Eric Button

The Monopoly Illusion

usiness models are a place where huge differences exist, but they're hidden. Peter Thiel wrote a whole book about it. The premise: all great businesses operate from a monopoly position. 

So just find the monopolies and invest, right?

Yes, but here’s where the plot thickens:

The monopoly folks will never announce that they're running a monopoly (smart), and the people that are competing themselves to death in a crowded market will spin a story that they’re special, in order to attract investor dollars or to stick their head in the sand (not smart).

So Luxottica won't mention that they produce over 80% of this world’s eyewear (monopoly). And a random real estate office in Denver might say that they’re the only Denver firm that caters to divorced men (an illusion of a monopoly). 

The differences are huge, but each side tells a story that meets somewhere in the middle.

Peter Thiel warns us to watch out for “The Something of Somewhere.” For instance, the “Harvard of North Dakota” is probably the nothing of nowhere. The “Uber of Orange Juice” is probably just orange juice.