Spotlight on this awesome book by Peter Thiel, “Zero To One”.
Chapter 1 – The Challenge of the Future
“What important truth do few people agree with you on?” Answering this deceptively tricky question is the key to any future of progress—and to building a great business.
Chapter 2 – Party Like It’s 1999
The dogmas created after the dot-com crash continue to haunt us today. The first step to thinking clearly is to question what we think we know about the past.
Chapter 3 – All Happy Companies Are Different
The most successful businesses share one key feature that enables them to innovate at unprecedented scale.
Chapter 4 – The Ideology of Competition
Competition isn’t just seen as a spur to productivity—for many, it’s a way of life. But what if it’s actually holding us back?
Chapter 5 – Last Mover Advantage
Short-term thinking ruins companies. The most important lesson an entrepreneur can learn is to think big but start small.
Chapter 6 – You Are Not a Lottery Ticket
The same question lurks behind every success: was it luck or skill? But builders aren’t backward-looking; they adopt a more definite attitude and engineer a better future.
Chapter 7 – Follow the Money
Apply it correctly, and one simple insight—almost everything is radically less equal than it appears—can change your life.
Chapter 8 – Secrets
Every one of today’s most famous and familiar ideas was once unknown and unsuspected. Lots more secrets remain undiscovered; learn to find them and see your fortune rise.
Chapter 9 – Foundations
The decisions you make today will govern what your business looks like years now. Every entrepreneur has to get a few things right from the start.
Chapter 10 – The Mechanics of Mafia
After PayPal, the “PayPal Mafia” created SpaceX, Tesla, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yammer, Palantir, and Yelp. The incredible story of that team will help you build yours.
Chapter 11 – If You Build It, Will They Come?
The best product does not always win. Great products do not sell themselves. That’s up to you, and the problem is much stranger than it seems.
Chapter 12 – Man and Machine
20 years ago, people feared cheap foreign labor; today, it’s replacement by robots. But the most successful entrepreneurs make products that help humans, not automate them away.
Chapter 13 – Seeing Green
Clean energy is a hugely important sector—and to date it’s been a huge flop, as entrepreneurs neglected to answer the seven questions that every business must get right.
Chapter 14 – The Founder’s Paradox
Founders are contradictory: revered and abhorred, powerful and weak. Just as we need founders in all their peculiarity, founders need to understand a few things to survive.
What will our society look like 20 years from now? 100? It’s up to us. We cannot take for granted that the future will be better, and that means we have to work to build it now.
1. Seven days thou shalt labour + do all thy work, for the startup life knows no sabbath.
That includes holy days. All-night coding sessions, missed meals + triple espressos are the order of the day.
2. Thou shalt not torture thy customers with an endless beta.
To a customer, the “beta testing” label doesn’t mean much. If you keep making mistakes + your buttons don’t work + their password gets leaked, saying that you were “in beta” isn’t going to make them feel better – or stick around.
3. Thou shalt not take thy competitors’ names in vain.
Badmouthing competitors sounds a little too much like gossip. “We’re very careful: we don’t talk about competitors, we don’t slag them, we don’t throw them under the bus,” says Dave Olson, VP Community at HootSuite. The point is to focus on building a better product. “We don’t compete against people; we compete against ourselves,” he explains.
4. Thou shalt practice humility + not compare thyself to Mark Zuckerberg.
If you have to compare yourself to Mark Zuckerberg, you probably shouldn’t be compared to Mark Zuckerberg. Brian Wong, the 21-year-old founder of Kiip, complains about this phenomenon: “This is giving birth to a generation, unfortunately, of extremely cocky, ego-driven young entrepreneurs that think that just because they’re young, they should be paid attention to,” he says.
“I am my own person, I am my own class of entrepreneur, and I will build a company without anybody asking me how I built it compared to someone else. I’m going to build it my way.”
5. Thou shalt confess thy sins with true contrition + then fix the problem.
Otherwise, your customers will be vengeful rather than forgiving masters. Social media has made business more + more transparent, so it’s hard to get away with apologies that don’t admit wrongdoing – “We are sorry if some were offended” – or apologies that skew the facts.
6. Honour thy investors, that their purse-strings may be loosened.
Zvi Band, the CEO of Contactually, recommends keeping in touch with current investors every 2 weeks + potential investors every week.
And while you may not always follow investors’ advice, show some respect + actually take it seriously. Even if they didn’t create your startup, they are helping it grow.
7. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s acquisition.
Holding out your hopes for a $1 billion acquisition like Instagram’s is foolhardy, to say the least. And even profit-hungry investors don’t want to hear about your acquisition fantasies. “If you show me a slide as an early-stage company that mentions your exit opportunities, and in 3 years you’ll sell to Google for that return to me, I’ll just laugh at you – but the laughing means you’re dead,” says Jeff Clavier of SoftTechVC.
8. Thou shalt not steal thy startup’s contact list.
In a recent scandal, one of WakeMate’s cofounders used the startup’s email list and Twitter account to promote his new product, MiLife+, and raise funds on Indiegogo. He claimed it was affiliated with WakeMate, but the other cofounder didn’t know anything about it. Here’s the full story. The Indiegogo project was eventually taken down due to the drama.
9. Thou shalt kill thy startup if thy money is gone + thy customers are few + thy website is ugly.
Closing down a startup may be a painful process + an admission of failure, but it frees you up to move on to the next exciting thing. “You got a lot of good guys running companies that are not doing well, when they could be joining forces and building a lot more value,” says Mohan Belani, the founder of Asian tech blog e27. “I call it a zombie. People don’t want to kill themselves.”
10. Thou shalt practice generosity if thou becomest a gazillionaire.
Virtuous choices including being a mentor or investor, opening an accelerator + donating pizzas to hungry entrepreneurs in your your community.
And that’s the way to startup heaven.
Thanks for this awesome article Tech.Co!
As a creative entrepreneur – artist, designer, actor, model, blogger, singer, freelance writer, editor, videographer, photographer (whatever it is you do) – there’ll be times you’re asked to work for free. Sometimes an offer of “exposure” is legit, but it’s up to you to vet every offer. As a business owner (your business being yourself), you’re tasked with sifting through all of the various “work for free” offers and ascertaining which ones are useless and which ones will lead to actual exposure for you and your brand. Exposure is good. We like exposure. Marketing leads to discovery which leads to business.
As you grow and your name gets bigger and bigger, people will begin to associate your name with certain positive or negative adjectives. These associations are not necessarily always because of what you do. Sometimes you make a name for yourself by just being in the presence of great (or sinister) people. So you need to monitor what brands you allow yourself to be associated with.
+ NEXT TIME YOU RUN BY A “WORK FOR EXPOSURE” OFFER, ASK YOURSELF:
- Will being associated with, and working with, this person/business/organization boost my authority in my field of expertise?
- Will I be in the presence of captains of industry which could grow my network and help me build business contacts?
- Will be doing this add valuable credibility to my brand for my audience?
- Will it offer me experience I would otherwise not get or could use more of (building on your skill set, learning new stuff about performing on stage for instance)
- Will I have direct access to an audience that will buy my [service, art, expertise]?
- Will I have fun doing the gig?
If the answer to all questions is yes, consider taking the offer and at the very least get all of your expenses covered. At most? Consider negotiating your way into a paid gig.
Skybok is handling the Social Media for Fashion Week Brooklyn in New York. Join our communities: Twitter, Facebook + Pinterest. We have the Denim Day NYC coming up + the shoots in Soho + Williamsburg were awesome. On April 29th, models, makeup artists, college students, hairstylists, bloggers + all fashionistas will walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall styled in denim for the cause of “SEXUAL ASSAULT/VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH”. City Hall will host the official commencement speech. The Denim Day NYC pre-event is tonight, photos from that will be up on our online platforms soon. Follow the story of Fashion Week Brooklyn + Denim Day NYC 2015 with us!
I was honoured to receive an award at this year’s Business Women’s Association of South Africa’s Regional Business Achiever Awards. Held at The Crystal Towers in Cape Town, I was thrilled to receive this recognition of distinction in business as an entrepreneur in the film industry! Skybok is all about connecting South Africa. I look forward to our exciting future doing so. I am very blessed that I was able to turn something I am passionate about into a profitable venture. It’s exciting to have been named in amidst such successful women across the region in all industries. I am proudly South African and marvel each day at our beautiful country and our people. Thank you, BWA! More photos from the event here.
We shot Chart Rose Farm’s video profile over the weekend. It’s a divine coffee terrace and rose picking farm in Constantia, Cape Town. As the only place in the Cape Peninsula where you can select and pick your own roses, Chart Farm offers a unique experience for visitors. The Coffee Terrace serves teas, cakes, breakfasts and lunches. Along with the magnificent views of the Constantia Valley, it’s a great meeting place. Open daily from 9:00am – 4:30pm, the farm stall alongside the terrace offers fresh farm produce (in season), including lemons, limes, grapes, chestnuts and vegetables.