Balaji Srinivasan is a Silicon Valley entreprenuer who had a well-known penchant for mixing it up on Twitter.
Now Srinivasan is reportedly a candidate to run the Food and Drug Administration for Donald Trump. And Srinivasan is apparently done mixing it up on Twitter, which he joined in 2013: He has deleted his old tweets, and has left his 47,500 followers with a single message:
Don't argue on Twitter.— Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) January 14, 2017
Build the future.
Why would Srinivasan delete his Twitter archive? It would be nice to hear from the man himself, but here’s a reasonable guess: He spent a lot of time criticizing the FDA, and he’d rather pretend those criticisms didn’t exist.
Then again, Srinivasan understands how technology works, so he certainly knows that deleting your tweets doesn’t make them disappear. You can get a sense of what Srinivasan used to tweet about by looking at this Google cache.
And you can get much more specific, courtesy of people who took screenshots of some of his tweets: In short, Srinivasan seems to think the FDA prevents drug companies and startups from innovating by imposing unnecessary regulations.
In 2014, for instance, he argued that a “Yelp for Drugs,” where doctors submitted ratings and patients relayed their experiences, would help sick people more than the FDA.
.@balajis: "can do vastly better than FDA w/ a Yelp for Drugs" https://t.co/toKG81Xd04 pic.twitter.com/nUxVe3ol71— Christa Peterson (@christapeterso) January 14, 2017
Last year, he was making the same argument, except this time he used Uber, eBay and Airbnb as his models. Sure, there’s risk involved, he said. But people like extreme sports, too: “If you can skydive or jump off a bridge, you should be free to take an experimental treatment.”
.@balajis is pretty into this whole replace-the-FDA-with-online-reviews thing pic.twitter.com/7YeGE4vzH1— Christa Peterson (@christapeterso) January 14, 2017
Here’s a more comprehensive archive, courtesy of Christa Peterson.
So Srinivasan seems to have the same view of the agency he might run as other Trump appointees have of the organizations they’re supposed to run: They want them to go away.
He's an ex of mine. (I am living in the strangest computer sim.) Super smart but can't imagine him wanting to run FDA except to dismantle it https://t.co/xRfOFYy6fb— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) January 14, 2017
But there’s one thing that distinguishes Srinivasan from other Trump nominees: Srinivasan, who runs a Bitcoin startup and co-founded a genetic testing company, has a bunch of fans in Silicon Valley.
That starts with Trump-backer Peter Thiel, but isn’t limited to him. Here’s a Twitter testimonial from investor Ashvin Bachireddy:
Why @balajis would be an amazing pick for the FDA: pic.twitter.com/Jzxw6cLc3Z— Ashvin Bachireddy (@ashvinb) January 13, 2017
And another one from investor Naval Ravikant (that’s Ravikant sitting next to Srinivasan at a 2013 TechCrunch event in the photo at the top of this post):
If @balajis ran the FDA, it would literally add years to the average American's life. https://t.co/m6oj4eMpzd— Naval Ravikant (@naval) January 12, 2017
Seconded by Dilbert creator and Trump fan Scott Adams (really):
I second that. @balajis would be a super-smart choice for making the FDA great again. #Trump https://t.co/cWGHCS9XAB— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) January 14, 2017
And here’s the finale: A blessing from Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz:
A great choice to head the FDA will be @balajis ! I hope he gets it as he will surely save 100s of thousands of lives.— Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) January 13, 2017
Horowitz’s endorsement of Srinivasan isn’t a shock, since Srinivasan is a board partner at Andreessen Horowitz, which means Srinivasan helps the influential VC firm source deals, and sometimes takes a board seat at some of its portfolio companies.
Still, it’s worth noting: Up until now, tech leaders have been unwilling to endorse any part of the Trump agenda in public.
Srinivasan isn’t formally part of the Trump agenda yet. But you can see how if he gets there, Techland — at least corners of it — could start telling itself that Trumpland might have some upside, after all. They might even start saying it out loud.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the creator of the Dilbert comic strip.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.