I'm James Wallman — author, entrepreneur, futurist. Welcome to The Future Is Here. We provide sensible, robust, useful strategic advice to people like you.

The seven steps to success

These are the seven key questions Peter Thiel asks in his brilliant handbook for startupsZero to One — How to Build the Future:

1. The Engineering question: can you create breakthrough technology — 10x better, that offers “transparent superiority” — not incremental improvements? What will that look like

2. The Timing question: is now the right time to start your particular business?

3. The Monopoly question: are you starting with a BIG share of a small market?


“Customers won’t care about any particular tech unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way.”

“You can’t dominate a sub market if it’s fictional. Huge markets are highly competitive.”

4. The People Question: do you have the right team?

5. The Distribution question: Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

6. The Durability question: will your market position be defensible 10, 20 years into the future?

7. The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

Useful pointers:

“Great companies have secrets: specific reasons for success that other people don’t see.”

“The best projects are likely to be overlooked, not trumpeted by a crowd; the best problems to work on are often the ones nobody else even tries to solve.”

“An entrepreneur can’t benefit from macro-scale insight unless his own plans begin on the micro-scale.”

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