What can Peter Thiel teach you about business?

zo“In Silicon Valley, nerds are skeptical of advertising, marketing, and sales because they seem superficial and irrational. But advertising matters because it works. It works on nerds, and it works on you. You may think that you’re an exception; that your preferences are authentic, and advertising only works on other people.  It’s easy to resist the most obvious sales pitches, so we entertain a false confidence in our own independence of mind. But advertising doesn’t exist to make you buy a product right away; it exists to embed subtle impressions that will drive sales later. Anyone who can’t acknowledge its likely effect on himself is doubly deceived.”

That’s Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, talking in his remarkable book Zero to One. I agree with Peter: one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses is that they count on their product to explain the value of their product.

My 2¢: We humans love theories. This article is about practice. Reach out. When done right, ads don’t just attract us — they change people. Even the “just-the-facts-ma’m” folks like Elon Musk. It’s easy to forget that.