Very detailed notes of Peter Thiel's startup class at Stanford

I came across a blog with very specific notes on the class Peter Thiel is currently teaching at Stanford. I've been going through a class lecture a day when I get some down time in the office. Here are some takeaways I thought we're good from the first 3 lessons. (Some of these are little obvious, but still hold true)

Lesson 1:
Progress comes in two flavors: horizontal/extensive and vertical/intensive.

  1. Horizontal or extensive progress basically means copying things that work. In one word, it means simply "globalization."
  2. Vertical or intensive progress, by contrast, means doing new things. The single word for this is "technology." Intensive progress involves going from 0 to 1 (not simply the 1 to n of globalization)

Lesson 2
"To understand businesses and startups in 2012, you have to do the truly contrarian thing: you have to think for yourself. The question of what is valuable is a much better question than debating bubble or no bubble.

Lesson 3
Maybe making the world a smaller place is exactly what you want to do. Maybe you don't want to work in big markets. Maybe it's much better to find or make a small market, excel, and own it.

And yet, the single business idea that you hear most often is: the bigger the market, the better. That is utterly, totally wrong. The restaurant business is a huge market. It is also not a very good way to make money.

http://blakemasters.tumblr.com/

*This is not my blog, and I don't go to Stanford.

Comments (35)

 
May 7, 2012 - 11:00am

SB for your efforts.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

 
May 9, 2012 - 1:59pm

I've been going through a class lecture a day when I get some down time in the office. Here are some takeaways I thought we're good from the first 3 lessons. (Some of these are little obvious, but still hold true)

Lesson 1:
Progress comes in two flavors: horizontal/extensive and vertical/intensive.

  1. Horizontal or extensive progress basically means copying things that work. In one word, it means simply "globalization."
  2. Vertical or intensive progress, by contrast, means doing new things. The single word for this is "technology." Intensive progress involves going from 0 to 1 (not simply the 1 to n of globalization)

Lesson 2
"To understand businesses and startups in 2012, you have to do the truly contrarian thing: you have to think for yourself. The question of what is valuable is a much better question than debating bubble or no bubble.

Lesson 3
Maybe making the world a smaller place is exactly what you want to do. Maybe you don't want to work in big markets. Maybe it's much better to find or make a small market, excel, and own it.

And yet, the single business idea that you hear most often is: the bigger the market, the better. That is utterly, totally wrong. The restaurant business is a huge market. It is also not a very good way to make money.

 
May 10, 2012 - 2:44pm

Spectacular

But Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought bravely. And Rhaegar died.
 
May 11, 2012 - 2:43am

Did you happen to run across this on distressed-debt-investing.com? :)

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it
 
May 11, 2012 - 9:38am

frgna:
Did you happen to run across this on distressed-debt-investing.com? :)

I think I got it from either Ritholtz's blog, or the reformed broker's morning links.I scan through 8-10 blogs every morning on Google reader so can't say for sure. Although I really enjoy DDI, liked today's notes on Oaktree's first quarterly call.

ST Monkey:
met him a couple of times, but I must say, Thiel is a bit strange and kinda off the way with his behavior.

The dude is trying to form a private country off the coast of San Francisco, I'd imagine he might be a little different. You can't deny the guy has great insights.

Not sure if you read Founder's Fund Manifesto, but that's definitely worth checking out... actually he didn't write it, but he definitely had a strong influence.

 
May 12, 2012 - 3:16pm

Would love to see more of this

The Four E's of investment "The greatest Enemies of the Equity investor are Expenses and Emotions."- Warren Buffet
 
May 12, 2012 - 4:46pm

Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I just finished reading "The Lean Startup" (which was recommended to me by someone on WSO). If anyone is interested in learning more about building a successful startup, I suggest you give this book a read (~300 pages).

CompBanker

 
May 13, 2012 - 10:16am

@CompBanker Was it me who recommended Ries's book to you? I don't remember. If so, you should definitely check out Steve Blanks new book The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company. And it kinda goes hand in hand with Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Both great resources. You might be familiar with the Business Model Canvas put together by Osterwalder (it's kinda what he's famous for).

 
May 16, 2012 - 12:17am

Being in Peter Thiel's class probably gives you a better network than 99.9% of OCR offices.

Competition is a sin. -John D. Rockefeller
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