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31 Terrific Peter Thiel Quotes

Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager. As the co-founder of Paypal, he served as its Chief Executive Officer. With a long list of successes, Thiel led himself to a current net worth in excess of $2.8 billion. Here is a look at some of the best Peter Thiel quotes and advice shared during his career.

“A conventional truth can be important – it’s essential to learn elementary mathematics, for example – but it won’t give you an edge. It’s not a secret.”

“A valuable business must start by finding a niche and dominating a small market.”

“All happy companies are different: each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem. All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”

“An entrepreneur must deal with more uncertainty than a professional with a well-defined role.”

“Anti-aging is an extremely under-explored field.”

“Creating value isn’t enough – you also need to capture some of the value you create.”

“Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition.”

“Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors.”

“Every correct answer is necessarily a secret: something important and unknown, something hard to do but doable.”

“Every entrepreneur should plan to be the last mover in her particular market. That starts with asking yourself: what will the world look like 10 and 20 years from now, and how will my business fit in?”

“Every monopoly is unique, but they usually share some combination of the following characteristics: proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale, and branding.”

“Every one of today’s smartphones has thousands of times more processing power than the computers that guided astronauts to the moon.”

“I believe we are in a world where innovation in stuff was outlawed. It was basically outlawed in the last 40 years – part of it was environmentalism, part of it was risk aversion.”

“I do think there is this danger that our society has made its peace with decline. I’d like to jolt them out of their complacency a little bit.”

“I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

“I think it’s a problem that we don’t have more companies like Facebook. It shouldn’t be the only company that’s doing this well.”

“I think one of the most contrarian things one can do in our society is try to think for oneself.”

“If you’ve invented something new but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business—no matter how good the product.”

“I’m short on New York, long on Silicon Valley.”

“In a world where wealth is growing, you can get away with printing money. Doubling the debt over the next 20 years is not a problem.”

“The most successful companies make the core progression—to first dominate a specific niche and then scale to adjacent markets—a part of their founding narrative.”

“The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.”

“The most valuable companies in the future won’t ask what problems can be solved with computers alone. Instead, they’ll ask: how can computers help humans solve hard problems?”

“The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors.”

“The preference I have for startups rather than large movements is that you have to convince a much smaller group of people…that the future can look very different.”

“There are still many large white spaces on the map of human knowledge. You can go discover them. So do it. Get out there and fill in the blank spaces. Every single moment is a possibility to go to these new places and explore them.”

“There’s always a sense that people will do things quite differently if they think they have privacy.”

“This is always a problem with elites, they’re always skewed in an optimistic direction.”

“Twitter is hard to evaluate. They have a lot of potential. It’s a horribly mismanaged company–probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.”

“University administrators are the equivalent of subprime mortgage brokers selling you a story that you should go into debt massively, that it’s not a consumption decision, it’s an investment decision. Actually no, it’s a bad consumption decision. Most colleges are four-year parties.”

“You should focus relentlessly on something you’re good at doing, but before that you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.”

In the following video, Peter Thiel explains how we are in a higher education bubble and some important ideas we should keep in mind for the future.

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