Zero to One
Read in 11 min.
Listen in 14 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Peter Thiel

Zero to One

Building a startup capable of improving our future

Human progress is marked by moments, when individuals or companies have created products that can literally transform people's lives, but how can a company actually build the future? In Zero to One, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, explains the philosophy which he believes should guide all those startups whose aim is to change the world, starting from launching in a niche market, to developing a business monopoly, making it possible to invest in a better life for everyone.

Zero to One
Read in 11 min.
Listen in 14 min.

Create something new, don't copy

Human progress is marked by moments when something new arrives, which is capable of revolutionising our lives. These are the changes that can take us from zero to one, that are able to add something that did not previously exist, and which can then build and shape our future.

Such a change usually occurs as a result of an intuitive notion about human nature, when an individual or a company is able to call a commonly acknowledged truth into question, creating a product or a solution which can meet the needs of the community. 

This is vertical progress, and it is difficult to predict, since it involves the creation of something that never existed. It is what we commonly call technological progress, and it is based on innovation and creation. 

When, instead of creating original solutions, we copy and modify, perhaps even improving what others have already done, it is called horizontal progress. We are not starting from scratch, but from one. The most we can do is go from one to n.

If innovation is synonymous with technological progress, then horizontal progress, which builds on existing solutions, is synonymous with globalization. It leads to a greater offer, to a greater number of companies competing for the same slice of the market.


The key ideas of "Zero to One"

Create something new, don't copy
The dotcom bubble has taught us to focus on the product
Because revolutionary products always go against the trend
Competition is the enemy of capitalism
Start with yourself: follow your chosen direction and don't hope for luck
The first steps to building a monopoly
Four ways to protect a monopoly
Take-home message
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