Martin Brochhaus

Zero To One by Peter Thiel

February 21, 2019 ยป 2 min read

I was positively surprised by this "book". I say "book" because this is really just a few longer essays on a few closely related topics, nothing in here is backed up on deep research, but I give it to Mr. Thiel that he has a pretty good birds-eye view on the tech industry, so his opinions and years-long experience should carry some weight.

Some of the ideas presented in this book are quite counter-intuitive, you can clearly see that Mr. Thiel is able to think outside the box. For example the idea that "fierce competition is bad" and "monopolies are good", never occured to me, but when presented in the book, it makes a whole lot of sense.

If you are a startup founder, this book is for you. If you are a VC, this book is definitely for you. I was taking notes while reading the book and tried to apply all chapters to one of my current companies, The Artling, and I got a surprising amount of immediately actionable insights out of this book. Because of this, I would highly recommend this book. To get value from this book, of course you need to be in a position where you can steer the company into a new direction. For normal office workers there is probably little value here.

My only concern is, that Mr. Thiel's ideas might be flawed because of survivorship bias, an extremely small sample size (which is more prone to create freak results) and the phenomenon that success creates more success. On the other hand, the points mentioned on how to categorize potential future-unicorn companies seem to make a lot of sense.

In the end, of course, even if your startup ticks all the right boxes, the final ingredient will always be a massive amount of luck.

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

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