Read: April 2022

Inspiration: Read stories of antitrust concerns related to major US tech companies and wanted to learn more


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google”, published in 2017 by author and professor Scott Galloway, examines the dominance and influence of the four titular tech giants. The book explores the unique characteristics and strategies that have allowed these companies to become so powerful, as well as the ways in which they have disrupted traditional industries and changed the way we live and work. The book also discusses the potential downsides of this dominance, including the negative impact these companies can have on competition and privacy. In addition, the book delves into the personal histories and leadership styles of the founders and executives who have guided these companies to the top of the tech world. Overall, The Four offers a thought-provoking and in-depth look at the forces driving the modern tech landscape.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

More people in US have Amazon Prime than vote in Presidential election, FB/G/MS/AMZN can be seen from benevolent and malevolent perspectives, walmart was big disruptor/destroyer before amazon—US used to have laws against discounts for bulk purchases then race to zero began in 60s, amazon and bezos take risks no one else can take—willing to spend money to get advantage and have endless capital, bezos willing to take big risks and shareholders allow it unlike traditional ceo approach, amazon really profits on AWS and media ads but known as ecomm, amazon increasingly where search starts (not google), bezos pro-UBI b/c crushing retail jobs, Apple has sanctity to it—not want FBI to access for crimes (odd given warrants accepted elsewhere), steve jobs revered but really a bad person and absent father, apple is about luxury—apple store is arguably as key as iphone (brand experience and feeling), apples moat vs other horsemen is luxury perception, apple has cash to reinvent education (tuition free), facebook has unique individual intelligence and reach, twitter has reach but with bots and fake names it lacks ability to target (relevance outpace mkt value), facebook is the largest media company but wants to be a platform and not have media responsibilities to vet info, facebook weaponized by russian intelligence (most firms this happened to would be shut down), fb about clicks and dollars, google controls information, previous push for news sources like nyt to move off google as google monetize and collect all the data while nyt get none, google rum ads wherever they want, google essentially a god, product differentiation can be product, how sold, how discovered, how delivered, etc., removing friction is key (e.g. no hotel check in, no bill at end of dinner, no fumbling for cash on taxi), hard to compete with amazon bc it doesnt want to make money, tesla could be next horseman with cheap capital, likeable, visionary founder, hugely innovative product, tesla’s key is proximity to customer with over the air product updates (unparalleled support), tesla has the apple luxury appeal, alibaba has many hurdles to horseman (china association makes it tough to go global and be liked/apolitical), instagram linked to suicide/depression yet idolized, big tech led to decline of middle class—winner take all (cheap capital and scale with less jobs, $/employee declining), big tech push for small gvt but essentially kill competition and own form of gvt

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