Success of the Four

“What is the endgame for this, the greatest concentration of human and financial capital ever assembled? What is their mission? Cure cancer? Eliminate poverty? Explore the universe? No, their goal: to sell another f***ing Nissan.”

I just finished The Four by Scott Galloway. It’s great, it’s useful for understanding the workings of the major four tech companies. If you’re like me and not very business minded, you will learn a lot because Galloway uses language that is easy to understand (if not littered with start-up slang, which is pretty much commonplace nowadays). I particularly liked the chapter on google, Galloway has an informative, front-line perspective.

There’s one glaring strange thing about this book, the tone comes in two sharp contrasts. It’s a great book to learn about what these four companies have done (and are doing) to get where they are. Yet, there are parts of this book (entire chapters) that are a “how to” for young, elite aspiring entrepreneurs. These parts really came out of nowhere for me.

Galloway spends much of the book explaining the evil that these companies do, questioning their intentions and ethics, for example lamenting the fact that such powerful companies use the power only to try to sell another Nissan. This is one of his major critiques about Steve Jobs, is that he never gave to charity or did anything for humanity. Then, in his “how to” sections, he glorifies the blind pursuit of more and more and more. He continually uses language that characterizes people not working for any of the Four companies as rejects, for example.

The effect of this was a weird mixed message, reinforcing a blind spot that even smart business-tech people have these days. Today’s business guy defines success in a way that the average person simply can’t relate to, even when they think they aren’t. It’s built into them that individual business dreams are an ethics all in itself.

Side note: Gallow spends some time talking about who is a potential next member of the”Four” (I guess it would be the Five?). It’ll be someone doing something unique. My suggestion is that it’s already a political party, whichever one is in power at the time.

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