Michael J. Kerrigan

There are many excellent reasons to purchase and enjoy Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, Notes on Startups.

For starters, going from zero to one or intensive (vertical) progress means doing new things. Vertical progress is harder to imagine because it requires doing something no one else has done. In short, doing new things is wiser than copying things that work. Thiel is best in questioning conventional thinking for he advises a start up must question received ideas and rethink business from scratch.

Two conventional beliefs Thiel asks us to question are monopolies and competition. “Creative monopoly means new products that benefit everybody and sustainable profits for the creator. Competition mean no profits for anybody, no meaningful differentiation, and a struggle for survival…. The more we compete, the less we gain.”

The book offers entrepreneurs many lessons learned but the best suggestion I offer is if you have little time but make sure you read chapter seven, Follow the Money. In my opinion, this chapters offers the key to successful venture capitalists by understanding the Pareto Principle, which Thiel explains as the “power law of venture capital,” so named because exponential equations describe severely unequal distributions i.e. the 80 /20 rule.

What a refreshing read teaching us how to create value.

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