Thiel was one of the founders of Paypal, and has since become a successful investor. The amount of wisdom and insight contained in the lectures is impressive. They’re well worth downloading, and reading during the daily commute.
Contributors to startup success
In the lectures, he identifies 10 important contributors to startup success:
Is it the right market?
Mimesis and competition
How hard is it to copy what you’re doing?
Is there something you know that the competition doesn’t? Will this allow you to build a decisive lead?
Is your product just an incremental improvement on the current status-quo, or represents a significant leap forward?
Being able to survive in the long term.
Having the correct people on the team.
Having access to the right distribution - whether that’s physical channels, or access to consumers online.
There have been many examples of businesses which were too early (before a market really existed), or too late (after a competitor has dominated the market).
Having access to sufficient capital to grow and exploit the opportunity.
This is one people rarely like to here, but there’s always luck involved.