50 Quotes from Peter Thiel

50 Quotes from Peter Thiel

1. “Luck is like an atheistic word for God...”

2. “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.”

3. “A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed. Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”

4. “All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past.”

5. “I do tend to think that things that have incredibly long time horizons often do involve market failures.”

6. “Technology is probably the single biggest driver of productivity gains for the developed countries. For example, I think it’s much more important than free trade.”

7. “Technology and capitalism are very much linked. I think that capitalism probably works best in a technologically progressing society.”

8. “Winning is better than losing, but everybody loses when the war isn’t one worth fighting.”

9. “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.”

10. “As you craft a plan to expand to adjacent markets, don’t disrupt: Avoid competition as much as possible.”

11. “It is sort of a bit of a caricature of capitalism, that it’s always this zero-sum game where you have winners and losers. Silicon Valley, the technology industry at its best, creates a situation where everybody can be a winner.”

12. “Rivalry causes us to overemphasize old opportunities and slavishly copy what has worked in the past.”

13. “People don’t want to believe that technology is broken. Pharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology – all these areas where the progress has been a lot more limited than people think. And the question is why.”

14. “First, only invest in companies that have the potential to return the value of the entire fund.”

15. “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.”

16. “I think somehow people should be encouraged to think about a very long time horizon and I think this is true for businesses, it’s true for governments and it’s true for people doing things in the non-profit sector.”

17. “Value investors look at cash flows. If a company can maintain present cash flows for 5 or 6 years, it’s a good investment. Investors then just hope that those cash flows – and thus the company’s value – don’t decrease faster than they anticipate.”

18. “We need more pessimism that the future might be a lot worse, and we need more optimism that the future might be better.”

19. “It’s a horribly mismanaged company-probably a lot of pot smoking going on there.”

20. “In the developed world, technological progress means that you can have a situation where there’s growth, where there’s a way in which everybody can be better off over time.”

21. “In the world of business, at least, Shakespeare proves the superior guide. Inside a firm, people become obsessed with their competitors for career advancement. Then the firms themselves become obsessed with their competitors in the marketplace. Amid all the human drama, people lose sight of what matters and focus on their rivals instead.”

22. “There are many more secrets in the world that are waiting to be found. The question of how many secrets exist in our world is roughly equivalent to how many startups people should start.”

23. “The road doesn’t have to be infinite after all. Take the hidden paths.”

24. “No company has a culture, every company is a culture.”

25. “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.”

26. “Great tech opportunities happen only once.”

27. “In a world of scarce resources, globalization without new technology is unsustainable.”

28. “Every tech story is different. Every moment in history happens only once. All successful companies are successful in their own unique way. It’s your task to figure out what that future history will be.”

29. “My own answer to the contrarian question is that most people think the future of the world will be defined by globalization, but the truth is that technology matters more.”

30. “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.”

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

32. “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.”

33. “The most successful businesses have an idea for the future that’s very different from the present.”

34. “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.”

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

36. “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.”

37. “Every business is successful exactly to the extent that it does something others cannot.”

38. “Society is secretly driven by sales.”

39. “For Hamlet, greatness means willingness to fight for reasons as thin as an eggshell: anyone would fight for things that matter; true heroes take their personal honor so seriously they will fight for things that don’t matter.”

40. “Probably the most extreme form of inequality is between people who are alive and people who are dead.”

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

42. “We might describe our world as having retail sanity, but wholesale madness.”

43. “If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution.”

44. “Today’s “best practices” lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.”

45. “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.”

46. “Never invest in a tech CEO that wears a suit.”

47. “Every time we create something new we go from zero to one.”

48. “What valuable company is nobody building?”

49. “Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it.”

50. “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”


Share Your Excitement

Ready to highlight and find good content?

Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.

Start Highlighting