Book Review: Zero to One

Billionaire Peter Thiel is  one of Silicon Valley’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs

In his book, “Zero to One-Notes on Startups”, Peter lays out his thoughts on startups and how to build new businesses.

Zero to One ( 0 to 1) means building something new (think Uber,Amazon etc).

One to N (1 to n) means copying something that somebody else has created in your own geography or some other incremental change (think Ola,Flipkart etc)

He opens the Book with a provocative Question:

“What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

And its business corollary:

“What valuable company is nobody building?”

Both are very tough questions and I still have not found the answers to both.

The book contains lots of such thought provoking ideas and questions

For example,both capitalism and competition are anti-thesis of each other…Capitalism emphasizes on the accumulation of Capital while Competition destroys it

Another illuminating aspect is his take on how Venture Funds should deploy their funds in startups.His approach can be useful for investors in their asset allocation to stocks.

In his opinion,there are 7 Questions each startup/business must answer:

  1. The Engineering Question-Can you create break through technology which is 10x better than the Competition?
  2. The Timing Question-Is now the right time to start your 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 deliver/sell your product?
  6. The Durability Question-Will your market position be defensibile 10 and 20 years from now?
  7. The Secret Question-Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

All in all, a great book on business by one of Silicon Valley’s topmost thought leaders.

Go Buy It.

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