Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel’s masterpiece – Zero to One – is a must read for anyone thinking about starting a tech company.

He opens by asking readers to respond to:

“What important truth do few people agree with you on?” (5)

Next, he reviews some lessons we learned from the dot-com bust while stressing that risk taking is necessary to create new technology.

He compares:

“Lessons learned from the dot-com bust:

  1. Make incremental advances
  2. Stay lean and flexible
  3. Improve on the competition
  4. Focus on product, not sales”

To:

“Contrarian

  1. It is better to risk boldness than triviality
  2. A bad plan is better than no plan
  3. Competitive markets destroy profits
  4. Sales matters just as much as product”

Third, he gives advice to startups:

“Every startup is small at the start. Every monopoly dominates a large share of its market. Therefore, every startup should start with a very small market. Always err on the side of starting too small. The reason is simple: it’s easier to dominate a small market than a large one. If you think your initial market might be too big, it almost certainly is.” (53)

Thiel also drills the importance of a founding team, the partners, and their relationships.

Overall, Zero to One is a great read.

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