22. April 2015 · Comments Off on Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters · Categories: Uncategorized

zero to one

In continuing my method of conducting a book review, I am letting the book speak for itself by showcasing some of my favorite quotes.

Thiel on Leadership Compensation:

“A company does better the less it pays the CEO- that’s one of the single clearest patterns I’ve noticed from investing in hundreds of startups. In no case should a CEO of an early-stage, venture-backed startup receive more than $150,000 per year in salary. If a CEO collects $300,000 per year he risks becoming more like a politician than a founder. High pay incentivizes him to defend the status quo along with his salary, not to work with everyone else to surface problems and fix them aggressively. A cash-poor executive, by contrast, will focus on increasing the value of the company as a whole. (Pages 113-114)

Thiel on Leaders Setting the Example:

Low CEO pay also sets the standard for everyone else. Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, was always careful to pay himself less than everyone else in the company-four years after he started Box, he was still living two blocks away from HQ in a one-bedroom apartment with no furniture except a mattress. Every employee noticed his obvious commitment to the company’s mission and emulated it. If a CEO doesn’t set an example by taking the lowest salary in the company, he can do the same by drawing the highest salary. So long as that figure is still modest, it sets an effective ceiling on cash compensation.” (Pages 113-114)

Thiel on Building Teams:

“When you start something, the first and most crucial decision you make is whom to start it with. Choosing a co-founder is like getting married, and founder conflict is just as ugly as divorce. Now when I consider investing in a startup, I study the founding teams. Technical abilities and complementary skill sets matter, but how well the founders know each other and how well they work together matter just as much. Founders should share a pre-history before they start a company together- otherwise they’re just rolling dice. It’s not just founders who need to get along. Everyone in your company needs to work well together. It’s very hard to go from 0 to 1 without a team.” (Pages 108-109)

Thiel on Founders and Teams:

“Founders are important not because they are the only ones whose work has value, but rather because a great founder can bring out the best work from everybody at his company.” (Page 189)

Thiel on Attracting Recruits to the Team:

“Recruiting is a core competency for any company. It should never be outsourced. You need people who are not just skilled on paper, but who will work together cohesively after they’re hired.” (Page 120)

Thiel on the Importance of Work Relationships:

“If you can’t count durable relationships among the fruits of your time at work, you haven’t invested your time well-even in purely financial terms.” (Page 120)

Thiel on Success:

“In January 2013, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Square, tweeted to his followers: “Success is never accidental.”” (Page 60)

Thiel on Choosing Projects:

“The best projects are likely to be overlooked, not trumpeted by a crowd; the best problems to work on are often the ones nobody else even tries to solve.” (Page 166)

Thiel on Computers and People:

“Computers are tools, not rivals.” (Page 144)

“As computers become more and more powerful, they won’t be substitutes for humans: they’ll be compliments.” (Page 144)

“Better technology in law, medicine, and education won’t replace professionals; it will allow them to do even more.” (Page 148)

“Replacement by computers is a worry for the 22nd century.” (Page 150)

Thiel on the Why Competition is Disadvantageous:

“People lose sight of what matters and focus on their rivals instead.” (Page 38)

“War is costly business.” (Page 39)

“Rivalry causes us to overemphasize old opportunities and slavishly copy what has worked in the past.” (Page 39)

“Competition can make people hallucinate opportunities where none exist.” (Page 40)

“Rivalry is just weird and distracting.” (Page 41)

“If you can recognize competition as a destructive force instead of a sign of value, you’re already more sane than most.” (Page 43)

Thiel’s Four Points of Startup Wisdom:


  1. “It is better to risk boldness than triviality.” (Page 21)
  2. “A bad plan is better than no plan.” (Page 21)
  3. “Competitive markets destroy profits.” (Page 21)
  4. “Sales matter just as much as product.” (Page 21)


17. April 2015 · Comments Off on Future of Libraries: A Conceptual Model · Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve been asked to talk at the University of Maryland iSchool, my alma mater, on May 1 about a number of things including job search strategy tips as well as the future of the profession.

Here is a conceptual model I’ve built to address the future of libraries. Simply put you need three things: people in the field, good ideas created or at least formally proposed by people in the field, and resource allocators who are willing to fund/support these good ideas. When you have all three that points to a road-map as to what the future of the industry will look like.

See Futureof LibrariesConceptualModel


03. April 2015 · Comments Off on Synopsis of 3D printing from engineering professor Robert Bailey · Categories: Uncategorized

Not that long ago I attended an excellent lecture by Loyola Maryland University Engineering professor Robert Bailey in which he laid out before the audience several key points about the emergence of 3D Printing Technologies:


1986: Chuck Hull patents stereolithography

1988: SLA-1 system sold commercially

1990s: Z Corp unveils 3D Printing

2005: RepRap project in the U.K. receives press coverage

2009: MakerBot CNC is available as the first commercially available printer in kit form

2010 to present: 3D Printing takes off in popularity and in media coverage

Design Software:

Solid Works

Auto Desk




Printing Processes:


Fused Deposition Modeling

Poly Jet 3D Printing

Selective Laser Sintering

Its Use by Engineering Students: The 3D Printing allows students to go beyond mere conceptualization of a prototype to actually building a prototype. This allows them to better assess the accuracy of their prototype as well as their understanding of the design.


Hobbyist Level: $500-$1500

Enthusiast Level: $2000-$3000

Small Business: $5000-$15000 or more

(The three levels above assume that you use plastics for printing, if you use metal it is more expensive see below)

Print Metal: $100,000 or more

Costs for Plastics: Using Fused Deposition Modeling it costs $1.00 to $10.00 per cubic inch, using PolyJet it costs $5.00 to $20.00 per cubic inch

Currently economies of scale are such that the cost prohibits large scale manufacturing and only allows for creation of prototypes

Important Developments that can shape the future:

Note: Private Enterprise is leading the way with 3D Printing, but academia is quickly following

Columbia University Medical Center: Meniscus Regenerated with 3D Printed Implant

GE using 3D Printers to make parts

Contour Crafting: Using 3D Printers to build physical structures

Local Motors is using 3D Printers to build cars

Housing in China built with 3D Printers

Building structures with 3D Printing technology will prove complex as it raises questions as to structural integrity, leaking, and whether such structures can pass building codes

Bottom Line: This technology will revolutionize manufacturing, product design, and engineering instruction. Bailey foresees the technology taking off at the personal use level.