Zero to One (New Version) Book Summary - Zero to One (New Version) Book explained in key points
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Zero to One (New Version) summary

Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Notes on Startups, or How to Build The Future

4.6 (893 ratings)
26 mins
Table of Contents

    Zero to One (New Version)
    Summary of 10 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 10

    Stop imitating, and start thinking outside established conventions.

    Try to imagine the world in the year 2100. What can you see?

    The future you imagine is probably different from today’s world in some ways. After all, thinking about the future means thinking about some sort of progress. We’ve all internalized this idea because we share the experience that the world we lived in as children was different from today in many ways. Most importantly, there was a lot of technological progress along the way.

    So, let’s get back to the exercise. If you think about the year 2100, what comes to your mind? Maybe you imagine super-fast planes. Silent and sleek self-driving cars. Computer monitors that are so thin you can barely see them from the side. You probably imagine a future that’s full of improved versions of products and services that already exist today.

    This is known as horizontal progress. It’s based on expanding on existing ideas and innovations. Here, globalization is a common driver because it helps spread existing ideas to more people. But if you want to be truly innovative, making horizontal progress isn’t enough. You should aim for vertical progress, creating an utterly new technology or method.

    The invention of the smartphone was the result of vertical progress: we went from a world without smartphones to a world with smartphones. Distributing them to new markets in developing countries, on the other hand, was horizontal progress – companies simply expanded on what was already there.

    And this is where Thiel’s idea of “going from zero to one” comes in. Think of a coordinate system. The x-axis represents horizontal progress – improving and copying – going from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and so on, or, in mathematical terms, going from 1 to n. The y-axis represents vertical progress – going from nothing to something, or from 0 to 1.

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    What is Zero to One (New Version) about?

    Zero to One (2014) offers advice to start-up founders. It shows how to establish a monopoly by creating proprietary technology, a strong brand, scalable products, and by using network effects.

    Who should read Zero to One (New Version)?

    • Current and potential start-up founders
    • Anyone interested in why certain start-ups succeed and others fail
    • Investors

    About the Author

    Peter Thiel cofounded PayPal and is one of the most prominent venture capitalists in the world. He was the first outsider to invest in Facebook and has a net worth of over seven billion dollars.

    Blake Masters, a venture capitalist, served as the president of the Thiel Foundation until 2022.

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