Peter Thiel is one of the prominent entrepreneurs of our day, founding PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund. He was also the first outside investor in Facebook. Our team recently read Thiel’s book Zero to One to learn what makes a successful startup. Here are some of our greatest takeaways that we will be applying at Menlo Group:
According to Thiel, successful entrepreneurs look for secrets in the world and build great companies around those secrets. Products and services need to not only create value for clients but also enable the company to capture value and continue to scale. As we discussed these ideas, we repeated one of our company’s favorite quotes by Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” We strive to solve problems for our clients and build what they need.
In Zero to One, the author focuses a lot on how companies can become monopolies in their industries. Menlo Group may not be the largest commercial real estate firm in the Phoenix metropolitan area, but we believe we demonstrate characteristics of a monopoly. We are a one-stop-shop for our clients, offering brokerage, property management and project management services. We set ourselves apart in the market through our modern branding, unique processes, technology use and high percentage of advisors with industry designations.
Each of our team members also strive to become a “monopoly of one” by becoming experts in their fields. To do so, we must say no to projects and opportunities that don’t match our expertise.
Thiel told the stories of many successful (and unsuccessful) businesses, and our team enjoyed learning from these entrepreneurs’ experiences. We took turns sharing about other business leaders who inspire us.
We also discussed the importance of knowing Menlo’s story and being able to communicate it clearly to our clients and business partners. Additionally, each of us has an individual journey that has led us to where we are today, and we want to continuously reflect and learn from our experiences.
If you’re a business leader or entrepreneur, we highly recommend Zero to One by Peter Thiel.
The team at Menlo Group meets twice a month to discuss various business and self-improvement books. To see what else we’ve been reading, please check out our other blog posts or sign up for our email list.