Pivot: Scott Galloway
New York magazine|November 22 - December 5, 2021
Super-Apps Are Inevitable Get ready for the first $10 trillion tech company.
Scott Galloway 

THE METAVERSE IS BEST described as a consensual hallucination between Mark Zuckerberg and the media—a fantasy that we’ll trade pleasurable activities in the physical world, like cooking and dating, for nausea-inducing hours in a virtual realm full of legless avatars. To most ordinary people, the Facebook CEO’s aspiration to be the god of a universe we can enter only by affixing a prophylactic to our heads seems megalomaniacal. They’re correct. However, every time you hear Zuckerberg say metaverse, swap in super-app and the plan sounds less stupid.

A super-app is a single mobile app that offers basic services including chat and payments, along with a suite of “mini-apps” from third parties, ranging from stores and restaurants to government agencies. Westerners aren’t familiar with them, but across much of Asia, super-apps are the internet. The largest is China’s WeChat, possibly the most heavily used piece of software on the planet. On WeChat, you can find a date, hail a cab, pay utilities, even get divorced. An app reaches super status when it knits together a critical mass of services and makes them addictively easy to toggle among, even if they aren’t as good as sole-purpose apps. The more services, the stickier and more lucrative.

A super-app can start small: WeChat began in chat; Indonesia’s Gojek started in ride hailing; and in India, Paytm was originally for buying prepaid mobile minutes. All of them eventually expanded from their niche and snowballed to dominance. The economics of super-apps are powerful—and possibly inexorable. I’m convinced that constructing a U.S. super-app is the strategic imperative of the next decade and could result in the first $10 trillion company.

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