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Zero to One

Monday,  09/29/14  01:37 AM

Peter Thiel's new book Zero to One is excellent, highly recommended.  You may know, I worked for Peter for a while, back in the early days of PayPal, and he's as interesting and insightful as ever.  You might enjoy this talk and Q&A he recently gave about the subjects in his book.

Some takeaway quotes:

  • All happy companies are different.  Most unhappy companies are the same.
  • Favorite question: "Tell me something that’s true that very few people agree with".
    • Or something that most people think is true that isn't.
  • Courage is in far shorter supply than genius.
  • If there's no competition you get a monopoly, leads to success.
    • Google hasn't had competition since 2002
  • People who have monopolies pretend not to have them.
    • Companies with monopolies talk about bigger markets.
    • Companies without monopolies talk about smaller markets
  • Globalization is distinct from technological progress
  • Entrepreneur isn't a line item on your resume
    • Start a company because it's the best way to solve a problem
  • Bitcoin is flip side of PayPal
    • PayPal built a payment system, wanted to create a new currency
    • Bitcoin has created a new currency, wants to build a payment system
  • Build friendships as you build a company
    • Prehistory of a company is important: friends not just colleagues
  • Business ideas: “Find someone I trust, give me a recommendation”
  • Politics is broken and important
  • Start a new country – make it very differentiated to others
  • Business failure is like airport luggage – probability goes up until it goes to zero
  • Consensus and being right doesn't get you very far
  • Skeptical that there's a lot to be learned from failure
    • Failure is often over determined, too many reasons to parse
  • Social Network movie backfired
  • Universities are just as corrupt as the Catholic church

Peter is most definitely one of a kind :)