Zero to One.
A year or so ago, I read to Zero to One by Peter Thiel, a creator of PayPal and a contrarian tech investor. While his political views vary greatly from mine, I found portions of his book illuminating.
It opens with a question that Thiel often asks people in interviews:
"What important truth do very few people agree with you on?"
Thiel continues: “This is a question that sounds easy because it’s straightforward. Actually, it’s very hard to answer. It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon. And it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”
This question is at the heart of the book. The idea is that in this important but contrarian truth of yours lies the path that you should take as an entrepreneur — as it shows where your greatest opportunity might be.
It is where you can push an idea not just laterally but vertically, making a leap forward from the status quo. Or in other words, it’s how you get from zero to one.
P.S. For me, the answer to that question is my belief that technology will not save us from our most human challenges. Artificial intelligence, 3D printing, apps that track our every bodily function, even solar power and electric cars — these might be great things for the advancement of civilization but in many cases, they separate us from what it means to be human. We need more and more reminders to step away from technology and live in the present with our family, friends and nature — to be human and connect humanly. This is what we’re trying to provide with the Holstee Membership.