Photo: Lea Suzuki / San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
As the first half of 2021 fades into the rearview mirror, it is time to reflect on what just happened. At the latest Pivot episode, Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway estimate winners and losers from recent months and whether some business and technology predictions they have made have been kept.
Kara Swisher: It is the end of the second quarter. And we’ll start with something a little different today: our quarterly review series. We will hold ourselves accountable just as we hold other people accountable.
Like any good business, it is good to get an estimate of how well you have done so far and predict what the future might look like. So going forward, every quarter, we will make a summary of the biggest wins and failures, see how well we have done with our predictions, and also make some new ones. And then some of our friends at Pivot will give us their thoughts on what comes in Q3 and beyond. All right, let’s get started. To begin with: a look at the biggest topics and issues of 2021 so far. Let us declare some victories and failures. First, Scott, the biggest topic of the whole year so far has undoubtedly been the coronavirus cure.
We’ve talked about this a ton and a half over the last year, and a lot over the last six months. How do you think the major victories and failures have been there?
Scott Galloway: I think the biggest win has been vaccines. I think vaccines are the most wonderful product ever invented in mankind. They represent global cooperation and science and truth. I think the most frustrating thing is. I think America’s associations are arrogance, our politicization of the things we need to unite for.
And given what was supposed to be more innovative, richer, technology-enabled – most pharmaceutical companies are here. We spend more money on health care than anyone in the world.
You would like to think of the most powerful, responsible government in the world … they can protect the coast. And we have 5 percent of the population and 20 percent of infections.
There is simply nothing around him. We overturned this terribly. Now, saying that American firms, with the global cooperation of German firms and Turkish immigrants who have immigrated to Germany – these vaccines developed in record time, are simply incredible … I do not want to call them a gift . An incredible achievement of humanity. What are your thoughts?
KS: I will be pro-internet again. The internet worked. The internet helped us in terms of work, distribution
SG: Do you think it worked? Interesting.
KS: I mean, I think everything we had to go through the pandemic was provided, unfortunately, by these internet companies, which did their job. Of course, they also gained more power over many industries and will continue to do so, with ongoing consequences in commercial real estate, restaurants, retail, communications, meetings, business travel – everything.
Now, there are definitely these ransomware attacks and all sorts of cyber security issues that are ongoing and have been in the news a lot lately. But the internet did not break down and it exploded in us. And I think without him, it would have been a really different situation. The only place that did not help, which is a failure, is education. It just doesn’t work for young people – it probably works for college students.
KS: It did not work for people below the high school level. Just not. Put in deep relief how badly our education system serves less among us, and also now mostly among us, in addition to people who can pay for stupid sticks or whatever people do, and some private schools that were running way in front of public schools and things like that. Anyway, for me, the internet was a win, and the failure was digital education and tele-education.
SG: Yes This is a really interesting point. Just as if these big internet companies were invented for a pandemic. And if we did not have a strong e-commerce and in-house distribution and the ability to consume data and work remotely, things would have been much worse. The second-order effect I would emphasize is the rise of these companies, especially the price of their shares.
KS: Yes Dangerous.
SG: Which now accounts for a quarter of the S&P 500 – and which has hindered or diluted our response, in my opinion. Because I think the people who have a disproportionate control of our government and its reaction, the shareholder class, 90 percent of all capital values and real estate owned by a percentage, honestly, were living their best lives . And I think it faded our response. If Amazon and Google shares had been 40 and 60 percent, respectively, versus 40 and 60 percent, I think we would have seen a stronger response.
KS: The truth and the truth. I would agree. I would say their growing power and money are troubling.
Pivot is produced by Lara Naaman and Camila Salazar.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.