"Zero to One" - 2 minute book review

Zreo to One intrigued me from the very begining by the story behind how it was created. In 2012 Blake Masters took class “CS 183: Startup” at Stanford lead by Peter Thiel - co-founder of the Paypal. Blake took detailed notes of the class, and published them in his personal blog. They become a instant hit in the tech commnity. And that lead to collaboration with Peter Thiel to create a proper book based on it (more insights in this interview with Blake)

0 to 1

Most of us are familiar with the term of horizontal and vertical scaling, “one to zero” - about vertical scaling. It is a concept of creating a breakthrough that will give you significant advantage over your competitors. Authors argues, that unfortunately, now most company prise employees for saying that something is done, rather than doing it, so people focus on horizontal scaling, which is conventional but not effective.


Unpopular opinion - monopoly is good (if it is your monopoly) . To succeed with a startup you need to find a small free market where you can create a monopoly. If you are going on the existing market you need to be at least 10 times better than closest competitor (0 to 1), otherwise you’ll engage in severe competition. it will drain your time and money, fighting for survival, instead of focusing on 0 to 1 leap.

One of the reasons why companies like Micrrosoft, Google, Apple, Facebook succeed - they don’t need to worry about competition, they had monopoly in own specific segments.

Instead of competeing - merge. In the early days Paypal had one direct competitor - X.com created by Elon Musk. Instead of wasting time on fights, they merged into one company in 2001.


Build plans for years ahead, focus on the long term benefits, and be aware that in case you really have a long term plan, most of the people will not understand it short term - “A bussiness with a good definite plan will always be underrated in a world where people see the future as random”. Otherwise, it is a lottery: “If you are playing a lottery you are already psychologically prepared to lose.”

“Victory awaits him who has everything in order - luck, people call it” Roald Amundsen


“Secret” - is an idea that a company needs to succeed, something to go from 0 to 1. Start ideating on your “secret” by answering the next question: “What valuable company nobody is building?”.

Kaczynski argued that all hard tasks in the world are already solved and we are left with easy or impossible - pursuing those tasks is deeply unsatisfying. Find a secret and don’t share it.

I really enjoyed reading this book: it shares a lot of great ideas on how to create and run a startup and a different from the convenient perspective on entrepreneurship and business.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future