retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There is a terrific piece in the New York Times this weekend about Scott Galloway, the media personality/business professor./serial entrepreneur-investor, and the unique brand he has established.

The story says that "Galloway serves a heady cocktail of data-driven analysis, bold-to-brash bets, center-left politics, dirty jokes and sudden emotional vulnerability that appeals to his core audience of men, and helps him stand out in a world of bland talking heads. He’s a little like Howard Stern for aspiring M.B.A.s and restless middle managers, offering listeners permission to have feelings and assert mildly politically incorrect opinions. (Fast Company called him a 'progressive Jordan Peterson.')

"His hobbyhorses include the worship of tech founders (we should stop), antitrust regulation (we need more), higher education (costs too much), 'failing young men' (they need role models), physical fitness (he does CrossFit) and the importance of building personal relationships. He is also apt to take off his shirt, as he did in a promo for a doomed Bloomberg TV show, or put on a wig, as he did at a tech conference while lip-syncing to Adele … Mr. Galloway aspires to be 'the most influential thought leader in the history of business,' he said. Sometimes it seems as if by 'most influential' he means 'most frequent'…"

You can read the piece here.

KC's View:

I've mentioned here before that I'm a fan of Galloway (and his "Pivot" podcast partner, Kara Swisher, and not just because when they used one of the questions, they were complimentary of my voice).  Other than being male, I don't really fit into the "bro culture" that the Times writer says he mostly appeals to;  I've also noticed that they use a lot of reader questions from women on "Pivot," though that could be a conscious decision not to rely on only one cohort for input.

What I like best about Galloway is that he makes me think, and offers perspectives on business and technology issues that I hadn't before considered.  He's not always right, and I don't always agree with him.  But I'm okay with that - a lot of MNB readers might say the same thing about me, that I'm not always right and they don't always agree with me.

The thing is, Galloway brings a welcome level of irreverence (sometimes, admittedly, to a cringeworthy extent) to a subject that I think needs it, and seems successfully able to pivot - no pun intended - to a serious discussion and consideration of important issues.  I'm sure that when he sits on boards of directors, he's a pain in the neck … but I'm also pretty sure that he can be counted on to state unpleasant facts that most people don't want to face, and hold executives accountable when necessary.

It is a good piece in the Times, and I recommend his podcasts to you as well.