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Early Facebook investor and Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel revealed two key pieces of advice he tends to give aspiring entrepreneurs and investors this week at the Atlantic Aspen Ideas Festival. 

They can be distilled into two simple concepts, starting with this tip for investors : Watch out for  buzzwords. 

If there are too many buzzwords in a presentation, that’s always a warning sign … Big data, cloud computing, if you hear those words you need to think fraud and run away as fast as possible.

Thiel told Atlantic Media owner David Bradley that buzzwords are a sign that the company doesn’t have a clear direction, and that it’s chasing someone else’s ideas. A good business idea should be able to stand on its own without trendy buzzwords. 

Addressing aspiring entrepreneurs, he advised them to focus on what matters—how to serve their users, not just their own egos. 

I’m nervous about people who say they want to be an entrepreneur. That’s like saying I want to be rich or I want to be famous. You don’t want to be starting a business for the sake of it, but because there is a problem that cannot be solved in existing structures.

It may be tempting to launch a company just to brag about being a rich, successful businessman. Ironically, though, that may be a recipe for failure. Instead, solve a problem and let the operational aspects of the business follow. 

Readers can watch the full talk below: (starts @ 2:27:00). 

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Photo courtesy of Aspen Institute