Couldn’t decide on any one, super-cool thing that’s crazy insightful or makes me cry while writing it, so … some thoughts on this week.
At my first firm, Prophet, we roamed the world preaching, to Global 500 firms, that the only sustainable advantage was the intangible associations surrounding physical products that had hit a ceiling on quality, and could only differentiate on emotion. The manufacturing era was on a ventilator. A firm’s ability to provide above-market returns depended on their ability to develop a compelling brand identity, and then treat this ID as a religion, nodding to the identity with every action/investment. I made a nice living preaching this. And then … the internet.
I sold my stake in Prophet in 2002. I had started hating the services industry. Success in the services industry is a function of your ability to communicate ideas and develop relationships. I loved the former and despised the latter — managing colleagues and being friends with people for money. The services industry is prostitution, minus the dignity. If you spend a lot of time at dinners with people who aren’t your family, it means you’re selling something that is mediocre.
I got lucky and got out. The brand era was drawing to a close. There’s no one moment, but a series of opportunistic infections: Google, Facebook, and technology that liberated the affluent from ads. Oh yeah, and products that were so ridiculously better than what we used before (Google vs. classified ads, Kayak vs. travel agents, Spotify vs. CDs). They don’t need to interrupt Modern Family for 30 seconds. This week, the agency serving the strongest brand in the world, Apple, laid off 50 people. Another nail.
On January 20, 2021 Michael Bloomberg will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg leaked to the press that he’s preparing to enter the race for president. My Pivot co-host, Kara Swisher, predicted this (she’s going to be f*cking unbearable with this win).
Up until yesterday, it was looking as if 46 would be 45, Trump. The soft fascism of Trump, wrapped in a good economy, would decimate the soft socialism of Elizabeth Warren. We Democrats are too polite to acknowledge the truth, as it’s politically incorrect: In 2020 America, a 78-year-old man who just had a heart attack will not be president, and, worse, neither will a woman.
Elizabeth Warren has put on a master class on how to run a campaign. In September I hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Michael Bennet. Fifty successful civic-minded people showed up to support a candidate who demonstrates the character, empathy, and brains that have been absent from Pennsylvania Avenue since January 20, 2017. That same night, 2,200 meters northwest of my apartment, 20,000 people showed up for an event hosted by Senator Warren. Senator Warren is impressive, substantive, and would lose 38-45 states in a match-up against Trump. A 69-year-old, impressive woman was a disaster in 2016, and (as is the definition of insanity) we should not expect a different outcome in 2020.
Self-appointed spokespeople for the economy have been fearmongering about the markets being cut in half if Warren is elected, which is ridiculous. Data shows that Democratic administrations register greater gains in the markets than Republicans. Artificially suppressed interest rates, irresponsible levels of debt, and a foreign policy that is a cocktail of incompetence and embarrassment is not a long-term winner for the markets.
In addition, we’re studying for the wrong test. The Dow is one of the least important metrics in our society, indicating the health of the wealthiest — 80% of stocks are owned by the top 10% income-earning households. A better question: Which candidate could reverse a 3-year decline in life expectancy? Facebook, Russia, Chipotle, unemployment … what do any of these things matter if we’re dying sooner?
The lesson of 2016 wasn’t the overlooked minority of angry white dudes, but that the US, while making big strides against racism and homophobia, is still wildly sexist. Elizabeth Warren enters the race 4 points behind because she has ovaries. NYT polling research confirms that many of Senator Warren’s attributes are viewed as negative simply because she is a she. Btw, the woman who stands the best shot of being president is Nikki Haley. No, not Ivanka. Ivanka stands the best shot of being a discount shoe designer and a pariah.
Bloomberg is all the great taste of Trump (a billionaire who offends snowflakes) with none of the calories (smart, competent, not a bigot). A VP pick of Buttigieg would seal the deal. Billionaire and no bone spurs — B2 … for the win.
Mayor Bloomberg wants to be president but doesn’t want to run (risk losing), and keeps asking the nation to anoint him commander in chief with leaks and polls. Dude, there’s a lot of things we all want. Nobody gets to be president without walking on coals.
We are here for so little time.
Mayor Bloomberg, you are old and will be here for less. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend the last years of your life making your home (earth) a better place for the people you love, and the rest of us?
Stop polling, stop leaking. Run.
Life is so rich,
Sorry for your loss.
Wow! You really think Warren would lose because she’s a woman and not a socialist. You’re smarter than that Scott. You tell us all the time.
nation to anoint
How is the guy who promoted NYC’s stop ‘n frisk law “not a bigot”?
gibberish as usual
There’s an absolutely minuscule slice of the population that wants a socially liberal, fiscally conservative billionaire as President. Single digits popular. Mayor Peter has a similar problem. This one is so well tested and polled. Seems only beltway pundits and other successful old white dudes want it. Plus fiscal conservatism leads to social conservatism. Democratic activists know this already. Has the party caught up yet?
If following you is cultish then sign me up Scotty! Life is short.
Another great post from the Big Dog!!
Warren is not Hilary. You could just as easily say Bloomberg will have the same fate as Romney.
“If you spend a lot of time at dinners with people who aren’t your family, it means you’re selling something that is mediocre.” I always appreciate your insights on family life.
The thing about Bloomberg is that our nation needs him – now!! And to those who say he’s too rich, too NY, too urbane, too conservative, too liberal, to make it through an established electoral process, how did we get what we have now? Mike can reinvent the process! He has the resources, smarts and skills to win. And the Democratic party must embrace the reality that he is the only candidate that will give a majority of moderate ex republican swing voters like me a choice! Even if polls don’t add up for the ultimate numbers guy, Mike must go with his gut this time, accept our call to serve and save our nation from the current state political insanity.
I was on Twitter yesterday going back and fourth with a really great journalist who seems to think Biden would lose if Bloomberg got into the race..she is a Biden fan 1st not a fan of Bloomberg..I said Mike Bloomberg needed to run because we needed the Wall St vote and he would win because of his 2 major causes Climate change and gun control..Republicans love a billionaire and Trump is afraid of anyone who has more money than he does. ..a simple belief but then this country has become somewhat simple under this president’s debacle of a country…we all long for normalcy and market stability or at least the appearance of it..let’s see if you’re right..by the way I am a snowflake and proud to be one but my candidates don’t have a prayer of winning..sadly
My wife agrees with me that I am f*cking genius, but I have to admit: hats of to you Scott. Beside myself ,you are the greatest!
Scott, I think you pretty much sum up my views as well as anyone could. Which is great, b/c you’re way more articulate than me. Problem is I always walk away with a bad case of confirmation bias!
I would recommend staying away from political articles and focusing on business.
LOL, then how would Scott be Scott without the opinionated politics part? that’s what makes Scott different and interesting
assosiasont of wemen ou chad
Klobochar for Bloomberg’s Veep
Trump has magnetic star power, like it or not — and his motives are real, like it or not — his accomplishments are phenomenal in spite of immense opposition, like it or not — he’s a developer who got things done in the hot bed of NYC; the Shifty idiots have not a prayer against this pro (look what happened when he dangled the impeachment bait) like it or not — Bloomberg sees an opening; he’s played in the same NYC swamp and he really thinks he can/should be president, like it or not — but the only one I see really capable of matching Trump’s star power is Oprah, like it or not.
I usually agree with your takes but no one is beating Trump in 2020. Bloomberg should wait for 2024, he could have that in the bag.
Clinton didn’t lose because she was a woman, she lost because she was a historically disliked candidate (second only to Trump). I’m a Bernie supporter, but saying things will be the same with Warren is absurd. Trump is at least as weak as he was in 2016, and anybody we pick who isn’t as weak a candidate as Clinton will probably win.
These people appeal to no one outside their bubbles. The right hate clinton, warren is an annoying school marm, Bernie is an old commie crank, Bloomberg has no charisma and I suspect jews only like him because he is jewish, Harris wants to put everyone in jail and Biden is fighting dementia or just old age. No way Democrats win this one.
86 yr old Grassley fighting with 79 yr old Pelosi….telling the young Americans how to live their lives….now that’s politics
Given that half of registered millennials who are the largest demo in the country and whose kryptonite is inauthenticity didn’t vote in the last election it would be Einsteinian insanity to run another old school big money politician with ‘public views’ for the prols and ‘private views’ for their big buck backers in 2020 and expect young voters to turn out. That is how Trump (or Pence) wins.
Fuck Bloomberg… give me Galloway and the dyke
Bernie Sanders WILL become the next President of the United POLICE States of America, and Tulsi will be our next VP.
What makes you think the DNC won’t burn him down for one of the ladies on stage again?
I’m sure the radical leftists who have taken over the Democratic party will flock to Mayor Bloomberg’s cause – not. I doubt that even TDS will produce that result.
You write: “In 2020 America, a 78-year-old man who just had a heart attack will not be president…” I see a two-fer: “Biden dropped dead from Bernie’s heart attack.”
David Rubenstein for President
I love – love Bloomberg. That said your boy Bennet is better. I wish the dems would pull their heads of their jack***es and look at teach to the test. Basically whoever wins the dem primaries in PA, FL, NC, WI, MI, and maybe OH count. The rest are like the people who have the best penmanship on the SAT. Or which team had the most offensive yards in the football game? Which basketball team made the most passes or had the most rebounds? If you’re beginning with the end in mind, you need to read more Covey!
Sorry if you’re NOT beginning with the end in mind, you need to read more Covey.
Might be possible that she won’t win because her policies stink! Sexism is an easy cop-out and prevents self reflection on an unfavorable agenda
We worried until every vote was counted in 2008 that people were secretly more racist than they said. Just because one [long-known, highly disliked] woman lost [won by 3M votes fwiw], I don’t think the logic tracks that all women would lose. We tried once. Takes a minimum of 2 points to draw a trend.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. I doubt Bloomberg is teasing again. He’s got the smartest political operation going. Ergo, he must see a way to overcome billionairephobia. Beating Trump should be easier.
I don’t think Bloomberg ever seriously took himself out of the race. He simply managed to avoid being drawn in to the useless gaggle that was the past 12 months.
Betting against Kara is always a dicey thing. However, you may have made a fundamental error in the assumption about the impact of a Democrat administration … As per Ray Dalio, the metric should be debt. And, according to the announced programs of the current candidates, the debt levels would climb precipitously, possibly pushing much of the world to transition to a non-dollar reserve currency that would tank our market for Treasuries and impact our entire economy.
No! Half the problem with getting women elected is the men that don’t believe that they will get elected. Have some faith, if we don’t get a woman in the White House soon, this country will fail even harder. That’s a truth, no faith about it.
I’d hope people would vote for the right person, not genitalia.
Hey Scott, what about Yang? This is an honest question.