Astrophysics for people in a Hurry & The Four

tldr; Great books, read them: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry if don’t know what a Pulsar is. The Four if you want to understand what the biggest players in tech are all about and you plan to work in business in the next 20 years.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

The last book that I read in 2017 was Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

I knew the universe was enormous but the facts of this book were humbling. Reading this book right after Homo Deus was fascinating. In a way I read where the future of Intelligent Civilization will go from where we have been in Homo Deus, and then read about how not just intelligent civilization but the universe even came to be, in AFPIAH. Then to be able to learn about all the technological advancements that help us understand physics and not understand in Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and Gravity.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson really does a great job in just 208 pages describing and articulating on the wonders of how we even came to be, on a tiny planet, in the milky way, in this ever expanding universe. The most fascinating parts of the book to me were when he would describe the things we don’t understand, but how not being able to understand things like Dark Matter and energy, give us a better understanding of the universe as a whole.

Facts like, if it weren’t for Jupiter and its immense gravitational pull, pulling asteroids (and asteroid belts) into its atmosphere, earth would have been destroyed 400 million years ago, and intelligent life as we know it would have never existed. Einstein’s equation of general relativity and discovery of lambda, which allows us to measure dark matter even though we don’t know what it is. The order of the most abundant elements in the universe (1. Hydrogen, 2. Helium, 3. Oxygen). And how “there are more stars than words and sounds ever uttered by all the humans who ever lived.”

“We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out – and we have only just begun.”

Must read for everyone, truly humbling and brings out real curiosity.


The Four

The first book that I read in 2018 was The Four by Scott Galloway. “The Four” refers to the biggest technology companies in Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The first few chapters dive into each of these respective companies, their technologies, how they came to be, and what they are all about. Data, data, data; I am fascinated by technology and data (if you didn’t know this already) as I finished this book in 4 days.

What all these companies have in common is they go after our instincts and utilize our wants and needs against us.

Google – Information

Google gives us instant information that appeals to us that want to know everything. It takes away the necessity to memorize or know everything as it is all one search away. The power this gives Google is every time we search something it understands us better. Not only does Google (God) know everything about anything, it also knows us better and is able to sell this knowledge to companies that want to reach their target customers, which Google knows better than them.

Amazon – Hunter Gatherer

Amazon gives us the ability to have anything we want in 2 days or less for free. Before Amazon, supply chain and logistics were inadequate, costing an arm and a leg to get something by next week. Amazon’s ability to collect all this data on things we want and get it to us within 2 days (instant gratification) builds up its reputable and trust worthy company out there. With the acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon see’s the need for a store front to build and establish a customer experience, Whole Foods could also act as fulfillment center’s where customer’s could pick up and drop off their products, drastically decreasing logistics. Drone delivery on the horizon, oh and look out UPS, DHL, and FedEx. Basically, Amazon is and will thrive on our primal instincts to have as much as possible, because having too much just means you waste it, but having to little means you die.

Facebook – Love

Amazon has 1 Billion Daily active users and 2 Billion users. WOAH. Everyone is on Facebook as it thrives off the human want for connection and communication. You can see what your cousins-boyfriends-sister is doing on the social media. Not only that but with Facebook’s algorithm, they can provide companies with very accurate advertisements to their target customers… for a price of course. Facebook knows you better than your spouse after 100 likes…

Apple – Sex

Human nature wants us to mate with the most dexterous partner out there. Apple is a luxury brand more than a tech company. Owning a Apple product is a social statement; in owning a Mac it makes you more attractive and desirable than someone who doesn’t. Apple went from being a technology company from when it constantly kept trying to one up their previous product, to a luxury brand now that everyone wants the latest and greatest (sexiest), Apple device. Apple has so much cash since its margins are more than any other company on the planet and they sell so many.  Woz doesn’t get enough credit for what he really did for Apple.

What Makes All these Companies a Trillion Dollar company?

The “T Algorithm”:

  1. Product Differentiation (Unique product thats better than predecessor)
  2. Visionary Capital (Ability to spend money now to make money later)
  3. Global Reach (Be able to reach customers around the world)
  4. Likability
  5. Vertical Integration (Control distribution, no Macy’s, Nordstrom,)
  6. AI
  7. Accelerant (Attract top talent)
  8. Geography (Proximity top engineering university)

The 5th horseman?

Alibaba – No likability, since data privacy concerns are huge problem”

Tesla – Not yet a global firm, however could be more sex appeal brand than Apple [I can afford this car, it looks great, and I care about the environment.]

Uber – No likability. 4,000 mployees make $70 Billion, where as its 80,000 drivers make $7.75/ hr.

Walmart – No likability and access to visionary capital — Lost Macy’s size amount of earnings when decided to increase CapEx.

Microsoft – The OG horseman — Window’s phone lead to the demise. The acquisition of LinkedIn was good, but it is not a better social site than Facebook, and doesn’t have the visionary capital that Amazon has.

Airbnb – Airbnb could be the next horsemen, as it doesn’t have competitors like it with the reputation it does, and it excels in Global reach. Airbnb could have greater market cap than Airbnb by end of 2018.

IBM – Watson, enough said. However, lacks being an accelerant.

Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner – “If you own the pipes on which the world’s data travels, you are always going to be important, highly profitable, and very big.” However, they can’t go global because US doesn’t want other countries listening to our phone calls.

Startups – Countless start ups out there in garages and dorm rooms, the next may not even be known of.

How to make it in the Digital Age:

  • Emotional Maturity, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.
  • “70% of high-school valedictorians [are] female, the future really is women.
  • Be curious: ask, “What if we did it this way?”
  • Play offense: offer one more deliverable or idea than asked of you.
  • Take ownership: be detail obsessed
  • Smart is sexy
  • Go to college
  • “A decent proxy for the twenty-something’s success will be their geographic trajectory. How long did it take them to get to the biggest city in their country, then to the biggest on the continent? The strongest signal of success will likely be those who moved to global economic capitals, the supercities, versus those who stayed in the relative hinterlands.”

The Four employ 418,000 combined, equivalent to the size Minneapolis, with the combined market cap of $2.3 Trillion. The combined market cap of these four firms is equivalent to the GDP of the developed nation, France, home to 67 million citizens.




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