Zero to One
The difference between the present and the future is the created progress. Progress can be divided into horizontal and vertical.
- Horizontal progress comes from expanding existing ideas and innovation to more people - one to n.
- Vertical progress means creating something new - zero to one.
You can only see the future by looking beyond established conditions.
Startups should focus. They only have one best future and should focus energy and effort to pursue it. Why only one? Because startups will only be successful under particular conditions, such as only one best market for the product, only one best time to launch, only one right team, and so on.
Monopolies are good for society because they're doing something better than everyone else. They drive innovation and progress because they make other companies create better products to compete with monopolies.
Monopolies thrive thanks to four things.
- Technological advantages: their proprietary technology works better than everyone else's.
- Network effects: the more valuable the product is, the more people use it. Network effects also act as an entry barrier for the newcomers.
- Economies of scale: producing something on a large scale reduces cost.
- Great branding: strong branding can't be replicated.
The best secret to tech companies is to have better technology than their competitors because it can make their position as market leaders unassailable. Otherwise, they'll be another provider of horizontal progress.
You need to be prepared to stick around for the long run. So you need to define your market as narrowly and precisely as possible and start small. Then expand bit by bit.
Startups need a solid foundation composed of the right people, culture, and balanced owner interests to survive in the long run.
- The first days of a startup are crucial so that every person on the team plays an important role, so the right people are the first key component.
- The second factor of a strong foundation is culture. It's essential to instill a strong culture in their teams because it helps everyone work effectively together.
- The third key factor is ensuring a balance among the different interests of the various owners and stakeholders. After all, founds and investors may have other claims that shouldn't affect the whole company.
You need to sell. To sell your products effectively, you need a good distribution and the effort of your whole organization to sell your products.
Seven crucial questions about the market that every company should ask:
- The Engineering Question: Can you create a true technological breakthrough?
- The Timing Question: Is this the right time to start your business?
- The Monopoly Question: Will you start with a large share of a small market?
- The People Question: Can your team pursue this opportunity?
- The Distribution Question: How will you deliver your products to customers?
- The Durability Question: Can you still defend your market position in ten or 20 years?
- The Secret Question: Do you see a unique opportunity that others have missed?
No matter how sophisticated a company's management strategies are, it must have the vision to pursue. It's the job of the founders to give their imagination and originality to the company.