A new article today from L2 takes a look at an excerpt from the NYT bestseller, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Among the takeaways from the chapter, the author shares some interesting ideas on Apple’s success as it has moved from the dominating tech world to becoming an icon in the fashion industry. However, even though Apple could be the first tech company to have a good shot at multigenerational success, it has some serious competition to overcome from Amazon and its Alexa platform.

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by NYU professor Scott Galloway takes a look at how the four main tech titans got to where they are and also deconstructs their tactics and strategies like leveraging our emotional needs. Here’s a bit of info on the book from the Amazon listing.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong.

Whether you want to compete with them, do business with them, or simply live in the world they dominate, you need to understand the Four.

In the excerpt and article written for L2, Galloway starts by reminding us that no tech company has figured out how to stay relevant as it ages…yet.

While Apple certainly didn’t start out as a luxury brand, Galloway connects some dots in how the company’s vision has come full circle from iPod to Apple Watch.

Owning an Apple, as embodied in the infamous “1984” commercial, reinforced our belief that Apple users were not another brick in the wall. The result was that I, and the employees of my startups, struggled through two decades of underpowered and overpriced products just so we could claim we were “thinking differently.”

He writes that early on, computers weren’t “sexy” and that technology needed to become much smaller, more advanced, and “beautiful” to become synonymous with luxury items.

And Apple did just that with the introduction of the the iPod.

Among other mp3 players, all of them awkward gray, navy, and black, the iPod was also a technological miracle — 5GB of memory vs. the second-largest competitor, Toshiba’s 128MB. Apple scoured the electronics industry to find a company willing to make a disk drive so tiny, almost jewel-like.


The future would be about stuff, from music to phones, powered by computers. The customer could carry these branded products around, even wear them. Apple began its march toward luxury.

Galloway writes that 2015 was the year that Apple’s luxury status reached a new high as it advertised Apple Watch in Vogue magazine.

Image via Racked

The 2015 debut of the Apple Watch closed the loop. Its introduction featured on stage a supermodel, Christy Turlington Burns. The cameras panned the audience for gratuitous cameos of famous people. And where did the company buy a 12-page spread to celebrate the new arrival? Not in Computer World, or even Time magazine (as they once had with the Macintosh). No, it was in Vogue.

While Apple has a lot going for it as it looks to be the first tech company to bridge the multigenerational success gap, Galloway says that Amazon is in a commanding position as technology shifts from smartphones to AI and more passive devices like Amazon’s Echo lineup.

The iPhone is the most transformative device since the microchip. However, there’s a new sheriff in town. As of Q1 2018, the most influential device is the Amazon Echo. In two years, a third of computing will be screenless, and two thirds of that will be processed by Alexa. The operating system of our lives had bifurcated into mass (Android/Windows) and luxury (iOS). However, the next operating system is Alexa, and its parent company, as predicted, will soon be the most valuable firm in history.

Recent speculation is also predicting that Amazon will hit a $1 trillion market capitalization before Apple. With all this in mind, there’s a lot riding on Apple’s future improvements to Siri and what it does with its brand new HomePod platform.

On top of that, Google is making lots of progress with its machine learning efforts, Google Assistant platform and Google Home speakers.

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google looks like an intriguing read and is available from $13 on Amazon. Read the full excerpt published today here.

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.