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Fame in Silicon Valley so rarely manages to reverbate past the Sierra Nevada range. Take, for example, Peter Thiel. The former PayPal CEO is now a rock star at home for his prescient — or, at any rate, lucky — investment in Facebook, where he's now a board member. But even the Facebook connection wasn't enough to fill a measly 200-person auditorium at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where Thiel is, as I write, speaking. According to a Valleywag correspondent, some of the audience was given extra credit for attending:

Here at UTC, moments before Mr. Thiel takes center stage. Small auditorium, approx. 200 people in attendance, which is right near capacity. 95% students, 5% adults. The kid next to me informs me that business students are granted extra credit for attendance; he also smells unbearably similar to a combination between a dead skunk and a dumpster - much like the entire city. If we have a chance to ask a question, I know mine: "How in the hell did you get coerced to speak here? Complimentary banjo?"

Update: Our tipster adds:

Some girl stayed after his speech to get his autograph. Why would you want his autograph? The only thing of mine I want him signing is my term sheet.

True enough. And if that girl was hoping to score more than just an autograph from Thiel, she's due for a double-dip of disappointment.