“It’s these guys’ worlds. We just post in it and shop in it,” said New York University Professor Scott Galloway of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google at Digital Book World 2016. During a talk called “The Four Horsemen,” Galloway argued that these four companies are taking over the world and continually disrupting the publishing ecosystem.
“I can’t get enough of television. I love Game of Thrones. These four firms are dragons,” Galloway explained. “When they’re smaller, they’re fine—you can throw rats at them. As they get bigger, they eat cities. It’s not a question of what businesses they’ll go into because it’s not if—it’s when.”
To prove his point, Galloway said Facebook has grown faster than any company, with more than 10 billion dollars in revenue.
“In 2010, I predicted Facebook would be the most important thing and I was wrong,” he continued. “But it will be. It will be more important than Buddha, Allah and the Kardashians.”
Victims of these companies are aplenty, but Galloway highlighted advertising companies and magazines specifically.
“This is a zero-sum game right now,” he said, regarding the victims.
Galloway believes ad companies will still be around in the future, but a bad place to work at. Ad tech companies will be a great industry to work in, he contends, as long as you’re working for Facebook or Google. As for magazines, they will be “Facebooked.”
“The future of advertising is a winner take all economy with fewer and fewer exits,” Galloway added. “Traditional advertising doesn’t equal success.”
Apple and Amazon continue to dominate retail, Galloway explained, with Amazon responsible for 51 percent of growth online.
“Amazon has changed the game like Game of Thrones [changed television]. It changed profits with vision and growth and put everyone in a box. Amazon says ‘We don’t need to be profitable, but we’ve convinced you that you do.’”
As for the future of innovation, Galloway thinks we’ll be seeing more head fakes in technology, disruption in education, and a virtual reality takeover that will drastically affect the content business.
At the end of his talk, Galloway asked the audience to consider whether these technological advances are helping humanity in any way.
“There is a lot of idolatry of money and of innovators. Steve Jobs is our Jesus Christ. We go to churches called innovation conferences,” he said. “We’re in fact taking the greatest IQ concentration together [at these companies], but are we addressing the real problems of the world?”
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