14 pieces of startup wisdom from the Zero to One

I have recently read Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. Yet short, the book contains lots of good advice on startups, creating something new and fresh, instead of making an existing product better. To make something out of nothing, hence the meaning of the book’s title.

The book does have 14 chapters, but no arc or concept, so I’ll be picking out some things that I noticed.

Here are my top 14 pieces of startup wisdom from the Zero to One that can help you to build an innovative & successful startups

1. Focus on One Thing

The truly successful ones will put all of their effort behind one unique idea or business plan and throw all of their weight behind that effort.

The author, Peter Thiel, was one of the core members of the founding team of Paypal. He spoke about how Paypal came up with a unique system that gave people all over the world control over their currencies digitally like never before.

2. The 80/20 Rule

80% of your profits or yield will be produced by 20% of your customers or products. This fact is also true for most of the other topics.

3. Strength Of A Company

A startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.

A new company’s most important strength is new thinking: even more important than skill, small size affords space to think.

you need to make sure that you bring out the best from every person who works for your company. If you aren’t already a great leader who inspires excellence, how can you change this? If you are a good leader, focus on becoming even better.

4. Invest Early

Maximizing retirement savings should be a key interest to any successful entrepreneur. It will lead to greater dividends as you age and will generate wealth much more quickly than you might think.

5. Ignore the Common Wisdom

To be successful, to truly create a 1 from 0, you’ll need to think for yourself and come up with a new product or solution that people don’t already know that they need.

6. Innovate Around The Market

The book states that it’s important to learn from asking the right questions to potential customers and researching the scope of your offerings.

Research on the companies that offer products in the same category – be it mobile apps, food trucks, etc. Compare the prices study their USP’s and then come up with the best possible products and offers that don’t exist in the market.

7. Be an Optimist

While the path to success will undoubtedly be littered with failure and setbacks, you must always keep an optimistic mindset and focus on the future.

8. Learn How to Sell

If you aren’t already good at selling, become better. If you are good, become better anyway.

9. Avoid Competition

Your company could create a lot of value without becoming very valuable itself. Creating value is not enough–you also need to capture some of the value you create. This means that even very big businesses can be bad business

10. Automation is Not the Solution

You should focus on building a business or product that leans on the complementary abilities of both humans and computers and Focus on things that can leverage the power of man and machine.

11. People Are Power

People that make up a company drive a huge amount of its potential success or failure. If your company utilizes other talents, you need to make sure that you bring out the best from every person who works for your company

12. There’s No Formula

There’s no winning formula to success. Instead, consistent success is normally found in people who constantly push themselves.

13. Important Truth

“What important truth do very people agree with you on?”Your answer to it may reveal a potential pathway for your efforts or future business.

14. Go From 0 to 1, Not 1 to n

Going from 1 to n is copying an existing model, but going from 0 to 1 is creating something new and fresh. When Bill Gates created Microsoft Word, his company went from 0 to 1. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google, their company went from 0 to 1.

However, when Microsoft tried to copy Google and created Bing, that was a 1 to n moment. Similarly, when Google tried to copy Microsoft and created Google Docs, that was a 1 to n moment.

Thiel notes the importance of startups because most startups focus on creating something new, going from 0 to 1. Startups embrace risk and have a mission to improve the world, while established corporations shy away from risk and have a mission to improve their revenue.

Some of the favorite quote from the book-Zero To One:

Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.

The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.

Madness is rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.

Most of a tech company’s value will come at least 10 to 15 years in the future.

If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution.

These are just a few of the lessons learned from Zero to One. Let me know what you think in the comments section, do you agree with Thiel’s pieces of advice?