Peter Thiel Quotes Startup Founders Should Live By

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By Jacob Maslow

• Thinking differently is key to success
• Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo
• Persevere through obstacles
• Stay motivated with a positive mindset

As a startup founder, you will face numerous challenges and unseen obstacles. But with the right mindset, you can overcome anything. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to thinking differently than the status quo.

One such entrepreneur is Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. He’s also well-known for his unconventional views on business and technology. Here are six quotes from Thiel that all startup founders should live by:

1. “You are not a lottery ticket.”

Unlike a lottery ticket, you are worth much more than a few quick bucks! You are a person with the capability to transform lives and create positive change in the world. Money isn’t the goal; living a life of joy and purpose is. Sure, having financial security certainly makes life easier and can open new doors to explore, but that’s not all there is to this thing called life. You have ideas, hobbies, passions, and skills that need to be nurtured and developed so they may one day become much bigger. And while it eliminates risk and uncertainty in purchasing a lottery ticket, playing it safe won’t get you very far in life – only taking risks will lead you down paths that lead to incredible things. So go out there, take risks, and don’t think of yourself as a lottery ticket – think of yourself as someone able to make their luck without any help from Lady Luck!

2.  “There is no such thing as an overnight success.”

Ah, the overnight success: it has been part of our collective culture for decades, emblematic of something we wished would happen to us. But alas, the truth is much more complex; there is no such thing as an immediate success story waiting to be told. Indeed, some people have seemingly burst onto the scene with their ambition and talent – but their paths to success were never quite as simple as they appeared on the surface. Those who climb fastest to the top have likely been honing their skills behind the scenes for years and may even possess a great deal of luck sprinkled in along the way. The takeaway? True success takes time and effort – but rest assured, it can be worth all that dedication. So don’t give up hope just yet – your big break may still be around the corner!

3. “You need to know your customers better than they know themselves.”

Whenever someone says “know your customers,” most people think of marketing tactics like surveys and analytics. But according to the famous saying, “you need to know your customers better than they know themselves.” What does that mean? It means understanding the customer deeper – beyond their buying habits and preferences. This kind of knowledge requires listening closely to what they say and hearing them out. It means recognizing their needs, desires, goals, worries, and ambitions. In other words: it’s not enough to hear them out – you have to get inside their minds! After all, isn’t that what the very best customer service is all about? Can you anticipate and deliver exactly what customers need before they realize it themselves? That’s when you can truly feel empowered with the knowledge that you got them right – better than they could ever know themselves. Though it may sound impossible at first, with practice and a reflective attitude, it’s quite achievable. So don’t just get to know your customers–get to know them more deeply than they do themselves! Then watch how great things take off from there!

4. “The best startups happen when someone takes a personal problem and turns it into a business.”

All successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: turn their frustrations into profitable businesses. Whether it’s a lack of time or money, figuring out how to solve their problems can often be the spark that inspires entrepreneurs to start companies. The issue affecting the individual entrepreneur might not have been evident to others. Still, by looking at their experience and focusing on specific products or services, they can fill a need that others didn’t even know existed. Just as putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can help you figure out ways to connect with customers, the same thinking can be used to identify potential business opportunities.

For example, if you don’t know how to cook healthy meals for your family with limited time each day, you might be able to use your experience as the basis for an app that provides quick recipes as well as grocery delivery options. So it seems clear that sometimes the best startups happen when an individual takes a personal problem and turns it into a business. After all, who better than you to know what would best meet your needs? Clever advice from Mark Twain sums up this process: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

5. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

It’s so easy to talk the talk and not walk the walk. But when it comes to success, you have to put your words into action and make them count. We often get stuck in the planning stage of a project and never take that extra step to do something with our ideas. Research is essential, but you must dive in at some point!

And sometimes, the best way forward is to try something out and see what happens. Of course, this isn’t always easy or comfortable; failure can be intimidating. But if you don’t try anything new, then how will you ever be able to adjust the course and make improvements? Successful people understand that failure can be an integral part of learning and that making mistakes is okay. As Walt Disney famously said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” So don’t be afraid to take a risk or do something out of your comfort zone – you never know what great things might happen!

6. “If you’re not failing, you’re not working on hard enough problems.”

While it’s always a good idea to challenge yourself, it’s important not to get disheartened if you fail. After all, failure has to be an option if you want to make progress. The adage goes, “If you’re not failing, you’re not working on hard enough problems.” That’s why some of the most significant scientific and technological breakthroughs were only possible through persistent trial and error – inventors weren’t afraid of falling flat on their faces every so often. So don’t shy away from lofty goals – while they may seem impossible at first glance, that makes them worth pursuing in the long run. In other words: take risks, expect mistakes – and welcome challenges with actual rather than perceived failures! After all, there’s no better way of showing the world what you can accomplish. So if failure is looming on the horizon, why not embrace it? After all – if you’re not failing, you’re simply not trying hard enough!

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found these insights from Peter Thiel helpful, whether you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey or are a seasoned business owner. If there’s one thing we can all learn from the great entrepreneurs of our time, success doesn’t come easy. It takes hard work, determination, and resilience to achieve anything worthwhile. So keep up the excellent work, and don’t be afraid to fail – as long as you learn from your mistakes and continue working hard, you can only go up from here.

So don’t be scared to take risks and challenge yourself – you never know what amazing things might happen! Good luck on the road to success!


What is the best way to get started on a new startup?

The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Research your idea, find out what others have done before you, and don’t be afraid of failing – as long as you learn from your mistakes and keep working hard, success will eventually come.

How can I stay motivated during challenging times?

It’s normal to feel discouraged during difficult times – it means that you are pushing yourself towards bigger and better things. A great way to stay motivated is by keeping an inspiring quote or mantra nearby that can remind you why you decided to pursue your goals in the first place. Additionally, having a supportive network of friends and family can help you stay on track.

What strategies can I use to make sure my startup succeeds?

Successful startups are built on solid foundations – they have clear goals, detailed action plans, and an understanding of their target market. To ensure that your business succeeds, it’s essential to research well, create a plan of action, take calculated risks and monitor progress throughout the process. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed – even successful entrepreneurs rely on external support!

What if I fail?

Failure is inevitable in any entrepreneurial journey – but it doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, take your mistakes as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop new strategies. After all, if you’re not failing, you’re simply not trying hard enough! So take risks and welcome challenges – with a bit of resilience and determination, success will eventually come your way.

Image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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