The COVID-19 outbreak has turned bedrooms into offices, pitted young against old, and widened the gaps between rich and poor, red and blue, the mask wearers and the mask haters. Some businesses--like home exercise company Peloton, video conference software maker Zoom, and Amazon--woke up to find themselves crushed under an avalanche of consumer demand. Others--like the restaurant, travel, hospitality, and live entertainment industries--scrambled to escape obliteration.
But as Scott Galloway argues, the pandemic has not been a change agent so much as an accelerant of trends already well underway. In Post Corona, he outlines the contours of the crisis and the opportunities that lie ahead. Some businesses, like the powerful tech monopolies, will thrive as a result of the disruption. Other industries, like higher education, will struggle to maintain a value proposition that no longer makes sense when we can't stand shoulder to shoulder. And the pandemic has accelerated deeper trends in government and society, exposing a widening gap between our vision of America as a land of opportunity, and the troubling realities of our declining wellbeing.
Combining his signature humor and brash style with sharp business insights and the occasional dose of righteous anger, Galloway offers both warning and hope in equal measure. As he writes, Our commonwealth didn't just happen, it was shaped. We chose this path--no trend is permanent and can't be made worse or corrected.
Scott Galloway is a clinical professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, and a public speaker, author, and entrepreneur. He was named one of the world's 50 best business school professors by Poets and Quants.
I like Scott Galloway because he's funny and can admit when he was wrong. I think he's off on a few things in here--he dismisses free college as just a benefit to the upper classes just because the people who go to college now are upper classes, which is a circular argument. There are a couple of other trends that I disagree with (like online college). But in general, the book is chock full of astute observations on the economy and the growing power of the monopolies. Don't read this one unless you've read The Four because it's basically a sequel.
If you systematically follows Scott's content (blogpost, video podcasts) then you won't learn much new things. It is rather a sythesis of his thesis from last months.
If you follow Scott's sometimes then from "Post Corona" you will learn: - what chances and risks are in front of Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Shopify, Spotify, Netflix, Tesla, Airbnb, Uber and other tech giants, - what may happen in industries like real estate, healthcare and education, - what the company should do when the economic crisis begins.
When it comes to the accuracy of Galloway's predictions - sometimes they are correct, sometimes not (like with predictions in general). It is worth it to at least know his point of view. Few people is able to produce so regularly outside-of-the-box thoughts. For instance: Scott Galloway spread out such terms as "rundle" or "mental calories".
What is the source of his skill? I bet is because of his unusual career path. He is/was: the professor, entrepreneur and advisor. So he has different points of view and additionally a company which produces tons of business data.
Ok, I saw the title and wondered if the author could provide some stock tips and back these picks up with some intelligent babble. The answer is yes and no.
A big chunk of the book is devoted to Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Yes, these companies have humongous cash flows, little debt, and small debt loads. In fact, these companies will only grow stronger after the pandemic.
Brick and mortar companies with heavy debt loads and little cash flow before the pandemic will likely not survive. Look at Lord and Taylor, Lane Bryant, Men’s Wearhouse , California Pizza Kitchen and J.C. Penny. These companies may not survive much longer or have gone out of business. Well sure, customers will not visit these stores during a pandemic. (Unless your a non wearing face mask republican). Nothing new here.
However, the author did mention some disrupters that can change the face of an industry. A so called better mouse trap at lower cost. The author gives examples such as Shopify, Airbnb, Onemedical and Paleton that have and will dramatically increase in stock price.
The author then concentrates on higher education. The formal college experience is no longer relevant College costs are skyrocketing due to tenured professors and new buildings and, thus, becoming unaffordable to many students. Zooming courses can and would bring costs down. Thinking upon my education I would agree.
Lastly, the author makes some pretty strong statements regarding capitalism and democracy. How can 0.1% of the population own almost 50% of the wealth in our nation? How can almost 30% of our country live below or near the poverty line. In my younger days, I would have shrugged my shoulders. However today I agree with the author. Something has to be done to change the inequality in the US.
Entrepreneur and professor Scott Galloway shows how Covid accelerated already existing trends in e-commerce, working from home, online education, online medical consultation, food delivery, the gig economy, etc. The acceleration of these trends has brought both loss and opportunity.
In this new landscape, consumers seeking more product information are not relying on brands, which have been a huge corporate investment and mindset. Companies such as Uber and AirBNB have shifted the capital and maintenance costs to their providers. “Big tech” (pp. 40-21) has been the ultimate beneficiary of Covid with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, Netflix accounting for 21% of the value of all publicaly traded US companies.
After setting the stage with trends and data, Galloway talks about opportunity. The herd of companies has been “culled” of those that did not meet consumer needs, did not recognize the need to be digital, or carried big debt loads. This created opportunity for start up companies that can meet consumer needs without big debt and baggage. Those that benefited from Covid have a lot of cash for such investments.
There are incisive observations on health care and (especially) education which have expensive infrastructures. Universities boasting of high rejection rates often have huge endowments through which they could expand to serve more students. Less endowed schools can expand by better use of technology. Health care suffers from administrative and insurance issues. Other industries when they have cash, invest in acquiring more “customers”. Because these industries deny potential "customers" and/or don't use technology to its potential, Galloway sees them as ripe for the Uber/AirBNB treatment for upstarts. He notes some current innovations that have potential.
Galloway concludes on a personal note, showing the impairment of poverty and how the public infrastructure was key to his success. It was refreshing to hear this from someone who sold one of his start ups for over $120 million.
This is short and pithy. There is information and informed observation on every page on how this new economy works and will work in the coming years, concluding with his biography which carries the caveat that government is a necessary partner and resource in the economy.
My favorite author, Professor Scott Galloway, wrote this book just in time. I love the contents about higher education in particular as I am also a university professor. But it is not just higher education, this book is about a bold prediction what is going to happen post COVID-19. Strongly recommended.
Galloway built and sold a successful start up and now teaches in NYU. He analysed post-corona life from the economic lens:
1. Traditional retail was struggling and is now dead. Corona and lockdown remove Amazon’s competition.
2. Traditional PR/advertising firms had taken a hit and those business would never come back.
3. Cruise and other travel related industries will recover once travelling happens again. But business people have so adapted to Zooming now that in future the lucrative business travel segment may be gone forever.
4. Stimulus by the Fed enrich the rich by injecting liquidity thus raising stock prices.
5. Since the rich can work from home and enjoy rising stock prices but the poor cannot, inequality is going to get worse.
6. Tech companies especially The Four will win big time. Time to break them up to release competitive energy.
7. What stocks to buy? Tech Monopolies. While he thinks they should be broken up, he still advises holding those stocks.
8. Money given to companies further enrich the rich as they are business owners/ stock holders. We should give more money to people.
9. Higher education is in deep trouble: scalability of the elite schools, disappearing foreign students, online only teaching will all finally pop the bubble. Lots of colleges will close.
While initially interesting I felt that Galloway jumped the gun writing this last summer since a decent chunk of his “covid projections” have already been proven false which unfortunately takes the wind out of a lot of his other guesses. Also, while I’m not an expert on the topics he focuses on even I was aware enough to notice a handful of times that he was blatantly leaving out information or drawing absurd conclusions to make his arguments.
If you have been reading Scott's newsletter and listened to some of his podcasts I don't think you will find much new here. If this was an opportunist play in which Galloway wanted to "write a first and definitive business book about what happens after the pandemic" then it wasn't such a big opportunity. However, I don't feel regret after buying the book (i like to finance people who are providing me with value for free when I can).
After all, what new can be said on the topic everyone in the business community is discussing for months now?
Our world has been changing rapidly for decades now, but 2020 may have been a catalyst for an even faster progression of changes in the decade ahead. The worlds of shopping, office work, education, and medicine have been turned upside down, and it remains to be seen what the new normal will look like after Corona fades away. What will our world look like in 2030, and what did the Covid-19 pandemic do to accelerate that change?
Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University, but he came from humble beginnings to both found and sell a multi-million dollar company. He hosts a podcast, the Prof G Show, and some of this material has been covered on the podcast. He calls Covid-19 the Great Acceleration, a singular event that will create momentous changes and large disruptions in the entire economy.
One of the great mysteries of 2020 was how the stock market managed to rise during a worldwide pandemic- but that's not the whole story. One segment of the stock market- big tech- produced most of the gains of 2020, and for good reason. Amazon became the grocery store of choice, Zoom became the home of business and family gatherings, and Netflix became the diversion of choice with sport and concert venues closed. The losers of 2020 were what he calls BEACH stocks- Booking, entertainment, airlines, cruises and casinos, and hotels. Some of those may never recover, while some may. In between there are plenty of wounded and dying companies that struggled to get through 2020, and their fates may already be decided.
Covid produced what Galloway calls the Great Dispersion. Central facilities like offices, shopping malls, schools, medical facilities, and entertainment venues were ghost towns while people shopped, watched movies, and talked to teachers and doctors online from their homes. There are three industries that he sees as prime for disruption- meaning that they are older, more expensive, and relatively unchanging for the past several decades. These three will see the most change in the coming years- Healthcare, Retail, and Education.
Healthcare is a notoriously bloated enterprise where costs are out of control in the US. The pandemic has made telemedicine and telecounseling more accepted, and could open the door for big technology companies like Amazon to get involved as the middleman to cut costs and improve service. America's expensive healthcare system needs a total overhaul, and it would be great if a more health conscious nation was combined with more efficient ways of delivering care. We shall see.
Retail has already seen a huge switch to ecommerce, and the pandemic has accelerated that switch. The one area of retail that has resisted online shopping, grocery shopping, is ripe for changes just like the shopping malls have had to absorb. Galloway points out the problems with abusive warehouse employers like Amazon, but when a company is in 82% of homes like Amazon is, its power and network of services make it unstoppable unless the government steps in at some point. The powers of scale allow larger online retailers like Amazon to crush competition as it arises.
Galloway devotes an entire chapter to higher education, which is his current field, and bemoans the fact that tuition costs have risen 1400% in 40 years, more than three times the rate of inflation. During this time the value of the product- classes- has barely improved. While state and federal funding of higher education have dropped, students have compensated by borrowing obscene amounts to get the experience that college sells, with the resulting average graduating debt of over $30,000. The author predicts that by the end of the 20's colleges and universities will be hit by a crunch that will cause 25 to 50 percent of them to close permanently. Students during Covid-19 have been relegated to poorly designed online classes, and this could change the way that higher education is presented in the future. Elite schools will still be around, but many of the smaller ones will have a hard time finding students. He recommends things like national service, gap years, and more 2-year degrees to fill in the gap.
Some of his discussion is very technical and geared only towards business majors, and he devotes one chapter to analyses of various big tech companies and where they are headed. This chapter would be fascinating to financial types, but goes into jargon that some might not appreciate. Companies to watch in the coming years that could be among the disruptors: -Airbnb -Peloton -Carnival -Lemonade -Netflix -One Medical -Shopify -Spotify -Tesla -Tiktok and the group he calls The Four- tech firms that dominate everything: -Amazon -Apple -Facebook -Google
If you've been paying attention the past few years, you've noticed a lot of the trends that this book covers. It's nice to see such a readable, smart summary that makes sense. I knew that advertising was changing rapidly, and now I realize it's because ads are migrating from big media to Facebook and Google, who suck up 61% of all ad spending now. This will transform television, newspapers, radio, magazines, and anything else that still relies on traditional advertising. Brand advertising, or the building of brand identities that make us like something like Coke or McDonalds, is being replace by the Product Age, where crowdsourcing and online ratings drive sales much more than cute commercials. People turn to online ratings through things like Google, Yelp, or Trip Advisor to find places to spend their money more often than they look to known, advertised brands.
The final chapter is a plea for government involvement akin to socialism that will be a hard prescription to fill. Galloway despises the capitalist caste system that has made it harder and harder for people at the bottom to get education and move up. Income inequality is at unhealthy levels now, and he sees a role for government to both regulate and redistribute. The incentives for the economy are all wrong- we prop up big companies that are inefficient losers, but fail to support and nurture smaller, innovative companies that promise to add value. His recommendations include long overdue things like antitrust actions, more regulation, and funneling of money to innovators rather than the big companies who keep getting bigger.
The Covid epidemic has exposed some ugly tendencies in America- our mistrust of science, willingness to politicize basic things like public health, and individualistic tendency to blame people who get sick, raped, or poor for their own misfortune. The rich have gotten richer, while the virus has hurt the poor and minorities disproportionately, mainly because they are the ones that don't have the ability to work from home.
I always try to look for a silver lining in any bad thing that happens, and maybe one will turn up after Covid-19 is behind us. Post-Corona is one of many books now hitting bookstores that look at what the pandemic has done to us, and how we can use what we have learned during it. Hopefully we can use all this pain and suffering to learn some new and overdue lessons.
None of the ideas about the future presented in this book will surprise you. Yet, the author has managed to explain what we already know (the power of big tech is here to stay, old industries will face radical change, etc.) in an organised and simple way. The charts and data included across chapters are useful to quantify the impact of these changes and make the book particularly easy to read. Furthermore, I enjoyed the author's opinion specific to certain companies (Google, Peloton, Apple, Zoom, Amazon, etc.). I find that authors usually talk about trends and change but often fail to provide concrete examples that we can link to reality. Overall, a recommended read, but do not expect to find groundbreaking new ideas in this book.
It should be no surprise that a raft of essays and books would be published under the umbrella of “post-pandemic” ideas. One thing about social isolation and stay-at-home orders is that avid readers will keep fueling their bibliophilic indulgences, even if we are a minority. The rest will simply doom-scroll through their social media feeds and read shrapnel.
Galloway’s book has a lot of good things to discuss. He’s an insider and a venture capitalist and a professor, but he’s surprisingly not a vampire capitalist, at least not a voracious one. He does seem to want to make the world, and the US specifically, a better place for all. “Benevolent capitalist”, maybe? The pandemic has certainly opened the wounds of this nation wider—incredible disparities, widening inequality, gross hypocrisies, insatiable greed, bastardized priorities, egregious racism, and wanton exploitation amongst it all. Galloway walks us through it all from his insider perspective as a business consultant, venture capitalist, and stock market guru. He wants the federal government and its agencies to be respected again, a collective voice of authority, scientific intelligence, transparency, and purposeful action. He wants the filthy rich and their corporations held accountable, broken up where need-be, and paying their fair share into the Commons. He wants the giant industries of Health Care and Education to be revamped to help the majority of Americans. He’s not a fan of Bernie Sanders, nor libertarianism or cronyism, and seems to avoid democratic socialism (but he does highlight the social welfare of the upper crust and corporations very well, and in one sentence he said something like “If you want to see the American dream, look at Denmark”, so maybe there’s hope). What’s more, he seems to support Andrew Yang’s universal basic income idea to help the have-nots (Lyft drivers, Amazon pickers, minimum-wage everyones) keep a roof over their heads and food in the fridge, but I don’t recall him stating that policy idea specifically. At the end he also advocates for a “Corona Corps”, an abstract collaboration of many nonprofits already formed, but I don’t understand why he wouldn’t simply support the reinvigoration of the Civilian Conservation Corps, unless that’s too much on-target with democratic socialism—who wants to rein-in capitalism and spread the wealth around more evenly, build robust infrastructure for the Commons, and support the lower-classes first and foremost.
Look, I know democratic socialism will probably never gain firm footing here again unless nuclear war or a meteor strike happens first. Bernie will have a stroke mid fist-pump railing against the hypocrisies of this nation, and AOC will get burned out and do something more fulfilling to her holistic wellbeing (Jeremy Scahill interviewed her for The Intercepted podcast recently and it’s enlightening to hear how diseased our political system is, on both sides of the aisle: https://theintercept.com/2020/12/16/i...). “The median wealth of Democratic senators is $946,000, Republican senators $1.4 million” (p. 176). And, what most of us are beaten over the head with these days and yet few seem to give a sh!t:
“There is shocking data at the extremes: the top 0.1% now own more of the nation’s wealth than the bottom 80%. The three richest Americans hold more wealth than the bottom 50%. And there is bad news in broad strokes as well: since 1983, the share of national wealth owned by lower- and middle-income families has declined from 39% of the pie to 21%, while upper-income families have increased their share of national wealth from 60% to 79%.
”For purposes of self-preservation, you’d think the rich would be concerned about this level of income inequality. At some point, the bottom half of the globe by income realizes they can double their wealth by taking the wealth of the richest 8 families, who have more money than 3.6 billion people. Here in the U.S. the bottom 25% of households (31 million families) have a median net worth of $200. Most recently, a group of protesters built a guillotine outside the Manhattan home of Jeff Bezos to commemorate his wealth passing $200 billion” (p. 178).
Perhaps a more benevolent form of capitalism is our best bet, if we can destroy the infested cronyism of politics too:
“As a species, we are not very good at attribution—connecting our individual actions with the broader world or thinking long term. As consumers, we use our fast thinking. So, we need government to slow our thinking, consider the long term, and register moral and principled concerns. Keeping these forces in balance—the productive energy of capitalism and the communal concerns of government—is key to long-term prosperity” (p. 168).
But even if Galloway’s ideas were to blossom, it’d take huge shifts in society, a fundamental flipping of the paradigm. The Federal government would need razor-sharp teeth and high moral character, plus solid laws for transparency, regulation, oversight, and accountability. Punishments would need to be severe, in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, for Big Pharma and Big Oil and Big Ag, and all the chemical companies that made PFOA, a poison found in everyone now—including your children (god-bless Capitalism!) (https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...) . . . just to start with. (I’m not ruling out bringing back the guillotine either here. Use the Sacklers of Purdue Pharma as the first examples and see if behaviors change and attitudes shift radically amongst the 1%-ers. If they don’t, we can line up Bezos and Zuckerberg and so many others until those with all the power respect the overwhelming masses who have none.)
It’s a fallacy to believe this will happen, and I think deep-down Galloway knows this, even as this book was published before the current, largest infection spike has further crippled our healthcare system. “Just by virtue of stock ownership, the wealthy are making trillions off the pandemic as the market touches all-time highs. The market reflects our [I have to assume he means venture capitalists, or Wall Street power-players, here] belief that post corona, the biggest, most successful firms (publicly traded firms) will survive, consolidate the markets and emerge stronger (p. 169).
Only 40% of Americans attain a college degree, and while many degree-holders are Republican vultures praying to Ayn Rand’s ghost, the majority are empathetic, multicultural, humanistic, democratic supporters of equality and justice.
He goes on to rail against the deep divisions sown by “the Right”, but he doesn’t call any agencies or individuals out on such destructive sowing: “In the name of individualism, many Americans have refused to follow the call for sacrifice, from serious actions like cancelling events and closing businesses, to the most trivial, including wearing a mask. If you want a symbol for how broken our conception of community and patriotism has become, it is in the politicization of masks. In the name of patriotism—a value rooted in shared sacrifice—millions of Americans have refused to engage in even this minor personal inconvenience [and made many death threats upon legislators for it]. Refusing because it comes at the request of government [scientists], which we perceive not as the embodiment of our better instincts and the guiding of our future, but as an impediment to our desires, an oppressive force to be scorned and treated as fodder for our entertainment” (p. 170). He glosses over the disinformation machines of the Internet and certain money-making, propagandistic media networks radicalizing the village idiots of the Commons (https://www.npr.org/2020/12/15/946381...), probably because others have done deep-dives into those dark wells, but he does analyze many companies and projects their futures, to include Twitter having paywalls depending on the number of followers you have. It’s a band-aid on a bullet wound, but it’s a start.
As an aside, he also explains how Amazon could revolutionize healthcare, for a profit, and I have to admit I’m in agony over this possibility, but if we cannot get affordable healthcare as a basic human right for all, then maybe Bezos will do it for us. I work in healthcare. It’s an abomination, a monster of profiteering greed betting on the crappy health behaviors of the majority. A push for proactive healthcare—empowering people to take better care of themselves—would be huge, especially if we can educate children—PFOA, lead, mercury, and all—to lead by example. Having that knowledge and choosing to do nothing about it would make the obese and smokers and the sedentary pay more for their lack of self-care. Over 70% of Americans are overweight, and this country bleeds some $7 billion a year to care for those who haven’t taken care of themselves for decades. A drastic reimagining of healthcare, health insurance, and public health should be a priority post-corona, but I have infinitesimal faith anything will change drastically. Eat your cheeseburgers and drink your beer. The scythe waits for all of us.
Of course the easiest thing to do is what Galloway mentioned early-on, embrace attribution. Your individual choices have some power, but he also acknowledges that individual choices won’t put a dent in the Big 4. That takes ballot power. That takes a fundamental shift in how government operates. We need regulation and oversight. We need transparency and protections. We need punitive power inflicted upon the greed-driven dynamics of capitalism. We need the disinformation machines purged. Galloway summarizes his ideas as this: “Protect people, not jobs. Protect jobs, not corporations. Protect corporations, not shareholders. End of list” (p. 207). It’s a funny way of putting it, but it works coming from a guy worth millions, and it might be the only way to save this country from self-destruction.
So while most of us continue to buy stuff we don’t need online; help throw countless megatons of carbon and methane into the air; stress our bank accounts while bloating our credit lines; dump mountains of more beautiful, glittery, ribbony trash into landfills; and, think materialism and consumerism feed the hedonic tread machines of those we love for the holidays commandeered by Capitalism, the millionaires are working on becoming billionaires, and the billionaires are racing towards being the first trillionaire (which apparently isn’t even an f-ing word in the dictionary yet—makes you think, huh?).
Who can possibly understand what's happening now, and what will come next?
A good bet is to seek an opinion from an entrepreneur, business analyst, business strategy professor at a leading business school with several books under his belt, major company board seats in his history and a practice of thinking in public on a newsletter, multiple podcasts and on television. At the risk of inflating Scott's already prodigious ego (or at least the performative aspect of it he uses to protect what is likely really behind the shield of self aware braggadocio) it is worthwhile to acknowledge his experience and the unique value it lends his analyses.
If you listen to his podcasts, read his newsletter or have read his previous books, there is very little that will surprise you here as new content. What this book does deliver is additional thought and organization to Scott's key theories and lines of thinking: -COVID-19 is accelerating a decade of change in months -The Big and especially big tech and especially The Four are the biggest winners -They innovate and leverage strategic strengths but mostly they are big monopolies -They will seek entry into medicine, pharma, government and education because these are the only sectors big enough to justify their stock prices -There will and must be massive disruption in our economy overall and especially these sectors -The wealthy and the stockholder class continue to become more wealthy and powerful -The poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed continue to be oppressed -We continue to sacrifice the future of our children for convenience of the wealthy and powerful now -We need massive governmental overhaul and intervention to change the dynamics of capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down for companies and the wealthy -We need a Corona Corps and a new Marshall Plan to remake our country and commonwealth
If you listen to the audible version like I did, and are used to listening to Scotts Pods on his own and with Kara Swisher this will be very familiar in both form and content, with the exception of cleaner language, more polished editing and deliver and less riffing and bouncing of guests and co host's energy. I would have liked a PDF to show the charts in addition to Scott's description of what the charts depict (like other audible books have.)
Four stars means I liked it a lot, will likely read it again and strongly recommend it to any others with interest in the topics covered.
The first Galloway's book I've read has turned out to be very enjoyable and pleasant. The title suggests that its focus is strictly on COVID-19 crisis and what it has brought/brings, but it's an oversimplification - SG goes further into the geopolitical situation and mainly the global business landscape (including his favorite Big Four).
What did I enjoy most? I liked the author's speculations regarding future moves, e.g. in the area of media/streaming content. I like his thoughts on the future of both education and medical companies. I liked the straightforwardness in assessing the response of US govt to pandemic (but I'd love some more details next time, please).
What did I miss? Non-obvious examples of using C-19 as the opportunity (we've all heard about Zoom). I also find this book too US-centric - the pandemic is global and the situation varies more than US people think. Still, in the end it's a pretty solid book. 4-4.2 stars.
Couldn't have been more fitting to finish off this year with this book.
The pandemic, at this point, is most certainly old news. It's been plaguing the world for the past 9 months, and the end (sadly) doesn't seem to be in sight. The disruptions have been unprecedented, however this book has been pretty eye-opening at that. Beneath the disruptions in the industry, are structural inequalities that have been hiding in plain sight - higher education, big tech firms and their recurring revenue cycle, and a society that ultimately resembles a caste system rather than a meritocracy.
Post Corona is a pandemic-era update of Galloway’s first book, The Four (2017). It has a few moments of brilliance and comes with the usual dose of Galloway-esque punchlines, but ultimately it’s a weak sequel. Old wine in a new bottle.
Remember when you were a kid and the grown-ups (READ: men in the family, while the ladies did dishes, cleanup and the kids) started talking about Important Stuff, World Affairs, State of Mankind, What-The-Hell-Does-It-All-Mean!? (Non-allowed topics: G*d**md Democrats, Unhinged Repubs, and Christian Sects of every stripe). I usually backed into a deep pocket of silence, with an interested cousin or two under a covered lamp stand, behind a couch or in the corners behind the Big Chairs in the room where it all was happening to 1) avoid the work the women would assign us if they saw us, and 2) try to make sense of what the GrownUps were discussing and maybe pick up some new swear words. It worked for awhile before someone would snitch.
Anyway. . .yea, that is how I felt reading this book. I got some of it, some I didn't, it just isn't in my interest areas enough for me to pay attention and some was just downright threatening, discouraging and alarming by turns. Pretty much everything that is good is going to stop being good, and will turn on us like rabid dogs. I get that there are going to be good changes from our having gone through the Crisis (that we are still going through, fyi), and while some of the situations we are facing are worse with a virus involved, I think we would have been facing many of these in some form or fashion with or without COVID-19.
Overall, a good read because we need to think about these things. People like me, uninterested in things like this, need to read, learn and educate ourselves - not because we need the warning, but because we need to realize before we recognize what's heading down the road toward our happy dreams. No different than any other change that faced our ancestors - the ones that listened up and made changes were the ones from which we descend. The others? Well, yeah. They were swallowed up. No descendants.
I am a huge fan of Scott's podcasts (Pivot and Prof G) so I may be biased. It's a very good book to give you a perspective on how things may/will look like after the pandemic is over specially in the tech business world. I may have rated 5/5 if I haven't heard Scott's perspectives already, he gave too many spoilers in the podcasts.
Scott’s a really smart guy, and most of the books is quite good. But at times it is difficult to differentiate his hype from the really strong points that he’s making. It’s like being in a ring with a really quick boxer. The points keep coming fast enough that you never really have a chance to recover and grab your footing until you get hit with some nonsense where he’s way out over his skis.
An example of this is when Scott talks about the “performative woke Ness” of brands. He makes a deal out of how people “clapped back” on Twitter. When the NFL tweeted about how Black Lives Matter, people responded with a picture of Colin Kaepernick and said “this you?” this is not some novel thesis that we can point to as a shift that radically defines new brand management. To assume that people have ever enjoyed hypocrisy is so narrow sighted That I’m surprised this passed even the roughest of drafts. I remember as a kid people would point to Nike as a purveyor of sweat shops. Then for awhile it was Apple and how they had nets around their factories to prevent suicides. There were lots of news articles about it.
Brands are in decline because anyone is a brand nowadays. Everything and everyone brands themselves to some extent and they are all competing for your attention. The distribution of media has made it so that where you had to go through television or magazine or newspaper to “brand“ yourself, now you do it everywhere that you interact with other people. You would think a marketing guy would understand this.
Second example, this discussion of yogababble reads like something that Scott really wants to have happen, but with little to no actual momentum behind it. It’s very clearly conflating correlation with causation. Are companies that engage in nonsense yogababble really doing worse? Or are companies that are likely to have a culture of Style over substance likely to have marketing material that sounds like it was written at burning man? His one through 10 scale is cool, and good for a laugh but doesn’t really contribute anything. What predictive power does this have? Are you going to make an investment thesis with us? Yogababble sounds cool but ultimately seems worthless.
I also think Scott’s take on how we can’t pay for college due to it benefiting the rich to be tenuous at best. Seems like mental gymnastics from someone in higher education trying to prevent budget cuts. He needs to spend more time making that argument as I found it hollow and unconvincing.
Despite this, 70% of this book is great. It’s strong analysis on what the business world will be doing a post corona environment. It makes sense of a very uncertain situation and I commend Scott for putting himself out there with a lot of his statements and predictions. Recommended to anyone who is able to think critically about what they read and feels like they can pick the good out from the bad.
Galloway is an insufferably overconfident social media gadfly, and I kind of despised his best-known work, The Four, because of how terribly gender-retro it was, but I have to admit that it seems some of his rougher edges have been smoothed away in this book, and what remains isn't half bad. I found this to be a thoughtful analysis of pandemic impact written in the midst of the pandemic. So in the end, I begrudgingly have to admit that this book was fine and that I have forgiven SG for some of his earlier bullshit.
A compelling perspective. Following the current pandemic, like almost any existential threat, there are major changes in society and technology that will accelerate. Galloway focuses on the behaviors of healthcare, government, education, and the general populace. Given my background, I focused most on Galloway's prediction and raining criticism of higher education and found his general direction to be spot on. While I didn't agree with all of his findings - particularly the divergence of asset prices and incomes from 1980-2020 (he fails to account for the change in underlying interest and risk rates) there were a lot of great thought-provoking issues raised and discussed. A good read - and an open mind is necessary to fully appreciate the perspectives.
A wonderful and to the point book. Another great read and all thanks to Scott. His carefree style, satirical tone, no bullshit attitude, strong research and authentic approach to the topics he talks about, makes the reading experience immensely rewarding. I picked up this book to get a perspective about the world on the other side of the pandemic. Our past two generations have no idea about it and you could see that in the attitude with which they are dealing with the pandemic. I think history repeats and it repeats when we divorce ourselves from the history. Anyway, this book delivered what I hoped for. No click bait (in youtube terminology). One key takeaway from this book is fairly simple but something we Eastern cultures were very strong at and I think especially in India we follow it still in parts. But we have morphed it into something ugly and it has been reduced to a bunch of gossipers who are cut throats.
The prescription of the pandemic is the same as the prescription for our broader illness - a wholesale renewal of our sense of community.
When I saw how US behaved and reacted to the pandemic I loathed them. This year shattered my notion that US is an advanced society. No it isn't and the scary part it we are emulating them and it will be dangerous. The sense of community is pretty strongly ingrained in us and I loved to see most Indians not wearing masks because they value their individuality and no one can direct them what to do. We didn't wear it for many other stupid reasons but that's not the point and this is not the place to rant about that.
Another major takeaway was that the biggest opportunities are going to come where this pandemic has accelerated change. Tech is going to remain the undisputed king.
I am sure people who are seeking to get their hands dirty in doing something on their own in coming years, this book will give them some really good pointers. In the interconnected world today prospects in India would not differ much from US. Demographics is something that need to be factored in wherever relevant.
I really enjoy Scott Galloway. For anyone who isn't familiar, he's a successful serial entrepreneur, rock star professor at NYU Stern, and the host of a couple of really good podcasts (Prof G and Pivot, which he hosts with badass tech journalist Kara Swisher) Post Corona is his take on how the COVID crisis will change the business landscape in the long term.
If you're seeing this review because we went to B School together, I really think you'll like this book. Reading it feels like the best moments in the classroom at Kellogg. I would have loved to take a strategy class with him as a professor - the light bulb keeps going on over your head, there's just enough finance to feel rigorous without actually being stressful, and you laugh at least once per class.
Also, he uses simple diagrams to compare firms' market caps and what the ratios mean for their industries. Why didn't we do this more in school? (Feel free to tell me if I just wasn't paying attention.) This book finally put Amazon's size and influence into perspective for me, and it's wild.
I've heard criticism that Post Corona contains a lot of material previously covered in Galloway's blog. I guess that's fair if you're a regular reader and expected something new. Doesn't bother me - I'd rather have all the insights in a book than have to click through a bunch of blog posts. Also, he published it in late 2020. That's a fast turnaround and it makes sense that he'd stage the ideas elsewhere first.
Galloway says that his book is “an attempt to look our unprecedented present and predict the future by creating it, catalyzing a dialog that crafts better solution.” He focuses on changes brought about or accelerated by the pandemic and how today’s crisis presents opportunities for those willing and able to implement solutions.
Some of the themes that Galloway explores include the following:
- The tendency of remote work to increase income inequality - The move from a brand focus to a product focus. - The decline of advertising on broadcast media - The increasing importance of privacy to consumers - The dominance of big tech in general and of “The Four” in particular – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google - The increase of unregulated digitized monopolies - How Amazon sees expenses as investments in future stand-alone businesses - How Apple’s success is based on selling a low-cost product at a premium price and on recurring revenus bundles - How higher education offers three value propositions – a credential, an education, and an experience – and how the pandemic will affect each - The need for a renewed sense of community - The need for government to slow our thinking, think about the long term, and consider moral concerns - The transformation from an innovative economy to an exploitation economy - The dangers of superabundance - The importance of restraining private power and empowering individuals
Unfortunately, the book seems quickly put together, as if Galloway wanted to be the first to talk about the post-Covid world. Consequently, there is a lot of jargon in the book and many ideas are presented without adequate backstory or explanation. The reader is just expected to “get it.”
Nevertheless, the ideas presented in the book are often incisive, and the overall tone of the book is optimistic.
I started with this book as it was one of the most popular books on the topic, and also author already had a couple of famous books.
I wanted to learn more about the corona crisis and understand its second and third-degree impacts rather than directly evident impact. I was somewhat disappointed. Most of the topics covered in this book are more or less direct impact by the corona and increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. Also, this book only talks about the US, you'll rarely get some European references to compare with the US, but that's pretty much it. Corona is not a US issue. It's a worldwide phenomenon, and I don't recollect any reference to Africa in the whole book. I feel this book takes many references from the author's previous book, 'The four.' I liked learning about it, but in my opinion, we only concentrated on a tiny aspect of the corona crisis. This book went into print before the second wave hit, so I think it contains most of the premature believes regarding the pandemic. I enjoyed reading this book and learning new perspectives; however, I wasn't expecting them in a book named 'Post Corona.'
If you’re familiar with Scott Galloway’s work, some ideas and teams you’re like these have already come across (either through his YouTube, videos or podcasts).
All in all a thought, provoking book in regards to the future state of technology, and many industries ripe for disruption.
1- we give little thought to the negative extraality of technology and technology oligopolies. 2- at the same time, technology could help radically improve many bureaucratic and inefficient industries, like healthcare in education. 3- unregulated technology monopolies will continue to gain in value if their dominant position is not curtailed. 4- north Americans need to be more aware of the societal and systemic issues that plague our current younger generations. There are many problems I have barely, if not at all, addressed (such as skyrocketing, education cost, declining wage growth, negative side effects of increased, technological use, reduced, intergenerational mobility, etc.)
A great book to kick off one's new year, using the extended weekend to recap what happened in 2020 and what's in front of us in 2021. Don't expect this book to circle solely around the virus. Corona in this book is more used as a characteristic that shaped 2020 and our near-term future. So, that's definitely a great weekend read (and very manageable to complete it in that time!) covering a vast array of issues, starting with business, economic & social crises extending further to potential investments & a roadmap for governmental change. Focused primarily on the US, though. Make sure to read it in the Q1 of 2021, otherwise, a part of it may have been already expired.