Peter Thiel, Blake Masters-Zero to One_ Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future-Crown Business

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If you can identify a delusional popular belief, you can find what lies hidden behind it: the contrarian truth. The first step to thinking clearly is to question what we think we know about the past.

The entrepreneurs who stuck with Silicon Valley learned four big lessons from the dot-com crash that still guide business thinking today:. Anyone who claims to be able to do something great is suspect, and anyone who wants to change the world should be more humble. Small, incremental steps are the only safe path forward. You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, iterate, and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation. The only way to know that you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors.

Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth. These lessons have become dogma in the startup world; those who would ignore them are presumed to invite the justified doom visited upon technology in the great crash of And yet the opposite principles are probably more correct.

It is better to risk boldness than triviality. A bad plan is better than no plan.

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Competitive markets destroy profits. Sales matters just as much as product. To build the future we need to challenge the dogmas that shape our view of the past. The problem with a competitive business goes beyond lack of profits. If you offer affordable food with low margins, you can probably pay employees only minimum wage. A monopoly like Google is different. In business, money is either an important thing or it is everything. Only one thing can allow a business to transcend the daily brute struggle for survival: monopoly profits.

So a monopoly is good for everyone on the inside, but what about everyone on the outside?

Peter Thiel: Going from Zero to One

Do outsize profits come at the expense of the rest of society? In a static world, a monopolist is just a rent collector. If you corner the market for something, you can jack up the price; others will have no choice but to buy from you. Think of the famous board game: Deeds are shuffled around from player to player, but the board never changes.

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There is no way to win by inventing a better kind of real-estate development. The relative values of the properties are fixed for all time, so all you can do is try to buy them up. But the world we live in is dynamic: We can invent new and better things. Creative monopolists give customers more choices by adding entirely new categories of abundance to the world. Marx and Shakespeare provide two models that we can use to understand almost every kind of conflict.

Zero to one : notes on startups, or how to build the future in SearchWorks catalog

According to Marx, people fight because they are different. The proletariat fights the bourgeoisie because they have completely different ideas and goals generated, for Marx, by their very different material circumstances. The greater the difference, the greater the conflict. To Shakespeare, by contrast, all combatants look more or less alike. They grow even more similar as the feud escalates.

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Eventually, they lose sight of why they started fighting in the first place. In the world of business, at least, Shakespeare proves the superior guide. Man and machine Seeing green The founders paradox Conclusion: Stagnation or singularity? Summary "Thiel starts from the bold premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by our new mobile devices to notice.

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  • Progress has stalled in every industry except computers, and globalization is hardly the revolution people think it is. It's true that the world can get marginally richer by building new copies of old inventions, making horizontal progress from "1 to n. The most valuable companies of the future will make vertical progress from "0 to 1," creating entirely new industries and products that have never existed before. Zero to One is about how to build these companies. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace.

    They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique. In today's post-internet bubble world, conventional wisdom dictates that all the good ideas are taken, and the economy becomes a tournament in which everyone competes to reach the top. Zero to One shows how to quit the zero-sum tournament by finding an untapped market, creating a new product, and quickly scaling up a monopoly business that captures lasting value.

    Planning an escape from competition is essential for every business and every individual, not just for technology startups. The greatest secret of the modern era is that there are still unique frontiers to explore and new problems to solve. Zero to One shows how to pursue them using the most important, most difficult, and most underrated skill in every job or industry: thinking for yourself"-- Provided by publisher.

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    Subject New business enterprises. New products. Diffusion of innovations. New business enterprises.

    Bibliographic information. Publication date Title Variation Notes on startups, or how to build the future Note Includes index. ISBN hardback hardback ebook paperback paperback. Browse related items Start at call number: HD T Librarian view Catkey: