Wednesday, March 22, 2023

It's The Four's world

It's hard not to like Scott Galloway, who eloquently rants on Real Time with Bill Maher, makes common-sense capitalistic points and seems to overflow with insight.

I listened to his podcast a few times and embraced The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google (2017). I like when "The Professor" is being "The Professor," when he is wry and direct. Yes, old man, tell us what the kids today need to know and do!

So there was a little of that in The Four, such as Galloway's assertions that to be successful an individual needs emotional maturity, curiosity and ownership of your task, project and business. 

That sounds right to me. But I would add that you need drive. I'm not so sure I have it in me to be a full-fledged, battle-it-out entrepreneur because I don't have the drive to do it. But it might have been a much different story when I was in my 20s and 30s.

The power of FANMAG — Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon and Google — is so utterly enormous that The Four is a read I consider necessary, and, of course, I learned a lot about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Although it's so obvious, I didn't realize that Apple is a luxury brand. When Galloway spelled that out to me, I felt embarrassed that I used to think it was a mere tech company. No, no, Apple's all about the packaging and branding and ability to have me think it is on the cutting edge of technology and style. 

The fact that Apple comprises 7.1 percent of the S&P 500, and Amazon, Facebook and Google have ginormous market shares force us to understand what these companies do and their economic and social power. As time progresses, they are becoming increasingly more powerful.

I believe all of us, Democrat and Republican alike, see that the Big Four's power as so vast that something needs to be done. But what? I guess small victories and a sense of justice is all we can ask for, but it's as if they're so powerful that nothing major can happen.

To me, the huge problem is how much commerce must go through The Four. Right now, I'm writing on a MacBook Pro (Apple) on the Blogger website (owned by Google), and I'll post this on Facebook. Maybe Amazon isn't as obvious, but I started my day with an Illy espresso, ordered from Amazon.

Monopolies always have been prevalent in the United States. In fact, one of the first games any of us learn is Monopoly. With Big Tech, monopolies build exponentially, and from their perspective, it's their virtual world, and we're just living it.

The Four sparked an interest in the inner workings of corporations for me, and I remain vastly under-informed with how they operate. But the book helped. I'm happy I got that education, but perhaps I wanted more of Galloway's dynamic personality in it.

When he focuses on the OODA loop, the four-step approach for decision making that is observe, orient, decide, act, I loved it. That came from a military strategist, and it makes total sense in decision making. So I loved Galloway's common-sense advice, which also included this gem: Stay loyal to people, not organizations.

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