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The Innovation Gap: Peter Thiel vs. Marc Andreessen

Peter Thiel of Founders Fund speaks at the 2013 Milken Institute Global Conference.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Peter Thiel of Founders Fund speaks at the 2013 Milken Institute Global Conference.

One of the more interesting discussions at the Milken Institute Global Conference this week was a debate about technology between Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen, two of the most important people in venture capital and the tech industry today.

As almost everyone who will read this post already knows, Thiel founded PayPal and was one of the first investors in Facebook. Andreessen co-founded Netscape.

Andreessen has a vested interest in Twitter's success: An estimated $80 million was reportedly spent by his venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in 2011.

Twitter's current valuation has hit an estimated $10 billion, a sizable change from its value of $4 billion when Andreessen invested, say reports.

Thiel's basic argument was that innovation appears to have stalled in tech, much as it has in the rest of economy. It's an extended version of the motto from his firm, Founders Fund: "We were promised flying cars, and instead what we got was 140 characters," which clearly pokes fun at the length of a tweet.

Technology just isn't delivering on its promises to dramatically improve our lives, Thiel said.

Definitely worth tracking.

—Follow John on Twitter @twitter.com/Carney

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect Twitter's current valuation is an estimated $10 billion.