Brave New WorldI remember having lunch at Mithril Capital in The Presidio (San Francisco, California). The small team had a calm intensity, which emulated the focus of its principal, Peter Thiel. Peter is a Billionaire, a Libertarian, co-founder of PayPal and the first investor in Facebook. He penned the book, Zero to One, which throws the gauntlet at business textbooks and lays the foundation on why a startup should exist. We've been taught in B-school that competition is healthy. That progress is a byproduct of businesses competing for dollars in the market. But Thiel cuts against the grain:
“Competition is the ideology that pervades our society and distorts our thinking. We preach competition, internalize its necessity, and enact its commandments; and as a result, we trap ourselves within it – even though the more we compete, the less we gain.”- Peter Thiel
Peter asserts that competition is an impediment to innovation. It is harmful because it is imitation. Imitation is counterproductive to progress because it doesn’t involve innovation. Companies have wrangled with each other that they ultimately lose sight of what matters -- vertical progress.
Characteristics Of A MonopolyPeter builds on the idea that startups should focus on creating monopolies, which have four characteristics:
- Proprietary Technology that is difficult or impossible to replicate
- Network Effects that increase a product's value as more people use it
- Economies of Scale that lowers the unit cost over production
- Branding that has strong underlying substance