Create New Things. Create The Future. Create It Today.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, Palantir, and Founder’s Fund, on using human agency to build the future we want to see:

But no matter how many trends can be traced, the future won’t happen on its own. What the Singularity would look like matters less than the stark choice we face today between the two most likely scenarios: nothing or something. It’s up to us. We cannot take for granted that the future will be better, and that means we need to work to create it today.

Whether we achieve the Singularity on a cosmic scale is perhaps less important than whether we seize the opportunities we have to do new things in our own working lives. Everything important to us—the universe, the planet, the country, your company, your life, and this very moment—is singular.

Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1. The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.

This is from the conclusion of Zero To One, notes from his seminal Stanford class CS:183 Startup boiled down to the most essential pieces. If there’s one book that single-handedly reframed how I see the business of technology, it’s this one, bar none. It’s deeply provocative, inspiring, and gets the reader to challenge her own thinking and the conventions of the world that we live in.

I pick it every so often to re-assess my own beliefs, and it’s just as good each time. The most important lessons I take from it are very simple: to think for myself, and always push to make a better future. Sounds too simple, but these two fundamentals are actually not as common as they seem. And that’s the biggest difference. Doing both is the only way we can achieve truly transformational social and economic impact.

It’s audacious for sure. But it’s a mission worthy of giving our best efforts.


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