top of page
  • Writer's pictureAnderson Petergeorge

Zero to One - Peter Thiel


Zero to One explores how companies can better predict the future and take action to ensure that their startup is a success.


  • There is no Formula: "The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula (for innovation) cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be more innovative. Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas."

  • A Company’s Most Important Strength: Properly defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future. A new company’s most important strength is new thinking: even more important than nimbleness, small size affords space to think.

  • Master distribution: Develop effective distribution channels to reach your target audience and scale your business.

  • Look for secrets: Discover and leverage hidden insights or knowledge that others overlook.

  • The lesson for entrepreneurs is clear: if you want to create and capture lasting value, don’t build an undifferentiated commodity business.

  • Startups are more nimble and therefore should be focused on innovation as their core purpose in the field they are in

    • As a startup take advantage of this and try new things and fail fast

    • Those that join the startup should have a key goal to want to create something new and innovate

    • All early-stage businesses should stay lean as long as possible

  • Improve on the competition - start with an already existing customers

  • Focus on product not sales - if it needs sales to sell then it’s not good enough

  • Make incremental advances - small incremental steps safe path forward

  • Don’t over plan as an entrepreneur try new things and pivot

  • Rivalry causes companies and people to focus on the wrong things to compete and allows a new incumbent to come in and win . Eg. Microsoft and Google rivalry allowed apple to come and eclipse them both combined

  • Key characteristics of successful business/ a monopoly: proprietary information, branding, network effects, economies of scale

  • Always start small - easier to dominate small market than large and to learn from that

  • PayPal went from targeting palm pilot users which was millions at the time but had nothing in common to bring them to eBay auction power users only a few thousand people but were very connected

  • That’s why it doesn’t make sense when entrepreneurs say they want to get 1% of a multi billion dollar market

  • Don’t disrupt avoid competition as much as possible

  • VC mentality - only invest in companies that with return more than rest of the fund. They prioritized only unicorns

  • Cannot build a great company on flawed foundation

  • If you want an effective board keep it small to 3 people. Only public companies need a board of 5 people or more. You want your board to be accountable and nimble

  • A company does better the less they pay the CEO. Should not be receiving more than 150k in salary

    • Cash poor executive will focus on making the business grow in value rather than keep the status quo to keep making a large salary

    • Helps set the culture for the rest of the organization too seeing the ceo set an example

  • Ask yourself the question why would the 20th employee want to join your company? Talent individuals have lots of options to ioin

  • Anyone swayed by perks as a reason to join your team rather than the mission is not a good fit

  • No sector is great enough or grows enough for you to simply just build a company in it and expect greatness. You must figure out a way to differentiate yourself in the market


bottom of page