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Eight Lessons from Leading Entrepreneur and Investor Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel
Written by Andy

Peter Thiel is one of the world’s most prominent venture capitalists with a net worth exceeding $8 billion.

He is known for his early investments in PayPal, and Facebook, and for co-founding Palantir.

Here are eight lessons from the man himself.

  • Get in early and exploit tax shields. In 1999, Thiel invested $2k in PayPal using a Roth IRA. In 2002, eBay acquired $PYPL and Thiel netted $28.5m. He used these funds to invest in more start-ups, including Facebook in 2004. Today that IRA is worth more than $5b.
  • Thiel was a big fan of monopolies. In his 2014 essay, ‘Competition is for Losers’, he outlined how you can identify which companies are pretending to be monopolies and which are trying to hide their monopoly status.

Monopolies

  • Understand how you, and others, are influenced by other people. Thiel was a pupil of mimetic desire; the idea that our wants and desires are borrowed from our friends, family, and idols. Understand how humans think, and you can identify companies that are set up to benefit.

Advertising

  • Moving from zero to one is a concept Thiel is famous for, and the phrase is the namesake of his book. Every time we create something new, the world moves from zero to one. That is where the largest returns are found.

Zero to One

  • “The prospect of being lonely but right, dedicating your life to something that no one else believes in, is already hard. The prospect of being lonely and wrong can be unbearable”. If you want to succeed, don’t be afraid of making mistakes or looking stupid.

Don't be afraid to be wrong or do mistakes

  • “In the most dysfunctional organizations, signalling that work is being done becomes a better strategy for career advancement than actually doing work, if this describes your company, you should quit now”. If you are not challenging yourself, you risk stagnation.

Stagnation

  • “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”. Utilise first principles thinking.

Entrepreneurship

  • “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius”.

Contrarian

Read his book, Zero to One right now. Highly recommended!

About the author

Andy

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