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Episode 21 21, The Age you can legally drink and purchase alcohol in the U.S., I am a better version of me. No easy upgrade on alcohol.
Alcohol gets a bad rap.
I'm more loving, generous and outgoing. It's when I'm not drunk, that chick comes off the rails.
You can also gamble. You can gamble. Let's step up to the roulette wheel and argue over what is actually an odd number in a canary yellow jacket and still throw the big dog in Vegas.
Go, go, go.
Welcome to the twenty first episode of the show, we're doing things a little different today, but it's our medium so we can do whatever we want. We're excited for our guests. We sat down with Andrew Young for two for one interview where he recorded us and we recorded him.
Crazy Synergy Flywheel, his podcast, Yang speaks, by the way, I think mine is much bigger. Granted, he ran for president, is smarter and we'll probably be in the cabinet, but I get more downloads on my iPod. That's something that's something we talk about. Big tech, antitrust, higher education and what Andrew has been thinking about since leaving the campaign trail. It's a longer interview. So we're going to break down the business news and bust into office hours a little bit more crisply today, such as we can get to our conversation with Andrew Yang.
But first, I want to remind you that tonight we have our first town hall. That's right. The property show is going live tonight with a panel on higher ed. We'll have three panelists who will be discussing the future of higher ed and what to expect. And we'll be taking a ton of questions from parents and students. I would say two thirds of the emails I'm receiving right now have to do with questions around higher ed.
I posted on my blog, Prov Galloway, a post about how I felt the universities were going to have a difficult time this fall because of the covid-19 pandemic. And we've received a ton of questions, so we thought we'd do a town hall anyways. You can find all the details at property dot com slash town hall. That's property dot com town hall. We're expecting no joke between four and five thousand people. We'll see you tonight. All right. Let's talk about the week Trump announced that he would ban tick tock by September 15th unless Microsoft or another very American.
What's slightly more American? A very American company buys it slightly American, just slightly obese. What does that mean? Slightly innovative? What does it what does that mean? You like sports, but you don't love them. Anyways, Microsoft said in a statement that it is committed to acquiring Tick-Tock, subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury. So by some projections, we're looking at one hundred million Americans using ticktock.
About a third. About a third of those users are teens. And Business Insider reported that Microsoft added seventy seven billion in market value on the Monday after confirmed on the Sunday it was continuing talks about buying the platform. Microsoft would also take control of the apps operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
OK, what is going on here? Why is this so why is this is so weird?
It's as if the president went to one of those auctions at his kids school where you get to play principal for the day and bid on playing principal and successful business person for a day and basically said, OK, I want bigger chess pieces. I want to distract from a pandemic that I have handled more poorly than any world leader. And I want to pretend I know how to play business and decide not only that tick tock should sell by threatening or forcing them into a sale by threatening to ban them, but also suggest who should buy them and try and facilitate the transaction and then ask for a commission on the transaction.
We've evolved from the greatest experiment in the history of mankind, called America to a real estate brokerage or some sort of boiler room. Think about the conversation with such a such a TED talk is a real a real domestic threat. The Chinese stealing our intellectual property, which is true. The Chinese using data for government purposes that are sometimes at odds with other nations also. True. So we're going to respond by doing to them what they did to us.
They let our tech firms in just long enough to steal their IP and they kicked them out. So we're going to one of them and threaten to ban them unless they sell to a domestic firm. And Satya Nadella, who couldn't be more opposite. This is an individual who has created five hundred billion dollars in market capitalization as opposed to the president, who supposedly, if he had taken his inheritance and invested in an index fund in the S&P, would have more money than he has now and is arguably the worst business person in the world.
Is that hyperbola now? Supposedly, his tax returns show that through the 90s he lost more money than any individual taxpayer to date, meaning arguably is the worst business person in the world. So here we have a guy is like, OK, I need a distraction. I want to play business. I'm going to do what socialists do and decide that the state gets to decide who is the means of production and how to divvy up the spoils of the means of production.
So this is some sort of weird cronyism. Socialism meets governing by ID.
It's hard to imagine Microsoft getting sort of an easier layup if in fact this goes through Microsoft would end up with a huge consumer business. And why does Microsoft want this? Microsoft has the ultimate recurring revenue bundle, the Rundell in terms of Microsoft Office, but similar to the four other most valuable companies in America, they want a beachhead around consumer and they haven't had much luck with consumer, whether it was a phone, whether it was Bing, whether it's MSN, but the opportunity to have the fastest growing social network amongst teens and then figure out a way to get that data, start understanding patterns, maybe maybe layer in some productivity tools, maybe use it as a means for developing content for the Xbox.
You're usually going to figure out a way to monetize that with respect and trust. It's sort of Sophie's Choice because if Trump were to banter, talk, OK, OK, that means a viable competitor is taken off the market and big tech continues to grow unfettered bad, but at the same time, thrusting it artificially into the arms of an existing big tech player is sort of not great for antitrust either. Although one might argue that another formidable social media from other than Facebook, if they combine it with LinkedIn or some of their other assets, is probably good for the ecosystem.
I don't know. I don't know. But this is weird.
I think it's unlikely that Microsoft is just going to get served up tick tock on a platter.
I can imagine Apple deciding that they, too, might want into the social game. By the way, I think Apple is going to launch its search engine right after the DOJ or the court in one to two years decides to break up Google. And the only reason they haven't taken advantage of owning the rails into a billion and a half of the wealthiest handsets is that they don't want to give Google the ability to stave off antitrust by saying they have competitors from Apple.
I think they're waiting to launch their search engine. Once the DOJ goes gangster on them anyway, they're all getting into each other's business. Microsoft obtains an enormous beachhead. And what is the fastest growing app amongst the future, i.e. young people? And Trump comes out of this, in my opinion. It comes out of this looking good because what's good for the Peking Duck, if you will, is good for the gander here. And that is if China continues to steal intellectual property, shouldn't we reciprocate?
Probably a better outcome would be to maybe put in place or use our existing institutions, whether it's the DOJ or the S.E.C., and say, all right, tick tock. If you want to continue to operate in the US, you're going to have to have corporate governance and secure data, secure data platform where the data doesn't leave US shores, where the governance and the board of directors and even the shareholders are centered here in the US, which might mean a spin abidance up tick tock goes public in the US.
Now, does that protect us from any possible outcome? No, but as we've seen, even with American companies, it doesn't protect us from the Chinese or the Russians who are, as we speak, hacking all over the place in an attempt to get a vaccine. The best means of economic growth is theft. And we're seeing it everywhere. Corporate espionage from China, I believe, outweighs every form of espionage globally can. Bind, so this is in some ways overdue reciprocal behavior, it's just as as is the case with the trade war, the right intention, the right motivation, but absolutely heavy handed, stupid, idiotic, makes no sense, not scalable remedies and solution, including including a brokerage fee for coordinating this transaction.
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Welcome back. It's time for office hours. If you'd like to submit a question, please email a voice recorder into office hours, a section for dotcom. First question. Hey, property.
My name is Kristen Colar, Burrowes. I live in Scarsdale, New York. And yeah, I don't fit into your target customer profile. I'm 50 white female. But please, please, please do not call me Acheron as I tell my kids I'm far from one. In fact, I would have to get angry if you do call me one week. I guess that's kind of being like a carrot. Anyway, I'm a huge fan of yours. You're insightful, smart commentary backed by opinion and fact and wrapped up in humor and delivered entertainment that I learned from.
I do think, however, that all of that negative bravado is really a cover for the huge giver that you are. Anyway, I digress. My question. Do you think every consumer driven brand or business can be turned around, transformed and rebuilt? Is the answer to that question different if a brand and business has been mismanaged, or is there simply a natural life cycle for any brand that despite good leadership and management, the brand will simply run its course?
And lastly, what in your mind is an example of a great consumer brand turnaround? And can those same tenets of that turnaround apply today? Thank you again.
And I look forward to your next show, Chris, in your salty and generous. Thank you. Those are really that was a very nice thing to say. And I appreciate it. I'm I am I don't like people, but I'm desperate for their affirmation, which I realize makes no sense. But it it's nice for the kind words, so. First off, can any consumer brand be turned around, I think you'd rather have a decent brand and a decent category than with bad management because bad management is easier to replace than a company that's in a challenged category.
I don't care how good Mary Barra is. I think General Motors is going to struggle. I think the world is moving away from internal combustion cars and they don't have the access to cheap capital of Tesla to build a better electric car. I think you're going to have in department stores multibrand at retail. I think you can have an outstanding CEO. Nordstrom is one of the best run companies, I think, in America. And I think they're going to struggle.
They'll probably do better than the rest. They'll be the tallest midget in department stores. But there are just in a terrible place, whereas a company like Square, a company like Papel, where we're going to contactless payments, they could have just a competent CEO or even a part time CEO and do really well. So I don't think every company can be turned around. A lot of it also comes down to where in the life cycle of a company is and what is your approach to creating shareholder value.
So, for example, I'm an investor and on the board of the nation's largest YellowPages company. Now they are morphing into a CRM company. They're taking advantage of their asset, which is relationship with hundreds of thousands of small business to offer them a CRM SAS based product. And that is working. But distinct to that, what is also working is cutting costs faster than revenues are declining. Typically, firms that are in structural decline don't go out of business as quickly as people think.
So Blockbuster, everybody knew they were going to go out of business, but everyone said they were going to go out of business in nineteen ninety nine. So as a result, you could pick up a blockbuster franchise for two to three times cash flow. And they went out of business, but they went out of business about 15 years later. She would have made a lot of money had you bought this distressed asset. I find in terms of parts of the food chain and I've invested and worked in every one of them, whether it's seed venture growth, IPO, public company, mature company, distressed or declining company restructuring.
I find that the place that gets the greatest return on investment, if you will, or the best place to invest if you're just an economic animal is in the distressed portion, why is that? We want to hang out with Tom Brady and Sally and Shaun Méndez. We are attracted to youth. We're attracted to growing companies were attracted to innovators. As a result, there's an overabundance of capital, both human and financial, which drives down returns, whereas nobody wants to be involved with a Yellow Pages company.
No one wants to be involved in a company that is in decline except for people who love money.
I think distressed credit investing is a fantastic place to be in the ecosystem. But you have to go into the business recognizing that, OK, Nannas left a good life, are going to try and make her comfortable. We're going to cut our costs and we're going to try and get as much out of her life as possible as opposed to hair plugs and Botox and surgery after surgery, trying to pretend that Nana is ever going to be fifteen or eighteen again.
Now, having said that, some companies have made remarkable comebacks. Michael Dell said in nineteen ninety nine that Apple should be broken up and sold for scrap or closed down. And Apple made what is what probably one of the most remarkable recoveries in history. Then you might think about IBM. Microsoft is right up there in terms of showing elephants can dance. We've seen some nice brands come back pretty strong. But I would argue to you the first question, do you want to reinvent yourself sometimes just milking the brand, deciding that this brand's time has come and gone and we're going to milk it and cut costs and squeeze it for cash?
That oftentimes is an incredible strategy from a shareholder standpoint. But we don't like death. We have trouble wrapping our minds around us. We have a tendency to throw a lot of good money after bad and try and reanimate companies and make Nanna a teenager again. Kristen from Scarsdale, a thoughtful question. I appreciate your support of the show. I appreciate the kind words. And anyway, I just just want to surround you with white light. And if we were in person, I would make an uninterrupted contact with you for five seconds as a reward.
Just kidding, Kristen. Just kidding. Thanks again. Next question. Hi, Scott.
My name is Clinton. I live in New York, although I'm from Sydney, Australia, and I can attest to the efficacy of your advice. Living in a place like this, you are more rewarded for individual great talent in ways unlike I would be in Australia, although I am looking forward to returning to the modern world at some point. I work at a branding agency and we have a lot of property clients and their confidence over this time has really ebbed and flowed quite a bit.
I don't want to ask you how do I encourage them to be more courageous in this time and to see opportunity in some of the risks. Thank you so much. I love what you do.
Clinton, thanks for the kind words and congratulations on living in probably what are the top. Two cities in the world from a lifestyle standpoint, for different reasons, I think Sydney is a mix of incredible people and the most beautiful city that's on an 80 degree beach. A lot of people say San Francisco is the most beautiful city on a beach.
But let's be honest, the weather just sucks there where Sydney is sort of San Francisco with an extra 10 or 15 degrees and just more maverick, fun, irreverent people.
I love Australia. If it wasn't so damn far like everyone else, I would live there. But anyways, anyways, as it relates to trying to convince your clients to be bolder, I'm a big fan of benchmarks and that is looking at the biggest success stories. There really isn't an organization, whether it's Apple deciding to put enormous money into stores, whether it's Amazon putting money into a phone and failing. You know, typically companies that are in sort of a slow burn have two choices, and that is to either acknowledge that they're in a slow burn and per the previous question, decide to milk the firm.
And that's a decent strategy. But if they want to be a growth firm, if they want the firm and a lot of times property companies are privately owned companies, and if they want to pass it on to their next generation, there's a certain level of discomfort or uncomfortable risks that are lock, stock and barrel part of outsized returns. And I think of it personally, I think about the time I met the mother of my children. I was at the pool at the Raleigh Hotel and I saw this woman and I thought I promised myself before I leave here, I'm going to speak to that woman.
By the way, I tell this story in my class. And in the middle of the day, the hot sun, a woman is sitting by the pool with another guy and another woman to walk up sober. And that's the key part. That was a hard part. Sober and open is not easy. And it just would have been much easier to just to just leave anyways. Long story short, seven years later, our first kid, his middle name is Rolli, named after the hotel where I met her.
And what I tell my kids is without taking an uncomfortable risk, nothing wonderful is ever going to happen to you. So if you don't have the discipline to put yourself in positions where you take uncomfortable risks, then you're never going to have outsized returns. You're never going to have really wonderful things happen to you. And I think the same is true in businesses. You don't want to take risks, want to do your homework, you want to look at benchmarks.
But if it's a property company, whether it's investing in a new asset class, whether it's pivoting to making a huge investment in online and technology to try and scale the company faster, there are just uncomfortable risks you are going to have to make if you want true greatness. The future belongs to the quick and it belongs to the bold. And part of that, again, is taking uncomfortable risks. Thanks for the thanks for the question and greetings to you and yours in Sydney.
Next question. Hey, Scott Neil from Seattle.
I work for a big tech company here, one that you talk about often, but this isn't about that. I'd like to ask you in algebra the happiness question. I read your book in a day, and it was an emotional experience for me. My dad died of cancer about two years ago, and my mom now lives alone in Las Vegas, not far from where you spent time with your mother. Sorry for your loss. My mom is in good health.
But approaching her eighties, the pandemic, combined with feeling burned out and to of the rat race and making money. I'm thinking about making a move to be closer to her and my wife's family. I'm thirty four, have a great wife and a couple of beautiful daughters and my wife is supportive of the idea. Frankly, she's quite excited. I'm concerned about the future impact to my career. If I were to work remotely for my company and the job prospects in Las Vegas don't align well with my experience.
I know you took a detour in life to support your mom and it was incredibly meaningful to you. Curious to hear your advice. Thanks so much.
So now I hear this question and I well, this was such a weird time in my life when my mom was sick. You know, it was just me and my mom growing up. So when she got sick, I decided that I was going to I was going to reciprocate, you know, a fraction of the generosity and and love and focus she loved on me the first twenty five thirty years of my life. And as you referenced, I moved in with her in her retirement community to manage her health care.
She had said that one thing she wanted was to to pass at home. And I was commuting back and forth from New York Monday through Thursday with my mom, and then I would go back to New York on Friday to get some work done and go down to Miami. And I was just traveling around the clock. So just a couple of things. One is, I think you want to make this move. I think it needs to be you need to approach it holistically.
You have daughters and a wife, which I didn't have. So for me, it was a fairly what I'll call the exact costs of leaving or putting my life on hold and moving to Vegas for eight months weren't that great. I would ask yourself a couple of questions. One, are you just looking to move to Las Vegas for a cost of living to stop howling in the money storm, to get out of Seattle? Do you see the opportunities, even a remote to kind of arbitrage a urban Seattle salary with a Las Vegas cost of living is a huge opportunity.
At the same time, you have to balance that against what is your career looking like at the age of thirty four? And how important is executive sponsorship? Because executive sponsorship is a function of proximity. And what is how does your wife feel about moving? There's a lot of moving parts here and I think it's an open, honest conversation and writing things down around what are the upside or the downside. I think in terms of managing your mom's illness, I don't think on its own because it doesn't sound it sounds like she's getting older, but it doesn't sound as if her passing is imminent, if you will.
I think you should think about first decide what is best for you and your family, and then decide maybe if you're going to stay in Seattle, if it makes sense to figure out a way for your mom to spend more time with you there. And if not, would you move to Las Vegas to be closer to to her and your wife's family? But I wouldn't make this move just out of concern for your mom. Seattle is not that far from Las Vegas.
You can get there a lot. She can get to your place a lot. And I think what every mother wants, I think what any dad wants now, having kids of my own, when I think about the end, is it really more than anything you just want to know that your kid had turned out to be a productive, decent person and you'd want to know that they loved you immensely.
It's clear, based on what you've told me about your career, that you're the former. And just the fact that you're thinking this way is evidence that you love your mother immensely. And that in itself is a lot of comfort for your mother. She wouldn't want you to totally reconfigure your life around hers. Not yet. Not at this point. So do what's best for you and your family. She's part of your family, but do what's best for you and your family, including including your children's grandmother.
Thanks for the question. I want to say God bless you. I don't believe in God, but I just I, I hope the best for you and your mother. And I will say that for the first time in my life, not being selfish for an extended period of time and focusing on my mom's health care and well-being is other than maybe my kids. The thing I hold on to that I'm most proud of, it was really the first time in my life that I had put someone else before my own needs, and it was very rewarding.
Best of luck to you and your mother. We love your questions. Keep sending them in again. If you'd like to submit one, please email a voice recording to officers at Section four dot com. We'll be right back after this break for our conversation with Andrew Young.
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OK, we're back, here's our conversation with entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Andrew Yang has consistently referenced as the most original thinker that ran for president. You also get the sense, listening to the guy, that he's genuine. I mean, think about this. He's a successful entrepreneur, but not crazy success. So he's not a billionaire, has never been elected to office. And he decided early and often that he was going to run for president and came up with these breakthrough ideas to catalyze the conversation. So even though he didn't get the presidential nomination, it would be hard to argue that Andrew Yang hasn't made the country a better place.
The discussion around UBI has opened a more honest conversation or catalyzed a more honest conversation around empathy and how we level up a third of America that can't go six weeks without a paycheck and is incredibly vulnerable.
And when we don't make the investments in the maintenance of our society, we take a whole entire cohort of our nation and put them at risk especially. And we're seeing that now in spades with the novel coronavirus. So Andrew Yang, an original thinker, Earnest, obviously a very decent man, entrepreneur, a husband and father of two. Here's our conversation with Andrew Yang. I can't tell you how excited I am for this week's Yank's Speaks, its professor, Scott Galloway.
He's a brilliant entrepreneur, author. He's one of the people I look to when I'm trying to figure out what's coming up next. So thrilled to talk to him about the future of education, tech, health care in a time of coronavirus and a lot of other things. Welcome, Scott. Thanks very much, Andrew.
And this is the Prop G Show. And I want to welcome our guests, Andrew Yang. Andrew hasn't been up to much recently, so I don't know what we're going to talk about. But anyways, we're doing this a little bit different. It's a back and forth. It's a it's a it's one plus one equals three. And we're going have a conversation here. But anyways, Andrew, I will let you kick it off.
Well, Scott, your blog is something that I read as a sign of what's coming, because you're like a great combination of numbers and humanity and you also are a parent like I am. You're concerned about a lot of the same issues that I am around, tech's impact on our kids mental health.
And you're postulating, which I agree with, because it just makes sense that the tech companies are going to start moving into education in this next number of weeks and months, in part because a lot of the universities are going to be struggling, but in part because of tech companies have a mandate to grow. And if you're going to try and grow, there are only limited industries that can afford you a big enough dollar sign to meaningfully impact a trillion dollar company.
So you're a professor, your day job, in addition to the five million other things that you're doing and you've written extensively already on the future of education, I'd love to talk about what you see as TEC's role in the future of education as someone who's on the inside.
Thanks for that, Andrea. So I think if you look at any public company makes an implicit promise to shareholders that they'll double their stock price in five years. Otherwise investors will go by Zoome or Peloton or something else. So if you're Apple or Google, that means you've got to grow your top line, assuming some operating leverage by anywhere between, call it one hundred and two hundred billion dollars over the next five years. So if you realistically have to grow your your top line by 100 to 200 billion, what that means is there's just very few game you can actually go hunting for.
You could say, well, the auto industry, well, that's a low margin, difficult business that's already pretty efficiently run. You could say, well, government, well, OK, are these companies going to start getting into government services? The two obvious ones are health care, 17 percent or 18 percent of U.S. GDP, high margins. People aren't very satisfied. And then education, what is a you know, a multitrillion dollar industry globally, six or seven hundred billion domestically.
So I would argue the big tax, it's not if they'll get into tech, it's when and why. Because they have to they have no choice. There's very few industries that offer just the sheer amount, the carcass, the size that can sate their appetite. So I think that they will go into into education in the short term.
It'll be around supplying tools as universities are all of a sudden faced with 20, 30, 50, in some cases one hundred percent of their classes going online, they'll be serving them as vendors. You're already seeing these companies ramp up their educational offerings and then we might see or we will see, I think, them do what Google just announced, and that is they'll get into the business of certification because at the end of the day, the two hundred and forty thousand dollars in tuition that NYU asks households to pay, it's yeah, it's for the experience.
Yeah, it's for the education, but the real ROIC in the certification.
So my question to you. My question back to you, Andrew. On Inauguration Day, do you put in place a plan, do you fund the DOJ and break these guys up? We got to do something for sure, and it's one thing I'd love to talk to you about is that if you share our diagnosis of the fact that these companies are running roughshod on many things that you'd consider the public domain, whether it's the way we get information or our democracy or, again, our kids mental health, like there needs to be a real government role.
One of the things that I said on the trail was like, we need 21st century solutions for 21st century problems.
And I'm not sure if you just go around saying break them up. That's going to do the trick, though, in certain cases. One hundred percent, a lot of these businesses need to divest parts of themselves, like you shouldn't have Amazon White labeling their own stuff and then essentially crowding out like other folks who are trying to sell to consumers. You can't have these companies just gobbling up anything that could become a potential competitor, even in an adjacent space.
Like if you had a monopoly in the old days, you would say, look, OK, your AT&T or whatever, like we're not going to let you also just start buying into retail or electronic stores or whatever or whatever the heck it is like that. That's like adjacent to you in the way that we've let Alphabeat just freaking get into anything under the sun. They've got like a near quasi monopoly on search engines and advertising and the rest of it.
So maybe there needs to be some limit, but it's bad for innovation. It's bad for us all if the business model of every company in Silicon Valley is to get annoying enough so that one of the trillion dollar behemoths will just throw throw some stock at you and then, like, gobble up. So so that's not where we should be.
And if you look around so many people and I'm an entrepreneur, you're an entrepreneur like I like people pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, but the market's not going to afford any kind of counterweight to what's going on with your kids, you know, addiction to screens or my kids' addiction to screens or whatnot like that.
There's not like a market based solution. And so we have to do the impossible, which is get the government to get its shit together, which is like and as a practical problem solver like, that's not appealing either.
Those saids you're like, oh, really? I have to rely on government to do this thing. But yeah, we have to rely on government to do this thing because there's no realistic alternative, in my opinion.
Let's talk about antitrust. We actually have in the U.S. a proud legacy of antitrust. We broke up, you know, I think it was Teddy Roosevelt got elected by the railroad guys and then turned around and said, I love you, but I got to break you up because you're bad for America. We broke up AT&T, we broke up the aluminum guys. And antitrust is one of the few government actions that we sort of get. The government gets right all the time.
If you look back, there's very few break ups. If you look back and think the government screwed up, yeah, we shouldn't have done that.
Yeah. Yeah. When when it happened, it was right.
It's like the one thing where government's batting a thousand. Why is it that America has fallen out of love with antitrust?
I'd say there are three things, Scott. The first is that the 20th century framework was built around anti-competitive pricing.
And if you are the Amazons, the Googles of the world, you're like, what do you mean? Like, I charge less than everybody, consumer gouging anyone. And so if you use price as your framework, then there doesn't seem to be a problem, even though there are massive negative externalities that aren't accounted for in price. The second thing is that. Our government has now become bought and sold by lobbyists, and so even though tech was a little bit late to the game in lobbying, like, what do you have on the other side?
Nothing really. Like you have a clueless legislature being like, well, I don't understand technology. And then you have the tech lobbyist whispering in their ear being like, hey, if anything, you need us to quote unquote, innovate more. So there's not like and and the third thing is that I think our entire society has become collectively brainwashed into like an efficiency culture, that efficiency is good, that the tech companies in particular enable efficiency, and that standing in their way is inefficient.
And hand in hand with that has been this complete mistrust of government as this paragon of inefficiency, bloat, bureaucracy, et cetera. And so culturally, we are not disposed towards trying to break up these tech companies that we think have improved our lives, particularly in contrast with what we think about government a lot of the time. Now, I think that these things are all wrong. Like I think you're right that antitrust has historically been a real force for progress, balanced progress, not just extreme progress.
And the example that Roger McNamee uses, like, look, you had these chemical manufacturing companies. It took us a little while to figure out that dumping chemicals like it into landfills and streams is really bad and we needed to regulate it. This industry is relatively new and it's taken us a little bit of time to realize just how noxious, for example, the advertising driven revenue model is for social media and a bunch of other things. But we need to figure it out and then we need to take affirmative steps.
And my great hope for this time is that we're going to actually embrace more aggressive, ambitious solutions than we would have considered precrisis. That's the silver lining. One thing I campaigned on was that it's unconscionable that higher education has gone two and a half times more expensive over the last number of years.
And one of the jokes I used to pose was like, has it gotten two and a half times better? And that always got a laugh because people were like, it is not really gotten two and a half times better.
And then I posed the question to the folks in the audience and I was like, why has it gotten so expensive? And then they think about it for a minute. And then I say, did we hire lots of professors? And they're like, no, you know, did we build lots of new buildings? And they were like, maybe. And then I say, the real driver is the fact that we've hired one hundred fifty percent more non faculty administrators at these universities.
They've become these like overgrown bureaucracies themselves and it's become this hidden tax on people on the middle class, on folks who are trying to to give their kids a better life.
And that's been building up for decades, in part because any any college every year just looks around and says, OK, how much are we going to increase our prices by this year?
And so you have this inflationary effect that's unique to health care and education. And then families felt like they had no choice but to pay. So then the government said, don't worry about it, we've got you here, some loans. So we're now up to one point six trillion in student loan debt.
And I love the fact that you work for NYU, but you're honest about the fact that, look, these university administrators have very clear financial incentives, like foregoing four hundred million dollars in tuition is like, you know, it would wreck many of these institutions.
And so you have many schools that are bravely putting up signals saying, hey, we're going to reconvene in the fall. And then you look at it and say, like, is this what you would do if this wasn't like an existential problem for your school to forgo tuition revenue for a semester? And I would love to hear your ideas on how we can somehow help the university system become more cost conscious and invest in things that will actually improve kids' educational outcomes as opposed to their US News and World Report rankings.
Yeah, we are definitely brothers from another mother. I mean, your summary. It took me two years to get to the to the summary you just articulated in about three minutes. But look, we live in a capitalist society, and having more money means more opportunity for your kids, access to better health care, access to a broader selection of mates. It's just a wonderful thing to have more versus less money in a capitalist society. And all of us fall victim to that in the sense that when it's your first and foremost going to fix your own oxygen mask and there's a belief that universities are these very noble institutions where we wear cardigans, watch PBS and pet our Labrador and don't think about money.
And professors and administrators want the same economic security as everyone else. So by a combination of this dictum or this Goshtasb where everybody has to get a college education, where we constrain supply and become luxury brands as opposed to public servants, we consistently have been able to raise prices through this kind of cartel, as you mentioned, twice as fast as inflation. And we justify that we're doing it for the right reasons. But the reality is many universities, especially the elite and universities, have become hedge funds that provide classes to the children of their investors.
And then we wipe Vaseline over the lens of the cash structure that has been that higher education has become by letting in some freakishly remarkable middle class and lower income kids and to try and make ourselves kind of the Neosporin of our guilt. This is it's it's it's morally corrupt. Spring used to be a time of nervousness, but excitement about where your kid was going to college.
Now it's become despair and anxiety around how do I tell my little girl that on a fireman salary and maybe my wife is a doctor or nurse, that we can't afford to send her to Tulane? How do you have that conversation?
How do you how do you feel like you're failing the American dream because you can't afford to after working your ass off to and you can't afford to send or you make a worse decision, and that is your kid doesn't get into the top school because they take pride in rejecting nine out of 10 applicants. And worse yet, they go to a second tier school where they don't get nearly the upside because corporations still look at those universities in terms of evaluating your currency in the marketplace and how much they're going to pay you.
But you incur elite university level debt. It's just this is one of the most, in my opinion, ugly parts of our society right now. And it's happened incrementally because like anyone else, university administrators and professors want to live the same great life as anyone else. What do we do about it? I've been spending a lot of time with Chancellor Bloch, who is the chancellor of the of my alma mater, that receives more applications than any university in the world.
And that's the University of California, Los Angeles.
And I've come to the conclusion that these institutions are almost constitutionally incapable of cutting costs between tenure, between the electrification of their facilities. It is very hard for them and they haven't had to cut costs for 40 years. It's almost impossible. What we could do is through a mix of small and big tech, potentially, potentially dramatically expand capacity. If you were to take 50 percent of your courses online and there are a lot of courses that would be fine online or a lot of sessions where there isn't a lot of interaction that you could facilitate online, if you take half your classes online, you effectively and double the size of the campus.
So what I would like to see and what I would hope individuals like that might serve in a cabinet or be in a position of authority and power some day is could we have some sort of grand bargain where we go to governors? Let's go to Governor Newsome and say increase the University of California budget by 20 percent and we're going to dramatically decrease the cost per student educated to the use of small and big tech by expanding our capacity. And we're going to take UCLA back from a 13 percent admit rate to where it was in the 90s.
Twenty or twenty five.
We have to dramatically expand our land grant public universities capacity such that we can take good. Maybe not remarkable. I mean, I don't know where you went to school. I was a remarkably unremarkable kid.
And the reason I'm here speaking to you today is because UCLA led in a third of its applicants and they could say to the son of a single immigrant mother who lived and died a secretary, let's be honest, you're not great. But we like your profile. You're a son of a mayor of California. We're going to let you in. They don't have the luxury of doing that now. They don't have the luxury of letting in kids with remarkable futures.
They have to only let in the remarkable. So I think it's about dramatically expanding through the use of technology, freshman seats and also breaking this will where academics and administrators have become drunk on exclusivity. Andrew, every year the deans at the top schools, including mine, get up and boast that we rejected eighty eight percent of our applicants. That's tantamount to the head of a housing shelter. Are bragging that he or she turned away nine and 10 people who showed up last night, we have lost this script.
We need to move back to being public servants as opposed to luxury brands. And we need to embrace technology and have almost like a Marshall Act like feel such that we take capacity for our great public systems. University of Texas, Michigan, University of California, Cal State, CUNY, Florida State Systems and expand their seats by 30 or 50 percent. I think a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. I think there's an opportunity here to move back to where we were, where kids who are unremarkable have remarkable opportunities through the upward lubricant that is higher ed.
Anyways, that's my rant, Andrew. That's my rant.
We have to come clean about the fact that and this is something you argue is like, look, a lot of these schools are essentially just becoming caste system organizers. It's not like when a parent gets, you know, or when the kid gets the admissions letter from the school, the parent is then like, oh, that's great. Because here, like the ten professors I want you to study with, like they're not actually paying attention at that level.
They just know the brand of the school.
And so that's right. If you like, we need to examine this from soup to nuts, like you look at and say, OK, why is it four years? Why does it cost this much? And to your point, like, why are you getting rewarded for turning people down? Like, aren't you supposed to be a public good? I love the fact that you've identified public universities as the place to launch this from because it makes the most sense and and they should be growing their seats like instead of a proportion of people you reject.
It should be looking up society wide and saying, OK, how many 18 year olds do we think are like approximately the right fit for what we're going for in terms of a public education? And then you should be rewarded for educating a higher proportion of those people, which is like the reverse of the way they get rewarded. Now, what you have ideas you clearly have. You're a unique thinker, I think, coming out of the presidential election.
If they said who has the most unique, most creative ideas, you would win, you would you would be at the top of that poll. What is the most effective platform for you over the next couple of years? Is it to be in the cabinet position? Is it to run for governor or Senate, or is it to position yourself for another run in four years? Like what is or as a media personality, what is the platform that helps you get the most traction around these ideas?
I'm just trying to solve the problems in real time, and this is a catastrophic time in the country. So I'm going to be attracted to whatever position helps me make the most impact. Right now, I want Joe to win. And we've been having conversations about joining the cabinet in technology facing rule, something to try and address some of the issues that we I talked about earlier on. Yeah, I just want to do good work, man. It's like it's what drives me.
Certainly I'm very open to running for office again because I've learned now more than ever that we need to speed up that our government is not designed to solve these problems in a meaningful way. And you talked about the incentives of university administrators. The incentives of politicians are not actually to make big changes or solve problems either.
It's to accrue resources and political capital, avoid scandal press coverage because you did something like reprehensible or like you harassed someone or like like something awful. And I pretty much listed all of your incentives. Like it's not like they did. You actually address the imbalances in our education system that have been building up for generations? No, it's OK. Are you actually going to address the tech platforms that are now more powerful than our government in many respects are having a bigger impact on our life?
It's like no, it's like they're not actually being judged on the merits of the government's performance, which is one reason why everyone's and look at this pandemic. I mean, like we are the biggest fiasco globally in terms of our ability to to handle is because of like our failed government. And a lot of people will put that at the feet of Donald Trump, which he deserves. Certainly a whole lot of credit. But there were failures at every level of government.
And you look at the decisions like that, there were a lot of embarrassing bureaucratic missteps there. FDA, same thing like, you know, we had like months to try and build up testing and contact tracing and it hasn't worked.
So this is the challenge, man. It's like it's like a turnaround where if you came upon, like, a really big organization like the UK's and you looked up and you said, hey, these people are constitutionally unable to cut costs, like, what the hell do we do here? It's a little bit like that where you get to the government and you're like, OK, like these people are constitutionally unable to do anything that's against their political interests, like, oh, well, what do we do with this?
And so. So one of the things I have to do is I have to make it so that it's in people's political interest to solve problems. And the most obvious problem right now is that there are tens of millions of Americans who do not have enough money to get through the next number of weeks and months. Seventy four percent of Americans think emergency cash relief is a good idea, like tens of millions of Americans got twelve hundred dollars in cash in April and they loved it.
So. So this is like my lover right now is like, OK, what's the big problem? I can solve that. We'll try and align the interest of politicians with the people. Cash relief, universal basic income education I think will be very effective because middle class Americans and aspiring Americans are fed up with the fact that, like you said, they look up and say, how the hell is college? Sixty thousand dollars like that makes no sense.
But I hope to be in a position where I can actually start pulling policy levers sometime in the next number of months because the problems are getting worse, unfortunately. And you to me, or one of the key thinkers on actually speaking honestly and bluntly about just how severe a lot of these problems are.
So if there's a chief innovation officer position in the cabinet, you get that. Obviously, that would be a great platform. What if what if that doesn't happen? What if Trump's re elected or Biden chooses someone else for that role? Where what is that platform? No, I don't even know where you live. Would you ever consider running for governor or Senate? And if so, where would that be and what would the role be? You and I are neighbors, Scott.
I actually like my my I have a place on the west side of Manhattan. So that's where my my kids are signed up to go to school in New York City.
You know, in the fall.
Would you ever consider running and Schumer or Cuomo I mean, people are asking me to consider various New York based runs, like there was like a campaign to draft me to run for mayor. There's you know, there are people who are looking to have me run for other offices in New York that just feels kind of right as rain yang for mayor.
What's wrong with that? Why wouldn't you do that?
We're going to look at it for sure. I mean, right now, my focus is on helping Joe in and try and address some of the nation scale problems. But, yeah, like where we're looking at different things. The key thing is like I'm driven by the same things I was driven by when I decided to run for president, which is we have these massive problems. Our political class is generally not up for it. And so we have to change it as quickly as we can, given the excesses we both see.
If there were a couple of big policies that you'd love to see in place. Let's say I'm the secretary of innovation and then I call you up and say, all right, Scott, let's solve some problems. You'd be like, OK, here would be like my two or three top priorities. I think we need to start taxing endowments at universities that don't grow their freshman suits faster than population growth. That means they're no longer public servants or nonprofits or luxury brands.
It's ridiculous that Harvard has the endowment of the GDP of Norway and it's decided to constrict supply. That means they're no longer in the business of public service. They're in the business of being airmen's and they should be, which is there, I believe in private property. It's their decision, but they should be considered a private enterprise and they should be taxed. I like that you're not going to believe this.
Yeah. One of the policies I ran on was the Harvard tax, which, as I said, if you happen to have an endowment over twenty five billion, which is only one school was all right, then you need to invest like all of the gains in your endowment in a new campus in one of these states.
And it was like Ohio, Michigan, Florida, because my my joke was that it's like, how the hell are you opening a Shanghai campus and not like a green Saginaw campus? I like it. Like, it didn't make any sense because because we're subsidizing you to the tune of billions of dollars. So anyway, I just want to let you know, it's like you wouldn't you wouldn't believe it. But like, you know, I actually had something called the Harvard tax on the books.
But you're right, we should do it to every school.
And I think Stanford's now above twenty five billion dollars, but I love that. Why isn't Stanford opening a satellite campus in Mississippi? Yeah, indeed they can. They call me and say Stanford's applications have tripled in the last 30 years. They have an increase. Their freshman class size one percent, because, again, we're all drunk on exclusivity and want to be the person with the degree that no one else can get. But I love the idea. And they say they claim that they're space constrained, which they might be, because the you know, the the Palo Alto community board doesn't want them to build more buildings and increase traffic.
But why wouldn't they need to if if NYU can have something in Abu Dhabi and Warren can have something in Singapore, then why wouldn't Stanford or Harvard have something in Detroit or in some of the more lower income are harder hit communities? I think that's a fantastic idea. I think the second thing we need is class traders. What do I mean by that? I think we need deans who are going to stop awarding tenure. I think tenure. I think there are certain departments in universities that need the protection from the current administration or, you know, are saying provocative, even sometimes distasteful things.
The basic notion of tenure is that if you say the world isn't flat, you don't get burned at the stake and you have intellectual freedom. But the reality is, Andrew, a place like the business school where I work, we haven't said anything that interesting in 30 years and recommended changes to Gap accounting are not that controversial. And tenure has gone from protecting a thought and provoking a conversation to basically the world's most expensive guild and union. That creates a total lack of accountability and expense that directly translates to debt on young people.
So I think we're going to need some class traders to say we have to hold ourselves accountable. We have to get more efficient. We have to lower our cost structure. I like the idea of incorporating big and small tech to dramatically expand enrollments. I like the idea of having state systems have a hybrid model where you go to Cal State or a junior college for two years and then to a name brand school, thereby cutting costs by about 40 percent.
And I think we need I think we need a dramatic, dramatic cooperate grand bargain with state and local governments. It says, look, we need you to if you increase our budget by 20 percent, will increase our enrollments by 50 percent and take it back to the university system, back to where it needs to be. And that is the greatest upward lubricant of the middle class as opposed to the vehicle forecasting. So I think there's a I think there's a ton of opportunity.
I think it comes down to obviously will resources, creativity. But it's it's something I'm passionate about. I think it's I think that there's a I think the crisis presents a tremendous opportunity. I mean, you realize, Andrew, in the next 12 months, these high tuition, high experience, kind of low brand or high acceptance rate universities, and there's hundreds, if not thousands of them across the U.S., they could be the education or what department stores are to retail.
We could have a thousand universities begin a death march starting September one. And that's upsetting. That's going to be chaos. But there's an opportunity to rethink certification, education. You know, it's going to take big thinking. It's going to take bold ideas.
Unfortunately, we have so many dumpster fires that it doesn't feel like the kind of thing we can focus on. So hopefully when Biden gets elected, it'll free us up to not focus on all the agita, all the hate, all the bullshit. And we can start focusing on some of these problems right now. It's. Feels like everyone just way too distracted by the comparison between these universities and department stores, I think is really powerful and apt and compelling.
And one of the things I said on the trail is like, look, these malls don't just disappear. They become these derelict ghost malls that that are toxic to environments. They depress property values. They become havens for crime, that they are what I call negative infrastructure, where they go from having positive value to negative value.
Really quickly, if you have these campuses around the country that have the lights go out, it's the same thing where you'd have infrastructure go from being very valuable to being very, very depressive in days or weeks. So it makes sense to me that we need to do something to try and repurpose some of these physical plants and institutions to do something that we need. Because you look up and say, of course, we're going to need more education for more people.
When you said it is correct that you're going to have the winner take all economy play out in education as well, where it's like, why am I going to pay top dollar for this lesser institution, lesser credential when UCLA is going to come up with this hybrid offering that I can then take advantage of and it's going to be more efficient and like a better credential. And so we have to do something with like the hundreds of schools that are going to shut their doors.
You know, it's like there is an opportunity, but it is going to be a situation where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and and in some cases, the poor are getting poorer, are going to be institutions like historically black colleges and universities. You know, they have like skeletal endowments and like like if anyone's going to take a hit and not be able to survive, unfortunately, it's it's some of those institutions. So it's another area where, like you said, you like you need massive rethinking and investment.
And there's there are only two plausible sources, No. One, philanthropy, which in my case, in my opinion, is a bust. Like it's not going to be at that scale. Like maybe like you said, some of these schools will be able to turn to their alumni and say, hey, bail us out, bail us out. Like, you know, you'll have a couple survive on that basis. But it really has to be the public sector again.
And there does need to be a grand bargain. The problem is that these schools have haven't had to pay a price.
And if you're an institution where, like, you've only known one direction and you've been able to, like, ratchet up prices, you are, as you said, constitutionally unable to turn around and say, OK, it's time to get ruthless like these ten amazing vice deans or whatever, like four of you have to go. You turn to the professor and say, like you're teaching loads about to go up and then you turn to the other person. They're just not like a lot of these institutions would shut down before they would make those kinds of decisions.
Do you have what is the action now and what's the call to arms?
We have the election. And how many days away is it? One hundred days or something. What what's the call to arms? What can young people or anyone listening thinks? You know, I want to help. What do you think is the most effective way to help right now?
Number one, help yourself. This is a terrible time. You know, we have to look out for ourselves and like and say like it's OK to be depressed or stressed out and take a break. Number two is help the people around you in your own life because, you know, people are struggling. And if you have the wherewithal, if you can, like, contribute to, you know, like, for example, that there's like someone, you know, who's, like, out of work to be like look like I just Venmo people randomly, you know, it's like now I have this.
I have this, I have this rule called BASEBALLER. And that is when I was growing up, I had a bunch of crazy jobs. I was a box boy. I was a bar back. I parked cars at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I was a pool boy at the Mondrian Hotel. And on a regular basis, Andrew Sum, total stranger, would give me ten, twenty, fifty bucks. And for if you're at UCLA and you're living on Top Ramen and bananas, which I was during the summers, you know, it was kind of life changing.
And then you could go on a date. It meant you could have a full tank of gas, which was a luxury. And it just changed my it would change it would change my life, but I would change my week. And I think being I call it being a baller. And that is over tip. If you're in a position where you have some economic security, you don't need a line giving the delivery guy, the woman putting your food in the back seat of your car, whatever it is, giving him ten, twenty, fifty bucks, it can it can literally be life changing for that moment.
And it's so many people that it's amazing you're in. Yeah. So be a be a baller. And then if you want to try and make changes that like a large scale level, my organization move humanity forward. Dotcom, we've given out seven million dollars in direct economic relief. We're trying to help candidates around the country who want to try and solve problems. And then a bigger picture. In my view, we got to get Joe into the White House and then if then they'll be Secretary Yang of something or other and then hopefully and then Scott on some advisory board and then we'll we'll get to work.
But it's not going to happen by accident.
So we've got to go do it. I wonder and this is my advice to you. I think Mayor Yang is a more influential role. If you're in the Cabinet, you're going to have less impact across a broader, broader population. But you could experiment with UBI in certain boroughs. You could I mean, you basically president of the 19th largest country in the world versus being being in the cabinet. Now, I've decided we're running we're running for mayor, Andrew.
We're running for mayor.
We will have further conversations about this God. But thank you, man is the first of many. I had a blast and yeah, we should make this semi regular because I learn a lot from me every time.
Yeah, I appreciate that, Andrew. And like I said, I think the most, you know, the world of academia where we're supposedly charged with is not being right or wrong, but catalyzing a conversation. And you catalyzed a conversation. You know, UBI, when I first heard it, I thought that makes no sense. And I didn't like it. And I like immediately kind of checked back to this notion of socialism. And then the more I heard you speak, the more it really evolved.
My thinking around what are creative solutions for moving us forward and leveling up some of our disenfranchised cohorts and kind of the economic apartheid that I'd like to think unwittingly we've ended up with in the US.
So anyways, I'm in I'm planning our first event. I don't know what it's going to be. It's going to be a coffee klatch or a virtual fundraiser. Just let me know when you're announcing. Thank you, Scott.
You'll be among the first to hear and I appreciate the sentiment. You know, it's like for me, it is a balance, like with everything. It's like I appreciate everything I've done. But, you know, I like I got to solve the problem, like, you know, we got to actually get this thing across the finish line because this country is falling apart. And, you know, it's going to be people like you and I that hopefully can help pull it together, you know, more more you than me.
But I appreciate it. All right, brother, thanks for the time. And we'll do this again. And like I said, Yáng Goyang. Thank you, Scott.
Appreciate the heck out of you. All the best of the family. Thanks, brother. Likewise.
So something I think we can all take away from Andrew Yang is that to be self aware, to be self actualized and to be courageous is to say, how do I want to change the world and how could I do that? And to be totally unafraid. One of our past guests, Scott Harrison, decided he was going to get on a mercy ship and start taking pictures of kids with deformities to try and inspire funds to go to, I believe it was Doctors Without Borders and then decided to start raising money to build wells in Africa.
I think that's fearless. I think when you're a club promoter and decide you're going to start bringing potable water to sub-Saharan Africa, that that requires a certain level of fearlessness. And I think Andrew Young brings a certain level of fearlessness.
And I think if you're in a position where you're somewhat economically secure, where you feel as if you have some skills, where you live in a free country that provides you with opportunities and freedoms. There is a little bit of crazy in each of us that you should pay attention to. I'm not suggesting you run for president. I'm not suggesting you give up your job and start building wells in Africa. I'm suggesting that you listen to that voice and that you'd say, what if I had no fear?
What if I wasn't worried about what other people would think of me, what if I wasn't worried about failing? What would that be and you might decide on a risk adjusted level not to pursue that path, I've said to kids, don't follow your passion, find what you're good at and then become great at it. And the accoutrements of being great at something will make you passionate about whatever that is. And I believe that. But there is something in you that you want to do where you think you could add value and ask yourself, what if you had no fear, what would be your opportunity to add value to the rest of the world?
I'm not talking about opening a restaurant or trying out for the New York Jets. I'm talking about what is it you would want to do to impact the world? And if you didn't have any fear, how would you get there? Our producers, our Caroline Chagrinned, Andrew Burrowes, if you like what you heard, please follow, download and subscribe. Thank you for listening.
We'll catch you next week with another episode of the Prophet G Show from Section four and the Westwood One podcast network.