Zero to One [But Not a review]

Published by Prabin Poudel 2 min read
cover: Zero to One [But Not a review]
Table of contents

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Last Mover Advantage

  • Start from niche market and gradually start dominating.
  • Don’t disrupt the market and avoid competition as much as possible

Follow the money

  • People who understand the power law will hesitate more than others when it comes to founding a new venture: they know how tremendously successful they could become by joining the very best company while it’s growing fast.


  • Every one of today’s most famous and familiar ideas was once unknown and unsuspected.
  • From an early age, we are taught the right way to do things is to proceed one very small step at a time, day by day, grade by grade. If you overachieve and end up learning something that’s not on the test, you won’t receive credit for it.
  • Most people think only in terms of what they’ve been taught; schooling itself aims to impart conventional wisdom.


  • A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed.
  • As a founder, your first job is to get the first things right, because you cannot build a great company on a flawed foundation

The Mechanics of Mafia

  • “Company Culture” doesn’t exist apart from company itself: no company has a culture; every company is a culture.
  • The lawyers I worked with ran a valuable business, and they were impressive individuals one by one. But the relationships between them were oddly thin. They spent all day together, but few of them seemed to have much to say to each other outside the office. Why work with a group of people who don’t even like each other?

If You Build It, Will They Come?

  • Advertising doesn’t exist to make you buy a product right away, it exists to embed subtle impressions that will drive sales later.
  • If you have invented something new but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business – no matter how good the product.

Man And Machine

  • Computers are complements for humans, not substitutes.
  • Computers are tools, not rivals.
  • As we find new ways to use computers, they won’t just get better at the kinds of things people already do; they’ll help us to do what was previously unimaginable.

Hope you learnt something valuable from this extract. Thank you for reading.

Image Credits: Cover Image by Oscar Nilsson from Unsplash