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77 Peter Thiel Quotes On Startups & Success

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77 Peter Thiel Quotes On Startups & Success

If you’re looking for the best collection of Peter Thiel quotes then look no further.

Peter Thiel is an American entrepreneur and venture capitalist best known for co-founding PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund.

He was the CEO of PayPal before it was acquired by Ebay in 2002. Thereafter he founded Clarium Capital of which he remains the president to this day. Thiel was also the first outside investor in Facebook when he acquired a 10.2% stake for $500,000 in August 2004, a scene portrayed in the Oscar-winning film, The Social Network. He sold the majority of his shares in Facebook for over $1 billion in 2012, but remains on the board of directors.

Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One, is considered to be one of the best business books around and is described as a “self-help book for entrepreneurs, bursting with bromides”.

Peter Thiel has an estimated net worth of $2.3 billion as of 2019 and there is no doubting his expertise and advice when it comes to business and entrepreneurship.

Below you’ll find the best Peter Thiel quotes on a wide variety of topics that include business, college, entrepreneurship, monopolies, startups, sales and success. They’re packed with decades of wisdom.

77 Best Peter Thiel Quotes

1. “Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.” – Peter Thiel

2. “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.” – Peter Thiel

3. “There are quite a lot of people who think my aspirations are not possible. That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about these people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously – and they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.” – Peter Thiel

4. “Today’s ‘best practices’ lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.” – Peter Thiel

5. We live in a world in which courage is in less supply than genius.” – Peter Thiel

6. “Beginning with brand rather than substance is dangerous.” – Peter Thiel

7. “When you are starting a new business you don’t want to go after giant markets. You want to go after small markets and take over those markets quickly.” – Peter Thiel

8. “What valuable company is nobody building?” – Peter Thiel

9. “The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.” – Peter Thiel (This is one of the most famous Peter Thiel quotes on being contrarian.)

10. “Competition is overrated. In practice it is quite destructive and should be avoided wherever possible. Much better than fighting for scraps in existing markets is to create and own new ones.” – Peter Thiel

11. “There are only two kinds of businesses in this world: Businesses in crazy competition, and businesses that are one of a kind.” – Peter Thiel

12. “Recruiting is a core competency for any company. It should never be outsourced.” – Peter Thiel

13. “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.” – Peter Thiel

14. “Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.” – Peter Thiel

15. “We cannot take for granted that the future will be better, and that means we need to work to create it today.” – Peter Thiel

16. “The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.” – Peter Thiel

17. “You have as much computing power in your iPhone as was available at the time of the Apollo missions. But what is it being used for? It’s being used to throw angry birds at pigs; it’s being used to send pictures of your cat to people halfway around the world; it’s being used to check in as the virtual mayor of a virtual nowhere while you’re riding a subway from the nineteenth century.” – Peter Thiel (This is one of my favorite Peter Thiel quotes. Similar to what Richard Branson says when he said use our phones, don’t let them use you.)

18. “Every business is successful exactly to the extent that it does something others cannot.” – Peter Thiel

19. “No company has a culture; every company is a culture.” – Peter Thiel

20. “There’s a wide range of sales ability: there are many gradations between novices, experts, and masters. There are even sales grandmasters. If you don’t know any grandmasters, it’s not because you haven’t encountered them, but rather because their art is hidden in plain sight.” – Peter Thiel

21. “Never invest in a tech CEO that wears a suit.” – Peter Thiel

22. “Had the people who started Facebook decided to stay at Harvard, they would not have been able to build the company, and by the time they graduated in 2006, that window probably would have come and gone.” – Peter Thiel

23. “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.” – Peter Thiel

24. “The most fundamental reason that even businesspeople underestimate the importance of sales is the systematic effort to hide it at every level of every field in a world secretly driven by it.” – Peter Thiel

25. “Whatever the career, sales ability distinguishes superstars from also-rans.” – Peter Thiel

26. “There is perhaps no specific time that is necessarily right to start your company or start your life. But some times and some moments seem more auspicious than others. Now is such a moment. If we don’t take charge and usher in the future – if you don’t take charge of your life – there is the sense that no one else will.” – Peter Thiel (This is of the most motivational Peter Thiel quotes!)

27. “Every time we create something new we go from zero to one.” – Peter Thiel

28. “Superior sales and distribution by itself can create a monopoly, even with no product differentiation. The converse is not true. No matter how strong your product-even if it easily fits into already established habits and anybody who tries it likes it immediately-you must still support it with a strong distribution plan.” – Peter Thiel

29. “Luck is like an atheistic word for God.” – Peter Thiel

30. “Everybody has a product to sell—no matter whether you’re an employee, a founder, or an investor. It’s true even if your company consists of just you and your computer. Look around. If you don’t see any salespeople, you’re the salesperson.” – Peter Thiel

31. “Society is secretly driven by sales.” – Peter Thiel

32. “You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling: not why it’s important in general, but why you’re doing something important that no one else is going to get done.” – Peter Thiel

33. “The value of failure is greatly over-rated. It’s a preposterous myth.” – Peter Thiel

34. “Most people are average. Founders are not. Founders’ traits seem to have an inverse normal distribution to them.” – Peter Thiel

35. “If people were super-optimistic about technology there would be no reason to be pessimistic about the future.” – Peter Thiel

36. “Long-term planning is often undervalued by our indefinite short-term world.” – Peter Thiel

37. “A startup is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery. You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world. It begins by rejecting the unjust tyranny of Chance. You are not a lottery ticket.” – Peter Thiel

38. “Education needs to be rethought. Education does not just happen in college, but it also happens in developing skills which will enable people to contribute to our society as a whole.” – Peter Thiel

39. “The college kids should think hard about what they’re doing. If you have a great idea for a company, there’s no right time to start it, and it’s often better to start it sooner rather than later. I went to Stanford undergrad and Stanford Law School, and if I had to do it over again, I might still do those things, but I wish I had asked the type of questions like, why I was doing it, was it just for the status and prestige, or was it because I was really interested in the substance of it.” – Peter Thiel

40. “College gives people learning and also takes away future opportunities by loading the next generation down with debt.” – Peter Thiel

41. “Higher education is the place where people who had big plans in high school get stuck in fierce rivalries with equally smart peers over conventional careers like management consulting and investment banking. For the privilege of being turned into conformists, students (or their families) pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in skyrocketing tuition that continues to outpace inflation. Why are we doing this to ourselves?” – Peter Thiel

42. “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.” – Peter Thiel

43. “What nerds miss is that it takes hard work to make sales look easy.” – Peter Thiel

44. “Anyone who prefers owning part of your company to being paid in cash reveals a preference for the long term and a commitment to increasing your company’s value in the future.” – Peter Thiel

45. “As an investor-entrepreneur, I’ve always tried to be contrarian, to go against the crowd, to identify opportunities in places where people are not looking.” – Peter Thiel

46. “A company does better the less it pays the CEO.” – Peter Thiel

47. “People always say you should live your life as if it were your last day. I think you should live your life as though it will go on for ever; that every day is so good that you don’t want it to end.” – Peter Thiel

48. “If you have a business idea that’s extremely easy to copy, that can often become something of a challenge or problem. – Peter Thiel

49. “It’s always a mistake to be too focused on prestige and status…I would always be long substance, short status.” – Peter Thiel

50. “You become a great writer by writing.” – Peter Thiel

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

52. “I don’t think success is complicated; if you do something that works, then it’s a success.” – Peter Thiel

53. “Don’t bother starting the 10,000th restaurant in Manhattan. Find something to do that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done.” – Peter Thiel

54. “The most successful businesses have an idea for the future that’s very different from the present – and that’s not fully valued.” – Peter Thiel

55. “It’s good to test yourself and develop your talents and ambitions as fully as you can and achieve greater success; but I think success is the feeling you get from a job well done, and the key thing is to do the work.” – Peter Thiel

56. “If you’re the founder…entrepreneur starting a company, you always want to aim for monopoly and you always want to avoid competition.” – Peter Thiel

57. “A business creates X dollars of value and captures Y% of X. X and Y are independent variables.” – Peter Thiel

58. “…a minnow in a vast ocean, that’s not a good place to be. That means you have tons of competitors and you don’t even know who they are.” – Peter Thiel

59. “Many entrepreneurs focus only on short term growth. They have an excuse: growth is easy to measure, but durability isn’t.” – Peter Thiel

60. “Entrepreneurship: you put one dumb foot in front of the other while the world throws bricks at your head.” – Peter Thiel

61. “As a founder, your first job is to get the first things right, because you cannot build a great company on a flawed foundation.” – Peter Thiel

62. “Poor sales rather than bad product is the most common cause of failure.” – Peter Thiel

63. “Selling your company to the media is a necessary part of selling it to everyone.” – Peter Thiel

64. “The best way to create productivity is to get rid of people.” – Peter Thiel

65. “Everyone at your company should be different in the same way – a tribe of like-minded people fiercely devoted to the company’s mission.” – Peter Thiel

66. “You can achieve your 10-year plan in the next six months.” – Peter Thiel

67. “It’s true that every great entrepreneur is first and foremost a designer.” – Peter Thiel

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

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

70. “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.” – Peter Thiel

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

72. “If you focus on near-term growth above all else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: will this business still be around a decade from now? Numbers alone won’t tell you the answer; instead you must think critically about the qualitative characteristics of your business.” – Peter Thiel

73. “I always have very low expectations, so I’m rarely disappointed.” – Peter Thiel

74. “As a good rule of thumb, proprietary technology must be at least 10 times better than its closest substitute in some important dimension to lead to a real monopolistic advantage. Anything less than an order of magnitude better will probably be perceived as a marginal improvement and will be hard to sell, especially in an already crowded market.” – Peter Thiel (This is one of the Peter Thiel quotes describing his monopoly rule.)

75. “Competition is for losers.” – Peter Thiel

76. “The single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places.” – Peter Thiel

77. “Like acting, sales works best when hidden. This explains why almost everyone whose job involves distribution— whether they’re in sales, marketing, or advertising— has a job title that has nothing to do with those things. People who sell advertising are called ‘account executives.’ People who sell customers work in ‘business development.’ People who sell companies are ‘investment bankers.’ And people who sell themselves are called ‘politicians.’ There’s a reason for these redescriptions: none of us wants to be reminded when we’re being sold.” – Peter Thiel

Did you like these inspirational quotes?

What are your favorite Peter Thiel quotes? Let me know in the comments below and please share this post.

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