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Peter Thiel on Startups: Notes on CS183 by Blake Masters

By Blake Masters

Blake Master's essay types of his category notes from Stanford's CS183: Startup.


Class 1: The problem of the Future
Class 2: celebration Like it is 1999?
Class three: worth Systems
Class four: The final Mover virtue (escaping competition)
Class five: The Mechanics of Mafia (culture)
Class 6: Thiel's legislation (origin, founders, financing)
Class 7: stick to the cash (venture capital)
Class eight: The Pitch
Class nine: if you happen to construct It, Will they arrive? (distribution)
Class 10: After net 2.0
Class eleven: Secrets
Class 12: struggle and Peace (capitalistic competition)
Class thirteen: you're not A Lottery price tag (luck, outlook, planning)
Class 14: Seeing eco-friendly (cleantech & renewable energy)
Class 15: again to the long run (where the long run has failed)
Class sixteen: deciphering Ourselves (biology & longevity)
Class 17: Deep idea (artificial intelligence)
Class 18: Founder as sufferer, Founder as God
Class 19: Stagnation or Singularity?

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Additional resources for Peter Thiel on Startups: Notes on CS183

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It builds character. We learn a lot from it. We see the competi­ tive ideology at work in education. There is a sense in which extreme forms of competition are seen as setting one up for future, non­ competitive success. Getting into medical school, for example, is ex­ THE LAST MOVER ADVANTAGE  tremely competitive. But then you get to be a well-paid doctor. There are, of course, cases where perfect competition is just fine. Not all businesses are created to make money; some people might be just fine with not turning a profit, or making just enough to keep the lights on.

Everybody was passionate and committed to the mission. Talks of term sheets were in the air. But then the cap table surfaced. It turned out that the founders and employees owned about 20% of the company. Other VC firms owned 80%. At the time, the company had a $35m valuation, so it was still early stage. The equity breakdown seemed more like a mis­ take than a red flag. ” question were asked. ” That may be a very noble. But it’s also pretty bad. The sub-questions it raised killed the deal: with such passivity, what are you going to do about your competitors?

Most people just assume it’s good. The stand­ ard economic narrative, with all its focus on perfect competition, identifies competition as the source of all progress. If competition is good, then the default view on its opposite—monopoly—is that it must be very bad. Indeed, Adam Smith adopted this view in The Wealth of Nations: People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the VALUE SYSTEMS  public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

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