Reading Passage 1
Read the passage given below to answer the questions 1-10
Zero to One: A Cornerstone Principle for Innovation
According to Peter Theil, the billionaire investor and venture capitalist, a lot of innovations and moments in business happen only once. To better elaborate his opinion, let us consider the example of Bill Gates. A person such as Gates can only build an operating system once; the next Bill Gates with similar potential will build something else but not an operating system. Similarly, the next Larry Page and Sergey Brin won’t make another search engine such as Google; they will make something else. In essence, Theil says that copying from wildly successful and innovative people such as Gates, Page, and Zuckerberg will take you nowhere.
While it is always easy to walk in the footsteps of someone who’s vastly successful, and it is even simpler to merely copy and reproduce what they did, doing so will merely take you from 1 to n, which is simply put, the formula for industrialisation. Individuals such as Gates, however, take the world from 0 to 1, which is creative, singular, and results in something new and strange. Creating something new and taking something from a 0 to 1 is what the world needs.
Until and unless companies and individuals invest their time and effort into the creative and singular 0 to 1 growth, everyone is doomed to fail. No matter how big a company or how huge the profits remain, without investing in real growth, simply improvising upon the line of previously developed practices doesn’t yield anything substantial in the long run, forcing companies to shut down. As Theil famous says, “Today’s best practices lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.”
To sum it up, Theil simply says that going on a path of doing the untried is the only key to sustainable growth for companies, organisations, and individuals in the long run. While China has been the superstar of 1 to n growth, meaning rapid industrialisation, America has been the torchbearer of 0 to 1 growth by bringing a wide range of innovative services and products in the market. But growing bureaucracies in both the public and private sector may soon leave America trapped in the vicious 1 to n cycle and kill the scope for future innovations. Theil too, says that “searching for a new path might seem like hoping for a miracle” in America. It is to be remembered that we as humans are unique and above other creatures due to the fact that we have the potential to “work” miracles; these miracles are nothing else but technological advancements.
Here’s why technology can be called a miracle: You can do more with less. Technology helps you achieve more using less, augmenting the capacity of a person, a company or an organisation to a much higher level. While a honey bee is skilled enough to build a complex structure such as a honeycomb, we humans on the other hand are skilled enough to build something, iterate it, advance it, and make it better with growing time. While we may not wait for a divine cosmic path or a guide map to tell us what to do next, we simply change the course of our lives by inventing something new; instead of letting the world decide what we need to invent, we tend to invent something that changes the course of our world. The approach of 0 to 1 helps companies build new things, the ones that have not been done before.
Future is important; one of the definitive ways to shape a better tomorrow is to follow a path of progress. Progress can be achieved by doing two things: one, the 1 to n growth where you reproduce and replicate something that has been massively successful; two, you create something from scratch, the 0 to 1 growth. To put things in perspective and to offer a more common example, consider this: If a company X invents typewriters and a company Y creates 100 more of those typewriters, then it is the 1 to n growth, or in other words, the horizontal or extensive progress. On the other hand, if the company Y takes a deeper look at the typewriter created by the company X and produces a word processor instead of producing another 100 typewriters, you stand to witness a 0 to 1 progress, which can also be called a vertical or intensive progress.
Again, moving up the hierarchy, we come across different ways in which we can describe the aforementioned vertical and horizontal growth. At the macro level, horizontal progress is more or less, globalisation. Similarly, vertical progress is nothing else but technology. While rapid development across areas such as Silicon Valley has made technology synonymous with computers, technology however can be anything that offers a better way of doing something. Though technology is given a higher preference per se, it is to be understood that both technology and globalisation must go hand in hand to ensure that there is harmony. Also, technology needs the support of extensive globalisation to spread across the world and become resourceful. If only technology and no globalisation exists, then not everybody can access the latest technology; on the other hand, if there is rampant globalisation and replication without ingenuity in technology, the human race as a whole cannot transcend to a zone of greater comfort, awareness, and utility.