Zero to One

Seven questions every business must answer.


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.

  1. The engineering question – can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?
  2. The timing question – is now the right time to start your particular business?
  3. The monopoly question – are you starting with a big share of a large market?
  4. The people question – do you have the right team?
  5. The distribution question – do you have a way to not just create, but deliver your product?
  6. The durability question – will your market position be the defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
  7. The secret question – have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

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