Book Review: Zero to One – Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel| Stephen Diagram

Zero to One – Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

I’ve personally had my eye on this book for about a year now; knowing one day I just had to read it. Peter Thiel is one of the founders of PayPal; along with a name we may have already come across, the legendary Elon Musk. Musk is head of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musk and Thiel, the author of “Zero to One” were able to survive the Dot-Com / Dotcom bubble by following a series of steps.

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Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

For a business to succeed, Thiel tells entrepreneurs to ask themselves a series of incredibly important questions.

  • Engineering: Is your product/service revolutionary? Will it be a huge breakthrough? It needs to be ten times better than your competition

  • Timing: Is now the perfect time to launch your business?

  • Monopoly: Are you going to acquire a majority share in a small market/niche?

  • People: Do you have the right team?

  • Durability: Will you business exist ten to twenty years from now?

  • Distribution: Do you have the ability to deliver your product / service, not just create it.

  • Secret: Are you doing something unique that nobody else really noticed yet?

Thiel teaches how to negotiate and find the right team; people who looks like salesmen are typically terrible at sales. The best are hidden and secret. From his Silicon Valley experience, people going to work in a suit are not going to work.

Most importantly, overcome trying to acquire a “First Mover Advantage.” It’s important to be the first when creating a new revolutionary product or service, but you should aim to be the “Last Mover”; acquire a monopoly. Competition means having competitive prices, which drives down profit margins.

Capitalism is about acquiring as much capital as possible; competition forces you to have competitive prices, thus eliminating your potential to acquire capital.

Capitalism and Competition are opposites.

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