21 nuggets on Peter Thiel's zero to one - Notes on startups, or how to build the future

1. Every moment in business only happens once

2. Today's "best practices" lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried

3. Successful people find value in unexpected places

4. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius

5. What a startup has to do: question received ideas and rethink business from scratch

6. The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself

7. If you want to create and capture lasting value, don't build an undifferentiated commodity business

8. War is a costly business

9. Many entrepreneurs focus only on short-term growth. They have an excuse: growth is easy to measure, but durability isn't

10. Every startup should start with a very small market

11. Don't disrupt: avoid competition at all costs

12. You are not a lottery ticket

13. There are two kinds of secrets: secrets about nature and secrets about people

14. No company has a culture; every company is a culture

15. Everyone at your company should be different in the same way - a tribe of like-minded people fiercely devoted to the company's mission

16. Academic ideas about history or economics don't just sell themselves on their intellectual merits

17. Marketing and advertising work for relatively low-priced products that have mass appeal but lack any method of viral distribution

18. A product is viral if its core functionality encourages users to invite their friends to become users too

19. Computers excel at efficient data processing, nut struggle to make basic judgments that would be simple for any human

20. Most of the world dreams of living as comfortably as Americans do today, and globalization will cause increasingly severe energy challenges unless we build new technology

21. We cannot take for granted that the future will be better, and that means we need to work to create it today


Marc A. Ross is an advisor and connector working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and thought leaders make better connections and better communications. He is the founder of Brigadoon and Caracal Global.

Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.