Silicon Valley preppers stock up on ammo, real estate and more

Young blood, seasteading, Mark Zuckerberg killing his own food — Silicon Valley types have been known for some memorable and sometimes outlandish hobbies and interests. Now, add doomsday prepping to that list.

Tech industry folks have a starring role in the New Yorker’s look at ultra-wealthy people who are spending their riches on getting ready for the apocalypse. They include Reddit founder and CEO Steve Huffman, venture capitalist Tim Chang and former Facebook employee and author Antonio Garcia Martinez.

While some of us may have set aside a $45 emergency kit and a couple of gallons of water, they’ve got real estate and ammunition galore.

“I kind of have this terror scenario,” Chang told the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos. “Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.” So, Chang said, “I’m stockpiling now on real estate.”

Huffman and former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong both had laser surgery for their eyes with survival in mind.

“If the world ends — and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble — getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” Huffman said.

There’s plenty more interesting tidbits and quotes in the piece, including that New Zealand is the place to be in case of emergency.

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman told the New Yorker that buying land in that part of the world is considered “apocalypse insurance,” and “saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more,” Hoffman said.

The prepping obsession, complete with secret Facebook groups, apparently has progressed to the point that it has a bit of a backlash already.

Max Levchin of PayPal and Affirm fame told the magazine he likes to “shut down party conversations” about the topic.

“I typically ask people, ‘So you’re worried about the pitchforks. How much money have you donated to your local homeless shelter?’ ” Levchin said.


Photo: A scene from the doomsday film “2012.” (Columbia Pictures)


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