Peter Thiel, born in Frankfurt, Germany, is a founder of PayPal, the first outside investor of Facebook, a Stanford professor and a U.S. chess master.
He recently wrote Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, a compelling best-seller about the advantages of creating monopolies versus competing.
Quotes from Peter’s book:
“Tolstoy opens Anna Karenina by observing: ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Business is the opposite. 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.”
“Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.”
“Perfect competition is the ideal and the default state in Economics 101. Perfectly competitive markets achieve equilibrium when consumer supply equals producers’ demand. Every firm in a competitive market is undifferentiated and sells the same homogeneous product.”
“Creative monopolists give customers more choices by adding new categories of abundance to the world…. They are ‘powerful engines for making the world better.'”
As it turns out, many large monopolies in America were founded by immigrants:
AT&T Alexander Graham Bell — Scotland
Amazon Jeff Bezos — Raised by a Cuban immigrant, Michael Bezos
Apple Steve Jobs — Biological father was a Syrian immigrant, Abdulfattah Jandali
Google Sergey Brin — Russia
Carnegie Steel Andrew Carnegie — Scotland
Intel András István Gróf (Andy Grove) — Hungary
Comcast Daniel Aaron — Germany
Peter Thiel describes his own journey from competition to monopoly. He and Elon Musk, from South Africa, were intense competitors until they met at a coffee shop in Silicon Valley and worked out a 50-50 split in a newly created PayPal, which did create a monopoly.