Get PJ Media on your Apple

Dr. Helen

Is a Great Company a Conspiracy to Change the World?

August 31st, 2014 - 10:01 am

I thought about this as I read Peter Thiel’s new book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. The book description is as follows:

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, has an interesting chapter on secrets that he opens by stating: “Every one of today’s most famous and familiar ideas was once unknown and unsuspected.” The book asks the reader: “If you find a secret, you face a choice: Do you tell anyone? Or do you keep it to yourself?” Apparently, the best entrepreneurs know that every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. “A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.”

I imagine this “conspiracy” can be used for good or evil. I recently read Joel Kotkin’s new book The New Class Conflict, which described the tech community in Silicon Valley as an oligarchy:

In ways not seen since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, America is becoming a nation of increasingly sharply divided classes. Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict breaks down these new divisions for the first time, focusing on the ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites.

Many of these oligarchies use their influence as political propaganda or as a way to keep tabs on their users, not necessarily good “secrets.” I certainly don’t think that is what Thiel meant to have happen with secrets and start-ups but when you look at companies like Google or even YouTube where PC behavior guides their principals, one can’t help but wonder if a “conspiracy to change the world” is always a good thing for customers or if it is just good for the company that promotes it.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
People always think of "fascism" as angry men in jack boots and a hooked cross on their lapels. That's the image sold to us since WWII.
Fascism today is the guy in business casual, or an inexpensive suit, that shows up from the local government EPA looking after your stormwater run-off, your regulatory compliance, the DOC and your import documents, and on and on.

The government, small, medium and large, has decided to regulate everything it can, to collect rent, to charge for your right to have a company or a job, and to inflict themselves wherever they can. Big companies can shrug it off. The company I work for is "worldwide" but is focused on keeping less than 50 employees in the United States (for the moment). That's a threshold where the government really starts to step on you.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
It doesn't matter.

Innovation is about to grind to a halt. Innovation allows talented people to rise from nothing to positions of power and influence. The Ruling Class never has and never will permit it; the 250 year window of opportunity for innovation is in its last days. Everything that happens politically is designed to slam the door on the middle class and return society to the two-class system that prevailed everywhere from the dawn of agriculture up to the American revolution, which was the only true revolution and the only onw that overturned a Ruling Class without immediately creating a new one.

We are a few years, or at most a handful of decades, from full governmental control of all human activity. That's the goal of progressivecommunefeudalroyalism. Innovation won't just stop, it will reverse.

With prejudice.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"In ways not seen since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, America is becoming a nation of increasingly sharply divided classes."

Heavy regulation is designed to perpetuate this, because it always operates in favour of the entrenched government authorities and their private-sector clients.

The trick is to find an idea that circumvents these regulations. This is not always easy. It took Tesla Motors six months to import their electrical car engine, because the government would not allow it into the country until they specified the number of cylinders. Think about that. Who does that regulation favour?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (34)
All Comments   (34)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"Because only through the examination of that systematic usurpation, and undoing it, step-by-step, will we ever again see anything remotely resembling a free market. "

Utter idiocy. Step by step? Who has the time for that? Did we get rid of King George, step by step?

Just get rid of the problem and start over. Abolish the federal government, break up the country, start over. Nothing else will work.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Johnson & Johnson and Nordstrom are widely considered to be great companies. I don't think that very many people would consider either of them a conspiracy to change the world.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Uber comes to mind. It harnesses the best of free market capitalism, putting power squarely in the hands of its freelance service providers and consumers. For these reasons, the institutional Left hates it and is busy trying to either regulate the model or stamp it out.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
This becomes very evident when you consider that nearly everyone owns a cell phone but very few people know how it works.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Consumer tech is in trouble. The app craziness is running out of steam. Television has pretty much max out too. The auto industry is putting itself out of business by producing cars that last much longer.

There are opportunities in healthcare, particularly in data analytics, but finances are they for wasteful robots, etc.

Energy is the future of tech.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The public's motives for demanding more regulation are "I want to be safe" and "I don't want to think for myself". Very stereotypically female, those attitudes.

An election is coming. Man up. Dare to Vote Male.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great comment and so true. I'm proud to say I "manned up" a long time ago. It's very liberating (and liberating doesn't mean at all what the FemiNazis think it does).
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Invention/Development is a criminal conspiracy - unless approved by TPTB.

Edwin Armstrong invented FM Radio and got his reward:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Howard_Armstrong

Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented television and fusion power, and
did little better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo_Farnsworth

The words 'RCA', 'patent', and 'lawsuit' are common to both stories.

The microcomputer revolution which enabled all our subsequent progress
succeeded because it caught TPTB off-guard and proceeded too rapidly
for them to strangle it in the cradle, although they did what they could;
The trade show demos which Apple used to sell their first model were
made illegal by the FAA shortly later.


21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
On one side American men of honor, ingenuity, patriotism, with extraordinary work ethics. On the other side, big business, lawyers and federal regulators. Electing an effeminate, vindictive, unintelligent, lawyer (but I repeat myself) to the White House is the apotheosis of the modern American disgrace. Forgive me if I say that if we tolerate this outcome, we deserve the curses that are falling and will fall upon us.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The trade show demos which Apple used to sell their first model were
made illegal by the FAA shortly later."--M. Report

That's a story about the Apple I which I've never heard before. Tell us more.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
My guess is that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is the culprit, because the first Apple models used an ordinary (analog) television as a video monitor.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The United States is not dead yet, nor is invention/ideas for an individual to succeed is an increasingly hostile small company atmosphere.

Where there is big government disaster, there is Capitalistic opportunity. For example, DaOne care. A huge lie with POTUS leading the way. Who will step in to fill the void of higher medical and medical imaging costs? Specialists? Medicare/Medicaid providers?

The catch is you have to have the education to fill the void. Nurse practitioners, registered Sonographers and Doctors assistants will open their own companies reporting through HIPAA compliant data storage.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
People always think of "fascism" as angry men in jack boots and a hooked cross on their lapels. That's the image sold to us since WWII.
Fascism today is the guy in business casual, or an inexpensive suit, that shows up from the local government EPA looking after your stormwater run-off, your regulatory compliance, the DOC and your import documents, and on and on.

The government, small, medium and large, has decided to regulate everything it can, to collect rent, to charge for your right to have a company or a job, and to inflict themselves wherever they can. Big companies can shrug it off. The company I work for is "worldwide" but is focused on keeping less than 50 employees in the United States (for the moment). That's a threshold where the government really starts to step on you.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
'... ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites.'

AKA The Morlocks and the Eloi.

This is, as I like to say "Reversion to historical norms", or as the quote your husband likes calls it "Bad luck".
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All