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Office Hours: Section 230, University Rundles, and Advancing Your Career as a Parent
The Prof G Pod with Scott Galloway
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Welcome to the PropGpods Office Hours.
This is the part of the show where we answer your questions about business, big tech
entrepreneurship and whatever else is on your mind.
If you have a like, just submit a question.
Please visit officehours.proxymedia.com again, that's officehours.proxymedia.com.
Please, God, this is Whitney Burgundy, the Washington DC area and I'm wondering what
you think it'll take to get a section 230 rewrite and if you want to entertain the idea,
what would that rewrite look like if it were in your opinion to be done in a way that would
help prevent some of the harm that we're seeing from all the data gathering that these
companies are doing and taking advantage of consumers.
But also in another level, I had a more interesting question that wouldn't maybe
dive a little deeper into the intent behind what we see in a lot of these tech companies
Do you think there was a moment where these companies realized that exploiting all this data
was going to be the key to their business or do you think these companies really did start
with this intent and goal to be benevolent in a way that they provided a product or service
and really fitting in that Google's do no evil, you know, initial mantra at what point
do they move to a place where they're doing evil, but in the name of good business,
just because it's accepted.
So, appreciate the time, love listening to your pod and always like the hot date you've got.
Whitney from Washington DC, you sound just very chill and mellow, sounds like you're in
government because you seem very knowledgeable about these issues, so a little bit about
Section 230 was enacted in 1996.
It protects content that is online and provided by someone else and it was supposed to help
provide cloud cover for nascent emerging technology platforms, they are no longer nascent
Under Section 230, social platforms aren't liable for distribution of other people's
content, so if I put out something false on Facebook and it ends up hurting a company,
they're not liable.
It can still be sued for liable, but not the platform, whereas if Fox or CNN says that
Dominion voting machines were weaponized by Hugo Chavez and Dominion can show that's
heard their business, then Fox is in fact liable.
So these companies have protection that most media companies don't have and a lot of people
have an issue with that because these companies are now more valuable and more dominant
than traditional media companies.
So why not just eliminate it?
If you were to eliminate it, it would probably be the end of these companies because
there's it would be very difficult for them to police every bit of content that's put
up and fact check it.
They're just these businesses are run on billions of other people's content.
And so to be responsible for the verassie that content would just most likely kneecaptum
and put them out of business.
And I don't think you want to do that as much as a critic as I am of big tech.
Today on a net basis, our positives for America because of their economic value, people
do connect, people do communicate, having said that, just as we benefit from pesticides,
just as we benefit from fossil fuels, but we have regulation, we need thoughtful regulation.
Section 230 is outdated.
It wasn't written and anticipation of how powerful these companies would become more
So what do we do?
There are carve outs around election misinformation, carve outs around health.
And I think senators Klobuchar and some other folks have sort of led the battle here.
Senator Warner is a very smart guy on a sense technology.
But it's clear in my view that 230 needs to be reworked to foot to the current environment
we're in and some of the damage that can be done by these platforms where a lie spreads.
Basically, as I think it was, Mark Twain said, a lie travels around the world before
the truth is put on its shoes.
Typical media engages a misinformation, but it's a dumpster fire.
The misinformation on social media is a nuclear mushroom cloud.
So I would reform 230 now to your larger question around when did they go evil?
I love what Doug Simon says that it's not that these people are immoral.
They're not bad people.
I know a lot of them.
I would even argue that they're good people.
What happens is they're in a society that turns them into gods and gives them love, gives
them attention, gives them adulation, gives them forgiveness because they're rich.
So to be rich in America is to be loved and to be loved is wonderful.
And so you will make incremental decisions to avoid facing difficult issues or dealing with
externalities, whether it's misinformation or weaponization of elections or privacy violations
or teen depression in order to garner more shareholder value.
And you're under such constant attack that you want to push back a lot of times your
statements are misrepresented, your intentions are misrepresented and so you build an ecosystem
to protect yourself from additional regulation or from statements about you that may not
even be true.
You build up this infrastructure and this infrastructure is so powerful because you have so
much money, you basically just reflexively try and fight anything that inhibits your ability
to increase the price of your shares.
And we've been taught in America that that's what you're supposed to do as a CEO, you're
always supposed to err on the side of shareholder value that it's not your job to solve
the world's ills.
And that if you don't collect that data and use it to target a 16 year old, who might
be suffering from depression with additional videos, on depression that only sements
her depression, if you will, that there might be data there, but until it's absolute and
that data is usually not absolute, you'll keep trying to delay and obfuscate any attempts
to address that because you're making serious bank and that's your job and shareholder's
love view and the people around you love you because they're making money too.
In some it's very easy to put on blinders when it's raining money.
Thanks for the question.
Question number two.
Hey Scott, I'm a sophomore at American University in Washington, D.C., I'm a mascot
is the Eagle, with a question pump feed rate up your alley, one of your universities
looking more at the Rundle, especially many universities making pretty size of the investments
and going for alumni relations, which are my experience student call centers, alumni donations
account for a relatively small portion of most universities funding at all the hands of
the Ivy League schools, which kind of have those pretty sound very wealthy graduates.
But there are a lot of schools that have really good brands.
I think you see schools and why you go to Lyon, they already spend a lot on alumni events
and can offer graduates a pretty impressive bundle of services for a monthly or annual fee.
Thanks for the standard reception and the three unions and events that everybody
already gets invited to, plus tickets to sports games, access to the university library,
building and workspaces or kinds of databases and research, and maybe even the opportunity
to take a course once a year or a semester, probably on the Rundle or at the university.
I don't see a lot of 20 sunpins or young parents jumping at the chance to feel
if they're back in college, but there are a lot of folks out there who like to school
they had decided I would be thrilled to write a check every year to see basketball games
or take a brand of sound surgery class.
So with alumni buy and could universities do this, is there an opportunity here, or will
too many people have the same seriously as the OU money is reaction that they have when
they're all the mother or something, but I mean, keep up the good work.
This is a really thoughtful question.
I got you just a sophomore if you need a job.
Anyways, thanks for the thoughtful question.
So a few things, fundraising universities is really interesting.
In terms of what you're talking about more specifically the Rundle, it's absolutely
the way to go and I think where we will go in a great idea and the president of the
university at Miami is actually talked about this and that is they have kind of a weird
business model that them being universities.
They try to track people based on scarcity and brand and get you to come in and consume
the ultimate luxury product.
The margins are exceptional, but we try to get a shit ton of money and then we wait 20 years
after they graduate and then call them and ask them and hope the rich and ask them for $100,000
or a million dollars.
It's a very lumpy, weird revenue stream.
So the idea of lifelong learning and saying, okay, once you get into UCLA or NYU,
you're going to pay $10,000 during those four or five years where you're pursuing an accreditation
or certification in the form of a degree.
But then from the ages of 22 to 35, you're going to pay 1,000 bucks a year and then from
40 to 80, we're going to ask you to pay $5 or $10,000 a year and what do you get?
You get access to all the athletic events, you get access to the campus, you get access
to our career center that has career coaching and a job board, not only for people at 1
age 22 and graduating, but for everybody.
You're going to get access to lifelong learning, we're going to take our best professors
and put on programs and seminars and really keep you as part of the community and one
you'll get a lot of consumption, you'll get a lot of value here, but also a chance to
be engaged in your alma mater.
This would create much more predictable cash flows, much more consistent cash flows, it
would cost some money in the short run.
When Adobe went to a rental and stopped selling $1,300 software, but said, pay us $24,99 a month
and we'll give you access to all of our software at any time.
Their stock took a dip and now it's up, I think, $15 or $20.
So it's going to require leadership from a university president and also some capital to
smooth out those first three to five years when you give up on those fat $72,000 tuition.
But I think you are absolutely thinking the right way, Finn, I hope you go into business
Actually, I hope you do whatever you want.
You sound like a really thoughtful guy that's going to bring a lot of value to whatever
field that you go into.
We have one quick break before our final question, stay with us.
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Welcome back question number three.
My name is Tariae calling from Washington, D.C.
I'm a big fan and regular listener of your show in the pivot podcast.
My question for you is about being a working mum.
We've mentioned several times on the podcast that women are often the caretakers and that's true
I'm a 29 year old woman.
My husband is a second year physician assistant student and we have an almost two year
For my work has been a huge unlock for me as I'm able to juggle the needs of maintaining
my home, caring for my child with help, and keeping up with full time work responsibilities.
I work in marketing specifically as a content writer with hopes to dive more into brand
I'm actually planning to take your brand strategy sprend this fall.
It's your advice for advancing a marketing career while being present in the home.
I want in plan to do it all thanks for your insight.
How can you advance to your marketing career?
So very generally speaking, marketing is more about analytics right now.
It's more about understanding innovation than it is traditional marketing.
Don't fall into the trap of the Don Draper Scott Galway brand strategy, a sinkhole that
it's about brand associations and advertising and brand positioning.
That ship is sale.
That stuff's still important, but it's a shrinking industry.
You want to get in front of a wave.
What's the wave?
Trying to think about supply chain, trying to think about creating a culture of innovation, trying
to think about benchmarking other firms, how they distribute their products.
As a marketing person, I think you want to say this is what I'm about.
I'm about supply chain, I'm about innovation, I'm about new means of customer acquisition,
and you always want to show up with numbers, be the guy or the gal that has the data.
Jim Barksdale, who is, I think the CO of AT&T and then NetScape said, if we're going with
opinions, let's go with mind, but if we have data, let's look at the data.
Always try to be the guy or the gal that shows up with data to support any issue or decision
you're going to advocate for, otherwise it just becomes a yelling match.
Also, continually reinvest in your education, continually reinvest in your skills as you're
talking about with Section 4 and even additional certification, despite having kids at home,
try and put in place and I realize this isn't easy.
Some infrastructure such that you can get in the office one to two days a week and establish
those in person relationships.
For every promotion, there will be two to three people at least to qualify for the promotion,
and the promotion will go to the person who has the best relationship with the decider,
and the person who has the best relationship with the decider is typically the person
who has the greatest proximity, or specifically is with that person the most in person.
I remember working a Levi Strauss in company or working for Levi Strauss in company when
I started my first company profit.
They were our biggest client in the early years and the early 90s.
And I remember the head of Europe would constantly be a Levi's plaza in San Francisco.
I'm like, why are you here?
It's such a hall to get here all the time and you said, well, I need to establish relationships
and be visible.
I need to be visible.
His thought was, them just seeing him made them think about, call them what a great job
he was doing in Europe and how Europe was killing it because because what they're finding
and they found for a long time, you're much more likely to be promoted in senior management
when you work at HQ.
You're less likely to be fired when you're not working remotely and you're more likely
to be paid more.
Be very careful of carving out a job that can be all remote.
Because if your job can be moved to Boulder, it can be moved to Bangalore.
So one, constantly reinvesting in your education, two really think about the fields and
the skills that make the new modern marketer and three, try and figure out a way, even
if it's one day a week, one day every other week, ideally one to two days a week where you
can get in and establish and cement strong relationships as a function of being in the physical
presence of the people who matter.
Thank you so much for the question to Rao.
Let's offer this episode again, if you'd like to submit a question, please submit a voice
recording by visiting office hours.proptimedia.com.
Our producers are Kelly and Shaver and Claire Miller and Drew Burrows.
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Thank you for listening to the PropGee pod from the Fox Media Podcast Network.
We will catch you next week.
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