The Four

The Four

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

Book - 2017
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Business professor Scott Galloway asks fundamental questions about Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. How did those 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 challenge them? 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 cant match. And he reveals how you can apply the lessons of their ascent to your own business or career.
Publisher: New York, New York : Portfolio, Penguin, [2017]
ISBN: 9780735213654
Branch Call Number: 338.761 G138
Characteristics: viii, 310 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Feb 02, 2020

Scott Galloway is an interesting character. I first became aware of him by way of the Pivot podcast where he co-hosts with Kara Swisher. He seemed to have a good insight into the viability of various businesses and why they were successful - as well as seeming to have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of various marketing statistics - so I was keen to read this book.

In The Four, Galloway takes information that is frankly available to anybody given that these are publicly traded entities. But what he adds to those numbers is an analysis that places the companies in the context of their competitors, their vertical industries, and history. It's actually a very insightful look at the companies that have come to dominate the modern technology landscape, and it's done in a way that explains why their approach to business has made them the titans that they are. Yes the technologies are impressive, but it's *how* The Four have wielded those technologies to trounce their competitors that is brought to the fore in this book.

The final chapter that talks about how to survive in this landscape does feel like it was tacked on, but on the while the book is a good read.

Aug 05, 2018

Superb book. Informative, well written and, for me, a very valuable grounding in what the big internet giants are about. I recommend it highly.

Jul 18, 2018

Everything I expected! An excellent read. At times it's very data intensive but that is to be anticipated. Came away with an entirely different view of the four horseman.. Highly recommend this

May 05, 2018

A pure marketing exercise, the content of this book is just comprised of the annual reports of the big four companies explained in plain (boring) language. The book has no structure at all, it starts talking about the markets & financials of each company and on the second part it gives professional advice to the reader.

An excellent example of what a New York Times bestseller is. "Business literature" for the masses.

Feb 01, 2018

Scott Galloway is a professor (Rated among the top fifty in the world,) and a serial entrepreneur.He is thus in a unique position to comment on the behemoths in our present economy. I did not realize how much my life had been consumed by the "Big Four - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google." Galloway tells the tale of these companies in a no holds bar fashion. He talks of today being the age where there are 3 million masters and 350 serfs. Likewise he says it is easier to become a billionaire than it is to become a millionaire.Every one of these companies started out with 'curiosity.'As Galloway points out "What worked yesterday is out-of-date today and forgotten tomorrow." Thus constant evolving is necessary to stay on top. That is exactly what these four companies have managed to do.Indeed these four companies are controlling American business and the world but there are other companies snapping at their heels. Will they succeed? Maybe in a few years we will look to Galloway to write another book about one or more of these successes. (less)

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 (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.

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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