Build Your Own Monopoly: What Great Business Is Nobody Building?

According to Peter Thiel, “Every moment in business happens only once. Every moment in the history of technology happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not be building an operating system. The next Larry Page won’t build a search engine.  The next Mark Zuckerberg won’t be building a social network. So if you’re copying these guys in some sense you’re not learning from them.” (See his full remarks.)

Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and hedge fund manager. He cofounded PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk and was the first outside investor in Facebook. His book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future, encourages its readers to see competition as “a deceptive, destructive ideology, and [that] monopoly is the true condition of any successful business,” according to a review in The New Republic. Many economists might cringe at the word monopoly, but Thiel is “not interested in illegal bullies or government favorites: By ‘monopoly,’ he means the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

While Thiel’s book does offer practical insider advice for those starting businesses, the crux of his belief is for entrepreneurs to think differently, break new ground and create their own monopolies.

“We can invent new and better things. Creative monopolists give customers more choices by adding entirely new categories of abundance to the world. Creative monopolies aren’t just good for the rest of society; they’re powerful engines for making it better.”

Creating a monopoly is no easy task. Yes it requires innovative, market creating-disrupting ideas, but many of the greatest success stories in business required going against what other people believe was wrong or impossible. “We live in a world I think in which courage is far shorter supply than genius,” he said.

Peter Thiel will be the keynote speaker at an event sponsored by the Private Capital Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, who aim to further the understanding of private capital and its global economic impact. Hosted by GSV Asset Management, the event, to be held in Redwood City at GSVlabs this April, is entitled, “Driving Growth with Big Ideas: Private Capital’s Role in Global Innovation.”