Book Review : Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future

Gyan Management Journal
Year: 2017(Jan-Jun), Volume: (11), Issue. (1)
First page: (127) Last page: (128)
Online ISSN: A/F
Print ISSN: 2250-348X

Book Review : Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future
Dr. Aneet

1Director, Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology, Mohali

Corresponding author email id:

06 Feb 2017

15 Apr 2017

Online Published:
21 Jun 2017

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Title of the Book: Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future Authors: Peter Thiel and Blake Masters Publisher: Random House (18 September 2014),Pages: 320, Price: Rs.499/- (MRP) ISBN-10:0753555190, ISBN-13: 978-0753555194 In the words of Peter, this book (or better to say a compilation of notes) is about how to build companies that create new things. Personally, I would say this book gives a good window into the mind of a great entrepreneur like Peter, which may give solace to other entrepreneurs with out of box idea and who are not getting support from near quarters. This is not a book which will detail out the steps in the journey, but it can tell you about what to expect in the journey. And nothing about the destination – that is for each to define as their own. In the process, there are some gems I collected. Like the contra learnings from the dot com bust – 1. Make incremental advances 2. Stay lean and flexible 3. Improve on competition 4. Focus on product, not sale OR what Peter professes a) It is better to risk boldness than triviality b) A bad plan is better than no plan c) Competitive market destroys profits d) Sales matter as much as the product Which one to choose – all up to you. Peter is unapologetic about monopoly – as he views that every business is successful exactly to the extent it does what others cannot, this making monopoly the condition for every successful business. All happy companies are those who have earned a monopoly by solving a unique problem, all failed companies are those who failed to escape competition In order to get to the monopoly, Peter suggests to analyse the business within some parameters: a) Proprietary technology-should be 10 times better than closest substitute b) Network effects – an expanding network of users will bring in more users. A product is viral if its core functionality encourages users to invite their friends to become users too. c) Economies of scale – the model should have a great potential to scale in its design d) Branding-control the customer experience Peter prefers to start small – target a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors. Dominate a small market than a large one. And then scale up. Peter also serves some words of caution – some of which may not find universal resonance, like a) Don’t Disrupt: focus on the act of creation. Disruptors often attract undue attention and take away substantial time