My takeaways from Peter Thiel’s provocative book, Zero to One. Thiel founded Paypal and is involved with numerous successful tech companies:
- If you want to succeed, don’t just slightly improve on competition. Be 10x better, or make a monopoly with a creative new idea.
- Beware your approach to business is not a reaction to past failures.
- Initially dominate one niche and grow from there. E.g. Tesla initially dominated the electric sports car, mastered the technology, and is now entering the mass market.
- Non-monopolies claim they’re unique but are only slightly different to the competition; monopolies claim they’re like everyone else (to avoid regulation) but actually dominate their field.
- Think long term goals, not short-term profits.
- Be a definite optimist – optimistic about, and believing you have agency to influence, the future.
- Your initial team for a start-up is vital for long term success. Everyone must like each other, and be passionate about the company vision.
- Remember the “Power Law” – one good idea/investment/practice is worth more than all others combined.
I often give speeches for tech companies, so I found Thiel’s insights fascinating. They also resonated with the attitudes of adventure – be bold, and focus on the long term goal.