Zero to One is about how to build companies that create new things. This book teaches us about entrepreneurship, but the author clearly states that there is no concrete formula for success which can be taught. This is because every innovation is new and unique.
Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.~ the author
Positively defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.
The entrepreneurs who stuck with Silicon Valley learned four big lessons from the dot-com crash that still guide business thinking today:
- Make incremental advances Grand visions inflated the bubble, so they should not be indulged. Anyone who claims to be able to do something great is suspect, and anyone who wants to change the world should be more humble. Small, incremental steps are the only safe path forward.
- Stay lean and flexible All companies must be “lean,” which is code for “unplanned.” You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, “iterate,” and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation.
- Improve on the competition Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors.
- Focus on product, not sales. If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution. Bubble-era advertising was obviously wasteful, so the only sustainable growth is viral growth.