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Blake Masters inspires entrepreneurs and Millennials to take on the world’s problems rather than simply accepting them. He has co-authored the book Zero to One with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel in which the two discuss secrets on developing break through solutions that take society to the next level

Masters became a well-known name when he began posting essay adaptations of his class notes from CS 183, a course that Thiel was delivering at Stanford University. His Tumblr blog soared to over a million views in a matter of days, a phenomenon that led him and Thiel to collaborate in writing their business best-seller.

Masters is a lawyer who graduated from Stanford and Stanford Law. Currently he also serves as Principal at Thiel Capital and President of The Thiel Foundation. He is the co-founder of the law research start-up Judicata.

Full Profile

Little did Blake Masters know when he posted his class notes on Tumblr, that they would inspire one of the must-read business books of the decade. The Stanford Law student and his professor, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal collaborated to write the best-selling Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future after Masters’s notes went viral.

The heart of Thiel’s 2012 course was how to build new businesses and new technologies in order to have a better future, something that Masters felt more people – outside the Stanford student body attending the class – needed to know. After he posted his second set of class notes online, his blog’s traffic skyrocketed, receiving over 1,000,000 views. Masters e-mailed Thiel, who encouraged him to keep posting. The two later agreed that writing a book would be a “more powerful way to start a wider cultural conversation.”

Masters has followed his own advice and launched the start-up Judicata, which aims to reinvent the way legal research is conducted. He serves as President of the Thiel Foundation, Principal of Thiel Capital, and has been named one of Forbes’s “30 Under 30.”

A Stanford alumni, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and baby boy.


Blake Masters Speaker Videos Back to top

Keynote Speech


Blake Masters points out that while the state of technology seems to be at an ever-rising peak, the state of our country and infrastructure is visibly lagging. Citing a friend who claims, “The U.S. is becoming the Microsoft of nations,” Masters wonders why you can’t get a pin number from the IRS website outside of its office hours in the same world where Estonia and Finland have just become the first nations to sign a treaty cryptographically.

Playing down the belief that government regulation hinders progress, he analyzes the duties entrepreneurs have to resolve problems and improve the future. “Even if entrepreneurs aren’t to blame, even if we aren’t causing the problems, it’s certainly true that we’re the only ones that can fix them,” he says, aware that his statement is “hubristic” but also convinced that it needs to be. “Maybe we do need a lot more hubris in tech to solve bug problems given the massive scale of the challenges ahead.”


Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


In 2012, Blake Masters took a highly unusual class at Stanford. The professor was the legendary Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder and the first outsider to fund Facebook. Additionally, several of Silicon Valley's greatest minds guest lectured, bringing together ideas and advice from some of the most distinguished innovators of our time. Blake Masters shares a one-of-a-kind set of secrets and truths about what it takes to accomplish something big as he offers key insights that cannot be ignored by the business world.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investors Peter Thiel and Blake Masters show how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

They begin with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Copying others takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace; they will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique. Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.





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Zero to One

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investors Peter Thiel and Blake Masters show how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

They begin with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Copying others takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace; they will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique. Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.


Keynote Speech


Blake Masters points out that while the state of technology seems to be at an ever-rising peak, the state of our country and infrastructure is visibly lagging. Citing a friend who claims, “The U.S. is becoming the Microsoft of nations,” Masters wonders why you can’t get a pin number from the IRS website outside of its office hours in the same world where Estonia and Finland have just become the first nations to sign a treaty cryptographically.

Playing down the belief that government regulation hinders progress, he analyzes the duties entrepreneurs have to resolve problems and improve the future. “Even if entrepreneurs aren’t to blame, even if we aren’t causing the problems, it’s certainly true that we’re the only ones that can fix them,” he says, aware that his statement is “hubristic” but also convinced that it needs to be. “Maybe we do need a lot more hubris in tech to solve bug problems given the massive scale of the challenges ahead.”