Silicon Valley Titan: Trump’s Business Record ‘Mediocre’ At Best


Compared to his billionaire peers (and ignoring for a moment he refuses to provide data supporting his purported net worth, sues those who dispute it, and may actually only be worth a couple hundred million), Trump is a loser.

That’s the gist of a compelling column by Michael Moritz in Wednesday’s issue of the Financial Times, in which the highly regarded Silicon Valley investor compares Trump’s achievements to those of other billionaires (actual, confirmed ones!) and concludes the Donald’s business acumen is severely lacking.

Moritz doesn’t reference himself in the column, but he’s no slouch. The Welsh immigrant and noted philanthropist is a partner at Sequoia Capital, made key investments in Google, WhatsApp and PayPal, and has a net worth of nearly $3 billion. 

Moritz isn’t the only notable investor pointing out Trump’s flaws when it comes to finance. Fellow venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Mark Cuban have also been openly critical of the GOP candidate’s campaign and business dealings.

Nowhere is the contrast between Trump and self-made billionaires more apparent than in Silicon Valley, says Moritz. Not only did many of the industry’s most successful members come from nothing (by comparison, Trump’s dad gave him a “small loan” of $1 million), but they also were immigrants to boot.

In support of his thesis, Moritz recalls the experience of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, a Ukranian immigrant once reliant on food stamps; Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, an immigrant from Taiwan, who knew only one English word when he arrived in the U.S. at the age of 10; Sergey Brin, who co-founded a little company by the name of “Google,” having escaped the Soviet Union in the 1970s; the list goes on….

(Not on Moritz’s list, but also worthy of note: Elon Musk — the founder of Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX, and co-founder of Pay-Pal — an immigrant from South Africa and Canada who turned a $28,000 loan from his father into a net worth of $12.8 billion.)

Even when playing to his supposed strength of real estate, Trump’s business braggadocio bears scrutiny. As Moritz points out, both Michael Bloomberg and and Stephen Ross, multibillionaires with roots in real estate, have significantly outperformed Trump on about the same timelines. Same goes for folks like Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

“The astonishing thing about Mr Trump’s business career — given what he received — is not how much he has achieved but how little,” Moritz writes. “His actual performance, compared to the myth he has assiduously cultivated, is so mediocre.”

The entirety of the column, wherein Moritz breaks down dollar amounts and concludes Trump may have had more financial success if he’d just invested in an index fund, is worth reading. 

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.


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