I recently finished Peter Thiel’s Zero to One and really liked it.
His big idea is that instead of entering a crowded market and making only incremental improvements (horizontal movement), the best businesses enter an under-served market and innovate with huge improvements (vertical movement). This creates a win for the company and the customers.
Near the end of the book, he lists “seven questions every business must answer” which I thought were particularly cogent.
- The engineering question – can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?
- The timing question – is now the right time to start your particular business?
- The monopoly question – are you starting with a big share of a large market?
- The people question – do you have the right team?
- The distribution question – do you have a way to not just create, but deliver your product?
- The durability question – will your market position be the defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
- The secret question – have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?
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