Thursday, February 26, 2015
The Monopoly Secret. Competition and capitalism are opposites. “A great company is a conspiracy to change the world.” The author warns being careful about who you tell your secret to…because mankind has always been unkind to people who expose their forward thinking to the world. Also, remember Thiel’s Law: “A startup mess up at its foundation cannot be fixed.” Bad partners in the beginning can haunt you forever. Carefully study “founding teams” before making investments into their company. For example, such teams should share a “prehistory” before starting a company; otherwise, it’s like investing in a blind date. However, you can’t go from Zero to One without a team. He distinguishes between ownership (who owns the company), possession (who runs it), and control (who governs it).
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Money. There’s an interesting discussion of venture capital, citing that it takes about 10 years for a company to grow up and be sold. However, most venture backed companies fail—so VCs are like lotto ticket buyers. Venture capital is what Thiel calls a “spray and pray” approach. But they bet on the few that will blow it out and make it worth all their failed investments. The winners are Zero-to-One firms!
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Value and Companies. Key entrepreneurial question: What valuable company is nobody building? Need to create AND capture value. In a highly competitive market, no company does well because value gets commoditized. But a unique monopoly (like Google) can set its own price. Google went from Zero to One in 2000. Entrepreneur Lesson: “If you want to create and capture lasting value, don’t build an undifferentiated, commoditizable business.” Monopoly makes successful businesses. If you get wrapped up in competition, you lose. Competition is an outdated ideology—starting with school where competition “beats their dreams out of them.” Competition pushes us down a conformist track. Monopolies have several things in common: 1. Proprietary technology (hard to replicate); 2. Network effects (the more the merrier); 3. Economy of scale (leverage reduces costs); and, 4. A strong brand (people pay a premium for brand).