Chess Generates Silicon Valley Wealth!?

Chess Generates Silicon Valley Wealth!?

| 8 | Chess Players

Most people don't know this, but a huge chunk of the wealth in Silicon Valley was created by strong chess players!

Below are some of the most notable examples... 

Peter Thiel (Co-founder and former CEO)

Peter is not only the business brains behind the hugely successful PayPal, but is also a strong chess master. He no longer plays competitively, but was at one time a promising player.  

Pierre Omidyar (Founder)

Pierre was never a competitive chess player, but he is fascinated with the game and has spent some time studying chess. One of the first web-based programs he wrote was an online chess-by-mail service!

Michael Birch (Co-founder and CEO)

The founder of the mega social network Bebo is also a solid chess player! He hosts the "Chess 2.0" silicon valley chess club at the Bebo offices in San Francisco.

Sequoia Capital
Roelof Botha (Venture Capital Investor in YouTube)

Roelof not only has a nose for finding one of the best investments of the last decade (funding YouTube which later sold for 1.65 billion!), but he plays master-level chess!
Barney Pell (Co-founder and CEO)

The well-hyped search company Powerset is headed by Barney Pell, who also happens to be a very strong chess player!

Clarium Capital
GM Patrick Wolff

Who do you give $2 Billion dollars to and trust to invest in long-term macroeconomic trends? The former US Champion GM Patrick Wolff, that's who! Patrick works with Peter Thiel (yes, the PayPal Peter Thiel) at this top-tier hedge fund.

Bessemer Ventures
David Cowan (Managing Partner)

This self-admitted "chess nerd" has made key investments in some huge hits like HotJobs and Postini, and some less successful but notable companies like Flock.

Auren Hoffman (Founder and CEO)

Auren has already at built and sold several companies in the valley and is now working on this 4th - RapLeaf. He also knows how to masterfully engineer build solid positions on the chessboard.

So the question is, did chess play a role in their success? Or were they successful in spite of their passion for chess? Or is this just random luck?


More from erik
A New Year's Resolution: Improve Your Chess With New Lessons

A New Year's Resolution: Improve Your Chess With New Lessons

Puzzle Rush:'s New Addictive Feature

Puzzle Rush:'s New Addictive Feature