The man in the picture is a business professor called Scott Galloway.
Rather endearingly, given his immense reservoir of intel on the dazzling power of technology companies, he’s written a book.
His book, The Four, is about the competition between Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple to own you.
Or more precisely, extract money from you.
And how one of them is going to win and become the world’s first trillion dollar company.
Saint Peacock kind of preferred things as they were before these companies invited themselves into our homes and workplaces (especially as in the latter they had no intention of sharing the space) so is quite open to information that at least three of these companies are about to have their bags thrown in a tree, even if it is by the fourth.
If you’re not quite ready to work your way through a book on the topic, amuse your bouche with this jawdropping video,
in which Professor Galloway blows minds with his analysis of how these four firms have come from nowhere (in 2008 they had a collective market capitalisation the same as the GPD of Poland, today only six countries on the entire planet have a bigger GDP than their collective market cap) to obliterate vast areas of the economy.
It helped that they have identified profoundly with the foundations of the heirarchy of needs (Google is our need for a godlike superbeing, your first port of call for explanation; Facebook is love, and love at scale; Amazon is consumption, the basic survival instinct of needing more; and Apple is making oneself attractive to possible mates – it’s procreation).
In spite of all this digital love, sex, knowledge and plenty though, all is not like some Star Trek vision of the garden of Eden.
As these monsters suck up your data, wreck the industry that has employed you, gouge an increasing percentage of your salary from you and divert it into their tax sheltered vaults, all while dressing themselves up as friendly progressives in the process, the only crumb of comfort is that “the four hate each other”.
They are also so sky-blackeningly huge, that they are starting to push into each other’s territory.
And now that is happening, argues the good professor, there can only be one winner.
The one that will take whatever pleasure there is to be gained from being the first to a trillion dollar valuation, is the one that:
- has built a “cable pipe of stuff” into your home
- has replaced profit-making with “leadership and vision”
- has best understood that within just a few years one third of all commands (including purchases) will come from voice rather than keyboard
- and can “overwhelm with brute force” any category they choose to shove into. And they have chosen to shove into plenty.
It’s gripping viewing (especially Prof. Galloway’s analysis of the category shoving-into), although if anyone is looking for glimmers of hope for the media industry, you may wish to step away from your device and mix yourself a cocktail around 39:36 of the video.
Have you guessed which one it is?
Well if you’re thinking of getting the book, let’s just say the platform you’ll probably buy it on is one of theirs.