Friday, November 7, 2014

Zero To One

Peter Thiel co-founded Paypal, and was also the first outside investor in Facebook. Just doing one of those things is bound to make someone rich; Thiel, on the other hand, has gone on to do much more. In his book, Zero To One, he shares his thoughts on what he believes makes for a successful business.

Thiel covers everything from how to determine what product to build to how to hire people and keep them motivated. He has a great deal of experience both with venture capital investments and with founding and growing his own companies successfully, which gives him some authority on the subject.

I found Thiel's thoughts very interesting. Whereas I'm someone who has been taken in by the whole "lean" movement, I thought Thiel's disputes with lean processes were valid. Lean thinking is still the way to go because of the way it protects capital, in my opinion, but humanity does owe a debt to grand visionaries who have successfully created brand new things where nothing existed before. For example, if Henry Ford had adopted lean thinking, he might have stopped at incrementally faster horses. Thiel argues that we still need such visionaries, and entrepreneurs should be focused on processes that maximize the successes of such endeavours, and I can certainly sympathize with that point of view.

I recommend Zero To One to all entrepreneurs as well as to those managers who have an eye towards turning their companies into monopolies.

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