This week, we speak with Scott Galloway, professor at New York University Stern School of Business, and author of The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Galloway is our first (and probably last) third time guest (his prior interviews were November 21, 2015 and March 4, 2017).
He has founded and sold several technology start-ups, including Red Envelope and Prophet. His current firm, L2 digital, produces a Digital IQ index that tracks global rankings of prestige brands’ digital competence across 850 data points.
We discuss each of “the four” technology giants — what made them special, what are they doing right and wrong, and how they are impacting society. He describes each of these companies as appealing to a different organ: the Brain, Heart, Stomach, and Genitals (you an guess which comaony applies ti which organ).
Many of his ideas are both thought-provoking and fascinating:
-Apple has morphed from a tech firm into a luxury firm, with all of the components shared with all luxury brands: an iconic founder, artisanal craftsmanship and design, vertical retail integration; he describes –founder Steve Jobs as “the modern Jesus Christ” and explains why this is not a good thing. Why “Voice” is the next great interface, and how Apple blew its 5-year lead.
-Facebook has made many of the best acquisitions of 21st century; they own 3 of the 5 platforms that have gotten to 100 million users the fastest. However, -FB’s crisis response is textbook wrong, and is potentially problematic to them. As much as they protect, they (and Google) are media companies disguised as tech firms. They have (so far) avoided the responsibility of media, allowing fake news to disrupt their platforms, and refusing to fix this because it would cut into profits.
-Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a huge game changer; their competitors are concerned with AMZN moving into Pharma and Banking – with good cause. Amazon may soon move to “Zero Click” ordering, simply sending you two boxes filled with goods based on your past purchase history; just send back what you don’t want.
My only contribution to the conversation was suggesting Apple buy Netflix, the 5th horseman.
Some of his favorite books are referenced here.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Bloomberg, iTunes, Overcast, and Soundcloud. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, Overcast and Bloomberg.
Next week, we speak with John Montgomery of Bridgeway Capital Management, which donates 50% of its net profits to non-profit organizations.