Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future is a business and management book written by venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The book is a compilation of notes on a startup class taught by Thiel at Stanford University in 2012. It provides helpful lessons that startup businessmen can apply to their businesses.
1. Do One Thing Uniquely Well
When making your first investment, raising money is not the measure of success all the time. You may have a great product and concept but without testing it in the market, you would not know if it would be successful. You might even reach the point of justifying your numbers by saying that you have your research and developed a great product. As a startup, you have to do one thing uniquely well.
2. Understand Startup Dogmas are Empty
This business and management book debunks the popular myth that the Lean Startup method is best for all types of startups. While it may be true in 2009, this is not the case today. Peter Thiel teaches the following:
• It is better to risk boldness than triviality.
• A bad plan is better than no plan.
• Competitive markets destroy profits.
• Sales matters just as much as product.
3. Solve Something People Need or Love
Most entrepreneurs challenge the status quo. They follow their own thinking instead of the leaders. They look for market opportunities, build values, and seize opportunities.
4. Competition is for losers
Thiel recommends in his business and management book to start mall before trying to dominate the market. Getting 1% of a $100 billion market is difficult to attain. It will either lack a good starting point or be subjected to competition. Challenge market leaders will reduce your profit. Take the case of PayPal when it challenged Visa and Napster against the US recording industry.
5. Find Your Purpose
Find the WHY in your business and not the WHAT. If you cannot give your client a straightforward answer about what you are selling then it will be hard to convince them that you have a good business.
6. Growth is a Poor Metric
According to this business and management book, most startup entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing only on growth. However, Zero to One teaches that it is not growth that determines success but pricing power.
7. Secure Your Foundations
Hiring the right lawyer and choosing the right partner is crucial in securing your business. Many investors have paid millions of money for making the mistake of choosing the wrong lawyer. There are many resources available that can help you choose the right lawyer.