September 20: Takeaways from Zero to One

Seven takeaways from Peter Thiels' book titled Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

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Source: Zero to One, by Peter Thiel
Published: September 2014

Takeaways from Zero to One

In 2014 Peter Thiel— the co-founder of PayPal, Palantir, and Founder’s Fund—wrote a book titled Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. Here are my takeaways:

  • In the most dysfunctional organizations, signaling that work is being done becomes a better strategy for career advancement than actually doing work (if this describes your company, you should quit now).

  • Recruiting is a core competency for any company. It should never be outsourced.

  • A product is viral if its core functionality encourages users to invite their friends to become users too.

  • The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors.

  • When you start something, the first and most crucial decision you make is whom to start it with. Choosing a co-founder is like getting married, and founder conflict is just as ugly as divorce.

  • All salesmen are actors: their priority is persuasion, not sincerity.

  • The most valuable businesses of the coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.

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