In this recent interview, Peter Thiel of Founders Fund makes several important points that I agree with:
- Successful IT companies, which depend on talented people, capital, and the right governance structures, will increasingly emerge from global locations rather than primarily from Silicon Valley.
- Investing in specific companies, led by the entrepreneurs behind them, produces better returns than investing in trends.
- Companies that have the potential to be one of a kind, or in other words companies which are defensible, are better investments.
I couldn’t embed the video in this post, but you can watch it here.
In a post from December 2015 I shared the reasons why trends are a lagging indicator of opportunity. Great startups and investment opportunities come from identifying the leading indicators of opportunity, so by the time trends have become trends they’re actually not that useful.
In a recent blog post, seed stage VC fund Founder Collective does a great job of visually demonstrating exactly this. Rather than call them trends, they call them themes. But the message is the same.
As Founder Collective shows in the charts below which depict interest over time as measured by Google search volume, the leading companies in areas like crowdfunding, virtual reality, the sharing economy, 3-D printers, and deep learning and machine learning were created well before those areas became trendy.