Book Review: Zero to One – By Peter Thiel

This book is a start-up nerd and street smart. It has a practical process of how start-ups can rise.

 “Brilliant thinking is rare but courage is in even shorter supply than genius”

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor, he co-founded PayPal and is also one of the earliest investor in LinkedIn and Facebook. He believes that each moment in business happens only once. If you are coping people like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg you are not learning from them. “Successful people find value in unexpected places. They do this by thinking about business from first principle instead of formulas”

To move from zero to One Peter Thiel gives us some major pieces of advice:

  • Be bold : Create a totally new product for your customers
  • Bad plan is better than no plan: its better having a vision that you work toward so you can move from zero to one.
  • Competition destroys profit: you should avoid competition at all cost, the more people that enter the market smaller the profit share.
  • Sales matter as much as product: A plan may be so good but it can’t sell itself. You have to create awareness, let people know its benefits and values, then you can make sales.

Monopoly may sound like a bad idea to most people but competition is good for consumers and bad for business. Every start up should start small in the beginning and own the majority of the market share. Monopoly is the condition of all very successful business. All happy companies are different, each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problems while all failed companies are the same they fail to escape competition.

How can we protect a monopoly? Most thriving monopolies share in some characteristics. The business should have technology that is ten times as your competitors. Have a network effect by first aiming at smaller markets. Then attract more consumers as you grow. Have the advantage of economies of scale and have a strong brand which complements your product.

Important to note is the need to think for ourselves, moving fast is a tactic and not a goal and that it is much better to be the last mover that will make the last great development in a specific market. Before you start-up a business ask yourself: Can you create a breakthrough technology? Is the timing right? Do you have the right people and distribution channels? Are you starting with a big share of a small market? Will your market position be defendable 10-20 years in the future? And have you identified a unique opportunity that others do not see? You must be willing to wait for a long time if you want to build a successful business.

By Effie Odhiambo | IGBR Columnist

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