A good holiday reading is something that is an essential addition to the time spent with family and friends. Every year I try to get hold of a good book to get inspiration for the upcoming year. Last year, I’ve read “Grit”, which is about perseverance. This year, I noticed a book of NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway – “Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity”. Galloway is also the author of “The Four”, which is a book about Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Now, to the topic of the day – the post-corona book. I’ve read this book a bit slower than I usually do (which is a good thing). When I read it I had Galloway’s voice in my head talking about the opportunities of large companies – a big tech, as he calls them. His thesis is that the pandemic actually accelerated their growth to the size which makes them really hard to disrupt. By mergers and acquisitions, they can “cannibalize” their competition, unless the competition is them.
I thought that this book would be about Zoom – a company unheard of before the pandemic, now a synonym for a phone call. I thought that the book would be about health services and telemedicine – another area that was small and now is big. Now, it was nothing like that. The book was about The Four and how they capitalize on their brands in times of pandemic.
There is a thesis out there, that if you are getting something for free, it’s not worth much. In this book, Galloway popularizes another thesis – if you are getting something for free, you are the product, not the consumer. He uses this as a way of explaining why Apple charges so much for their products – for not using our data, whereas Google and Facebook/Meta capitalize on our data. Apple connects 200 data points per day from us, while Google collects 2000 data points per hour – a small difference.
I’m not a privacy freak, but I do not want to be a product unless I choose to. I do not want companies to monetize on me, my behavior, and my family. But, and that’s a sad thing, I do want to have great services for a reasonable price. I want my maps to work well – the one in the car’s GPS simply does not make it. I want to watch short tutorials on YouTube – Netflix does not produce tutorials about variational autoencoders (yet).
To sum up, I like the thesis posed by Galloway, that the next big thing taken up by Amazon, will probably be medical insurance or schools. It is not difficult to see that the telemedicine model is essentially mature enough for being disrupted. I really recommend this book as food for thought in the post-pandemic (or endemic) world of 2022.