This post references the book summary provided in this medium post.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel is the seminal guide to the earliest stages of a startup’s life.
Peter Thiel is not without controversy, and I don’t agree with the entire book. However, this exercise is about testing the Leadership Lattice as a learning framework, to evaluate if lessons from popular leadership books can be connected with the lattice.
Some key concepts from Zero to One:
- Anti-Incrementalism - an approach that focuses on bold approaches vs. lean startup approaches. This is an approach to building products within the application domain.
- Avoiding Competition - Again, an approach to finding markets, also within the application domain.
- Building a Monopoly - A formula for durable businesses, an excellent set of lessons within the application domain to guide product development.
- Recruiting - Some practical tips for recruiting employees based on vision and long term company mission. This applies to the Individual and Organization domain.
- The Importance of Sales - Most startups underemphasize sales and distribution. Again, lessons that belong in the application domain.
- Seven Questions Every Startup Should Answer - A set of criteria to create durable technology businesses (application domain)
- Tech Companies are Monarchies - An argument for feudal structures in startups, which is an approach to organizational design (team domain).
Overall, Zero to One focuses on the application domain, and has some lessons for the Team and Individual domains. However, since it’s a manual for the early stages in a startup - where the only thing that matters is Product/Market fit - this is not too surprising.
As a learning framework, the lattice can contain most, if not all, the concepts explored in Zero to One. However, it challenges the structure because it’s not about leadership in all contexts - only in the early stages of a company. Since leadership approaches need to develop as the company evolves, the lattice needs to have this temporal dimension added too. Zero to One and Lean Startup, both of which focus on early stages of startups, emphasize this need.