The Four

The Four

The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

Book - 2017
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong.

For all that's been written about the Four over the last two decades, no one has captured their power and staggering success as insightfully as Scott Galloway.

Instead of buying the myths these compa#65533;nies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they're almost impossible to avoid (or boycott)? Why does the stock market forgive them for sins that would destroy other firms? And as they race to become the world's first trillion-dollar company, can anyone chal#65533;lenge them?

In the same irreverent style that has made him one of the world's most celebrated business professors, Galloway deconstructs the strategies of the Four that lurk beneath their shiny veneers. He shows how they manipulate the fundamental emotional needs that have driven us since our ancestors lived in caves, at a speed and scope others can't match. And he reveals how you can apply the lessons of their ascent to your own business or career.

Whether you want to compete with them, do business with them, or simply live in the world they dominate, you need to understand the Four.
Publisher: New York, New York : Portfolio/Penguin, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780735213654
0735213658
Branch Call Number: 025.5 Galloway, S
Characteristics: viii, 310 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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gaetanlion
Dec 07, 2017

The Big Four is a lot of fun and is really interesting. The Four are fairly cryptic companies (especially Amazon). They are like octopussies growing stealthy tentacles that are increasingly grabbing and disrupting every service industries. They are creating and expanding new services (cloud computing) that the retail consumer is not aware off at all. And, their respective tentacles are starting to battle each other. And, Galloway is the perfect guide to better understand and explain the business DNA of those four giant land-based sea monsters.

Galloway advances several business and social science models that are insightful.

He indicates that a companies targeting consumers can aim at three different physiological response centers: 1) the brain (rational value based decision making); 2) the heart (emotion, impulse purchases); and sex (urge to show off, demonstrate status through expensive acquisition to enhance mating potential). He indicates as you move down the torso, your profit margins go up. And, Apple has achieved that big time.

He developed a thinking model capturing what it takes for a company to become a dominant force in its industry. This model relies on 8 factors: 1) product differentiation (superior design like Apple, Tesla, etc.); 2) visionary capital (long term capital not encumbered by short-termism); 3) global reach (the Four derive from 32% to 65% of their revenues overseas); 4) likeability (Amazon and Google have it, Uber does not) ; 5) vertical integration; 6) Artificial Intelligence; 7) Accelerant (being perceived as the most attractive place to work for the smartest individuals. Google has it. WalMart does not); and 8) Geography (being headquartered within a major city with a combination of great human capital (leading universities), financial capital (venture capitalists, banks, etc.), a major airport) .

Regarding geography and human capital, his insights remind one very much of the work of Richard Florida (author of The Rise of the Creative Class).

The book has a couple of weaknesses that do not detract from the overall quality of the book. Nevertheless, his chapter on who are the main candidates to become the fifth major player was the weakest in the book. I felt his choices included a bunch of also-ran (WalMart, IBM) or upstarts that are in too narrow a domain (Uber, Airbnb, Tesla). By the same token, I think he ignored other formidable Chinese technology companies that represent a greater threat on a worldwide basis than Uber or Tesla. Such companies include Baidu (equivalent of Google), Tencent (like Facebook, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music wrapped into a single company), and JD.com (a serious competitor to Amazon just as Alibaba is too).

Also, he mentions that 36 US cities accounted for 89% of worldwide GDP growth and 92% of worldwide job creation in 2012. In that same year the overall US economy grew slower than the whole World (2.2% vs. 2.4%) and much slower than India (5.5%) and China (7.9%). Given that, Galloway’s statistics regarding US cities are unlikely.

s
StarGladiator
Nov 27, 2017

Although I might not agree with all of this author's sentiments and opinions, you will not find a more informative and accurate book anywhere regarding Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and their cumulative onslaught!
This guy is terrifically spot on!
Whether stating that 1 in 6 people on the planet post to Facebook, or that America is or is becoming a nation of 3 million masters and 350 million serfs, or the large numbers of former employees from WPP now at Facebook and Google [to realize the significance of this - - the 2008 presidential casmpaigns of Obama, Clinton and McCain were managed by that London-based multinational PR firm, WPP], this author knows his stuff!
[On a recent Seattle/NPR radio news show, the former state attorney general - - the dude who filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration against the ACA - - incorrectly claimed that Bezos founded Amazon in Seattle due to the pool of local software talent.
WRONG, WRONG AND WRONG! It was strictly due to the state's tax structure - - from the very beginning Amazon utilized large numbers of foreign visa workers for their tech stuff. The former state A.G. understands nothing of the business/financial world, whereas Prof. Galloway knows the entire spectrum!]

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