Peter Thiel, one of the ‘great’ wizards of Silicon Valley has some mortal elements
as he too has written a book and gone on a speaking and interview tour. Zero to One, by Thiel (with Blake Masters), has many interesting insights and thoughts and Steve Denning of Forbes does a nice job covering the book. From Denning:
In his book, Zero to One, serial entrepreneur Peter Thiel offers seven—sometimes surprising– tools for doing just that. They are what he calls, “the seven questions that every market-creating business must answer.”
The Engineering Question: Do you have a breakthrough technology?
The Timing Question: Is your timing right?
The Monopoly Question: Do you have something no-one else has?
The People Question: Do you have the right people?
The Distribution Question: Can you sell and market your stuff?
The Durability Question: Will you be still around in 10 years?
The Secret Question: Do you know something nobody else does?
Thiel hates competition. Like Michael Porter, he views strategy as mainly about coping with competition. The way you cope with competition is essentially by avoiding it. “Monopoly,” he declares flatly, “is the condition of every successful business.”
In economics, it is otherwise. “‘Perfect competition’ is considered both the ideal and the default state in Economics 101,” says Thiel. “Under perfect competition, in the long run no company makes an economic profit. The opposite of perfect competition is monopoly. Whereas a competitive firm must sell at the market price, a monopoly owns its market, so it can set its own prices. Since it has no competition, it produces at the quantity and price combination that maximizes its profits.”
I am looking forward to reading Zero to One, though I have to admit I am concerned Thiel is a technology zealot and hope that the book offers a insights for traditional product, service and public sector leaders and organizations.