Zero To One

This is the perfect book for anyone trying to create a new product or service. As you know, Peter is one of the co-founders of PayPal and this book is basically the notes of his Stanford lecture.

MY LEARNING from the book:

1-INNOVATION. Improving on things that already exists may not be the right transformational progress needed for massive growth and profits. (My opinion – But this also is an opportunity for large untapped markets like many country specific startups have done so in the past years). But irrespective of the type of innovation its important you as a founder need to build a startup that keeps competition at bay, so that you can reap its benefits. A highly competitive market may look lucrative but it limits profits. So you have to ask yourself, key questions around your timing, market share, team, product delivery, competitive advantage over 10-20 years. You need a plan, need not be perfect as you don’t know any better at that point, as its way better than not having a plan.

2-VALUE. For your startup to be valued, it must sustainably grow over long period of time. Short team growth though easy to measure, you must have clarity if your startup will still survive after 10-20 years. So its just not number what about your business model and strategy will support such long term endurance. Some startups feel, there are so many companies doing the same or rely heavily on macroeconomic trends to build their business. But that is not sufficient and you need clear success plans for yourself as a company.

3-TEAM. The founding team is the base to the success or failure of the startup. Its good to have complementing skills and capabilities but more important is the rapport and dynamics between the team. PayPal was exactly that, it was an assembly of people who shared similar work ethics, goals and and interests. Investors keenly look at this, cause if the team has a great vision but cant work together to achieve it, it of no use. And when hiring new team members as your team grows, you have to focus on full time employees and give equity along with salary. As you want them to be as invested in your startup as you, else it would be just a transactional job for them.

4-SALES and MARKETING. Don’t shy away from this. Many founders feel if my product is good it will sell on its own. True, product is a key part of it but its also needed that you have to spread awareness of your product, via growth hacking techniques and viral marketing, instead of what you assume is marketing which is elaborate ad campaigns.

It’s a great eye-opener for anyone passionate about innovation, business and startups.

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