Silicon Valley investors tend to box start-ups into "deeply misleading" categories and trends — most of which are just buzzwords, said technology investor and Trump adviser Peter Thiel.
Today, Silicon Valley is focused on self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, while a few years ago the buzz was around big data and cloud computing, Thiel said.
Thiel said once something is a "trend," that means others have already identified it, so it's unclear what is innovative about it. When an investor gets a pitch with a lot of buzzwords, it's like a "tell" in poker that the company is not unique, Thiel said.
"If you hear these things, you should think fraud, and you should run away as fast as you can," Thiel said at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston.