# Omar Usman – 3 Things I Learned from Zero to One Peter Thiel

The founder of PayPal and other companies emphasized the importance of finding the best practices and building upon what is already there in order to find the best answers to the contrarian question. The most powerful pattern in finding the right answers is identifying the true cause of motivation and building monopolies, rather than just money and gains. The importance of competition and empowerment is emphasized, as technology is seen as vital in a globalized world and companies need to blend the human and technology elements.
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In this video, I'm sharing 3 things I

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learned from the book 0 to 1 by

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Peter Thiel. Peter Thiel was the famous billionaire

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founder of PayPal and other of other companies.

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And the book 0 to 1 is a

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to think about the future. And the title

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to me was really interesting.

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He says, we normally think about going from

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1 to n, meaning one to any other

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variable.

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And when we go from 1 to any

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other variable, meaning innovating, iterating, getting to, you

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know, a higher level,

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What we're doing is we're building upon what's

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already there. We're looking for best practices.

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but the best pads are those that are

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untried. Hence, the title 0 to 1. Because

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when you go from 0 to 1, you're

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building something completely brand new. Ace says that

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the most powerful pattern that he's found in

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successful people

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is their ability to find and extract value

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from places that was completely unexpected. And the

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way that they're able to do this is

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by approaching things from a principle based perspective

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instead of formulaic perspective. You know, a formula

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is the best practice. A formula is here's

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how things have always been done. But the

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other way, the zero to one way is

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looking for looking for things that haven't maybe

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been tried, they haven't been tested, and being

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the one that kind of unearths

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that. So the first thing that I learned

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was it was a it's a really a

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reflective question that is, what is my answer

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to the contrarian question?

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Peter Thiel says that in job interviews, he

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contrarian question?

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Meaning, what are you convinced of so strongly

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that other people think is not true? Or

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what are most people convinced of as true

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that you think is not true? He says

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a lot of people give answers like, well,

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I think the educational system is completely messed

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up. It needs to be overhauled. And he

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says, okay. Well, that might be

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somewhat of a minority opinion maybe, but it's

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something that a lot of people say. So

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it's it's not that out of the realm

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of normalcy.

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And what he is looking for is someone

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that's really going out on a limb on

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putting a stake in their own beliefs and

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in their own conviction.

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Because to articulate something that's relatively accepted doesn't

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take any courage.

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There's a lot of brilliant people but they

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don't have the courage to speak up.

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to the contrarian question,

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what it's displaying is both a level of

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brilliance and intelligence,

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but also a level of courage that most

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other brilliant people might not have.

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A great example of an answer to the

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contrarian question is out of Dan Pink in

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his TED Talk on motivation, which I'll link

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to in the description below.

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But Dan Pink says that we you know,

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we're normally convinced

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that employees are motivated by money and by

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material gains, but that actually the true cause

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of motivation, the true cause of motivation in

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the workplace

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is autonomy, mastery, and purpose,

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and things that aren't necessarily tied to finances.

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And so he's saying that here's what most

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people believe, but here's what I believe instead.

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The reason that this is important

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is because

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to understand the future, we have to understand

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the past. The reason that the Contrarian Question

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is important is it is because it gives

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us a different way of assessing the present

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and the past.

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And that helps to shape the future. You

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know, if we if we go back and

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we say, well, what are the conventional beliefs

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that might need to be challenged? We can

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always look back at things that were popular.

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For example,

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the dotcom bust of the late nineties. We

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know what the conventional thinking was, but we

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see later that it was a bubble. And

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it's always easy to identify the bubble in

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hindsight.

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The contrarian is the one who's able to

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identify that at the time that it's actually

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happening, and that's something that's really valuable.

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The trick though is making sure that you're

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not just looking for, well, let me find

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what everyone thinks is true, and just automatically

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take a contrarian approach for the sake of

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being contrarian.

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The true goal, he says, is to actually

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it's not that type of thought, but it's

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developing your own independent thought of everybody else.

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The second lesson I learned was that competition

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is an ideology.

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Look for look for building monopolies instead. Now

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when you understand competition is an ideology, see

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competition is assumed to be the way that

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we do things. So we we talk in

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these war metaphors all the time. We have

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headhunters, and we're gonna, you know, make a

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killing on this, and there's competition and that.

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And he says it's ingrained in us from

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an early age. So for example, in school

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we're competing with one another over our class

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ranking and our grades, and you know, who's

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smarter than who, and who gets into what

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college. Then when we get into higher education,

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it's smart people competing with other smart people

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very fiercely

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over getting into traditional jobs like investment banking

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or management consulting or something else. And we

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we end up going through a lot of

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energy, a lot of money, and a lot

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of effort

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to basically in the long run become conformist

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as he says. He says a different way

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of looking at it is that of creating

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a monopoly.

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And that might sound really strange because a

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monopoly has like a very negative undertone to

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it. But really what he's talking about is

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something that we find discussed in the book

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Blue Ocean Strategy if you're familiar with that.

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And the idea of the book is this,

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is that we should stop, you know, competing

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for market share over the same thing

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and instead create, you know, the red ocean.

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We should instead create a blue ocean where

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we're the only thing we dominate or create

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a new market that's not already there. If

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first came out onto the market. There were

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no other sports drinks, there was no category,

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they created the category,

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and therefore they were able to dominate it.

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He gives an example of why this

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type of competition, or that red ocean competition

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And he says he gives an example of

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his 3 year span in in the, you

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know, from 2010 to 2013 or somewhere in

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there. And he says at the beginning,

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each individually had a higher market cap than

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Apple did, But what they were doing is

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they weren't engrossed in competition with one another.

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So it's Chrome OS versus Windows OS. The

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Chrome Browser versus Internet Explorer. Microsoft Office versus

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Google Docs and on and on and on.

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And in that 3 year time frame where

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they're basically just creating

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and knocking off one another's products, Google search,

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Bing you know, Bing search, so on and

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so forth,

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Apple ended up having at the end of

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3 years a higher market cap than Google

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and Microsoft combined.

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And one of the reasons for that is

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what he calls the last mover advantage.

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And the last mover advantage goes like this.

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He gives the example of Steve Jobs. He

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says when the Ipod came out,

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everyone said, oh, that's cute. That's a nice

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accessory for Macintosh users.

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But what they weren't seeing was that this

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was his foray

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into portable

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devices in a post PC world. And when

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you look at it from that perspective and

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you see the

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the product line that Apple's released and the

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trajectory that they've gone down since then, it

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becomes very clear. And because they're the last

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mover in that category, they dominate the market.

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I mean if they they created that category,

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they're the last ones standing because they are

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so much better than everybody else. And that's

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what lets them dominate,

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that's what's better than just being in a

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competition fighting over percentage points with somebody else.

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The third lesson that I learned was the

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importance of empowering people and not making them

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obsolete. And this is perhaps an answer as

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well to the contrarian question.

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Peter Thiel says that technology is not going

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to make people obsolete.

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He says technology is actually something that's very

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vital in a globalizing world because without technology

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we won't have sustainable resources and things of

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that nature, but people's fear always is that

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technology is going to displace people and he

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says that that's not the case. There There's

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certain things that a computer can do better

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than a human can do. So a computer

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might be able to identify patterns

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in a set of data better than a

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human being might, but it takes a human

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being to be able to compare that pattern

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to other patterns, and to be able to

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look and figure out a big picture or

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look for different insights in that data. There's

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still gonna be human element to doing that.

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He says the path forward

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is understanding how technology and humans complement one

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another, and he gives the example of LinkedIn.

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See what LinkedIn did, it didn't replace recruiters.

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It didn't replace human resources,

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but what it did was it gave them

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a better way of doing their job. So

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now a recruiter is able to go through,

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they're able to search and filter candidates by

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keywords, by the amount of experience, and it

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also gives job seekers or employees

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a way of managing their personal brand online

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in a much more effective way than maybe,

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you know, sending out resumes to 100 of

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different companies at one time. But it's it's

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combining the human element along with the technology

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that gives us the best thing. If they

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had come in and tried to just replace

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recruiters or replace that HR process,

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it probably would have failed as a product.

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But it succeeds because it's found a way

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to blend the 2 together. That's 3 things

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I learned from the book 0 to 1

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by Peter Thiel. If you like the video,

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please make sure you hit the thumbs up.

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Hit the subscribe button. If there's a book

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that you want me to do in this

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format, the 3 things I learned, please leave

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a comment below. Otherwise, I'll try to see

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you next week. Thanks.

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