Every entrepreneur should be building a monopoly: Peter Thiel

Paypal cofounder, public intellectual and global tech entrepreneurship leader Peter Thiel is thoughtful in his perspective on economic growth. An interview with him was on our last Technical.ly podcast and an even longer conversation he had on a different podcast was even more enlightening.

Here are a few things from that conversation I particularly enjoyed:

  • Every business aims to be a monopoly or a commodity. An entrepreneur should always start a business with a goal to be a monopoly, said Thiel.
  • Others use monopoly to be a negative, but that comes later in the cycle. A monopoly decays into being ineffective, as it aims to protect the model it built, and with a continuously innovative ecosystem then it will be disrupted, by someone else aiming to be a monopoly. That’s the creative destruction that so many laud.
  • Tech versus anti-tech companies: Microsoft was once a technology company, since it was innovating and aiming to create disruptive technologies. Now owning Microsoft stock is a bet against new technology unseating Microsoft.
  • You need greater focus to build a great business. Focus on the application not the sector. The promise of clean tech hasn’t succeeded yet but will as work grows within clean tech. So his monopoly push is not a lesson in going for the biggest market but instead a full ownership of the market you’re pursuing.
  • Stop seeking out a wave to follow. “Trends are insufficiently differentiating,” that aren’t worth following, he said. Real breakout technologies set trends.
  • Ask these seven questions if you plan to build a monopoly business to last. Thiel created this list list of seven questions for his book.

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