Zero to one – Peter Theil with Blake Masters


This book is a must for wanna be entrepreneur or someone who is already on this roller-coaster ride.

In order to put it straight, Peter does not talk about the functioning of a startup like a jargon, rather goes about how ideas should flow out, startups should start off and function with empirical evidences to support those claims. His ultimate point was the businesses to be innovative and these are the ones which take the world from 0 to 1 and terms this phenomenon as Technology. The ventures which copy an already existing thing, takes the world from 1 to n and terms this as Globalization.

He starts off with a question,

What is the most important truth you know to which very few people agree with you on?

He considers the answer to this will be the foundation, which lets you get rid of competition in the market and be monopolistic in your venture. In continuation, he takes over lashing out at the educational system which breeds competitiveness rather than inculcating individualism. He is of the opinion that one should create ventures to be monopolistic but not to be trapped in the competitive rat race.

Moving on, the categorization of people’s mindset on a quadrant as definitely pessimistic, indefinitely pessimistic, definitely optimistic and indefinitely optimistic was pulled off very well. According to him, definitely optimistic are the ones who will potentially make a difference in the world, but as of current day, most people fall under the purview of being indefinitely optimistic, thinking that things will fall in place as time progresses without being definite of it. The ways he supports these with the true events is exemplary.

Finally, he jumps into the meat of the book. About how venture capitals and investor function and the things they look out for. He was fair enough in pointing out that these days Venture capitals are short-term money focused rather than being long-term in their investments. He touches up on how Founders Fund has invested in Facebook and has been the best ever investment with profits more than the combined profits from all other ventures in their portfolio.

One of my favorite chapters “Secrets”. How one should look out for ideas. Are we really short of ideas? Don’t we have any ideas left to work on at all? He terms this hidden thing which no one has looked out as potential business “Secret”. Then about the foundations of the company, the roles of Marketing and Sales which most of the tech guys are fond of ignoring. All these chapters have been short and to the point which makes it a good read.

His closing chapters were focused on, if machines are going to replace humans? About the need of the hour of the ventures to focus on green energy where the success rate is bleak. He quotes Tesla in particular as the most successful companies in green energy space rating it 7/7. Peter puts out 7 questions one venture should be sure of to be successful. Finally, a chapter on how the average mind set of a founder is on the extremes to be cranky. Its surprising that his narration does suggest that founders a different from the average lot.


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