Read Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel BlakeMasters Online


Peter Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook. In the Spring of 2012, he gave a lecture course at Stanford for software engineers, calling on them to think boldly and broadly about how they might use their skills to shape the future, and imparting the lessons he has gleaned from his own experience. One of the students in that class - BlPeter Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook. In the Spring of 2012, he gave a lecture course at Stanford for software engineers, calling on them to think boldly and broadly about how they might use their skills to shape the future, and imparting the lessons he has gleaned from his own experience. One of the students in that class - Blake Masters - took notes and posted them online. The blog posts became a huge success, with hundreds of thousands of hits, and became the basis for Zero to One.We live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by our new mobile devices to notice. 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'. But true innovators have nothing to copy. 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.A business book that also provides insight into the world of start-ups from a Silicon Valley icon, Thiel shows how to pursue your goals using the most important, most difficult, and most underrated skill in every job or industry: thinking for yourself....

Title : Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future
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ISBN : 9780753555194
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 211 Pages
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Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future Reviews

  • Andrew Garvin
    2019-02-14 18:34

    Having worked with Peter - and the PayPal mafia more generally - for almost 10 years now, I have a unique perspective on Zero to One. Indeed, a lot of the ideas contained within are familiar to me. The launching point for the book is Peter's stock interview question - a question he asked me 8 years ago.'What is something you think is true, but that most people disagree with you on?'My answer at the time (2006) was: 'There is a bubble in housing.' Of course, that was cheating, since I knew this was a pet idea of Peter's. Not surprisingly, he asked if I had another answer. I didn't, but I extemp-ed some bs about how FDI in Iraq was a good idea. Luckily I was strong enough in other ways to make it through.His breakdown of this question and why it's so difficult to answer is incisive and in itself reveals a truth that is lying in plain sight. Very few ideas are both contrarian and correct. And, yet, finding that combination is critical to successful investing, entrepreneurship, or even career development. The book moves at a quick, clear pace with examples generously distributed throughout. Even the Bible quotes (and nerd Bible quotes - i.e. Lord of the Rings) feel natural or at least refreshing. Moreover, as Peter is wont to do, there are several easter eggs or dog whistles in the text which hint at some of Peter's more unique ideas. Of course I am biased, but particularly in the 'business' category, Zero to One is a special and thought-provoking book.

  • Jacek Ambroziak
    2019-01-29 22:29

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book even if I have found myself in violent disagreement with many of its thoughts. The book opens up with these words."Every moment in business happens only once.The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: 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 is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange."Initially, I kind of liked this quote. It is indeed hard to imagine a new business to threaten the dominance of Google Search or Facebook's social network. But the fact that Google search dominates is not really a zero-to-one effect, but a decisive improvement over previously existing internet search engines. Facebook was not originally conceived of as a dominant social platform; it so happened that it turned out to be well liked by millions of people beyond the original community of Harvard students. In operating systems we already have Linux and Android (using Linux) which have way more deployments than Windows. So it is not the case that "every moment in business" happens only once, unless in a very literal sense.Peter discusses "copying" with disdain, but not all "copying" is just copying, a lot of progress happens via semi-continuous improvements. This civilization does not only progress by one-off disruptive inventions. A lot of it is steady improvements. And these improvements occasionally lead to enabling zero-to-one (or dominating) developments.Peter asks "What company is nobody building?" Like the previous quote, this question has some charm, but I think it too is misleading. Well, maybe nobody is building this "company X" yet, because it is not yet fully enabled. Eg. voice over internet existed in the lab (IBM?) since mid 70's, but Skype made sense only much later when lots of people got access to personal computers and these computers started being connected to the Net all the time. Bottom line: it is not all "zero to one", nor it can be or should be.I still give the book 5 stars as I enjoyed its thought provoking character; it was an engaging reading: disagreeing, agreeing, learning new perspectives. Highly recommended but please don't treat it as Gospel :-)

  • Nick
    2019-02-09 02:45

    The first book since Antifragile that had me hooked beginning to end. The definite/ indefinite paradigm had me thinking long after the book was finished. Fantastic.Ch. 1 The challenge of the the futureThe first chapter is an introductory piece on the creation of new value (going from nothing to something) thus zero to one as opposed to logarithmic and or incremental changes one to n. - He argues that spreading old ways to create wealth around the world will only further globalize the world into sameness. This sameness means a universal current state. The downside to this is that everyone will now have a North American live style which requires a lot more energy and competition for the same resources. Thiel calls for a pursuit of new growth not a desire to spread the sameness around.- He argues that old technologies still pervade our society and that new technologies will and should come from startups because large scale bureaucracies move slowly and entrenched interests in these organizations shy away from risk. In a lot of organizations signaling that your work is completed is more important than the work itself.Ch. 2 - When growing a company exponential growth in size of your business also means exponential growth in your cost structure.- Out of fear of a post 90's tech bubble do not treat the lessons learned as dogma. The goal of lessons is that the mistakes of the past are potential future realities not a determined future. Silicon Valley currently is trapped in this thinking that the bubble of the past dictates how we should act presently. - Current tech companies focus on too much 1) incremental advances 2) have no idea where there business will go or what they will be doing 3) forego creating new markets and instead attempt to gain more ground in overcrowded markets 4) ignore sales completely- The opposite is important 1) risk boldness 2) have a framework of where you'd like to take your company 3) search for new markets 4) sales matter as does product design not more thoughCh. 3 All Happy Companies are Different- Ask yourself what valuable company is nobody building.- Create value and then capture that value- Choose to become a monopoly as competitive markets strip your profits away. Become a company so good at what you do that no one offers a close substitute. Differentiate your company from all others.- Monopolists lies to protect themselves (google claims its an advertising company and thus has only 3% of the global advertising market but if it is to be considered a search engine company then it owns 67% of the search engine market).- Competitive companies lie and exaggerate their share of the market to attract investors.- Monopolistic profits allow companies to transcend the competitive struggle and focus on their employees.-Monopolies can keep innovating and profits ease long term planning and make it more feasible to attempt ambitious R&D projects.- Basic economics are a relic of the past.- Every business is successful exactly to the extent that it does something others cannot.- Rivalry causes us to overemphasize old opportunities and slavishly copy what has worked in the past.- Is your market the right one to be in? Everybody loses when the war isn't worth fighting.- Do not accumulate enemies. And if you can't beat a rival consider merging.- Short term thinking diverts your focus from company growth and durability. - Will your company be around in 10 years?- Characteristics that may guarantee you dominance: proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale, and brand. - The problem with MBA types: initial markets are small that they often do not perceive them as opportunities.- Choose small market demand with immediate product adoption.- First dominate a specific niche and then scale to adjacent markets.Chapter 6:- How you perceive the future may dictate your outcome. Are you indefinitely pessimistic, definitely pessimistic, definitely optimistic or indefinitely optimistic. - Indefinite pessimist: the future is bleak and there is nothing anyone can do about it. - Definite pessimist: the future is bleak and must be prepared for.- Definite optimist: the future will be better and everyone must work in a direction to make it better (Entrepeneurs)- Indefinite optimist: the future will be better but how it will materialize is unforeseeable (law school students).- Entrepeneurs do not view their future as out of their hands and are optimistic enough to plan for their future. They only sell their company when they have no plans for where they would like to take it. - Long term planning has become undervalued in a world that only thinks in quarterly cycles and 4 year election cycles.- A startup is the largest endeavour over which you can have some sort of control over your own destiny.Ch. 7- Venture returns don't follow a normal distribution, rather they follow a power law: a small handful of companies outperform all others.- The biggest secret in venture capital is that the best investment in a successful fund equals or outperforms the entire rest of fund combined. Every investment in your portfolio must have the potential to succeed at a vast scale. Less than 1% of companies started each year receive venture funding. - You are an investor in yourself. When you choose a career you believe your line of work will be desired in years to come.- An individual cannot diversify his own life by keeping dozens of possible careers in his back pocket. Ch. 8- What company is nobody building? - Have unorthodox ideas and do not be afraid to hold these ideas. Having mainstream ideas that everyone else has is not a sign of progress. It is thinking with a contrarian-esk perception is where new ideas stem from.- If you think something is hard you'll never try. Ch.9 Foundations- Thiel's law: a startup messed up at the beginning cannot be fixed.- Bad decisions made early on such as choosing the wrong partners or hiring the wrong people can be very hard to correct after they are made.- You cannot build something great on flawed foundations.- When you start something the most important decision is who you start it with.- Technical abilities and complementary skill sets matter, but how well the founders know each other and how well they work together matter just as much. Founders should have a prehistory before they start a company together otherwise it is just a gamble.- The benefit of working for yourself is you have sole control of a vision the downside is that you don't gain the benefit of having a team.- You need good people who get along but you also need a structure to keep everyone aligned for the long term.- Sources of unalignment: ownership, possession and/ or control. Ownership: who owns equity. Possession: who runs the company on a day to day basis. Control: who governs the company's affairs.- Be aware when bureaucracy is creeping into your company. - Refrain from having conflict between investors and founders due to differing interests and priorities. Have a smaller board because the smaller the board the easier it is for people to reach consensus and for control to be exercised. Every person on your board matters because each has the possibility to bring an issue that you may have to deal with so be selective. A board of 3 to 5 is perfect.- Everyone should be a full time employee (except lawyers and accountants) to keep your company aligned with your goals.- A company does better the less its CEO makes. A CEO that takes a high salary in startup will defend his pay and the status quo while a CEO that takes less money or money equal to his founders and employees will work hard to ensure problems do not arise and when problems arise to help solve them. A cash poor executive will continually focus on creating value for his or her company.- Anyone who prefers owning a part of your company rather than being paid in cash reveals a preference for the long term and a commitment to increasing your company's value.- The most valuable kind of company maintains an openness to invention and new ideas.Ch. 10-Do not assemble a team by hiring the most talented people based on a resume or some other arbitrary metric of talent.- Your time is your most valuable asset and thus create a team you would enjoy spending time with on a shared vision. You want a tight knit group not a team of free agents only looking out for themselves. Hire people who enjoy working together, excited about your vision and talented. - Always ask yourself why someone would want to work for you not the inverse which is why should I hire them. If they ask why they should work for you you should be able to respond why your mission matters and why your team is a team people likeminded people where they could not afford to not want to join. - Make every person responsible for doing just one thing by defining roles to reduce conflict. Avoid people overlapping each other doing the same job and thus leading to conflict over the same responsibilities. Eliminate competition among your employees by differentiating their tasks.Ch. 11- Never underestimate the importance of sales. Sales works best when hidden. The worst salesmen are the ones who let us know we are being sold to.- A product is viral if its core functionality encourages users to invite their friends to become users to. - You must also sell your company to investors and employees. Keep them engaged. - You should never assume that people will admire your company without a public relations strategy.Ch. 12- Computers are complements for humans not rivals or substitutes. The most valuable businesses of the future will be created by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than making people obsolete. Ch. 13- Companies should strive to make their product 10X better than their rivals because merely incremental improvements often end up meaning no real improvement at all for the end user.- Entering a slow moving market can be a good strategy but only if you have a definite and realistic plan to take it over. - 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 will be stuck with vicious competition. Ask yourself 7 questions1) Is your technology superior?2) Is the timing right?3) Do you have a monopolistic advantage?4) Have you assembled a good team?5) Do you have a good distribution chain?6) How durable is your company?7) Do you have any insight as to why your company is different?Ch. 14- The most important task in business is the creation of new value which cannot be reduced to a formula.- We need unusual individuals to lead companies beyond mere incrementalism.Ch. 15- Always remember the first essential step is to think for yourself.

  • Yevgeniy Brikman
    2019-02-09 23:43

    This book fluctuates between brilliance and madness. When it focuses on the mechanics of start ups, it's great. When it focuses on Thiel's philosophies, it's a bit whacky. Thiel enjoys being a contrarian too much. Doing something new and valuable may require being a contrarian, but just being contrarian doesn't mean your ideas are new and valuable. Worth reading if you're interested in startups, but be prepared to skim and shake your head. Pros:* Great chapters on how to build a monopoly, approach markets, luck, hiring, culture, and sales.* lots of contrarian views that will force you to reconsider your own ideas* Interesting outlook on the future of technology and humanity* Clear writingCons:* The ideas of vertical vs horizontal progress is nonsense. All ideas are horizontal, built incrementally on top of all the ideas that came before by people who came along at the right time and place. This includes the ideas behind paypal and palantir. * Limited perspective on competition. It exists. It leads to better products for consumers. It hurts some businesses, but drives others to greatness. * I disagree with Thiel's negative view of education. Yes, higher ed is too expensive and can be done better, but that's not the same as eliminating it. And if you want to change it, then have your companies stop filtering candidates by college degree. * Dismissing a broad curriculum and saying everyone should study just one thing is absurd coming from a lawyer turned businessman who likes to quote a very wide array of human knowledge, including philosophy, history, physics, mathematics, medicine, economics, and mythology. It's also absurd since the fusion of ideas from different disciplines is what leads to much of innovation. * Comparing hipsters to the uni bomber? Really?Fun quotes:As a good rule of thumb, proprietary technology must be at least 10 times better than its closest substitute in some important dimension to lead to a real monopolistic advantage. Anything less than an order of magnitude better will probably be perceived as a marginal improvement and will be hard to sell, especially in an already crowded market.By the time a student gets to college, he’s spent a decade curating a bewilderingly diverse résumé to prepare for a completely unknowable future. Come what may, he’s ready—for nothing in particular.But leanness is a methodology, not a goal. Making small changes to things that already exist might lead you to a local maximum, but it won’t help you find the global maximum. You could build the best version of an app that lets people order toilet paper from their iPhone. But iteration without a bold plan won’t take you from 0 to 1. A company is the strangest place of all for an indefinite optimist: why should you expect your own business to succeed without a plan to make it happen? Darwinism may be a fine theory in other contexts, but in startups, intelligent design works best.As globalization advances, people perceive the world as one homogeneous, highly competitive marketplace: the world is “flat.” Given that assumption, anyone who might have had the ambition to look for a secret will first ask himself: if it were possible to discover something new, wouldn’t someone from the faceless global talent pool of smarter and more creative people have found it already? This voice of doubt can dissuade people from even starting to look for secrets in a world that seems too big a place for any individual to contribute something unique.The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.Every great company is unique, but there are a few things that every business must get right at the beginning. I stress this so often that friends have teasingly nicknamed it “Thiel’s law”: a startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed.You can’t accomplish anything meaningful by hiring an interior decorator to beautify your office, a “human resources” consultant to fix your policies, or a branding specialist to hone your buzzwords. “Company culture” doesn’t exist apart from the company itself: no company has a culture; every company is a culture. A startup is a team of people on a mission, and a good culture is just what that looks like on the inside.All salesmen are actors: their priority is persuasion, not sincerity.The most fundamental reason that even businesspeople underestimate the importance of sales is the systematic effort to hide it at every level of every field in a world secretly driven by it.It’s better to think of distribution as something essential to the design of your product. If you’ve invented something new but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business—no matter how good the product.Tthe seven questions that every business must answer:1. The Engineering QuestionCan you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?2. The Timing QuestionIs now the right time to start your particular business?3. The Monopoly QuestionAre you starting with a big share of a small market?4. The People QuestionDo you have the right team?5. The Distribution QuestionDo you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?6. The Durability QuestionWill your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?7. The Secret QuestionHave you identified a unique opportunity that others don't see?

  • Sindy Li
    2019-01-25 21:27

    I heard about this book when it came out and thought that there was no way I would read a book on startups. Not that I don't see great things coming out of some startups, but I am not the only one who has developed a fatigue of the many random startups founded by fellow Silicon Valley dwellers who are engineers, MBAs, or a little bit of both, and of the many other Valley dwellers who claim they want to do a startup without knowing what it will be about!After my dad bought a copy in Taipei I decided to take a look. I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected. This is a book of solid, sensible advice on startups, coming from economic principles and common sense. (I have no experience and little knowledge of startups, so I am merely speaking from an economist's perspective.) I wouldn't generalize Thiel's wisdom to fields outside of startups (just like the case with Paul Graham) -- indeed he made some claims that were not well thought out -- but the main points of the book were valuable. I would recommend it especially to those currently or thinking of working in a startup, and hopefully this will lead to less and on average better startups being founded.Below are a few ideas I liked from the book. They are not necessarily original but are pretty good. Note that I read the Chinese version and translated the phrases back into English so they are probably different from the book.Chapter 1: The difference between horizontal progress/globalization and vertical progress/technological innovation. The latter is needed to solve problems challenging our future. (However the former is not trivial!)Chapter 3: Innovation and unique technology that the market demands give you profitable monopoly power. Usually economists talk about some extent of monopoly power (e.g. patents) encourages innovation, but Thiel was looking at it from another perspective: that of an entrepreneur choosing which type of business to start. His answer is to choose one that makes differentiated products (that the market demands) and gives you monopoly power.Chapter 4: Again, competition vs. monopoly. Traditional businesses provide similar products and compete by cutting prices/costs, advertising etc.; innovative businesses make products that no one else makes.Chapter 5: What are the features of a business that can create and sustain monopoly power, growth and cash flow? 1. Unique technology (at least 10 times better than the existing alternative--otherwise it won't be noticed--or entirely new products). 2. Network externality. 3. Economies of scale. 4. Brand. How to create one? Start by monopolizing a small market (that needs to actually exist, unlike the market of British food in Palo Alto) through winning the most important group of users in this market, then expand in size or variety (i.e. into related markets). Don't focus on DISRUPTION; make the pie bigger instead of playing a zero sum game.Chapter 6: Have a purpose, a vision and long-run planning, instead of a lean startup and minimum viable product to be driven by whatever comes up on the way. This idea is related to the one on an "authoritarian" business presented in the last chapter. (The philosophical discussion in this chapter is not particularly great.)Chapter 7: Power law. As a venture capitalist, don't simply pursue diversification; choose a few businesses to invest in and choose them carefully so all of them have great (expected) potential. (Wait, did anyone derive optimal investment rules under power law distribution?)Chapter 8: (I like this one a lot.) All great business have "secrets". A world without secrets is boring, stagnated and has no room to improve upon. Our world is full of injustice and inefficiency, so it cannot be one without secrets. What prevent us from exploring these secrets are gradualism, risk aversion, inertia and belief in equilibrium ("flatness" or perfect efficiency of markets). Only those who see secrets can grasp hidden opportunities, lead to Scientific Revolutions and found businesses like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft etc. How to find secrets? Look where no one else does; choose the path less traveled. That's why it's (kinda) important to have contrarian views. (Though I think it's more important to be thinking than to have contrarian views for the sake of it. Thiel seems to agree by saying, at the end of Chapter 2, that the most unique way is not to be different from everyone else but to think for yourself.)Chapter 9: According to power law, there are a few things that are crucial to the entire business, e.g. its foundations. Make sure you choose founding partners who are really passionate about the business and you enjoy working together. (Stuff on the size of the board, stock as incentives etc.) You are not only trying to create new things at the founding stage of a startup; if you are successful, you should have created a business that stays creative.Chapter 10: The company doesn't attract employees (or create a "culture") by providing benefits like free food, free laundry etc. It should attract employees by what it does and who the team are. A company should be its own culture. It should be like a cult (rather than a consulting firm with no loyalty or identity), but one that is not extreme. (In Chapter 8, the HP example shows that once a company is managed in the conservative "MBA" way to optimize for bureaucratic functioning, innovation dies.)Chapter 11: Marketing is important. Marketing influences everyone, especially those who think they are not influenced. The best marketer doesn't look like one. Different ways of marketing, from viral marketing to complex sales. Make sure you have a viable marketing strategy for your product. It's great if your customers can market for you, e.g. through network externality (like PayPal).Chapter 12: Humans and computers should be complements (e.g. PayPal fraud detection, Palantir helping intelligence experts) rather than substitutes. (Great idea, and makes sense in some way--there are things that one is good at while the other is not--but in practice they are also substitutes in many ways which have unfortunate implications for employment.)Chapter 13: The failure of most clean technology firms was a business rather than political one. How Tesla succeeded while many others failed on 7 dimensions: engineering, timing, monopoly, personnel, marketing, sustainability, secrets. The fallacy of social entrepreneurship. (I think businesses that generate positive externalities are great but I agree that they must be self-sustaining and that being a "social enterprise" shouldn't be an excuse to not pursue commercial viability.)Chapter 14: Many (tech) entrepreneurs are "weird". Innovative tech companies are usually authoritarian with charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs. Society should be more tolerant of seemingly weird or extreme entrepreneurs, because we ned extraordinary people to lead companies in order to avoid the slow progress of gradualism. However, GLADLY, Thiel also advises such leaders to remain cautious, not to over estimate their power or become "prime movers" of Ayn Rand who do not realize that their success relies on other people.Lastly, I noticed one thing: most women who showed up in illustrations were (at least) half naked (model with Richard Branson, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga etc.). It's true that female entertainment celebrities usually appear with much less clothes than male ones, but having such pictures in a book on startups was quite annoying for a female reader, and probably distracting for a male one. Peter Thiel has just revealed another problem of Silicon Valley--sexism--in his book, except this time he did it not by words, but by action.

  • Daniel Clausen
    2019-02-18 18:36

    It starts with a simple and elegant thesis: a new idea is a singularity that changes the world. The best paths in business are new and untried. For this reason, there can be no definite road plan toward their creation. Every formula for innovation is new and unique. Buried within a book on business and startups is a deep thesis about the relationship between technology, society, and our historical moment. From the beginning, I assumed this was a book written by an MBA or computer scientist, but instead it was written by a philosophy major and law school graduate -- these influences showed. There is a subtlety and thoughtfulness that are rare in the business book sludge. This thin book seemed both small and abnormally huge at the same time. It vacillated between talking about building a startup company that could dominate a small market segment and discussing innovation as the salvation of the world. Thus, the book is both about how to start a company and how to save the world: entrepreneurship as business; entrepreneurship as social salvation. In the author's own strange but beautiful philosophy startups are a kind of salvation from societal decline and stagnation. This makes the book more interesting and important. But because the book is mostly about starting a company, the author's societal thesis and its grand, sweeping arguments about technology, the role of leaders, the plague of bureaucracy, and the macro-history of innovation are left untested and underexplained. And yet...these aspects of the book are the most intriguing because they are the least explained and most controversial. Thus, you either had to tentatively accept the underlying theory or if not, bracket it, to make your way through the rest of the ideas about start ups. If Mr. Thiel, however, were to write a follow-up book outlining his underpinning philosophy, here is what he should address. 1) Zero to One makes the case for "definite optimism" -- having a plan and using resources to deliberately follow that plan. In some cases, it even seems like he is advocating this approach on a large scale. Since the book challenges many of the lessons of "libertarianism" (on the right) and "social justice/rights" advocates (on the left), I would like the book to address some of the great works in both of these genres -- James Scott's "Seeing Like a State" which argues against large-scale state planning; "The Tyranny of Experts" written by William Easterly, which has interesting ideas about when not to use expert advice; Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "Black Swan" which makes the best case for "optionality" and small-scale tinkering. 2) Since it rails against bureaucratization but also lauds grand projects like the canalization of large parts of the world, the space program, the Manhattan project, the interstate highway program, and the Empire State Building, I would like the any follow-up to address how a "definite optimism" future of the world can possibly work without large-scale bureaucracies. I would also like the author to explain how the European Union is not a "definite optimist" project. (I wonder also if there is a historical process to the American loss of "definite optimism". One perhaps that begins in Vietnam?)3) I would like this follow up books to address the difference between large-scale entrepreneurship, which relies on large bureaucracies implementing projects and small-scale tech entrepreneurship that rely on small teams. Is he suggesting that large engineering projects should be broken up into small teams? Is there a process aspect that I missed? Does innovation start with small teams and then move toward a bureaucratization stage (in the scaling up stage)? Since the pre-1970s "definite optimist" US employed bureaucracies extensively, this is a question that I would like answered. Or at least a more nuanced theory used in its place. 4) I would also like the author to address in more nuance the difference between technologies that are a result of creative discovery (see Nassim Nicholas Taleb) versus those that are the result of deliberate planning. I would also like the author to take on Nassim Taleb's thesis that most innovation is a process of creative discovery, not deliberate planning. This is a wish list. I doubt I'll ever see Peter Thiel's full underlying philosophy explained, tested, or fleshed out, but it would make a very good book. Probably a big one, too. (One, I'm sure, he's too busy to write.)Top Ideas I took away from the book:Dominate a Niche Market (then grow from there): It's okay for a company to meet a macro-need, but all great startups need to start by carving a niche and dominating a small market (Facebook with the Harvard social scene; Paypal with eBay). Build a Small Team: Innovation happens best when planned in small groups rather than individually or in large organizations. Individuals are best for idiosyncratic creations like novels and comic books. Large groups usually do things like bureaucracies, at a snail's pace. Small organizations maintain focus and flexibility. A Start-Up is Like a Cult (Organized around an Idea about How to Change the World, not a Crank Idea):The interesting thing about start ups is their "cult-like" status (to the point of ignoring their family and friends, and gaining social value from interactions with each other). Start ups share the aspects of a cult because they believe fanatically they are right about ideas others are wrong about. On Sales: No one likes salespeople, but everyone is a salesperson. The better you are at not looking like a salesman, the better you are at sales. On the Destructiveness of Competition:*The more we compete, the less we gain. Competition is stupid and unhealthy. All industries with heavy competition have very low-profit margins. War is costly and destructive. When deciding whether to fight, there is no middle ground: either don't throw any punches or strike hard and end it quickly. *In business, pride and honor get in the way of this truth. *Avoid direct competition altogether! *Most brave people are willing to fight for almost nothing at all. (This might make them ideologically anti-business.)The 10x Rule:For an existing technology to be a monopoly it must be about 10x better than its next competitor. Dominate a Niche Market:It's better to dominate a small market than try to gain a small percentage of a large market. Between the Easy and the Impossible is Your Target:Between easy truths and unknowable truths are very difficult problems. These are the ones most satisfying. If you don't believe in these, you are especially prone to fundamentalism. Fundamentalism attributes all great problem-solving to an outside force: the market, the environment, God.

  • James Fairbairn
    2019-02-06 21:20

    Starts well, becomes trite, ends delusional.

  • Todd N
    2019-02-02 22:28

    Even worse than the self-help section of the bookstore, you need to go into the entrepreneur part of the business section of the bookstore to find a copy of this book.Unless you are one of those Twitter jerkoffs who is tweeting about your startup or -- worse -- your insights on the latest VC trends, you will probably want to wear a disguise when procuring a copy of this book. But it's totally worth it.This book is a refinement, with new ideas added, of notes from a class (CS183: Startup) that Mr. Thiel taught at Stanford. A student, the co-author Blake Masters, took notes on this class that have become semi-legendary here in the Valley. They are on the web here for those of you who aren't familiar with the Google brand Internet searching tool: Mr. Thiel is mainly known for investing in the creepy Facebook and for co-founding the infuriating Paypal and the ultra-creepy Palantir, and thus being the main reason I can't park in downtown Palo Alto, I feel like I mainly know him from the character sketches in George Packer's excellent book The Unwinding.I also feel like I know him from the Peter Gregory character -- the billionaire who becomes fascinated with the sesame seeds on Burger King's products -- on Mike Judge's excellent TV show Silicon Valley. In fact, I couldn't help but start out reading this book in that character's voice.Mr. Thiel starts right out by revealing his main interview question: "What important truth do very few people agree with you on?" Despite ending with a preposition, this is such a good interview question that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to joke my way out of it. (It's a thing with me.)To be truthful, I have a bunch of answers to this question, but I learned at a young age to keep them to myself out of self-preservation. If I hadn't already read this question in a book, had Mr. Thiel asked me this I probably would have hugged him and started sobbing and thanking him.After composing myself, my reply would start with something like, "Can you be more specific by narrowing it down to a particular area? Maybe, say, education, economic literacy, technology, individualism, or UFO research?"Anyway Mr. Thiel then lists some of the lame answers to his question that he has gotten in the past, so that we can snicker together at the way original thinking is beaten out of us by the education system. (This is one of his main Important Truths -- check out his Thiel Foundation.)And then Mr. Thiel is off and running, taking us through a quick tour of some of his original thinking, though I must point out that some of it is clearly just straw man arguments and some struck me as just being contrarian. [[[Quick aside: Memo to everyone who just graduated from college: contrarian thinking is not the same as original thinking. It's true. I looked it up.]]]But a few clunkers here and there is fine with me. Hell, I'm happy to pick up a book with even two or three original thoughts in it -- though I've had a pretty good track record with books lately I must say.Oh, and I really, really hate the whole entrepreneur worship thing here in Silicon Valley (put that Important Truth in your pipe and smoke it), so be sure to rip out the chapter that draws a line from Odysseus through Jimi Hendrix to Bill Gates. There might have been some good points in this chapter, but my monocle popped out when I gasped and I couldn't make out the words, just some of the pictures.On the other hand, I loved the section lumping together the Unabomber, hipsters, ecologists, cult members, and free market economists due to their adherence to the same "trichotomy": (1) easy questions that anyone can answer, (2) challenging questions that have all already been answered, and (3) hard questions that we'll never answer so we just have to leave it up to [God/the free market/Gaia/misc. higher power.]At least the Unabomber and hipsters offer solutions. The former wanted to blow up the world and start over again on the challenging questions. Hipsters want to go back to the simpler days of groovy facial hair and vinyl records. I didn't say they were great solutions.This kind of observational stuff is gold. I'm pretty sure Louis C.K. could get 30 minutes out of this easily because I just need the concept, and I can reverse engineer a comedy routine in my head. I'd do it, but then I'd have to give 20% to Founders Fund.I also loved his take down of the solar market, especially Solyndra. I knew there were ways to attack it without resorting to political. Too bad the entire press is too stupid to do that. Not Mr. Thiel, who applies his startup rules from the first half of the book to the solar industry to handily show its foolishness. Then he applies them to his bro Elon Musk's company Tesla to show how eco-friendly business is done right.And need I mention that Solyndra's CEO wears a suit. So there. Actually, that Important Truth seems a tad lazy, doesn't it? Plus half the Google images for both Messrs. Musk and Thiel show them wearing suits. Oh well. I guess when it comes to Internet billionaire entrepreneurs it's, "Do as I promulgate, not as I do."Highly recommended. It's like sticking your head in a prism and watching the world get reflected in strange new ways. At the very least, it's the closest you're going to get to having Warren Buffett explain how to invest in tech stocks.If Mr. Thiel wants to hang out on University Ave. and make fun of passers by with me, he's welcome to any time. I'm sure he will find it sharpens the mind.

  • Arjun
    2019-02-16 20:30

    [Note: this review was written for an advance copy, so there may be minor differences between references made here and in the first edition.]Contrary to my own expectation, I quite enjoyed Peter Thiel's newest book. Though put off by some of Thiel's contrarian (and in some cases, delusionally bullish) opinions, after reading Blake Master's notes from Stanford's CS183, I was pretty excited for their latest collaboration. While the latter half of the book is chock full of startup advice, the first half reads more closely as an explanation of macroeconomic trends Thiel's noticed over years in the trenches. Some assorted thoughts:(1) In the very beginning of the book, Thiel shares his answer to the central question: "What important truth do few people agree with you on?" (and the corollary: What valuable company is no one building?). He takes a very binary approach to the question, siding on the side of technology in the "globalization v. technology" debate. This was one instance that recurred a few times throughout of Thiel seemingly viewing the world as more binary than it is, ignoring questions like "Could increased globalization lead to technical advancement?".(2) Thiel frequently references the characteristics of "great companies" and the importance of resilience and creating value in a crowded world (and more importantly, capturing that value). In this way, he sounds like Charlie Munger, who talks about the importance of capturing value in his commencement address on worldly wisdom. Great stuff.(3) There are more than a couple of strawman arguments Thiel makes (and recognizes, I'm sure, as a trained lawyer), including a particularly impassioned ramming of the lean movement, without recognizing the possible justifications for it (instead bucketing it into some dogmatic way of thinking Thiel has no time to address) -- while I stomached it, it still annoyed me a bit while I was working through the book. (4) Likely my favorite bit of the book was Thiel's bit on our indefinitely optimistic vision of the future, where he said: "... in an indefinite world, people actually prefer unlimited optionality; money is more valuable than anything you could possibly do with it. Only in a definite future is money a means to an end, not the end itself."While there's plenty that bugged me about this book, I'm still really glad I read it. Throughout my reading, Thiel's contrarian-as-hell opinions gave me a fantastic mental sparring session. Which, I'm sure was one of his intentions (maybe even more so than being right).

  • Brian Yahn
    2019-02-22 21:30

    I kind of dismissed Peter Thiel as an idiot after his very public support of President Trump, but that was a mistake.The premise of Zero to One is enlightening. We always think of business in terms of cut-throat competition. But Thiel makes a very convincing argument that most successful businesses avoid competition whenever possible. The natural extension of that is one should only found a business with a clear path to monopoly. For me, at least, it kind of turned everything I thought I knew about corporate America inside out.What I found most enjoyable about this book, surprisingly, is the writing. Thiel has a voice that's a strange mix of robotically authoritative yet somehow poetic. The way he weaves analogies and images together to make a point is incredibly artistic.I'll never be able to understand why he decided to support President Trump, but I'm convinced of one thing: Peter Thiel is a genius.

  • imane
    2019-01-27 22:26

    الكتاب صعب و ممل لكنه مفيد و موجه للسوق الغربي حيث الابتكار و الاختراع لان دول العالم الاول تسير في خط تقدم راسي عكس الدول النامية التي تسير في خط افقي و تعتمد على التقليد فقط. التقدم الافقي هو تقليد الدول المتقدمة وهذا ما يسمى بالعولمة اما التقدم الراسي هو التقدم التكنولوجي وهو يعتمد على الشركات الناشئة لانها قادرة على الابتكار و الاختراع. الشركة الناجحة هي التي تستطيع احتكار السوق بمنتوج جديد و هذا يسمح لها بتحديد الاسعار التي تريد وجمع ارباح تمكنها من تطوير منتوجها باستمرار عكس الشركات التي تعتمد على التقليد لانها مضطرة دائما لخفض الاسعار من اجل الصمود في وجه المنافسة. ثم تطرق الكاتب لمواصفات الشركة الاحتكارية تميز المنتوج توقيت المشروع الاحتكار فريق العمل المناسب التوزيع الاستمرارية السر.......

  • Jason Weeks
    2019-02-22 19:21

    Peter Thiel's book is definitely worthwhile reading.He has some fantastic points about start-ups, working environments for new and small businesses and a strong level of conviction for his methodology and beliefs which is nice to read.That being said, he's self indulgent in parts of this book - perhaps his choice as a self-made billionaire (I don't know) - and more importantly he spends a lot of time focusing on all the great achievements of his inner circle. There is in fact life beyond silicon valley.Read it, but don't glorify it.

  • Yunling
    2019-02-23 02:29

    I'm sorry. I don't know why all the rave. This book is full of pontification and cliche. And sometimes shameless ones. Not to mention the every now and then judgmental categorical commentaries. I had to return the audio book half way thru. Total lack of nutrition.

  • K's Corner
    2019-02-20 21:49

    3.5 stars. An interesting read with some interesting and thought-provoking insights for tech startups and some not so that just come across as opinionated commentary.

  • Aaron Wolfson
    2019-02-04 00:39

    Prior to this book, which has received enormous buzz and effusive praise, for whatever reason I thought of Peter Thiel as a stuffy businessman rather than a brilliant thinker. I associated him more with his investing career than his experiences as a founder of Paypal and Palantir. In this book he wears both hats, and he also takes turns as a historian, futurist, and cultural psychologist and anthropologist. His ideas and prescriptions are as wide-ranging as they are concrete and actionable. From the ideal size of a startup's board of directors to the future of humanity, Thiel holds very little back and mostly manages to tie all this theory together into a practical, coherent worldview.The biggest theme in the book, as the title aptly suggests, is that ambitious people should strive to create new things in the world that have the potential to move humanity forward by an order of magnitude. We should be creating one of something where there were zero before -- as opposed to going from 1 to n (or more aptly, from n-1 to n). The highlighted examples of going from 0 to 1 include Google, Facebook, SpaceX, and Paypal. Examples of going from n-1 to n include the myriad of cleantech companies started in the past several years, as well as restaurants, consultancies, and law firms.Thiel uses recent history to persuasively argue that the world (and especially the USA) is stuck in a cycle of n-1 to n thinking which is based on its particular outlook on the future. He divides the world's attitudes toward the future into four categories, along two axes -- indeterminate vs. determinate, and optimism vs. pessimism. A determinate outlook says that we can affect how the future turns out, while an indeterminate outlook says that things are more or less left to fate. You can be either optimistic or pessimistic about either of those views. America, Thiel says, has since the 1980s been stuck in a malaise of indeterminate optimism -- we still feel that the future will be better than the present, but we have no idea how it's going to happen.Thus many of Thiel's ideas in this book are a bulwark against indeterminism and a call to determinate optimism. We can use powerful tools likethe complementarity of humans and computersthe benefits of having a monopoly (as opposed to profit-draining pure competition)the secrets about people and our world that are yet to be discoveredthe excitement of a conspiracy to change the worldto make and execute bold plans that have the potential to fulfill our optimism about the future. And the way to do this is through a startup. The second half of the book is mostly an overview of what works and doesn't work when you are trying to do something as audacious as take the world from 0 to 1. This culminates in Thiel's seven big questions that a startup must ask itself in order to pull this off:1. Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?2. Is now the right time to start your particular business?3. Are you starting with a big share of a small market?4. Do you have the right team?5. Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?6. Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?7. Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don't see?If you want to read something clear and comprehensive, that's not afraid to question received business wisdom and make bold prescriptions for creating new companies, new products, new industries, new anything, and above all will make you think, you've come to the right book.

  • Anna
    2019-02-14 01:21

    “ZERO TO ONE EVERY MOMENT IN BUSINESS happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”Peter ― Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future It is always a useful experience to read the thoughts of a successful entrepreneur and mentor. According to the book notes, this work is a compilation of notes from a lecture series. This is a must-read, filled with so many great insights and take-aways, and it is definitely becoming part of my permanent bookshelf!"Every culture has a myth of decline from some sort of golden age, and almost all peoples throughout history have been pessimists. Even today pessimism still dominates huge parts of the world. An indefinite pessimist looks out unto a bleak future, but he has no idea what to do about it. This describes Europe since the early 1970's, when the continent succumbed to undirected bureaucratic drift. Today the whole Eurozone is in slow-motion crisis, and nobody is in charge. The European Central Bank doesn't stand for anything but improvisation: the U.S. Treasury prints "In God We Trust" on the dollar; the ECB might as well print "Kick the Can Down the Road" on the euro. Europeans just react to events as they happen and hope things don't get worse. The indefinite pessimist can't know whether the inevitable decline will be fast or slow, catastrophic or gradual. All he can do is wait for it to happen, so he might as well eat, drink, and be merry in the meantime: hence Europe's famous vacation mania.""Sometimes you do have to fight. Where that's true, you should fight and win. There is no middle ground: either don't throw any punches, or strike and end it quickly."Peter ― Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

  • Michael
    2019-02-21 02:49

    Lately Thiel has been in the news and one would expect, based on a cursory examination of his backstory and current infamy, a work of diabolical genius or at the very least one with a bit of an edge. That said, the most surprising part of the book is its extreme banality.

  • Sebastian Nickel
    2019-02-13 20:34

    I think it's worth reading of you're interested in starting and funding businesses, especially since it's such a quick read. I found PT's thoughts on and defense of monopolies particularly interesting. But I was disappointed by the strength of his argumentation. I expected this book to read like the work of a sharp, keen thinker, but his reasoning throughout the book is actually very sloppy and relies very heavily on cherry picked examples.

  • Abdullah
    2019-01-31 23:26

    يعتبر مؤلف الكتاب "بيتر تيل" خريح القانون من جامعة ستانفورد الأمريكة من أشهر رياديي الأعمال والمستثمرين الذين استطاعوا أن يجتازوا انهيار شركات التقنية في أواخر عام 2001م أو ما يسمى بـ فقاعة الدوت-كوم أو شركات الانترنت. أسس بيتر مع آخرين شركة باي بال في عام 1998م قبل أن تنتقل ملكيتها في عام 2002م إلى شركة إي-باي في صفقة استحواذ بلغت قيمتها 1,5 مليار دولار. وفي عام 2004م بدأ بيتر أول اسثماراته في الشركات الناشئة من خلال شركة قوقل الناشئة في ذلك الوقت، وقد تولى فيها منصباً إدارياً تنفيذاياً. وفي نفس العام أسس شركة "بالانتير" المتخصصة في تحليل البيات والبيانات الضخمة والتي تقدم خدماتها بشكل أساسي لوكالة الاستخبارات الأمريكية. قُدّرت قيمة بالانتير عام 2015م بـ 20 مليار دولار ومن المتوقع قريباً أن تحقق عوائداً مالية تصل إلى 1 مليار دولار.في ربيع عام 2012م، دعت جامعة ستانفورد بيتر تيل لتدريس مادة في علوم الحاسب الآلي عن الشركات الناشئة وريادة الأعمال، و بحماس قبل بيتر الدعوة مدفوعاً برغبته (كما هو هدف الجامعة) في نقل خبرته العملية إلى الطلاب و المساهمة في تحرير رؤيتهم من المسار الأكاديمي الصرف إلى أفق أوسع وأرحب في عالم الأعمال. وعلى طول الفصل الدراسي، بادر أحد طلاب المادة المجتهدين ويدعى "بليك ماسترز" بتسجيل الملاحظات في كل محاضرة و نشرها أون-لاين على الانترنت ليستفيد منها بقية الطلاب، ولكن المفاجأة أن هذه الملاحظات لقيت رواجاً و اهتماماً كبيراً جداً من طلاب الجامعة و غيرهم خارج أسوارها حتى بعد مرورعدة أشهر على نهاية الفصل الدراسي مما حفز كل من بيتر و بليك على إعادة ترتيب هذه الملاحظات و إصدارها في شهر سبتمبر عام 2014م في هذا الكتاب المعنون بـ "من الصفر إلى الواحد: ملاحظات حول الشركات الناشئة أو كيف تبني المستقبل".احتوى هذا الكتاب على 14 فصلاً في موضوعات عديدة و شيّقة تدور حول ريادة الأعمال و كيفية بناء الشركات الناجحة. لم تكن دليلاً عملياً أو خطوات متسلسلة يجب اتباعها لتحقيق النجاح، فليس لأي شخص مهما كان ناجحاً أو منظّمة ذات اهتمام أن تبني مثل هذا الدليل، لأن الإبداع أو التجديد أو النجاح ليس له معادلة واحدة، فكل فكرة إبداعية هي بالضرورة جديدة و فريدة. وبالرغم من ذلك يرى المؤلف من خلال خبراته و تجاربه أن كل رياديي الأعمال الناجحين وجدوا القيمة الجديدة لأعمالهم في المجالات الغير متوقعة عن طريق التفكير فيها كمبدأ أولي وليس مجرد معادلة جاهزة يتم تحقيقها مرة بعد مرة عن طريق التكرار أو التقليد بمعطيات مختلفة، ومن هنا تنطلق فلسفة الكتاب في البداية من الصفر من اللاشي بفكرة فريدة تنتقل بعدها إلى الواحد كبداية لما بعده في تطور رأسي، وليس من الواحد بالاعتماد على فكرة سابقة وتطويرها إلى ن في تقدم أفقي (من 0 إلى 1، مقابل، 1 إلى ن).ناقش بيتر في هذا الكتاب الكثير من الأفكار والقضايا المؤثرة في تأسيس الأعمال، وحاول أن يصيغ خبراته في نظريات تخصه و بفلسفة خاصة قد تشعر معها بنرجسيته ومحاولته تقديم نفسه في المقام الأول كمنظر في ريادة الأعمال والاستثمار والتفكير الاستشرافي للمستقبل، ولكن بالتأكيد لم يؤثر ذلك على جودة المحتوى و رشاقة الأسلوب.من بين ما أثار اهتمامي مايلي:- الدروس المستفادة من انيهار أسواق التقنية في عام 2001م أو ما يعرف بـ كارثة فقاعات الدوت-كوم، والتي لاتزال تؤثر في قرارات السوق ورواد الأعمال والمستثمرين، وفلسفة المؤلف في تحليلها والاستفادة منها.- فكرة بناء قيم الشركات الناشئة وضرورة الاستحواذ على هذه القيم، وأن جميع الشركات الناجحة غير متشابهة.-المنافسة مقابل الاحتكار، وفكرة أن المنافسة بالغالب تدمر هامش الربح خصوصاً إذا أخذت الطابع الشخصي، بينما أن الاحتكار الجيد وبالطريقة المثلى يعد من أهم شروط النجاح.- أديولوجيا المنافسة ودور التعليم والتنشأة في ذلك. هذه الفكرة محفزة جداً لإعادة النظر في بعض السمات والسلوكيات التربوية.- البداية صغيراً و بناء سوق محتكر ومن ثم التوسع التدريجي بالاعتماد على النظرة بعيدة المدى وليست القريبة، وأهمية بناء علامة تجارية خاصة.- أهمية التخطيط و صنع المستقبل. أعجبتني جداً فلسفة استقراء المستقبل وتصنيف الناس حيالها ما بين صاحب رؤية متفائل وصاحب رؤية غير متفائل، وكذلك شخص لايملك الرؤية لكنه متفائل أو لايملك رؤية وغير متفائل. ناقش المؤلف هذه الأصناف وسلوكها في التخطيط و صناعة مستقبلها. ومن خلال ذلك خلص إلى نتيجة أن كل رائد أعمال ليس مقامراً ولكنه يعمل على صنع مستقبله.-الإيمان بوجود أسرار كثيرة في هذا العالم لم يتم اكتشافاها بعد، وباعتبار أن الأفكار إما أن تكون سهلة أو صعبة أو مستحيلة فإن الأسرار والأفكار الغير مكتشفة كونها موجودة أصلاً فاكتشافها صعب وليس مستحيلاً. وكل ريادي أعمال يظن أن فكرةً ما صعبة هي مستحيلة فإنه لن يبادر أبداً بمجرد المحاولة لإنجازها.- أهمية التأسيس السليم من البداية باختيار الشركاء والمستثمرين وفريق العمل المناسبين والمتناغمين، و كيفية توزيع الملكية القانونية و مسؤولية الإدارة و أيضاً حوكمة الشركة. وكذلك الفرق بين منح فريق العمل أسهماً في الشركة أو منحهم رواتب شهرية.-أهمية أن يكون التخطيط للتوزيع والمبياعات من ضمن أساسيات خطة المنتج أو الشركة.- علاقة الانسان بالآلة وهل ممكن أن تكون التقنية سبب في البطالة.- فلسفة الذكاء الصناعي وهل من ممكن أن يكون خطراً يتعاظم إلى الحد الذي نفقد السيطرة عليه ليتحكم بنا وبعالمنا.- سبعة أسألة مهمة و جوهرية يجب على كل ريادي أعمال أن يجيب عليها قبل البدء في مشروعه:1- هل لديك فكرة تقنية جديدة أم أن مشروعك إمتداداً لأفكار سابقة؟2- هل الآن هو الوقت والتوقيت المناسب لبدء مشروعك؟3- هل مشروعك يستهدف في البداية شريحة صغيرة أم كبيرة من السوق؟4- هل تمتلك فريق العمل المناسب؟5- هل لديك الخطة الكافية للإنتاج وأيضاً بيع و توزيع منتجاتك؟6- هل مشروعك قابل للاستمرار وتستطيع الدفاع عن وضعه السوقي لمدة 10 إلى 20 سنة قادمة؟7- هل حددت و اعتمدت في مشروعك على فرصة فريدة لم يرها غيرك؟أعطيت النجوم الخمس كتقييم لهذا الكتاب لأنه من نوعية الكتب التي قد لا تتفق معها بشكل كامل لكنها في المقابل تحفز على التفكير و توسيع دائرة الأفق و مراجعة بعض المعلومات والقناعات وليس بالضرورة لتغييرها ولكن لتجديدها وإعادة النظر فيها. أنصح و بشدة بقراءته خصوصاً لريادي الأعمال والمستثمرين أو من له اهتمام بهذين المجاليين، أو اهتمام بشركات التقنية بشكل عام.

  • Melissa
    2019-02-15 19:29

    This book had nothing insightful or unique to offer. I found myself nodding in common sense to many of the points. It reads like college notes (what it is based on) but I would've asked for my 3 credits back. Skip it!

  • Undrakh Ganzorig
    2019-02-18 19:47

    Zero to One offers far more than a simple how-to book to successfully survive as a startup. Actually no success stories of survivor companies are similar just as each individual has unique attributes potentially leading them to success; as Peter Thiel puts it, all happy companies are different. Reading Mr. Thiel's story of building PayPal won't make someone a next game changer, but his notes on startups and tech industry in general are good insights to a market generating great amount of wealth to its participants (just think about simple example of profit margin comparison between Google and U.S. airline companies: in 2012, Google made revenue of $50 billion (versus $160 billion for the airlines) of which 21% was a profit-more than hundred times the airline industry's profit margin. I know I'll be thinking about it every time I get on the plane).Among the ideas promoted by the author, the strongest and most controversial to me was its acclaim for monopolistic power. In some way, the companies powerful enough to move market and have solid impact for the technological development most certainly have established themselves as monopolistic players; they just find ways not to make themselves look bad. However, on the other side, the new bright minds with fresh perspective to change the world for the better face much tougher challenge to pitch their ideas and eventually go from 0 to 1. Maybe is exactly what new startups should do. Instead of trying to find a niche in a monopolistic market, startups are supposed to find entirely different ideas not just the ones to improve the existing products. Another interesting insight was Mr. Thiel's interpretation of the tech bubble. As a finance major, I've been on the side of making analysis from a purely finance/accounting side of the problem. Those companies were valued much higher than their fundamental values in addition to having nearly zero tangible assets as many tech companies do. Mr. Thiel explains how these companies failed to answer important questions regarding engineering, timing, distribution, people etc. Those were good points explaining the crises close up. The detailed explanation of each question is included in the book. He also explained generalization of some markets by dividing them into four different categories: The most interesting of them was Chinese economy identified as definite and pessimistic. Chinese people themselves acknowledge the impending social and economic problems; it makes me cringe to think what is going to happen in Mongolia, with our small economy next to a 'big but brittle' market of China as explained by The Economist. (the report) At the time even the U.S. is seen in a way of indefinite development path, are we even making or thinking about plans?

  • Tigran Mamikonian
    2019-02-17 19:45

    Отличная книга, которую уже прочитали и рекомендовали многие мои друзья-предприниматели. Да и успехи компаний Питер Тиля подтверждают, что он сам практикует свои взгляды весьма продуктивно. Данная книга была написана Тилем с одним из его студентов, который внимательно прослушал и законспектировал курс по предпринимательству Тиля в Стэнфорде.Основные идеи Тиля:- ИЗБЕГАЙТЕ КОНКУРЕНЦИЮ: лучше избегать конкуренцию и придумывать новую бизнес нишу, нежели повторять что-то за конкурентами с небольшими усовершенствованиями;- СОЗДАВАЙТЕ МОНОПОЛЬНУЮ КОМПАНИЮ: только на монопольном рынке можно заработать, все прибыли на конкурентных рынках стремятся к нулю;- НЕ ВЕРЬТЕ ОБМАНУ МОНОПОЛИСТОВ: самые успешные компании “обманывают”, когда говорят о конкуренции. Пример Google, Facebook и т.д. тому подтверждение, они занимают исключительно конкурентное положение, поэтому имеют такую капитализацию;- ОРИЕНТИРУЙТЕСЬ НА ЦЕННОСТЬ И ДОЛЮ ВАШЕЙ КОМПАНИИ: есть 2 важные метрики: а) какую ценность в долларах создает Ваша компания; б) сколько % этой ценности в долларах она способна зафиксировать в качестве прибыли акционеров- НЕ ОБМАНЫВАЙТЕ СЕБЯ ДИВЕРСИФИКАЦИЕЙ: идея диверсификации деструктивна. Чтобы сделать что-то действительно стоящее, нужно сфокусировать все усилия и все ставки сделать на что-то одно… все время создавать себе опциональность и не “сжигать” мосты - это пребывание в зоне комфорта, в которой нет места настоящему успеху. - ЧЕСТНО ОТВЕТЬТЕ НА 7 ВОПРОСОВ: 7 вопросов, на которые нужно ответить перед началом любого бизнеса. Если хотя бы на один из вопросов нет утвердительного ответа, в который верит основатель, то шансы на успех невелики:1. The Engineering Question - Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements? 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? 4. The People Question - Do you have the right team? 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? 7. The Secret Question - Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?____________Далее буду приводить основные интересные идеи, которые вынес из книги (вот ссылка на выделенные интересные моменты из книги -Название книги объясняется основной идеей автора: если копировать то, что уже есть, то есть к 1 добавлять n, то приходится так сильно конкурировать с существующими игроками, что никаких прибылей не остается, а если создать что-то новое, то есть выпрыгнуть с 0 до 1, стать монополистом в чем-то одном небольшом, то тут можно добиться прогресса и настоящих прибылей.Чтобы это сделать Тиль ищет на интервью таких же, как он сам и задает очень интересный вопрос: "What important truth do very few people agree with you on?" / "С какой истиной мало кто соглашается с тобой?". Этот вопрос он назвал "contrarian question" - т.е. вопрос, вскрывающий противоречия с существующими социальными нормами и представлениями.Хороший ответ по мнению Тиля должен выглядеть так: "Most people believe in x, but the truth is the opposite of x".Хорошие ответы на этот вопрос позволяют взглянуть в будущее, а не только взглянуть на настоящее под другим углом. "Most answers to the contrarian question are different ways of seeing the present; good answers are as close as we can come to looking into the future."Тиль говорит, что стартап - это группа людей, которые поверили в ответ на этот вопрос: "Positively defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future."“Madness is rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule,” Nietzsche wrote (before he went mad).Он очень четко выделяет важность мыслить ясно и просто: "The first step to thinking clearly is to question what we think we know about the past.” / “Первый шаг к ясному мышлению это осмыслить то, что мы знаем о прошлом”.Бизнес-версией вопроса Тиля является “what valuable company is nobody building?”. Этот вопрос намного сложнее, т.к. можно создать компанию, приносящую пользу, но с низкой оценкой… По этому поводу Тиль говорит "Creating value is not enough—you also need to capture some of the value you create.”.Дифференциация и монополизация бизнеса - вот залог создания стоимости… "The lesson for entrepreneurs is clear: if you want to create and capture lasting value, don’t build an undifferentiated commodity business”Питер очень хорошо объясняет монопольное положение Google и прочих FAANG, при этом иллюстрирует, как руководители этих компаний все время рассказывают о “жесточайшей конкуренции”, в которой они находятся."Google’s motto—“Don’t be evil”—is in part a branding ploy, but it’s also characteristic of a kind of business that’s successful enough to take ethics seriously without jeopardizing its own existence. In business, money is either an important thing or it is everything. Monopolists can afford to think about things other than making money; non-monopolists can’t. In perfect competition, a business is so focused on today’s margins that it can’t possibly plan for a long-term future. Only one thing can allow a business to transcend the daily brute struggle for survival: monopoly profits.”"All happy companies are different: each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem. All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”"Winning is better than losing, but everybody loses when the war isn’t one worth fighting."“… anyone would fight for things that matter; true heroes take their personal honor so seriously they will fight for things that don’t matter. This twisted logic is part of human nature, but it’s disastrous in business. If you can recognize competition as a destructive force instead of a sign of value, you’re already more sane than most.”"If you can recognize competition as a destructive force instead of a sign of value, you’re already more sane than most.”"Every monopoly is unique, but they usually share some combination of the following characteristics: proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale, and branding."Важная идея о том, что очень критичен для успеха старт… "A good startup should have the potential for great scale built into its first design.”Мысли о целевом рынке:"The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors.”"Any big market is a bad choice, and a big market already served by competing companies is even worse. This is why it’s always a red flag when entrepreneurs talk about getting 1% of a $100 billion market.”Идея против диверсификации:"Instead of working for years to build a new product, indefinite optimists rearrange already-invented ones. Bankers make money by rearranging the capital structures of already existing companies. Lawyers resolve disputes over old things or help other people structure their affairs. And private equity investors and management consultants don’t start new businesses; they squeeze extra efficiency from old ones with incessant procedural optimizations. It’s no surprise that these fields all attract disproportionate numbers of high-achieving Ivy League optionality chasers; what could be a more appropriate reward for two decades of résumé-building than a seemingly elite, process-oriented career that promises to “keep options open”?”But life is not a portfolio: not for a startup founder, and not for any individual. An entrepreneur cannot “diversify” herself: you cannot run dozens of companies at the same time and then hope that one of them works out well.There are two kinds of secrets: secrets of nature and secrets about people. Natural secrets exist all around us; to find them, one must study some undiscovered aspect of the physical world. Secrets about people are different: they are things that people don’t know about themselves or things they hide because they don’t want others to know. So when thinking about what kind of company to build, there are two distinct questions to ask: What secrets is nature not telling you? What secrets are people not telling you?Про конфликт интересов:anyone who doesn’t own stock options or draw a regular salary from your company is fundamentally misaligned. At the margin, they’ll be biased to claim value in the near term, not help you create more in the future. That’s why hiring consultants doesn’t work. Part-time employees don’t work. Even working remotely should be avoided, because misalignment can creep in whenever colleagues aren’t together full-time, in the same place, every day. If you’re deciding whether to bring someone on board, the decision is binary. Ken Kesey was right: you’re either on the bus or off the bus.A company does better the less it pays the CEO—that’s one of the single clearest patterns I’ve noticed from investing in hundreds of startups.A business creates X dollars of value and captures y% of X. Y and Y are independent variables.Bob Dylan has said that he who is not busy being born is busy dying.Since time is your most valuable asset, it’s odd to spend it working with people who don’t envision any long-term future together.If you can’t count durable relationships among the fruits of your time at work, you haven’t invested your time well—even in purely financial terms.At PayPal, if you were excited by the idea of creating a new digital currency to replace the U.S. dollar, we wanted to talk to you; if not, you weren’t the right fit.When an imminent catastrophe requires the evacuation of humanity’s original home, the population escapes on three giant ships. The thinkers, leaders, and achievers take the A Ship; the salespeople and consultants get the B Ship; and the workers and artisans take the C Ship. The B Ship leaves first, and all its passengers rejoice vainly. But the salespeople don’t realize they are caught in a ruse: the A Ship and C Ship people had always thought that the B Ship people were useless, so they conspired to get rid of them. And it was the B Ship that landed on Earth.Better technology in law, medicine, and education won’t replace professionals; it will allow them to do even more.So we instituted a blanket rule: pass on any company whose founders dressed up for pitch meetings.Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1. The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.______Полная версия ревью находится в моем блокноте по ссылке

  • Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
    2019-01-29 02:35

    One of the most fascinating books I have read in recent months is Peter Thiel's Zero to One. I am not a tech entrepreneur or even starting a new business. But I found Zero to One so thought provoking and interesting, that I bought it after reading a library copy. I found myself frequently recommending the book (consider this your recommendation. Go read it. Now), and any book hat Good should be on my shelf for easy access, referral, and lending. Short and succinct, Peter Thiel's tact seems to take any conventional thinking and toss it on its head, reexamine paradigms, and, at its heart, inspire the reader to create, to make something new. As one of the founders of PayPal and Palantir, one of the first outside investors into Facebook, a funder to SpaceX and LinkedIn, Thiel has a track record of finding and funding industry and society changing companies. Perhaps what I liked most about Thiel, though, is his emphasis on putting learning before university. As a high school drop-out, I've long believed in the importance of not allowing your schooling to get in the way of your education. While he doesn't spend much time talking about this in Zero to One, his focus on out of the box thinking runs throughout the book. It's hard in today's culture to swim against the current. It's one thing to take an idea that someone else has created and to perfect it, or market it, or to improve on it, but it is an entirely different thing to create something totally new. Hence, to go from 0 to 1 is Thiel's focus. As he puts it, the next Bill Gates will not build an operating system, the next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine, and the next Steve Jobs won't invent an iPod. And Thiel's book is about that most difficult of steps, the creation, rather than adding or modifying something familiar.The book is short, punchy, and far more anecdotal than quantitative, but Thiel's style--and resume--make it a compelling and thought-provoking read, even for non-entrepreneurs. In a sense, we are all entrepreneurs in that it is when we get outside of our paradigms that we begin to truly create our better selves. Perhaps that is why I found it interesting and in a sense inspiring. I'm coming up on my 40th year, and still find myself looking to the future and what I will someday become. But the closer I get to that future the more I realize that it is already here. I'm living in it. Today is as good a day as any to make that future reality.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-10 23:28

    Thiel is worth hearing out based on his resume alone, and there's logic in his central premises about monopoly (which signals creativity, adds value to the world by providing cool new stuff to buy, and apparently, affords companies the luxury of not being evil) and competition (which signals no profits and a thankless life). His seven factors of startup success make sense in a necessary but not sufficient kind of way, and facetiousness aside, the book goes beyond just having a wildly successful guy tell us we only need to be right all the time, at all the right times.That said, there's a glibness in Thiel's delivery that detracted from the book's effectiveness for me. I don't know that transcribing a series of lectures makes for a thoughtful book, and it's uncomfortable to think of these lectures being presented to impressionable college kids at elite schools, just waiting to become the next big thing. Thiel's illustrations tend to be superficial; for instance, he dismisses the entire biotech industry in about a paragraph, and while it's true that biotech can learn about focus and flexibility from software startups, his comparing unaligned lab drones to software's entrepreneurial hackers made me laugh very loudly. He also writes off cleantech, the DMV and vinyl-loving hipsters, with varying degrees of seriousness (n.b., and with sincere apologies to the town I live and work in, I'd wager that my annoying record player is what changed the way I listen to music, while my mobile apps just changed where I listen to it and how often I skip tracks). Thiel also makes more casual bomb references than I'd prefer (one being designed by a Paypal developer desperate to wipe out competition from Elon Musk - but don't worry, cooler heads prevailed). I couldn't tell if this was a joke, but I am not charmed by this brand of nerdy posturing.

  • Daria
    2019-02-16 00:32

    I try to avoid reading books that recently came out because time is the best quality filter for literature. But this book was very highly recommended and I had some free time, so I decided to try it. It blew my mind - ambitious and hopeful, while being skeptical and contrarian at the same time - I finished it in a day. I recently finished Antifragile by Nassim Taleb, which I also recommend, and this book is a little similar in a sense of being contrarian and distrusting status quo-driven establishments, such as the government, banking and educational systems. But this book is also the opposite of Antifragile in a sense that it proposes that human development is driven by technological progress. Thiel claims that innovation slowed down as most Silicon Valley companies compete in overly crowded spaces and have ambitions that are too small to make a real difference. Instead, he proposes to start companies that will become technological monopolies in their spaces by providing products that are at least 10x better than anything else.An absolute must read for everyone. I'll definitely reread it again.

  • Ostap Andrusiv
    2019-02-19 18:21

    Дуже хороша книжка. Цікавий погляд на речі. Треба думати глобально і задавати собі правильні запитання.

  • Gordon
    2019-02-19 20:36

    Here's the single best idea I got out of this book: an interview question. Thiel would ask prospective hires, "What is one view you hold on an important matter, shared by few other people?" Responses ranged from the banal, to the flummoxed, to the truly insightful. Clever question.This book is a collection of Silicon Valley business wisdom for the startup world, based on a course that he taught at Stanford in 2012. Its contents would probably startle few people, but is very well written and richly studded with war stories from his entrepreneurial past. Its source credibility is an important part of its impact, I'm sure. First, the author is a billionaire. Second, he successfully led two startups -- Paypal and CIA-funded Palantir -- and made hundreds of millions as an angel investor from his early investment in Facebook, as described in the movie The Social Networks. So, when he speaks, people listen. But what he has to say is pretty much what you would have read in many other Silicon Valley business books and in more academic business works such as Porter's famous tomes on competitive strategy, required reading in most MBA programs.Some of his key ideas:* The idea is to be a monopolist, stupid. Look for unfair advantage over your competition, or better yet to pick a market/product where you have no competition at all.* Of all the possible forms of creating a moat around your business -- tech innovation, economies of scale, brand, network effects -- the one he talks about most and loves best is tech differentiation. Hey, it's Silicon Valley, what else can he say?* Seek to dominate a small market in the early phase of your startup's life.* If you mess up the foundation of your company -- key officers, core technology, company culture -- it will be hard to recover. * Government bad, libertarianism good.* Have a vision about the future, and go all out to pursue it. This business of keeping all options open so you can pivot at any time will make you cautious and thinly spread.* It's more important to have a core team that is cohesive than a collection of people who are individually brilliant but who don't play well together. It's better to have your startup's culture be more like that of a cult than that of a consulting house, law firm, or similar collection of professionals each operating largely independently.* Control your own fate. Life is not a lottery ticket.* The 80/20 rule dominates everything. One company in a VC fund will generate more returns than the rest of the fund's companies put together. One distribution channel will provide more in sales revenue than all others combined. One product will generate substantially all of a company's profits vs. all the rest of its products put together. And so forth. So, focus on what matters.Almost all of this is good stuff -- well, probably except for the hare-brained libertarian ideas, though even that ideology has its place in some areas. On a few subjects, he goes off the rails, however. He doesn't appear to fully understand why economists and politicians would be leery of monopoly, for example. What's good for the company is not what's necessarily optimal for the economy or society as a whole. He's also a man who endlessly communicates how well-pleased he is with himself and his close pals, which can get a bit tiresome as a constant melody woven throughout his book. Thiel is a product of privilege -- Stanford Law School, check -- and of the vaunted place he has rightly earned in the midst of the Silicon Valley wealth machine, but he manages to come across as being remarkably oblivious to the rest of humanity.Overall, Zero to One a good read, and particularly useful for anyone working in the startup game or who is considering entering that world.

  • Bing Gordon
    2019-01-28 21:41

    A must read that seems unfinishedThiel's big ideas are spectacular. Brilliant insights about starting small and thinking big. Incisive insights about cleantech. Could have used more examples besides paypal. And doesn't get deeply enough into his biggest idea of all: what do you uniquely believe in?

  • Mustafa
    2019-02-11 23:28

    كاتب صاحب خبرة ونجاحات في مجال انشاء الشركات العالمية التي تطمح لتغيير طريقة الحياة حولنا نتعرف في هذا الكتاب على هذه الرؤية النفاذة نحو اسس الشركات الريادية التي تخلق قيمة جديدة .بين لنا الكاتب ان الاحتكار ليس بالضرورة هو الامر السلبي .. بل الافضل ان تصنع سوق جديد لتشغله وحدك واذا اردت ان تنضم الى سوق فلا تدخل السوق الكبير فجأة وحاول احتكار مجال صغير جدا ومن ثم توسيعهالكاتب يجول بنا في مراجعة تاريخية وتحليلية عميقة للواقع الاقتصادي والاجتماعي في امريكا على طول العقود الماضية وبذلك يستشرف المستقبل. ويؤكد بأن الروبوت أو الكمبيوتر هو حليف واداة للبشر وليس بديلا عن البشر .. وان المشاريع التي نعتمد فيها على هذه الالة بذكاء سوف تصل بنا الى انجازات كبرى الكتاب يستعرض سمات الشخصية المبدعة التي تؤسس افكارا كبيرة ويقيم الكثير من الشخصيات .. هو كتاب قيم فعلا للمهتمين.

  • Федор Кривов
    2019-02-16 19:20

    Компании, не занимающие монопольного положения на рынке, предпочитают другой сорт лжи, заявляя: «Мы стоим особняком от всех!» Предприниматели всегда склонны занижать уровень конкуренции — но для стартапа эта ошибка может стать фатальной. Ужасная ошибка — описывая свой рынок, стараться сузить его как можно сильнее, чтобы ваша компания казалась безусловно доминирующей на нем. Предположим, вы хотите открыть в Пало-Альто ресторан британской кухни. «Никто этого не предлагает, — радуетесь вы. — Мы захватим рынок целиком!» Но это будет правдой, лишь если речь идет о конкретной узкой нише британской кухни. Но не правильнее ли будет рассматривать в качестве рынка, на котором вам предстоит действовать, ресторанный рынок Пало-Альто в целом? И, может быть, все рестораны в близлежащих городках тоже?Ответить на эти вопросы непросто. Главная проблема заключается в том, что вы инстинктивно стремитесь вообще не задаваться ими. Когда вы слышите, что большинство вновь открывшихся ресторанов прогорают за один-два года, вашим главным побуждением становится доказать себе и миру, что ваш собственный ресторан в корне отличается от остальных. Вы тратите массу времени, чтобы убедить окружающих в своей исключительности, вместо того чтобы всерьез подумать о том, действительно ли это так. Будет лучше, если вы перестанете суетиться и поразмышляете над тем, найдутся ли в Пало-Альто клиенты, предпочитающие британскую кухню любой другой. Возможно, их вовсе не существует. В 2001 году мы с коллегами по PayPal часто обедали в одном из ресторанчиков на Кастро-стрит в Маунтин-Вью4 . Выбирая ресторан, мы сначала решали принципиальный вопрос: хотим ли мы поесть индийских блюд или суши, а может, бургеров? Затем мы определялись с тонкостями. Что предпочесть — кухню северной или южной Индии? Дешевую забегаловку или пафосное заведение? В отличие от множества ресторанов, ожесточенно конкурирующих на местном рынке, PayPal в то время была единственной в мире системой электронных платежей. В штате у нас находилось меньше сотрудников, чем в ресторанах на Кастро-стрит, но наш бизнес обладал куда большей ценностью, чем у всех этих заведений вместе взятых. Открыть новый ресторан, предлагающий блюда южной Индии, — не лучший способ заработать. Если вы упустите из виду реальную конкурентную ситуацию и будете помнить лишь о банальных мелочах, с помощью которых вы надеетесь выделиться на общем фоне — к примеру, о гениальном рецепте индийских лепешек, унаследованном вами от прабабушки, — вашему бизнесу, скорее всего, не выжить.