EVERY MOMENT IN business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.— Peter Thiel
The most pioneering Peter Thiel quotes that will inspire your inner self
Today's 'best practices' lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.
The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.
Had the people who started Facebook decided to stay at Harvard, they would not have been able to build the company, and by the time they graduated in 2006, that window probably would have come and gone.
The business model piece is we're always talking about competing more effectively. If you're starting a company or career you don't want to compete. You want to create a monopoly. We want to invest in a company that has a good plan to create a monopoly.
The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.
Under perfect competition, in the long run no company makes an economic profit.
Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition.
Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.
When you are starting a new business you don't want to go after giant markets.
You want to go after small markets and take over those markets quickly.
People working on bigger ideas on a more protracted timeline will be more on the stealth side. They aren’t releasing new PR announcements every day. The bigger the secret and the likelier it is that you alone have it, the more time you have to execute. There may be far more people going after hard secrets than we think.
If you focus on near-term growth above all else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: will this business still be around a decade from now?
Value investors look at cash flows. If a company can maintain present cash flows for 5 or 6 years, it’s a good investment. Investors then just hope that those cash flows - and thus the company’s value - don’t decrease faster than they anticipate.
There are only two kinds of businesses in this world: Businesses in crazy competition, and businesses that are one of a kind.
There's a wide range of sales ability: there are many gradations between novices, experts, and masters. There are even sales grandmasters. If you don't know any grandmasters, it's not because you haven't encountered them, but rather because their art is hidden in plain sight.
People don't want to believe that technology is broken.
Pharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology - all these areas where the progress has been a lot more limited than people think. And the question is why.
Distribution may not matter in fictional worlds, but it matters in most.
The Field of Dreams conceit is especially popular in Silicon Valley, where engineers are biased toward building cool stuff rather than selling it. But customers will not come just because you build it. You have to make this happen, and it's harder than it looks.
Superior sales and distribution by itself can create a monopoly, even with no product differentiation. The converse is not true. No matter how strong your product-even if it easily fits into already established habits and anybody who tries it likes it immediately-you must still support it with a strong distribution plan.
American government is not dominated by engineers, it is dominated by lawyers.
Engineers are interested in substance and building things; lawyers are interested in process and rights and getting the ideology correctly blended. And so there is sort of no really concrete plan for the future.
If you can identify a delusional popular belief, you can find what lies hidden behind it: the contrarian truth.
Rivalry causes us to overemphasize old opportunities and slavishly copy what has worked in the past.
Never invest in a tech CEO that wears a suit.
Most people are average. Founders are not. Founders' traits seem to have an inverse normal distribution to them.
I'm in favor of free trade, but I think if you had to make a choice between having technological progress versus free trade, you had one or the other, you should always pick technological progress. I think it's an incredibly important variable for creating more prosperity.
We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.
Darwinism may be a fine theory in other contexts, but in startups, intelligent design works best.
Whatever the career, sales ability distinguishes superstars from also-rans.
All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past.
I'm skeptical of a lot of what falls under the rubric of education.
... People are on these tracks. They are getting these credentials and it's very unclear how viable they are in many cases.
We might describe our world as having retail sanity, but wholesale madness.
If you think your initial market might be too big, it almost certainly is.
In a world where wealth is growing, you can get away with printing money.
Doubling the debt over the next 20 years is not a problem.
For Hamlet, greatness means willingness to fight for reasons as thin as an eggshell: anyone would fight for things that matter; true heroes take their personal honor so seriously they will fight for things that don’t matter.
Secrets are hard but solvable problems and we should talk about them.
It's hard to work toward a radically better future if you don't believe in secrets.
Everybody has a product to sell—no matter whether you’re an employee, a founder, or an investor. It’s true even if your company consists of just you and your computer. Look around. If you don’t see any salespeople, you’re the salesperson.
All happy companies are different: each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem. All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.
The biggest secret in venture capital is that the best investment in a successful fund equals or outperforms the entire rest of the fund combined.
It is sort of a bit of a caricature of capitalism, that it's always this zero-sum game where you have winners and losers. Silicon Valley, the technology industry at its best, creates a situation where everybody can be a winner.
Competition is overrated. In practice it is quite destructive and should be avoided wherever possible. Much better than fighting for scraps in existing markets is to create and own new ones.
A startup is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery.
You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world. It begins by rejecting the unjust tyranny of Chance. You are not a lottery ticket.
Recruiting is a core competency for any company. It should never be outsourced.
I believe we are in a world where innovation in stuff was outlawed.
It was basically outlawed in the last 40 years - part of it was environmentalism, part of it was risk aversion.
Every tech story is different. Every moment in history happens only once. All successful companies are successful in their own unique way. It's your task to figure out what that future history will be.
Long-term planning is often undervalued by our indefinite short-term world.
The lowest-hanging fruit in preventative medicine is just to really focus on nutrition.
Anyone who prefers owning part of your company to being paid in cash reveals a preference for the long term and a commitment to increasing your company's value in the future.
I think anything that requires real global breakthroughs requires a degree of intensity and sustained effort that cannot be done part time, so it's something you have to do around the clock, and that doesn't compute with our existing educational system.
In the developed world, technological progress means that you can have a situation where there's growth, where there's a way in which everybody can be better off over time.
There are still many large white spaces on the map of human knowledge.
You can go discover them. So do it. Get out there and fill in the blank spaces. Every single moment is a possibility to go to these new places and explore them.
Consider the trivial but revealing hallmarks of urban hipsterdom: faux vintage photography, the handlebar mustache, and vinyl record players all hark back to an earlier time when people were still optimistic about the future. If everything worth doing has already been done, you may as well feign an allergy to achievement and become a barista.