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The Four Horseman

ScottGalloway

Scott Galloway:

Scott Galloway is a Clinical Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing to second-year MBA students and is the author of the Digital IQ Index, a global ranking of prestige brands’ digital competence. In 2012, Professor Galloway was named “One of the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors” (Poets & Quants). Professor Galloway is also the founder of several firms including: L2, a subscription business intelligence firm serving prestige brands; Red Envelope [looks like they are now out of business], an e-commerce firm (2007, $100mm revs.); and Prophet, a global brand strategy consultancy with 250+ professionals.

He can also tear through 90 slides in 900 seconds. I caught his most recent presentation at DLD15: The Four Horsemen — Amazon/Apple/Facebook & Google — Who Wins/Loses.

He made a number of predictions including:

  • Amazon will not make it as a pure play retailer
  • The future of retail is multi-channel
  • Facebook pulled the biggest bait and switch in history
  • Google is facing stronger competition in search
  • Apple will become the first trillion dollar company

He also shared a heat map which attempts to associate socioeconomic status with mobile operating systems.

Scott literally tore through his presentation without barely taking a breath. I won’t give him too many points on the quality of his public speaking skills however his content was fascinating to watch.

 

Leadership Insight

Steve Jobs made some interesting observations at an industry interview last night.

On his return to Apple in the 1990s:

“Apple was about 90 days from going bankrupt. It was much worse than I thought back then. I expected all the good people had left, but I found many of them still there, and I asked them, “Why are you still here?” They said it was because they believed in Apple.”

On the platform wars between Microsoft, Google and Apple:

“I don’t see it. We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, and maybe that’s why we lost. We think about the competition, but we’re focused on building a better product.”

On passing Microsoft’s market capitalization:

“It doesn’t matter very much. It’s not what’s important. It’s not what makes you come to work in the morning. It is a little surreal.”

On Google:

“They decided to compete with us. We didn’t go into the search business! We want to create better products than them. If people like our products, we get to come to work for tomorrow. Just because we’re competing doesn’t mean we have to be rude.”

On journalists and, er, bloggers:

“The foundation of a free society is free press, and some of the newspapers are in real trouble. I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I’m all for anything that can help newspapers with new ways of expressing themselves and getting paid. We need editorial oversight now more than ever.”

On the future of PCs. They become farm trucks:

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farms. But cars eventually became more prevalent is people moved to cities. PCs will be like trucks…they are still going to be around, but there is a transformation coming, and it will make some people uneasy. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years from now?”

On his work:

“I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to come in and work with some of the most brilliant people in the world. We play in the best sandbox. We’re structured like a start-up. We’re the biggest start-up on the planet. And we all meet once a week to discuss our business…and there’s tremendous teamwork at the top and that filters down to the other employees.”

On his Stanford address:

“Probably I would just turn up the volume on it. The last few years have reminded me that life is fragile.”

Google Versus Apple

The following clip is an excerpt from The Pirates of Silicon Valley. It highlights how Microsoft conducted business back in the good old days.


A lot has changed since then.

First, Microsoft is a dead stick company. Unable to effectively innovate or grow the business, it clings to its old monopoly model of imposing a tax on PCs. A tax that is called Windows and, more often than not, Office. In terms of the next wave of computing, Microsoft is simply not a material factor. Microsoft does not lead or drive the market. Other competitors have moved in.

What is interesting is that the same techniques Microsoft used in the 1980s to dominate the PC industry is now being used by Google to dominate the 2010s. Google is playing hardball with its competitors and Google is winning.

When Schmidt joined the board of Apple in 2006, he made the following statement:

“Apple is one of the companies in the world that I most admire,”? said Eric Schmidt. “I’m really looking forward to working with Steve and Apple”™s board to help with all of the amazing things Apple is doing.”?

Or was there a different motive?

Android? Chrome? Google TV?

Google”™s VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra made a particularly arrogant statement about why Google created Android:

If we did not act, we faced a draconian future. Where one man, one company, one carrier was the future.

Uh, huh. Conveniently forgetting to mention that Google had acquired Android in 2005. Before the iPhone. Before the Apps store. And conveniently forgetting to mention that Eric Schmidt was following the teachings of Sun Tzu’s Art of War:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

When To Wave Goodbye

I still haven’t figured out how to use Wave even after Google gives me a hint.

Dr. Google

Cyberchondria.

According to ChannelWeb:

Now you can convince yourself that you have more illnesses than you can shake a thermometer at, thanks to the Internet.

It’s good news for hypochondriacs, who can now add “cyberchondria” to their list of supposed ailments. Microsoft researchers coined the term after finding that thanks to a plethora of online medical information, more and more people think they are sick.

Microsoft researchers released their report on cyberchondria in November of 2008. Despite the report from ChannelWeb, Microsoft researchers did not coin the term cyberchondria. As this New York Times article highlights — without a source mind you:

… the term “cyberchondria”? emerged in 2000 to refer to the practice of leaping to dire conclusions while researching health matters online

The BBC had published a news article on cyberchondria back in 2001. The concept of cyberchrondia has been around for a long time. I should know. I have been a proud cyberchrondriac for many years.

Microsoft researchers Ryen White and Eric Horvitz claim that the use of Web search as a diagnostic procedure where queries describing symptoms are input and the rank and information of results are interpreted as diagnostic conclusions can lead users to believe that common symptoms are likely the result of serious illnesses. And escalations from common symptoms to serious concerns may lead to unnecessary anxiety, investment of time, and long waiting lines to meet with a Canadian doctor. Assuming that you can find one somewhere.

As the concept has been around for some time and most people would admit to having used Dr. Google, why would Microsoft be researching cyberchondria now? Perhaps the answer is Microsoft HealthVault. Or the evolution of Web search guided by Microsoft research.

Whatever the driver, just say no to Dr. Google. 

The Madness of Jerry Yang

Jerry Yang stepped down as CEO of Yahoo. You can read his memo to his employees here.

Another victim of Microsoft. And a victim because business became a religion.

Dan Lyons asked why Jerry Yang was still in charge back in October. His very direct article highlighted the following point:

No matter how it happened, Yahoo’s failure to hook up with Microsoft may rank as one of the greatest boneheaded moves in the history of tech…

And now he resigns. Such a strange ending. Granted, with a net worth of $2 billion or so, he won’t starve.

Wired summarized the madness of Jerry Yang this way:

When business is about business and not about religion, these can actually be happy endings. Stockholders inside and outside the company get a price for their shares they probably wouldn’t see for years, and every one moves on to the next phase of their lives. It’s bittersweet to be sure. Watching a once-great company get gobbled up feels to loyalists like a close friend has died. But the premium prices paid in takeovers have a way of making those emotional wounds heal faster.

But when business is about religion, as it clearly has been at Yahoo, the end is typically not bittersweet but just bitter. Yahoo, whose stock is trading at around $12, could have sold to Microsoft for $33 a share nine months ago. But Yang, who started Yahoo in 1995 when Microsoft was still the evil empire, hates everything about the company. According to those who know him, Yang still won’t use any device remotely associated with Microsoft technology. And so it is no surprise to anyone that he figured out a way to scuttle that deal. Instead he tried to partner with Google, only to have that deal shot down earlier this month on antitrust grounds.

Yahoo says it is looking for a successor to run the company. But that seems to be more spin than reality. With its search business decimated by Google and its display ad business gasping, thanks to the global financial crisis, it’s hard to see why anyone would subject himself to that kind of abuse. My bet is that Microsoft, despite its claims to the contrary, offers to buy the company for $20 a share by Thanksgiving. If Microsoft believed Yahoo was worth $33 a share nine months ago, don’t you think it believes Yahoo is worth $20 a share today?

And so now Jerry Yang is out of the company he co-founded, looking less like a visionary and more like another high tech entrepreneur, a la Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment a generation ago, who didn’t realize that time had passed him by.

Google

55 ways to have fun with Google. Free pdf ebook here.