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Саммари: Peter Thiel — «Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future»

«Zero to one is about how to build companies that create new things».

Powerful thoughts:
  • Doing something, that world already knows is adding to 1 some 'n'. It easy to copy, but if we want to do something new we need to go from 0 to 1.
  • Businesses fails, and searching the new ways to make something different looks like miracle. Those miracles we call technology. By technology we can do more by use less.
  • Horizontal progress — it is a globalisation. Vertical progress — technological progress. Most people think of future like a globalisation process, but it will be achieved by technologies.
  • If your company makes some value it didn't right that your company have value by itself. Because of it you need something, that can help you to capture your value from competition and make it sustainable.
  • Competitive lies — fatal mistake is to describe your market extremely narrow to be the only one in it by definition.
  • The competitive system forces businesses to care only about how to survive and think about money. When you have a monopoly you have a privilege to think not only about money, but about future.
  • Competition means no profit for anybody. Creative monopolies creates new products tha will add value for everybody and give sustainable profit for monopolist. But people still thinking that monopolies are bad and competition are healthy. Why? Our educational system drives us to obsession with competition, our culture have sticked with it.
  • Great business today defined by ability to being profitable in the future. Technology companies loose money first few years because it takes time to build some valuable things.
  • Our society jumps from definite pessimistic to indefinite pessimistic, from definite optimistic to indefinite optimistic, and now we are here. If we have no idea how future will looks like is easy to not make something like from 0 to 1 and only make some improvements, another app for iPhone.
  • We have lost faith in technological progress. If all that could be invented are already done you don't need to make something new. Society works as there is no secrets left.

Big lessons for entrepreneurs from dot-com crash:
  • Make small incremental steps.
  • Stay lean and flexible. You need to iterate instead of making big plans.
  • Improve on the competition. Start on already existing customers, not on prematurely markets.
  • Focus on product, not sales.

Characteristics of monopoly:
  • Proprietary technology. Your technology need to be 10 times better than closest competitor's in some important dimension. Clearest way to do it — invent something new. Another way is to do x10 improve on existing solution. Also you can improve through design — it is hard to measure, but it works.
  • Network effect. It makes product more useful as more people will use it.
  • Economies of scale. Monopolies gets stronger as they are gets bigger because of fixed costs of creating product.
  • Branding. Creating a strong brand is a powerful way to creating a monopoly.

How to build a monopoly:
  • Start small and monopolise. Startup need to start small because it easy to dominate in a small market.
  • Scaling up. After dominating on a small market you need to gradually expand further.
  • Don't disrupt. If you think about your company as about battling some dark forces (old companies) you can fixate yourself on obstacles.

Seven questions that every business must answer:
  • Engineering question. Could you make breakthrough technology instead of small improvements? Your product need to be x10 better, that the other substitutes.
  • Timing question. Is it the right time to start?
  • Monopoly question. Are you have the big share of small viable market?
  • People question. Do you have the right team to breakthrough?
  • Distribution question. Do we have a way to deliver our product to market?
  • Durability question. Will your market position be stong 10-20 years from now?
  • Secret question. Do you have unique secrets about your market, or some opportunities that nobody see?

  • «What valuable company is nobody building?».
  • «You are not a lottery ticket».
  • «What nerds miss is that it takes hard work to make sales look easy».
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