Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

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Crown, Sep 16, 2014 - Business & Economics - 224 pages

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“This book delivers completely new and refreshing ideas on how to create value in the world.”—Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of†Meta

“Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.”—Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

 

Contents

Zero to One
1
The Challenge of the Future
5
Party Like Its 1999
12
All Happy Companies Are Different
23
The Ideology of Competition
35
Last Mover Advantage
44
You Are Not a Lottery Ticket
59
Follow the Money
82
The Mechanics of Mafia
118
If You Build It Will They Come?
126
Man and Machine
140
Seeing Green
152
The Founders Paradox
173
Stagnation or Singularity?
191
Acknowledgments
197
Illustration Credits
199

Secrets
93
Foundations
107

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About the author (2014)

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He started PayPal in 1998, led it as CEO, and took it public in 2002, defining a new era of fast and secure online commerce. In 2004 he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director. The same year he launched Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like national security and global finance. He has provided early funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, and dozens of successful technology startups, many run by former colleagues who have been dubbed the “PayPal Mafia.” He is a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb. He started the Thiel Fellowship, which ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling, and he leads the Thiel Foundation, which works to advance technological progress and long- term thinking about the future.

Blake Masters†was a student at Stanford Law School in 2012 when his detailed notes on Peter’s class “Computer Science 183: Startup” became an internet sensation. He is President of The Thiel Foundation and Chief Operating Officer of Thiel Capital.†


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