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Google is God, Facebook is love and Uber is ‘frat rock,’ says brand strategy expert Scott Galloway

On the latest Recode Decode, Galloway also grades Netflix, Snap and the New York Times Company.

Sides: Asa Mathat for Recode; Center: Paul Marotta / Getty Images

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Kara Swisher interviewed L2 founder and New York University professor Scott Galloway about how tech giants are disrupting retail, jobs, advertising and more.

Galloway’s current obsession is Amazon, which he believes will be the first business to reach a $1 trillion market cap, but he also graded several other major players in tech and media. Below the embed, we’ve posted some highlights from his remarks.

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify (mobile only), TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

Apple: “The most value-creating decision in the last two decades was Apple’s crazy, irrational decision to forward-integrate into something they knew nothing about, and that was retail. The pre-purchase branding is getting duller and duller. But go buy a Samsung phone in a Verizon or an AT&T store. It’s an awful, soul-crushing and confusing, uninspiring ... go to an Apple store, you just want to hang out.”

Google: “Google is God. I think it’s replaced God for us. As societies become more wealthy, more educated, religious institutions tend to play a smaller role in their lives, yet our modern-day anxieties and questions grow. There’s an enormous spiritual void for a divine intervention ... One in five queries posed to Google have never been asked before in the history of humankind. Think of a cleric, a rabbi, a priest, a teacher, a coach that has so much credibility that one in five questions posed to that individual have never been asked before.”

Facebook: “I think Facebook is ‘love.’ Facebook does help us connect, have more empathy for others. I think it’s probably the best-managed company in the world right now. [Mark Zuckerberg] is a visionary with adult supervision and great management with Sheryl Sandberg [and] an ability to attract really thoughtful, talented people. They’ve also been responsible for the most agile move in the last 20 years in business, and that is ‘Zero percent of our revenue from mobile,’ what was it, four years ago? Within 36 months, they’re at 80 percent mobile.”

Uber: “You got to kick the CEO upstairs ... It’s the reason regulators stepped into Microsoft: Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer are infinitely less likable than Sergey or Larry or Mark or Sheryl. I believe that, just from a shareholder standpoint, having frat rock running your company is a bad idea. Being likable is hugely important for a company because people are not threatened by them. Apple has this incredibly likable CEO — and as a result, I think we’re less inclined to break them up or to move in or to boycott them.”

Netflix: “Could be the fifth horsemen ... Netflix could be the operating system for enjoying our lives. Millennials are spending more time on Netflix than all of cable TV combined. So, arguably, Netflix is worth more if you believe millennials are the future in terms of disposable income and sheer size. Everyone’s so focused on controlling the mobile home screen, but if they control the TV screen, that is pretty staggering.”

Snapchat: “I just don’t ‘get’ Snapchat, so I think I’m inclined not to like it. But I think our idolatry of youth and innovators has gone haywire here. We have basically created an entity that is irresponsible to invest in. The CEO and the CTO have 89 percent voting power of a company that’s now worth more than Williams-Sonoma, Tiffany, Abercrombie & Fitch and throw in the New York Times.”

The New York Times Company (where Galloway was previously a board member): “Difficult time to be a newspaper. The New York Times plays a hugely relevant role in our society. I think the truth matters, I think the New York Times has never been more relevant. The question is, does relevance translate to shareholder value? I hope the same thing happens that happened at the Washington Post, and that is that a benign billionaire shows up.”

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