On the latest episode of Pivot, Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway reflected on the buzzy Gillette ad about toxic masculinity and how other companies are reckoning with societal problems — Facebook is pledging $300 million to help journalism and Microsoft has said it will put $500 million into affordable housing in Seattle.
“These guys essentially, they’re kinda pulling out,” Galloway said, comparing Microsoft to Amazon, which has opposed a Seattle tax to fund new housing. “They’re battling with their conscience. You know, they’re saying, ‘We’re the good guys.’”
“I like $500 million from Microsoft, but I’d like a billion,” Swisher said. “I want everyone to start with a billion and then we can go up from there.”
Referring to the Gillette ad, Galloway predicted that, in 2019, “we’re gonna see a lot of virtue signaling or a lot of woke as a business strategy.
“Seventy percent of our elected officials in the Senate at least represent 30 percent of the population; a lot of red states don’t have a big population, so politically, conservative values are overrepresented,” he said. “But, economically, kind of progressives are capturing the majority of the income, so there’s a very smart ... If you just do the math, there’s a solid shareholder-driven business strategy in promoting and being very open about your progressive values.”
Below, we’ve shared a full transcript of Kara and Scott’s latest conversation.
Kara Swisher: Hi everyone. This is Pivot from the Vox Media Podcast Network. I’m Kara Swisher, back from Hawaii and now in frigid Washington, DC.
Scott Galloway: And I’m Scott Galloway, here to publicly disclose for the first time that I am in a relationship with Jeff Bezos. It could happen, Kara.
Hey, alive girl. Hey alive girl.
It could happen.
How are you doing? Hey, alive girl.
By the way, I don’t know what it means, but I think I’ve been upgraded to the next level of Prime membership because I just got a picture of someone’s junk.
Oh, you know, what, Scott, as usual, you take a very delicate situation and make it horrible. You’re in Paris. I’m only going to give you time off because you’re in Paris right now.
I’m so jet lagged. Yeah, I’m in a basement somewhere in the City of Lights, but by the way, just back to the whole Bezos thing.
Okay, we’re going to get to Bezos!
Okay. I’m sorry. I’m so excited about that. I can’t hold back. I’m so ready.
Go for it.
What have you heard? What’s going on here?
Well, he’s not a very good texter. Right? Let’s just be clear about that. Although, I want to get to that in a second.
I think, I know, I used to know them very well and I haven’t spent a lot of time with them since they both become gazillionaires, or any time. But, in the early days, I did. I spent a lot of time with them. MacKenzie Bezos is a wonderful and smart and very integral part of the beginning of Amazon, as I recall. She also, I don’t see that she will be, this will be a very difficult ... I’d be surprised if it burst out into a horrible fight. It’s not her nature and it’s not his nature, either.
They seem to have gotten ahead of it. It looks like they just were married and then he met someone else or ... I don’t want to go into the ...
Who did what to whom because I think marriages are complicated and we really don’t know what happened.
But, I think the focus for me is that I don’t think it will affect the business. I think the issues, I think, probably [for] anyone who’s an investor, is the focus. His focus. Where is his focus, and stuff like that. So, anytime you have personal issues and he’s got four kids.
Obviously, new relationship, there’s gonna be questions about where his focus is and I think the same thing happened with Sergey Brin at Google. Although he was not nearly, in fact not at all a part of the critical management staff at Google. You see this happen to VCs, to CEOs, and things like that. I think the only thing business people think, is where’s the focus? How will that affect the stock? I don’t think it will affect the stock at all or anything else. So, that’s how I come down. Scott?
It appears there’s mutual shared interest in that they don’t want, they’re both large shareholders of the company. They don’t want this to spill out into the public. I thought the press release was awfully strange, or the thing that he posted on his Facebook page.
Well, he did that to get ahead of the National Enquirer.
The Enquirer story? But it was so, you kind of knew something was up because, I don’t know. I’m sure you read it, but there was a sentence in there saying where you look forward to new ventures and adventures together and I thought, that describes divorce perfectly. It’s not ...
They probably own a lot of stuff together. I’m guessing they do. They probably have a lot of investments.
But, it’s not ...
You know, Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki do. They own like half a town and they have investments all over the place. So, you have to stay — and they have children obviously. Besides, which is the best investment, but I think yeah. I know. It was odd. I think they were just rushing. I think that was a rush job. You know what I mean.
Like, “what are we gonna do?” What I found fascinating is that we didn’t imagine that he was gonna be the subject of scrutiny by Trump affiliated people. Especially with the Washington Post ownership. I think they were probably a little caught like, oh, they’re following us. He’s not the subject of interest. The fact that a man who puts Echos in everybody’s home, you know, listening devices in everyone’s home doesn’t realize he could be easily hacked in some way.
Yeah, it just goes to show everyone’s human. Right? I don’t want to make excuses for the guy, but I think we all sort of assume that Bezos was kind of the least human in that he seemed somewhat infallible.
The frame. The picture, it just all was pretty perfect.
Yeah. Very much so.
And, yet it’s easy to be glib about it and then you think about, they have four kids. I know you’ve been through it. I’ve been through it, but that press release, they made it sound like their divorce wasn’t a tragedy and a break-up of a family, but they were going on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. The whole thing just sounded ...
When Gwyneth Paltrow started doing them. Remember?
Oh, conscious uncoupling?
Yeah, you know. Ups and downs. Another thing that was interesting was the focus on the text and how it became a Twitter meme obviously. It was kind of crazy. It was interesting. I ran into someone yesterday that said, “I wish I could text like that.” That I was in love so much that I texted like that. Even though it was super awkward. The “hey.” The “live girl.” Whatever that meant and things like that.
I think he’s sexy. I think he’s romantic. Adorable.
I thought it was very sweet.
Very nice. I think he’s dreamy.
Someone was like, “If I was world’s richest man, I would be like, have like 93 supermodel girlfriends.” It was interesting. I was very sweet. I thought it was very sweet.
So, there you have it.
Best of luck.
Love. Love is a constantly turning … something.
There you go Kara. There you go.
But, you’re right. He becomes human. He becomes more human for sure.
Yeah, also I’m curious on your take. My sense is that the media has actually shown a great deal of restraint and is being pretty old school about this and not …
Yeah. What are you gonna do? I mean, what are you gonna do?
Oh, my gosh.
It’s not like Harvey. It’s not like ... You know, it’s just. It’s so not ... Given how all the revelations this year ...
Including at Amazon. With its own executives. Roy Price and the whole thing like that. That’s like, that’s different. That’s malevolent. This is just human being’s relationships. Right?
Or whatever it is.
You know the bulking up might have been a sign, I suppose, but ... I don’t know. I just think it’s, as a reporter you’re like ... Let me very briefly tell you when we were covering what happened with Sergey Brin. I was ... When they called, they essentially told us what was going on. At first, I was like, no thank you. We’re not writing about this because it’s not our area. People breaking up and the only thing of interest was the stock. Right? He had a certain amount of stock that was controlling shareholder stock and so, that was of interest. Then the second shoe drop is that he is seeing someone who had literally, I had just seen with another executive at Google, who was going out with another executive at Google.
And, that guy left. Hugo Barra, who’s now at Facebook and then it was like, oh great. This is a whole workplace thing. So, we did write about it. It was definitely, it was hard to do. We had to think about what was important and in that case, a major executive who’s running its Android division left because of this romance drama that was going on at Google. Then there were issues of things in the workplace. This guy was ... You know what I mean. Stuff like that, but that was more after the Hugo thing happened. I think that was, it became pertinent. It became much more pertinent.
So, yeah. Don’t love writing thes, I tell you. I don’t like... I don’t care what people do unless it affects their business. But, yeah. You’re right. People are very prim and proper and stuff about it. People don’t like to judge. People try not ... Even though the press seems super judgy and they don’t like to judge, but speaking of judging, tell us your virtue signaling thing turned out to be here we have a big thing this week.
Tell us about it.
We talked about this Kara before you went to Kauai. By the way, how was Hawaii?
It was beautiful.
Was it nice?
It was really lovely. It was beautiful. There was some flooding in Hanalei, where I was, but it was beautiful. It was like it’s ... gorgeous. I love Hawaii. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth. Did a lot of hiking. Some stand-up paddle boarding. I don’t like to swim, but I even went into the ocean. Did some boogie bar, whatever you call it.
Yes. It was great and the food was great and the pineapples obviously were delicious. So, it was great.
Good for you. I enjoyed your podcast with Jon Lovett I did like it.
Although, I’m a little bit jealous.
Were you jealous?
For listeners who didn’t catch it, let me just summarize it. So, you would say, “Jon, are there going to ... How is the Democratic nominee going to be?” And, he would say something like, “Well, I really don’t know. I’m not in the business of predictions,” and you would go, “Oh, my God. You are so thoughtful. Can I rub your feet?” I thought you guys were gonna start making out.
No, we’re gay!
That was ridiculous.
That was totally ridiculous.
Not that there’s anything wrong with two gay people getting together, but ...
Oh my gosh. I had never even heard of the guy.
Oh, come on. His Bird Box rant was fantastic. Come on.
It was very good. I admit it. It was nice.
It was good. Oh, you’re just jealous.
A little bit.
A little bit. But, you know what?
Let’s get to virtue signaling! I’m giving you a compliment here.
Hold on Kara.
All right fine.
Other than success, looks and intelligence, that guy has nothing on me. He has nothing on me. Okay, virtue signaling. So, we talked about ...
Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
We’re gonna see. We made a prediction that ‘19 we’re gonna see a lot of virtue signaling or a lot of woke as a business strategy because ...
So explain what that means for the people who don’t understand what virtue signaling.
So, 70 percent of our elected officials in the Senate at least represent 30 percent of the population. A lot of red states don’t have a big population, so politically conservative values are over represented. But, economically, kind of progressives are capturing the majority of the income, so there’s a very smart ... If you just do the math, there’s a solid shareholder-driven business strategy in promoting and being very open about your progressive values. Because the bottom line is that audience is the one that’s captured the majority of the income gains over the last 10 years.
You see Dicks banning assault rifles, you see … what’s the big one? Gosh, I’m missing ... Oh, Nike. The big one with Colin Kaepernick and then most recently just two days ago, literally, the Gillette ad. “The best a … “
Basically saying is it calling out men on some of these issues. Have you seen the ad?
Yes, I love it. I made my sons watch it. One of them who seems to ... Argued with me about it saying it was man bashing and the other loved it. My older son loved it. I thought it was great. I actually watched it again, because I wanted to ... When I had this debate with my son, I was like, it actually wasn’t. It said, “We believe men are great.” They did say it several times. I think people only saw the guys on the barbecue saying, “Boys will be boys.”
That part, but every depiction of the good men. You know what it was? It was bad-men bashing. It certainly was that and that’s okay. I’m good with that. I think most men should be good with that. All men should be good with bad-men bashing. I think most of the men depicted were good. Like the guy who was talking to his daughter. The guy who rescued the kid from the bully in front of his son or the father who pulled the two people apart. Every example is a man doing something laudable in the thing. I loved it. I know it was manipulative to sell ... I know it’s to sell to women. Women loved it, which was fascinating. When I tweeted about it, I said, “I know this is marketing, but, and I know that I’m being manipulated, but it’s not since the Kodak commercial,” which is the Paul Anka song, Good Morning ... You remember that song.
The Time of Your Life. I had not been so moved by an ad.
Wow. That’s ...
I have sons. I have sons.
I think about them a lot.
Yeah. It’s been ... it’s caused a ton of controversy and I would say ...
Has it caused a ton of …? Because like, there was a good story in the Daily Beast that showed the people that were saying there was controversy had like four followers and linked to thing ... Like, I have a feeling it’s not. I think it’s just a couple of loud bad men on Twitter essentially versus ... But, my son had the reaction, so I can see. What did you think? Do you, were like insulted as a man?
I was conflicted by it, ‘cause I think that the dialogue is an important one. I like P&G, I love it when companies take risks like this. I think it shows a willingness to move outside their comfort zone. It wasn’t a safe thing to run, so I think it’s hats off to them. I didn’t like the execution on it and-
It felt a little, I don’t know, a little hitting you over the head with it. I felt it was a little passe and I worry that, not worry, but it feels like white heterosexual men have become generally accepted oppressors in our society and I wonder if that’s a-
Which is factually true.
So you think P&G is accurate? Tell me something I don’t know.
And they feel bad when we point it out now. See people are pointing it out now and the “I feel bad things”, I’m sorry. It’s always the people with the gun to the head of society that say they’re the victims, but go ahead.
Yeah. I’m not sure though. I’m not sure, what do you think it does, so in terms of moving the debate forward, you think the progress is that your sons see it and it educates them. You think that it-
I think it was interesting, one thought it was great and he understood he was being manipulated. He also was like, “Yeah, it was one of those manipulative ads,” but he liked it, he liked the messaging in it and he thought it was good, it was well done. And my other son was wary of it, like why are they picking on men? Why are they doing this? I want them to watch it again because when I watched it again, I actually thought, no they really aren’t. But it’s how you see something. But I do like that Gillette is doing it. Like I love ads like this. They engage you. They make you feel something. They make you talk about something. So I had this amazing debate and discussion with my son about it.
So in that way, it was great and I don’t know if it was quite as gorgeous as Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad but, it wasn’t as beautifully wrought as that one. But it was pretty good. It was I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m not an ad person. That’s more your area.
It’s spilling over into tech. So Satya Nadella announces that they’re gonna allocate a half billion dollars to try and help with housing affordability and donate a bunch of money to homeless causes in the Seattle area and, again, we have another company kinda I think pressing on the soft tissue of Amazon who fought the tax in Seattle such that it was gonna help fund some low income housing. But these guys essentially, they’re kinda pulling out. They’re battling with their conscience. You know, they’re saying, “We’re the good guys.”
There was the Facebook with the $300 million. I didn’t think that was very much money at all actually.
You weren’t impressed by that, yeah.
I like $500 million from Microsoft, but I’d like a billion. Like I want everyone to start with a billion and then we can go up from there. That’s my feeling. I think it’s great that Satya did this. I think it’s ... I’m not sure what I think of the Facebook thing yet, ‘cause I’m not sure what they’re up too and it seems like it’s very hooky into Facebook. But I would like them ... I have an expression, “You’re so poor, all you have is money.” And I think it’s ... We’ll talk later about the column I wrote about Alexandria Ocasio, but she’s managed to get people to start talking about this issue of the really rich people grabbing for everything, that I think is really catching fire and I think in a way, she’s doing it exactly the right way.
Speaking of really rich people, so I’m headed to the conference, I think where actually you and I met, I’m headed to DLD in Munich and I’m doing-
Are you going to Davos after that?
No I haven’t been invited to Davos since I was 30. I peaked when I was very young and I got invited when I was 29, 30 and 31 and I haven’t been invited back since.
I hate that place. I hate that place. It’s rich people licking each other up and down in the frigid cold weather.
Or, I like the analogy when your guest said that it’s a fire safety convention that just invites a bunch of arsonists. Hey everybody, to solve the world’s problems, let’s get all the people who have fucked it up together in one place in the mountains. But anyway, so I’m doing the keynote on Monday, I recognize I’m boasting and you know who’s doing it on Sunday?
Ms. Sheryl Sandberg.
Oh will you sit in the front row for me and videotape that, please?
And the theme of the conference is “Optimism and Courage”, so I’m titling my talk, “Pessimism and Cowardice”. What do you think? What do you think?
I love it, oh good, good. I need you to go the Sheryl Sandberg, I want to hear about it. I want your thoughts. I want to talk about it next week, all right? You have to do that. It’ll be interesting. She’s been getting out a lot more, I’ve been hearing. She was at CES I think and so it’s interesting.
But before we finish this section, William Barr, you wanted to talk about it because, not because of the whole Mueller thing, because he talked about that a lot. He was trying to seem like he wasn’t crazy, though that seemed to be, I am not crazy and I will be strong, kinda thing. Although who knows with these people. But talk about why you think this is important?
Well we thought ... So everyone was sort of expecting a lot of questions around protecting Mueller and he essentially said, “Yeah, I think this investigation should come to its ... It should be protected and should kinda go where it goes.” The thing that came out that was sort of unexpected was that three senators, Republican senators, all brought up the issue and asked for his viewpoint on whether tech had gotten too big and that the concentration of power was detrimental to competition and privacy and his viewpoint was clearly that this is something that warrants additional scrutiny, most likely from the FTC and everyone’s been talking about the DOJ and the FTC in some ways, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, might have more teeth around doing something here expeditiously.
So just going back to another prediction, in addition to kind of woke as a business strategy, we talked about that 2019 might actually be the year that the breakup of big tech happens. And it looks like the Attorney General is kind of on board with that and this might be a rare bipartisan issue, because-
Let’s listen to newbie Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri. He is the former AG of Missouri and he beat out Claire McCaskill.
Josh Hawley: Let me ask you more broadly about the question of antitrust and mergers and you gestured towards this earlier in your testimony. I’m increasingly worried that the department is not enforcing vigorously the antitrust statutes in many sectors of the economy, not just technology. We see again as you’ve alluded to, we see growing concentration of power in various sectors held by just a few firms and if you look at recent trends in the department’s scrutiny of proposed mergers, it’s at record lows.
Last year for instance, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division scrutinized mergers through second requests for information in less than 1 percent of all eligible cases. That is I believe the lowest level of merger scrutiny recorded since the FTC started tracking those statistics back in 1981 and just for comparison purposes, in 1981, that review was five times higher than it was in 2018.
My question is, do you think that this record low level of merger scrutiny is appropriate and if you’re confirmed as Attorney General, what might you do to ensure that the Antitrust Division faithfully and vigorously enforces the law?
William Barr: Well I am for vigorous enforcement of the Antitrust laws to preserve competition and as I said, this is gonna be an area I’m gonna wanna get into.
Okay, what he’s saying ... He’s gonna push very hard on this. This was one of his topics for sure and you think the AG will be with him and Democrats, too. Democrats for sure. You know you have Corey Booker and others sort of interested in this.
Yeah, they’re in it for different reasons. So the Democrats believe that these guys basically helped manipulate the elections to an outcome they didn’t like in ‘16, but I’ve always felt that actually the people that are really gonna go gangster on big tech, are these red state senators who have seen their few ad agencies, their corner store, their newspapers, their media companies, have really gotten hurt.
Hollowed out, hollowed out.
Well if you think about this, these companies have been incredible vessels of the transfer of wealth from the rest of the world to the US and then from the middle of the US to the coasts. So Kansas and Mississippi and Iowa, big tech hasn’t done much for them. I mean, granted, they can do their searches in .0055 seconds but it terms of actual economic growth and what it’s done for the state and employment and the tax base, it’s probably net, net negative.
Yeah, yeah although really, if that’s their job, they should think of something? I’m sorry, that’s not really their job.
You think so?
Yeah, like Kansas, figure it out yourself. Come on, can do right? Can-do Kansas or whatever.
Can do Kansas.
Oklahoma okay, okay Oklahoma, make something.
Oh, can do Kansas, okay.
Now I’ll get all these messages from Kansas, but I don’t care. Make something if you want to, stop complaining, make something.
There’s so many things to talk about. I’m gonna give ... There’s so many fails. There’s “hamberders,” which was the Trump thing he tweeted. That’s the new shutdown cuisine. There’s the shutdown, there’s Iowa Representative Steven King for being the horrible racist that took so long to be chastised for this, and he’s the one also in one of the hearings, he did with Sundar Pichai. He didn’t know who makes the iPhone. But I think I’m gonna do a win this week. I’m gonna do Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who gets a lot of attention obviously. But I wrote a column about how she’s really owning extremely online. I said, she was extremely online and she is really creating, controlling and pushing forward narratives that she’s interested in including pay and equity and income equity and all kinds of things.
And she manages to shut down her critics. The right wing. They just cannot stop her and it’s a really interesting way she reacts. She’s never aggrieved. She’s just very funny and very strong-minded and also serious and one of my favorites from her own side of the aisle, Joe Lieberman, whose sort of a conservative senator but he said, “She wasn’t the future.” This is, I don’t know how old he is, but he’s been around the block, lots of blocks for many years and he said she wasn’t the future of the Democratic party and she tweeted back at him, “New Congress, who dis?”
Yeah, she’s outstanding. What is it about her Twitter?
What are your thoughts?
I heard she was giving lessons to her colleagues on how to use Twitter.
You can’t give lessons in this. I compared her to Trump. Trump I think is very effective…
She’s not afraid. She’s not interested in party hierarchy. You can imagine Pelosi and Schumer, whoever it is, sit her down and say, or Steny Hoyer say, this is how we get things done, your time will come, play ball and she’s just not having any of it.
No, but everybody is talking about income and by the way they agree with her and the way she’s explaining it. She’s doing something, you were gonna talk... It is like Kennedy and television that gets ... How do you look at that? She knows how to ... There’s something different in how she’s using it compared to everybody else, I think.
Well typically these seminal leaders have always figured out a way to master a new medium and unfortunately, some very damaging leaders in the middle of the 20th Century were really good with radio, but Kennedy and TV, we talked about this. Some people have mastered the in-person medium but she is definitely somebody whose kind of on a rocket ship and what is she Kara, she’s 29?
Yeah, yeah. It’s just the performance ... I mean, and she also messes up in a really good way. It’s a really interesting, I think you know, everyone’s sort of waiting for the fall, like this is gonna fall. But I don’t know, I find the Twitter, just the Twitter performance is so flawless, it’s like she lands it with a 10, she sticks it, I think.
Yeah, she’s fantastic. It’s gonna be very ... And you watch in the next six months, or in the next year, six months-
My kid loves her who’s voting in the next election. He was like, she’s amazing. He’s never been excited about a politician, trust me.
Although I do think Nancy Pelosi’s doing great. She’s so-
Is this the one that likes the Gillette ad or the one that thought it was man bashing?
Yeah, the one who likes the Gillette ad.
But he also, but Nancy Pelosi’s also not doing bad herself.
She’s had a great-
All her little...
She’s had a great couple of weeks.
Her little asides.
All her asides and then not invite- dis-inviting him and stuff. I think she’s ... she’s doing a good job too. The ladies are in charge, Scott. What are your wins and fails?
So, actually I agree with you. I think Pelosi has really kind of, I don’t know, reinvigorated or burnished her reputation as a real leader. I think she comes out of this looking good. I think the Democratic party, you know, we’re great at sort of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and it feels as if we’re on the shutdown that it has squarely landed on the President’s desk. And as much as you hate to see it, what’s going on, I do think that it’s every day, I think it gets a little bit worse for the president and the Republicans. And I thought-
Oh, Giuliani. What happened with Giuliani?
Maybe there was collu- wait, no collusion, no collusion! Oh right, maybe a little collusion off to the left.
A tiny bit. There was “collu.”
What’s over here? Oh, it looks like mold.
There was collu but no sion. Yeah.
You know how that mold is, that collusion is, it just gets in and you just can’t get it out. It’s like-
Yeah. What was it said, he said, “I never said the campaign didn’t collude. Just not the President.”
No, but they did.
But they did.
It’s just astounding. They don’t think we have tape. It’s just the weirdest thing. It’s the ... I mean ... What else do you think is a win or a fail?
So, I’m trying to think. What else did we have ... Oh, fail or predictions.
So much, the government shutdown, the everything.
There’s a lot going on. I’m trying to bring this back to big tech. I don’t know if you saw, I think ... this both a-
Lose and a prediction for 2019. It ends up that the CEO of WeWork has investment interest in properties that they’ve been leasing or that WeWork has been leasing from and I don’t ... As long as it’s been disclosed and his investors knew about it, it’s fine. But my prediction is ‘19 is going to be a very bad year for WeWork.
And if you saw what happened with the limiteds of SoftBank including some of the Middle Eastern Sovereign Funds who actually stepped in and blocked this massive investment, that SoftBank was about to make in WeWork. When your limited partners step in and actually block an investment, save the general partnership, the guys allocating the capital know we’re not comfortable with this, that is pretty extraordinary. You don’t see that a lot. And if you look at the-
Economics of WeWork, valuation of 48 billion dollars and yet Regus, kind of a similar but lamer, potted plants, bad cherry wood version of WeWork, has twice as many desks but trades at 1/16th the value. And while WeWork’s created a great brand, an incredible culture-
That’s because they don’t have Kombucha on tap.
Yeah, they don’t have pale ale.
No, pale ale or-
But if you look at WeWork, WeWork is now by a lot of analyses, the floor they own in a large building is technical worth more than the building itself that it leases that floor from. And it’s hard to see what kind of network effects or technology-
Yeah, that’s not … too good to be.
Yeah, it just doesn’t ... I think WeWork is going to be in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2019.
All right. Okay. What about Snap, given the changes? I was in the Snapchat ... I was at Snapchat two days ago.
Do you know the CFO there? Do you have any backstory there?
I do not. I need to find out. I do need to find out. They did add some really good people also, like Julie Henderson from Fox, who I have great regard for. I don’t know. I’m not clear what’s going on. And they’re definitely having a hard time competing. With what was a very innovative product. And again, my kid still uses it, both of them do. But it’s just hard. It’s just a really hard go and this management, the inability of Evan to keep this management team together is something you definitely have to look at.
So, this is a broader topic, but I want talk a little bit about -isms, right? So, whenever there’s a movement or there’s a polemic that we discuss in our society, I often times think it’s too late. So, in the 70s and 80s, we talked a lot about how people of color, specifically African-Americans, had a much more difficult time in the workplace. And that was a worthwhile discussion but I always felt as the son of a single mother, who could either be a travel agent or a secretary. That was literally the choices for a woman in the 70s, that it was really that the cohort that was the most discriminated against was in fact, women. And since then, women with college educations have actually closed the gap. It’s women with children that are still having a tough time in the workplace. Corporate America just hasn’t figured out a role for them.
But I would argue the next cohort that’s going to get more attention and actually doesn’t get enough attention now is ageism, especially in tech. And I think it’s going to become a big issue in 2019. I think if you walk into a conference room or a meeting at a technology firm and you’re over the age of 45 and you’re not a billionaire, you’re kind of seen as a loser. And I think there’s a pretty big-
Wait, that’s rich-ism. But go ahead.
Well, you know what I’m saying. I think that if you’re not, if you haven’t really killed it by the time you’re 40 and 45 in tech, I think there’s an inherent assumption that you’re just not very good at what you do. And I think these cultures are pretty ageist. And I think that’s going to start getting more attention.
That would be ... there’s some laws, there’s been some lawsuits and things like that. You know, somebody that talks about this a lot is Dan Lyons, who has a new book out. He did it in his last book, talking about ageism and things like that. But, I agree. It’s a really interesting issue. I, having ... being a really old person. Although I don’t suffer from that because I’m better than they are.
Well, that was easy.
It’s true though. Come on, it’s not even hard.
But, tying this back to Evan and even Mark Zuckerberg.
I think something else that’s going to get a lot of scrutiny, is that these two class shareholder stocks protect these managers. So, I believe the reason Sheryl Sandberg hasn’t been fired is because they can’t fire her or they don’t think they can fire Mark Zuckerberg because of this two class-shareholder system.
Snap has the same two-class shareholder system. You have a young man who’s already a billionaire and if it wasn’t a two-class shareholder company, I think they probably would have done something. I think they probably would have sold by now and this is a problem with two class shareholder stocks. Right now, he doesn’t really need to be a fiduciary for their shareholders. He’s banked his billion bucks-
He’s off to the races. He thinks he has a viewpoint or a vision which he has been totally unable to articulate what it is exactly they are going to do here. You know, the redesign didn’t work. They’re getting killed.
Well, he had a very good vision initially, right? It’s a really fresh vision and everyone stole it.
Oh, sure. It’s a great company. Great idea.
And I find ... I have to say of a lot of the people I talk to, I really enjoy talking to him because I always have a really ... He’s a ... visionary is a good word. He actually, you’re always like, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way.” But you’re right, it’s the execution. Vision can only get you so far. And so, that’s what he really has the issues with around PR. Not just ... every part of it is problematic, has been problematic for them.
But the CFO leaving, kind of punctures another prediction we had a few months ago where I thought that Amazon was a likely acquirer because the CFO was a 20 year veteran of Amazon. And the fact that someone who was at Amazon for 20 years, you could hardly describe this person as a flake or someone who just kind of goes off half-cocked, leaves Snap after six months, is a very negative forward-looking indicator. Because this is the individual, I always see the CFO in any company as the source of truth. If I’m ever in a board meeting and I hear talk and I don’t know what’s going on, I sequester the CFO for 10 minutes and I’m like, “Okay, what’s going on here?”
And they basically ... they take the entire board meeting and they put Wonder Woman’s golden lasso on and they say, “This the truth and this is what’s going on.” And when the person who knows the truth after six months at Snap, decides I’m out of here ...
I’m sorry, eight months.
I think that’s more trouble in mudville.
Yeah, definitely. I will look into it. If you will go see Sheryl Sandberg in Germany, in Munich, I will go find out about this-
You know what I’m doing before that, Kara?
You’re in Paris.
Okay, I’m in Paris. Hold on, hold on. No, this is the-
You’re going to have snails on the sand, what?
This is the worst flex in the world. I’m meeting a buddy of mine and we decided to go to Vienna and we’re seeing those dancing horses. So, this is how old and pathetic-
The Lip, the lip-
Yeah, the Lipizzags.
The dancing horses.
Lipinsize? Lipin something.
I don’t know.
10 years ago, the last time we got together, he and I went to Stockholm and we went to some rave and tried experimental drugs. Now we go see dancing horses.
Now you’re going to see dancing horses.
We might as well go to Denny’s and get the Grand Slam Special and go home and-
Aren’t they like the Riverdance of like Austria?
Seriously. First we need to sterilize our catheters and go home and take our statin drugs.
Isn’t that like going to Guy Fieri’s Broadway whatever? You’re going to see horses dance?
We’re going to see horses dance. I don’t know how we ended up there. How did I get so old?
Oh, my god.
How did I get so old, Kara?
I’d go looking for alt-right people in Austria. They’re all over the place again.
Vienna’s supposed to be a hot town.
The family Von Trapp. The Von Trapp Family singers. The Family Von Trapp. Remember that scene?
Wow. You sound very relaxed. You sound-
I sound very chill.
Hakuna matata baby, whatever.
I was in the town Lilo & Stitch was set in. Lovely. Hanapepe or something like that. It was great.
Yeah, yeah. Good for you.
Yeah, yeah. Anyway. Well, I’m here in DC for a long, long time. For the freezing cold weather for the couple of weeks. So, we’ll be talking from here. So, I will go around and see how badly the government is shut down. I’m going to see a Senator very soon. I’m going to get on the Metro right now and go visit Senator Michael Bennet from Colorado.
I love Senator Bennet.
Are you close?
I met with him. I’m finally ... I can finally flex back. I met with Senator Bennet about six weeks ago to talk about antitrust.
Well, good because ...
And you know what he asked me?
He said to me, he said, “Give me 10 ideas to restore the middle class.”
You’re like right there. He’s like, “Give me 10 ideas to restore the middle class.” This guy.
Talk about the kind of guy you want as an elected official. You know what he did before? He was a superintendent of schools.
Well, I cannot ... I am so excited. He reached out to me.
He said, “Can we meet?” He’s making the rounds, I guess, of smart people.
He’s a very decent man. Yeah, I was really ... I walked away ....
Yeah. I’m excited.
Yeah, good for you. Tell him ...
I’m excited. I’m meeting all the politicians. That’s my ... I’m going to do that in the next few weeks. I’m going to meet all the politicians. And then to this afternoon, I’m going to be doing a podcast with the CEO of Land O’Lakes, Beth Ford. She’s openly ... she’s a lesbian, very open. And she’s running this thing. And they were the first company, one of the companies to push back on King and take away his money. And so we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about the technology beyond agriculture ... technology. It should be interesting.
And we’re reaching out to the real people, Scott aren’t we?
Yeah, we’re keeping it real. Yeah.
Not the outsiders. We’re keeping it real in Paris and DC.
Yeah, that’s right.
Okay. Go enjoy Paris, the City of Lights.
Thanks very much, Kara.
It’s one of my favorite places. Next week, we’ll talk about all kinds of things. I need some stories from there and stuff that was talked to at DLD and stuff like that. I’m excited to hear what went on there and what the big topics were.
Anyway, enjoy yourself.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.