on Kickstarter in 2018, where it raised 25,088 pounds, or about $35,000. The company tweeted at Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk around the time it launched on the crowdfunding site, hinting that the “Visionary” character was based on him – that card reads “First, we take Mars,” which appears to be a reference to SpaceX’s plans to take humans to the planet.
Musk replied that the board game had a “great name” but that it was “a little on the nose.”
While the makers of “Evil Corp” appeared to want to get Musk’s attention back in 2018, they’re very clear that the game is not intended to be a flattering portrait of tech CEOs. In a press release about the game, the creators describe the characters as “evil billionaires” and say that the game is intended to protest Big Tech, not celebrate it.
The game is “a warning that the massive power to shape our collective future is held in the hands of a handful of CEO billionaires, driven – regardless of their public-facing attitudes – by shareholder value,” the press release says.
In another dig at the tech giants, the slogan of the game is the same as Google’s original motto: “Don’t be evil.”
The set up of “Evil Corp” is similar to “Monopoly,” the creators say. Up six players can play at a time, and they’ll each take on the persona of one of six CEOs: the Visionary, the Expansionist, the Technocrat, the Savant, the Utopian, and the Oligarch.
It’s not clear who, exactly, the characters are based on, but the Expansionist bears a striking resemblance to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and the creators hinted in a follow-up tweet to Musk that another character was based on early PayPal employee and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman.
The only type of currency in the game is billion-dollar bills.
The goal of “Evil Corp” is to “save the world, no matter the cost,” the creators say. Players will form a research and development team, build a prototype app, and then launch their “killer app.”
“And by killer, we do mean killer,” the creators write on the game’s website. “There are no CEO plans which don’t result in catastrophe for us mere mortals.”
After the game is over, players are encouraged to visit a URL on the back of their character card to find out the impact of their choices on humanity.
Without PayPal, there may not have been Palantir. Or YouTube. Or SpaceX, LinkedIn, and Yelp.
The payments company – launched as Confinity in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Luke Nosek – grew to become a Silicon Valley giant. It was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in a deal that altered Silicon Valley history and helped spawn the careers of some of tech’s most famous names.
Affirm was launched by Max Levchin, a PayPal cofounder.
When it was founded: 2013
What it does: Affirm offers instant lines of credit to customers shopping online, allowing them to buy a product and pay for it over time. The company raised a $500 million Series G round last month.
How it’s related to PayPal: Affirm is the brainchild of Max Levchin, one of the original PayPal founders. The company launched out of Levchin’s startup incubator, HVF — Levchin took over as CEO in 2014.
Levchin founded the company along with a team that includes Nathan Gettings, who also cofounded Palantir.
Fertility tracking company Glow was also born out of Levchin’s startup incubator.
When it was founded: 2013
What it does: Glow makes a family of apps that use data science to help track periods, ovulation, fertility, pregnancy, and children’s’ growth.
How it’s related to PayPal: Glow was also founded in Levchin’s HVF startup incubator, and Levchin now serves as executive chairman.
YouTube’s founders worked together at PayPal during the early days.
When it was founded: 2005
What it does: YouTube is a platform for hosting and sharing videos. It was sold to Google in November 2006.
How it’s related to PayPal: Founders Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim were all early employees at PayPal.
When PayPal sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, it sparked a “healthy competition” among the company’s alumni, early YouTube investor Roelof Botha told Business Insider earlier this year. When it came time for YouTube to sell, the team intentionally chose a price of $1.65 billion — 10% more than what eBay sold for.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX after working at PayPal.
When it was founded: 2002
What it does: The goal of SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies, is to make space flight cheaper and eventually colonize Mars.
How it’s related to PayPal: In 1999, Musk launched an online banking company called X.com. That company merged with Thiel’s Confinity in 2000, then became PayPal in 2001. Musk was briefly PayPal CEO before being replaced by Thiel. But when PayPal sold, Musk netted $165 million from the deal, which he used to start SpaceX.
Musk was an early investor in and cofounder of Tesla.
When it was founded: 2003
What it does: Tesla manufactures electric vehicles, batteries, and solar panels.
How it’s related to PayPal: Musk was an early Tesla investor and cofounder. He became CEO in 2008.
Musk launched The Boring Company after becoming irritated by Los Angeles traffic.
When it was founded: 2016
What it does: The Boring Company builds underground tunnels with the intention of housing high-speed transit systems to reduce traffic in cities.