Zero to One

After seeing what Elon Musk and Nassim Nicholas Taleb had to say about the book, I knew I had to instantly read it when it came out in 2014. I’ve found a few chapters to be incredibly thought provoking (The Mechanics of Mafia, You Are Not a Lottery Ticket, Secrets) while I slightly disagreed with others (Foundations, The Ideology of Competition). Thiel is an extreme character and he likes to polarise, so don’t be shocked while reading some of his statements.

“Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.” Elon Musk
“When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic”. Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Starting anything and getting from nothing to something is extremely tough. If you never tried to do it you will underestimate the difficulty a lot and only reading about it won’t help much. A few things in life just have to be done and executed to really understand how they work. Starting a business is certainly a tricky endeavour but luckily all of us underestimate the complexity otherwise not so many people would do it in the first place. However, the potential upside is significant since you are navigating your own ship and are in control on where things should be going (vision) and how to get there (culture).


The story of the so called PayPal Mafia is a crazy and still ongoing one. Every startup that became a multi billion dollar company probably had an incredible set of individuals that formed a great team with complementary skills. For PayPal specifically it is extraordinary how much all of those people achieved after this hugely successful startup. It shows that the value of a team can be far bigger than only for one project or company but a foundation for much more in the future. Here’s an excerpt of what some of them did after their PayPal adventure:

Peter Thiel: Palantir

Elon Musk: SpaceX, Tesla Motors, SolarCity

Reid Hoffman: LinkedIn

Steven Chen, Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim: Youtube

Jeremy Stoppelman, Russel Simmons: Yelp

David Sacks: Yammer

Dave McLure: 500 Startups

The full and impressive list goes on further as you can see here

This team aka mafia was not formed through ordinary recruiting but by getting together a group of talented people who shared a unique culture and a long term vision. We at Adefy share a like-minded analytical approach, trust each other and execute with a calm and professional mindset in place. Let’s hope I can go back to this post in 10+ years and tell you “I told you! :P”

It’s certainly worth having Zero to One in your library and checking out Peter Thiel’s thought provoking ideas.

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Thomas Tiroch, aka TwiceT, aka TT.

My one-line pitch is: I am a business addict. In my early 20s, I graduated in Business Administration with a major in Entrepreneurship. Recently, now in my early 30s, I successfully completed a program on Venture Capital and Private Equity.

While formal education certainly does not hurt, I do not think that it is essential for entrepreneurial success. I have a strong opinion on gaining experience in projects or companies by having "own skin in the game". There are just so many skills a business school or university cannot teach us.

From 2008 to 2013 I enjoyed a professional career in playing some of the world’s most popular card games. Yes, these are skill games and you can even make a few $$.

While playing millions of poker hands (mostly online, but towards the end also offline in casinos) I worked as a content video producer and coach for the biggest online poker school. Beyond that I also offered private coachings to players around the world. My blog posts and strategy videos had > 1,000,000 views from platform members. Even though I quit contributing to the blog in 2013 it still is #1 in terms of all-time views on the English site.

At the end of my career I wrote a book (The Education of a Modern Poker Player) with JB, who is a math professor in Nottingham, UK, and Manu, who - fast forward three years - is now the BO$$ of Adefy. As JB tricked me into writing a book with him, I tricked Manu into moving to Vienna in order to join forces with us and work on our united mission.

Things are moving at an enormous pace and we are living in exciting times. My way of experiencing and influencing our world is mainly through my entrepreneurial lenses. Especially since 2013 I dived into full-time business mode and I don't see that changing anytime soon. For my passive stakes I try to mostly invest in companies that generate a positive and sustainable impact, mostly in the energy industry (consulting, renewables, energy efficiency). While I might be below average in many skills, I consider mindset, adaptability, competitiveness and work ethics my biggest strengths.

Interested in: Poker. Venture Capital and Private Equity. Renewables. Energy efficiency. E-mobility. Performance Marketing. Finance. Management. Investing.

Hobbies: Golf. Tennis. Badminton. Reading. Racing. Snowboarding.

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