Jump to content

Zero to One - Peter Thiel


Liberty
 Share

Recommended Posts

https://www.amazon.com/Zero-Notes-Start-Ups-Build-Future/dp/0753555204/

 

Just finished reading this and enjoyed it a lot. Lots of clear thinking in it. Whether you end up agreeing or not with various points, I think it's worth reading.

 

t's very hard to summarize or get the gist elsewhere since the essay style builds things up step by step, so f.ex. talking about step 9 doesn't really give you what's in the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed. Lots of gems throughout. I really liked his description of failure of cleantech companies that is applicable in general:

 

Most cleantech companies crashed because they neglected one or more of the seven questions that every business must answer:

 

1. The Engineering Question

Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements? A great technology company should have proprietary technology an order of magnitude better than its nearest substitute.

 

2. The Timing Question

Is now the right time to start your particular business?

 

3. The Monopoly Question

Are you starting with a big share of a small market? Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition.

But what if the U.S. solar energy market isn’t the relevant market? They would rhetorically shrink their market in order to seem differentiated, only to turn around and ask to be valued based on huge, supposedly lucrative markets.

 

4. The People Question

Do you have the right team? You’d be wrong: the ones that failed were run by shockingly nontechnical teams. These salesman-executives were good at raising capital and securing government subsidies, but they were less good at building products that customers wanted to buy.

 

5. The Distribution Question

Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

 

6. The Durability Question

Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future? Every entrepreneur should plan to be the last mover in her particular market. That starts with asking yourself: what will the world look like 10 and 20 years from now, and how will my business fit in?

 

Cleantech entrepreneurs would have done well to rephrase the durability question and ask: what will stop China from wiping out my business? Without an answer, the result shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

 

7. The Secret Question

Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

 

Every cleantech company justified itself with conventional truths about the need for a cleaner world. They deluded themselves into believing that an overwhelming social need for alternative energy solutions implied an overwhelming business opportunity for cleantech companies of all kinds. Each of the casualties had described their bright futures using broad conventions on which everybody agreed. Great companies have secrets: specific reasons for success that other people don’t see.

 

We’ve discussed these elements before. Whatever your industry, any great business plan must address every one of them. If you don’t have good answers to these questions, you’ll run into lots of “bad luck” and your business will fail. If you nail all seven, you’ll master fortune and succeed. Even getting five or six correct might work.

 

The 1990s had one big idea: the internet is going to be big. But too many internet companies had exactly that same idea and no others. An entrepreneur can’t benefit from macro-scale insight unless his own plans begin at the micro-scale. Cleantech companies faced the same problem: no matter how much the world needs energy, only a firm that offers a superior solution for a specific energy problem can make money. No sector will ever be so important that merely participating in it will be enough to build a great company.

 

Vinod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Just finished.

Potential advantages of unconventional thinking.

Especially liked chapter 6 which deals with skill versus luck.

Something I came away with is that people like him are essential for progress but it would be difficult to get through each day if everyone were like him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished.

Potential advantages of unconventional thinking.

Especially liked chapter 6 which deals with skill versus luck.

Something I came away with is that people like him are essential for progress but it would be difficult to get through each day if everyone were like him.

 

Interesting observation.

Why do you think he would be difficult to deal with?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...