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Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

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     Author(s): Peter Thiel, Blake Masters  
                                               Publisher: Crown Business, Year: 2014                                           
 Description: 



NEW YORK TIMES # 1 BESTSELLER


When you want to build a stable life you have to believe in the codes.
The great irony of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to be discovered and new technologies to be made. In Zero to One, pioneering designer and investor Peter Thiel explains how we are going to find new ways for constructing such contemporary stuff.

Thiel starts with the contrary notion that we live in an age of technological collapse, even if we are too distracted to note through sleek mobile devices. Computer technology has evolved steadily so there is little need to restrict machinery or Silicon Valley development. Changes can occur in any industry or on any market. It comes from the most essential ability that every leader must master: learning to think for itself.

Doing what someone knows how to do already brings the universe from 1 to n, introducing more of a common object. And then you switch from 0 to 1. As you try something else The next Bill Gates won't bring an operating system together. Neither the Larry Page nor Sergey Brin will make the next search engine. Tomorrow's stars won't excel at the game today by operating ruthlessly. We should absolutely stop the competition as it will be extraordinary for their firms.

Zero to One at once provides an optimistic view of America's opportunities for progress and a new way of thinking about innovation: it begins by planning to ask the questions that motivate you to impossible find sense.
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Book Review:


Here are eight lessons which I took out of the novel.

1. Every moment once happens
Like Heraclitus, who said you should only walk into the same river once, Thiel insists that only once happens any moment of company.

Of course copying a model is easier than making something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n and adds something more familiar to it. But we go from 0 to 1. whenever we create something new The act of creation, like the moment of creation, is singular and the result is something fresh and strange.

2. Formula isn't available
The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a recipe (for creativity) can not exist; because any invention is fresh and original, no individual can recommend how to be more innovative in practical terms. Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I've noticed is that in unexpected places, successful people find value, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles rather than formulas.

3. The Best Question in Interview
I like to ask this question anytime I interview someone for a job: "What important truth do very few people agree with you on? It is an easy-sounding problem because it's straight forward.

In reality it's really difficult to answer. It's scientifically complicated, since the awareness that everybody is learned in school is accepted by itself. And it is socially complicated as someone who wants to reply will say something that she knows is unacceptable. Brilliant thought is uncommon but the stock of bravery is much less than the brilliant. Most often, I get such responses as:
"Our education system is broken and needs to be urgently fixed."
"US is exceptional."
"It's not Heaven."
These are negative reactions.

The first and second claims may be valid, but a lot of people are still in agreement. In a familiar debate the third statement simply takes one side. A good response takes the form of: "Most people believe in x, but the truth is the opposite of x." What has it got to do with the future?

4.Single critical power for a organization Properly defined, the largest group of people that you can convince of a plan to build a different future is a startup.
The most critical attribute of a young organization is creative thinking: far more critical than nimbleness, the limited scale provides room for reflection. "Foolishness is uncommon in individuals — but it is the law in communities , organizations, countries, and ages."
— Plus Nietzche

5.The Adverse Question The problem "What is the essential reality to which very few people agree?
"At first, it's hard to answer. It is better to start with, "What's everyone agreeing on? If you can identify an illusory popular belief, you can find behind it what lies hidden: the contrary truth. [...] [...]

Conventional beliefs only ever appear arbitrary and wrong in retrospect; we call the old belief a bubble whenever one collapses, but the distortions caused by bubbles do not disappear when they pop.

The internet bubble of the '90s has been the largest of the past two decades, and the lessons learned thereafter characterize and misrepresent virtually every perception in technology today.

The first step to critical thinking is to challenge what we believe we know about the past. Here's an example that Thiel is giving to help illuminate that idea. The entrepreneurs who stuck with Silicon Valley learned from the dot-com crash four great lessons that still guide business thinking today:

6.Allow small progress—"Big dreams have exploded the bubble, and they can not be indulged.

Someone who thinks he will do something amazing is cynical and someone who wishes to transform the planet will be more modest. The only sure way forward is small , incremental steps. 2. Keep lean and flexible—"All firms have to be lean, which is unplanned language.

You do not ask what your company is going to do; it's stubborn and inflexible to plann. You should instead try out things, iterate, and treat entrepreneurship as an agnostic experiment. 2. Focus on the competition — "Don't seek to unnecessarily build a new market.

The best way to recognize that you have a good company is to start with an established client, so you can develop your company by enhancing identifiable goods that effective rivals have already sold. 4. Work on quality, not selling — "If the product requires ads or salespeople to market it, that's not good enough: technology is mainly about product development, not delivery.

Obviously, bubble-era ads was unsustainable, and viral success is the only sustainable development. In the startup world, such teachings have become dogma; those who would ignore them are supposed to welcome the inevitable destruction inflicted upon technology in the great crash of the year 2000. And then more definitely the contrary ideas are more right.

1. Boldness threatens more than triviality.
2. Better a weak idea than no idea.
2. Dynamic economies are doing away with earnings.
4. Sales are just as critical as merchandise.'
We need to challenge the dogmas which shape our view of the past to build the future. This doesn't actually mean the reverse of what's assumed to be true, it means you ought to reconsider what's and is not real to decide how it affects how we see the environment today.

As Thiel says, "Not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself is the most contrary thing of all. 6. Progress From Monopolies, not Competition

The problem with a competitive undertaking goes beyond lack of profit. Imagine getting one of those Mountain View restaurants going.
You 're not that different from your competitors' dozens so you have to fight hard to survive. If you sell cheap low-margin food, you should possibly just pay minimum wage to the workers. Then you're going to have to pull out any efficiency: that's why small restaurants put Grandma on the counter to work and have the kids wash dishes in the back. That's different from a monopoly like Google. Since it doesn't have to think about competition with others, it has greater freedom to care for its workers, their goods and their effect on the environment.

The motto of Google—"Don't be evil"—is partly a branding ploy, but it is also characteristic of a kind of business that is sufficiently successful to take ethics seriously without compromising its very existence. Capital is either an important thing in industry or it is everything. Monopolies can afford to worry of other issues than making money; non-monopolies can not. A business is so focused on today's margins in perfect competition that it can't possibly plan for a long-term future. Just one thing will cause a corporation to overcome the sheer everyday fight for survival: profits from monopolies. So a monopoly on the inside is fine for us so what about everyone on the outside? Will outsize gains come at the detriment of society at large?

In fact, yes: Profits come from the wallets of customers, and monopolies deserve their bad reputation — but only in a world where nothing changes. A monopolist in a stagnant universe is just a rent-collector. You will jack up the price if you corner the market for something; others have no choice but to buy something from you.

Think of the popular board game: Deeds are shuffled from player to player, but never change the board. Without inventing a new form of real-estate growth, there is no way to compete. Of all time the numerical prices of the property are set and all you can do is attempt to buy them up. Yet the universe in which we work is dynamic: new and different ideas may be discovered. By adding entirely new categories of abundance to the world, creative monopolists are giving customers more choice.

For the rest of society, innovative monopolies aren't just good; they are strong forces to make things better. 

7. Rivalry Lets us copy the past

Marx and Shakespeare provide two models for understanding almost every kind of conflict. People fight because they are different according to Marx.
The proletariat fights the bourgeoisie because they have very different ideas and goals (generated by their very different material circumstances, for Marx).

The bigger the gap, the greater the fight. By contrast, to Shakespeare all fighters look more or less alike. It is not at all clear that they will fight when they have nothing to fight for.

Consider Romeo and Juliet's opening: "Two households, both in dignity alike." The two houses are alike, yet they hate each other. As the feud escalates, they become even more alike. They eventually lose sight of why they began fighting in the first place. At least in the business world Shakespeare is proving to be the superior guide. Within a business , people are fascinated with the development of their colleagues.

Instead the firms themselves are fascinated at the competition by their rivals. People lose track of what matters in all the human drama and then concentrate on their rivals. [...] [...] Rivalry is leading people to overemphasize old openings and to slavishly imitate what succeeded in the past.

8.The last thing should be First

You've probably heard of "first mover advantage": if you're the first market entrant, you'll be able to capture significant market share while competitors scramble to start. Which can work, but first going is a strategy, not an goal.
That truly matters is producing cash flows in the future, because if someone else comes along and unseats you, being the first mover would do you no good. Having the last mover is even easier – that is, having the last big change of a given industry, and experiencing years or even decades of profits from monopolies. Chess Grandmaster José Raúl Capablanca put it very well: to win, "you have to prepare the endgame above anything else." Zero to One is full of anti-intuitive ideas that will support the thought and the potential to spark it.

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