After reading a thoughtful book, I find it tough to remember what I actually read a couple of weeks later. So after reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, I decided to write down three nuggets for entrepreneurs worthy to chew over. If you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneur, take advice from Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn: we are all entrepreneurs of not only our businesses, but also our personal and professional lives.
Are We Making Vertical or Horizontal Progress?
I tend to think about progress as generally making something faster and better – faster computers or higher buildings. However, Thiel splits it into two:
Horizontal progress (traditional idea of progress) is replication or globalization. China built railroads and cities in 20 years that took the United States 100 years by copying. But is there anything new here?
Vertical progress (technological progress) are new inventions that change the way we live: the wheel, horse-drawn carriages, automobiles, planes, rockets, and computers.
Entrepreneurs make vertical progress. Most large corporations make horizontal progress.
Is the Future Definite or Indefinite? Optimistic or Pessimistic?
The view in China is definite and pessimistic. Its economy has been growing in leaps and bounds, but by following the footsteps of American growth the past century. Rapid growth is unsustainable, so what is next?
American baby boomers saw the world as definite and optimistic. Job security is guaranteed as long as you worked hard and moved up the ranks.
Europe is currently in an indefinite and pessimistic mood. The population is aging and growth is slowing, but unsure of what will happen.
Americans are indefinitely optimistic. College graduates are taught to diversify their skill sets and wear many hats. Who knows where the bright future will take them next?
These views lead us to the power law, which advises you to make as few investments as possible because 20% of investments reap you 80% of the benefits (Pareto). So should we invest our money and time in a few successful endeavors or in many to hedge our bets? Which view is best to navigate today’s world?
How Do We Uncover the World’s Secrets to Find Success? There are three different types of goals:
“Goals that can be satisfied with minimal effort”
“Goals that can be satisfied with serious effort”
“Goals that cannot be satisfied, no matter how much effort one makes”
Entrepreneurs who find goals that can be satisfied with serious effort are the Facebooks and Googles of today.
Do you agree with Thiel’s interpretation of the entrepreneurial world? Are there other concepts you found helpful in starting and managing your business or career?
You have the highest stress levels 25-34 years, with a steep drop after 55.
Women experience greater levels of stress.
Stress levels decrease with greater education and higher income.
WEALTHIEST ZIP CODES: The top five zip codes in America with the highest average income probably won’t surprise you: three of the five are in New York City, while one is in Miami Beach.
Washington, D.C. 20510 ranks as the wealthiest zip code in the District, with an average income of $191,818.
Maryland, Gibson Island, 21056 has an average income of $450,012.
Virginia, Roanoke 24005 has an average income of $394,400
Florida, Miami Beach 33109 with a stunning $2,180,105 in average income.
New York City has the wealthiest zip code (10104), with an average income of $2,976,929.
HOW MUCH DO YOU MAKE? Nearly 73% of full-time workers aren’t comfortable with the idea of discussing their pay with anyone at work other than their boss or the HR department. Only 13% said they’d be “completely comfortable” with sharing such information more broadly, recognizing that it might offer workers better leverage in negotiations. The remaining 14% or so said they would be comfortable discussing their salaries with close colleagues, but not their wider team.
Women were slightly more uncomfortable than men with the idea of sharing what they make, despite what they might stand to gain from doing so. About 74.5% of the women in the sample said they were uncomfortable talking about it with anyone other than a supervisor or HR, compared with 70% of the men.
There was a little more variation, meanwhile, among age groups. Respondents aged 25 to 34 were most likely to welcome the idea of talking openly about their pay. 34% said they were either completely comfortable with it or would do so with close colleagues, compared to 27% of all ages surveyed.
1) Draw a Venn Diagram
2) Translate percentages into fractions
3) Encourage everyone to “take a step back”
4) Nod continuously while taking notes
5) Repeat the last thing the engineer said very very slowly
6) Ask “will this scale?” no matter what it is
7) Pace around the room
8) As the presenter go back a slide
9) Step out for a very important phone call
10) Make fun of yourself
MARRIED MEN EARN MORE $$$: Men who get married work harder and more strategically, and earn more money than their single peers from similar backgrounds. Marriage also transforms men’s social worlds; they spend less time with friends and more time with family; they also go to bars less and to church more.
On average, young married men, aged 28-30, make $15,900 more than their single peers, and married men aged 44-46 make $18,800 more than their single peers, after controlling for differences in education, race, ethnicity, regional unemployment, and scores on a test of general knowledge.
Married twins earned 26% more than their identical twins who were not married.
SEE YOUR PARTNER: The key is to understand that partners are not renovation projects. Think always in terms of looking at your own expectations, negative emotional responses, dark moods and insecurities and deal with them first.
Paying attention takes time and focus — two things we’re short on these days. Sitting next to each other while surfing the Web on separate laptops doesn’t cut it. Neither does dinner if your eyes are on your cellphone as much as they’re on your partner. A neglected spouse might not clamor for your attention as aggressively as a pet, but they need the dose of love just as much.
For 10 minutes each day, couples should “talk about something other than work, family, who does what around the house or your relationship.” The goal is “to always really understand your partner.” To not lose sight of their goals and dreams and passions — the things that probably drew you to them in the first place. As you share breakfast in the morning or wind down before bed, the rule offers a chance to talk about your partner’s wish list of vacation destinations or about a book they’re reading. Anything that allows you to stop and connect and not just feel like business partners trying to make your way through a packed agenda.
UNIQUE JOBS BY STATE: Washington, D.C. is truly a mecca for political scientists. The district has 120 times the number of political scientists than would be expected based on the national average. Sunny Florida is home to an unusual percentage of athletes, while Hawaii has dancers and New York has fashion designers. Nevada has 32 times more gaming supervisors than the national average. And New Jersey is, for whatever reason, home to lots of marriage and family therapists.
Graphic: The United States of odd jobs (Pew Charitable Trust)
USA IN 4 PRESIDENTIAL LIFETIMES: When President Obama was born in 1961, President Herbert Hoover was still alive. When Hoover was born in 1874, President Andrew Johnson was still alive. When President Johnson was born in 1808, President John Adams was still alive. Charlie Chaplin and 50 Cent were both alive at the same time. So were the Egyptian pharaohs and the wooly mammoth. Paul Revere and Karl Marx shared a planet, just barely, as did Betty White and Alexander Graham Bell. America is only as old the lifetimes of four American presidents.
American presidential lifetimes overlapped (Philip Bump)