Author: Scott Galloway
Review by: Phil Bolton, founder and publisher emeritus, Global Atlanta
How about Joe Gebbia Jr., the Atlanta native, Brookwood High graduate, who with two friends launched the hotel disrupter Airbnb Inc, which earlier this month went public and currently has a market cap of nearly $90 billion?
Scott Galloway, the New York University Stern School of Business professor and entrepreneur, is impressed with the company, which he says is surrounded by a moat as if it’s a medieval castle.
In his recently published Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity, he praises the company for monetizing “the largest asset class in the world (U.S. real estate).”
“…we believe it will likely be one of the most valuable firms in travel/hospitality…The space demands global supply and demand (people from all over the world book places to stay in Austin), and Airbnb has it. This is the definition of a moat.”
If you’re interested in brilliant analyses of the future of a host of companies, get this book. I’ll name a handful you can learn about and why he thinks some will become trillion-dollar firms and some won’t.
If you’re interested in Netflix, Peloton, Robinhood, Shopify, Spotify, Tesla, Uber and Twitter — to name a few —you’ll want to read what Galloway says, and his views on Twitter are especially interesting.
But don’t get this book solely for the company analyses. It’s much more enthralling and much more ambitious. At heart it addresses the future of the United States and whether the the country will decline further into dystopia or right itself due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his view the pandemic is an “accelerator” of change, speeding up trends already underway. The biggest winners will be powerful tech monopolies, yes, the “Big Four” — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google (along with Microsoft that he throws In almost as an afterthought) — which he wants to see broken up through government anti-trust initiatives.
The losers like higher education and the medical industrial complex are low hanging fruit soon to be picked off. Imagine Amazon becoming the country’s largest medical facility.
While the companies all appear as colorful characters, Galloway believes the real hero should be the government. And he’s no socialist. “Capitalism has no equal as a system for economic productivity,” he says flatly.
Yet this is wartime. Would the United States have been able to contribute to winning World War II with its current government and the absence of social values among its population? The answer most likely is no. So why should it be able to contain the coronavirus, which requires as much of a commitment and unified front?
In conclusion, he cites two guiding lights: Benjamin Franklin, who said when he signed the Constitution: “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall hang separately.” And Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote “A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”
Not to read this book at this time is like disregarding the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution at the birth of the nation — its future depends how we respond to the current crisis.
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Each year, Global Atlanta asks influential readers and community leaders to review the most impactful book they read during the course of the year. This endeavor has continued annually since 2010.
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