What’s the best way to navigate competitive forces?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 3 Notes Essay

In perfect competition, no firms in an industry make economic profit. If there are profits to be made, firms enter the market and the profits go away. If firms are suffering economic losses, some fold and exit. So you don’t make any money. And it’s not just you; no one makes any money. In perfect competition, the scale on which you’re operating is negligible compared to the scale of the market as a whole.

What’s the best way to name your company or product?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
Peter Thiel (full) | Conversations with Tyler

A slight aesthetic thing I believe in very strongly is the names of companies are often very predictive of future failure or success. PayPal was a very friendly name. It was the friend that helps you pay. Napster was a bad name. It was the music sharing site. You nap some music, you nap a kid. That sounds like a bad thing to be doing. It’s no wonder the government then comes in and shuts the company down, within a few years. You want to be very c… (read more)

What’s the best way to manage competition?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 12 Notes…

you want wars to be short. Let that process go on too long and you’ll lose yourself in it. So your strategy must be shock and awe. You have to win very quickly. But since very often it’s not possible to ensure a quick victory, your primary job is to figure out ways not to have war happen at all.

What’s the best way to manage competition?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 12 Notes…

When people are myopically focused on fighting, they lose sight of everything else. They begin to look very much like their enemy. The skinny kid bulks up. He becomes the bully, which of course is exactly what he had always hated. A working theory is thus that you must choose your enemies well, since you’ll soon become just like them.

What’s the best way to form your initial team?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
PAYPAL MAFIA: Reid Hoffman & Peter Thiel’s Master Class at CEIBS – YouTube

People often ask these questions about traits entrepreneurs have and I think they often have on these things are almost opposite traits that are almost combined. So you want to be very open minded but you also have to be somewhat stubborn. You want to iterate very quickly and change things very quickly but you also want to have some sort of a long-term strategy.

What’s the best way to create your competitive advantage?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 11 Notes…

The basic challenge is to find things that are hard but doable. You want to find a frontier. It’s worth making a rough division between two different types of secrets. There are secrets of nature and then there are secrets about people. Natural secrets involve science and the world around us. Secrets about people are different. These are things that people hide because they don’t want other people to know about them. So two distinct questions to … (read more)

What’s the best way to create your competitive advantage?

Peter Thiel (Co-Founder & Partner at Founders Fund)
First-mover advantage is over-rated | A Founder’s Notebook

Moving first is a tactic, not a goal. What really matters is generating cash flows in the future, so being the first mover doesn’t do you any good if someone else comes along and unseats you. It’s much better to be the last mover. Last movers build non-commoditized businesses. They are relationship-driven. They create value. They last. And they make money.