Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future Paperback – 4 Jun 2015
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"Crisply written, rational and practical, Zero to One should be read not just by aspiring entrepreneurs but by anyone seeking a thoughtful alternative to the current pervasive gloom about the prospects for the world" (The Economist)
About the Author
Peter Thiel is a technology entrepreneur and investor best known for co-founding PayPal. Since then he has co-founded the data analytics firm Palantir Technologies, made the first outside investment in Facebook, provided early funding for companies like SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Spotify, and established and funds the Thiel Foundation, which nurtures tomorrow’s tech visionaries. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNBC, CBS Sunday Morning, Bloomberg News and been featured in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic, USA Today, BusinessWeek, and more.
Blake Masters is co-founder of Judicata, a technology startup that builds tools for legal research and analysis. Like Peter, Blake received undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford.
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"Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as in the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange."
Zero to One suggests a very different method from the lean-agile approach proposed by Steve Blank and Eric Ries in The Four Steps to the Epiphany and The Lean Startup respectively. They suggest that Customer Discovery, Validation, Creation and Building are the cornerstones of the startup approach.
I believe we need to start with a vision of what a successful business would look like, and we need to see that it will be significantly different (10x) from existing competitive solutions. How do we get there? By understanding and executing a market entry path that is iteratively to build, test & learn. I would also question Thiel’s suggestion that only technology enables that step change. In the cited case of Facebook, there were multiple solutions offering social media platforms and it appears the leadership and marketing of Facebook, were more the decisive factors. We could even argue that Facebook is an example of the Eric Ries approach.
The example of Paypal and Thiel’s insights into the economy and the investment community around the DotCom boom and bust were very interesting. The investor expectations are a constant challenge as I’ve heard from one investor that he wouldn’t get out of bed if a company wasn’t turning over €40million in 3 years and another saying if you showed me figures like that I’d think I was working with idiots with their heads in the clouds.
After the main point of vertical innovation is made, the book rambles and while the discussion points are interesting you often wonder what this has that to do with the main premise of the book. The book does feel a little unstructured and elements seem to be included as they were part of a lecture series rather than an integral part of a framework for achieving that 0 to 1 impact.
I would recommend reading this book as it may encourage and inspire you to consider where you want to go with the company and its core solutions. It does, however, need to be tempered with the knowledge that other approaches exist and Peter Thiel may be wrong, at least in parts.
Would recommend at the least underlining and recapping between readings. Very versatile book to as it caters to not only those who are starting out trying to think of a business idea, but also to those who have a business and are trying to build teams as well as anyone in business who wants to grow.
I have a degree, though with this book I learnt some amazing solid principles about economics and how the world works. What prompted me to give with 5 stars in stead of 4 is that for the majority, the author gave substantial evidence (often real life) to back up his theories and thus I really can't dismiss the book.
also like the chapters on why we either do easy things in life but rarely the very hard stuff, and why folk go 2 ways either go for the easy way, eg rubbish job, or other spectrum become hippes,religious cults and believe in stuff noone can prove right or wrong, so they are just as bad as the lazy ones that take the rubbish jobs.
makes you realise why some middle east /african, third world,countries that are backward are so religious cos they have to have something to believe in to make their lifes worthwhile,to get them out off bed in morning, but they dont have any decent inventors, businessmen,fantastic companies, cos that takes effort which these countries dont have any off.
the best guys are those trying to do difficult jobs, problems, but they are solveable ones !!!
dont try and try to travel to the next galaxy at the speed of light, impossible, try to get to mars instead, possible , but hard.