Danila Medvedev on frozen heads, multidimensional interfaces and the challenges of immortality
Jan 20, 2020 00:32:09
If freezing your severed head is part of your plan to live forever, then Danila Medvedev is one of the few people on the planet who may be able to help you. In 2005, he founded KrioRus, a cryonics company, and has also worked as Vice-President of the Science for Life Extension Foundation, based in Moscow. Bringing back the deceased, or as Medvedev prefers to call them, ‘the temporarily dead’ is only one of many things the founder of the Russian Transhumanist Movement is passionate about. Aside from life extension, we had a fascinating chat about Douglas Engelbart’s unfulfilled vision for interfaces, the Incan system of multidimensional record keeping, the Russian Cosmism movement and what went wrong with the nanotech revolution.
Flynn Coleman on why we need more human algorithms
Jan 13, 2020 00:29:44
Flynn Coleman has led a fascinating life. An author, international human rights attorney, professor, social justice activist and a former competitive athlete she has spoken and written on a wide range of issues from war crimes to behavioral economics. Her wonderful new book, A Human Algorithm (2019), makes the urgent case for why we need ethically designed AI. In our conversation we talked about the co-evolution of tools and people, non-human forms of intelligence and the dangers of automating inequality.
Enass Abo-Hamed on why the energy revolution begins with smarter storage
Nov 18, 2019 00:28:43
Dr Enass Abo-Hamed is working on one of the most challenging and intriguing energy problems today: efficiently and safely storing clean energy. While on a trip to Africa when studying for her PhD, Enass realised how much of a luxury electricity was, with some hospitals only receiving power for part of the day, and people rushing to do all their cooking and reading at home while the electricity was still on. So, at the age of just 28, she co-founded a business, H2GO, to develop a hydrogen battery that would be able to store clean and renewable energy in countries without an electrical grid. We caught up at her lab in London to talk about the future of energy, and why science and not guilt is the true path through the climate change crisis.
Piotr Spaczyński on building the algorithmic law firm of tomorrow
Oct 14, 2019 00:30:04
If you were to start a law firm today, leveraging all available technology and new ways of thinking - how would you do it? That, among other questions, is what I asked Piotr Spaczyński, managing partner of SSW, the only independent law firm from Poland, and one just shortlisted in the prestigious Innovative Lawyers ranking organised by the Financial Times. The legal industry - conservative, slow-moving and based on precedent - is a fascinating case study for the disruptive impact of AI and automation. Piotr and I discussed what the legal AI stack of the future might look like, from the use of algorithms to analyze contracts to predicting the outcome of litigation under particular judges. So when the legal system becomes increasingly standardized, contracts more automated and legislation akin to computer code - will the best lawyers of the future be less like Harvey Specter and more like Bill Gates?
Ben Pring on the future of jobs
Oct 7, 2019 00:31:06
So finally some good news: according to Cognizant’s Jobs of the Future index, since early 2017, the index's jobs of the future have been growing faster than all jobs. I strongly believe that the Algorithmic Age will create as many interesting jobs as it destroys, and so was fascinated to catch up with Ben Pring, who co-founded and leads Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work. Ben is a co-author of the best-selling and award winning books, What To Do When Machines Do Everything (2017) and Code Halos; How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business (2014). We spoke about why the jobs of the future will those that incorporate the qualities of coaching, caring and connecting - and what ultimately this means for leaders as they start to think about reimagining their organizations for the 21st century.
Richard Culatta on the future of education in an age of smart machines
Sep 30, 2019 00:31:48
When people ask me what our best insurance is against being made irrelevant by AI, I always reply: rethink education. On this week’s show, I spoke to someone doing just that. Richard Culatta is the CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and prior to which, was the chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island and the director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education. For Richard, the future of education is more than just digital textbooks or electronic whiteboards - the real challenge is whether we can leverage disruptive technology to fundamentally reimagine the experience of learning. Duplicating existing education processes are doomed for failure, as is any approach that treats all students the same. We chatted about the real potential of personalized learning, whether AI will replace traditional teachers, and what companies like GM are doing to help reboot the education system to prepare kids for the Algorithmic Age.
Simon Lock on the future of fashion
Aug 18, 2019 00:30:19
I met Simon in the late nineties in Sydney when he had just started Australian Fashion Week. After the huge success of that event, he sold the business to IMG International, and went on to found Ordre, a business-to-business online wholesale marketplace for luxury designers, which has recently taken on Alibaba Group as a strategic investor. Catching up at his office in London, we had a fascinating chat about the use of AR/VR by global fashion buyers, the challenges of serving dynamic global consumer markets, the emergence of algorithmic fashion design and how AI will change the future of retail.
Christine Day on how to lead a successful digital transformation
Aug 11, 2019 00:29:39
Christine is one of the most talented and thoughtful technology leaders around today. Currently CIO at Questrade, she was recognized in 2017 as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner. We met at a Gartner event where I was presenting on an early version of my 'Algorithmic Leader' idea, and as someone that exemplified many of those values, I was keen to continue our discussion about what she had learned from leading successful digital transformations. In particular, I was curious about the results of their ‘Spotify-style’ agile transformation at Questrade, the impact of automation on their organization design and why the most valued people in her team were ’T-shaped’ rather than ‘I-shaped’.
Jamie Metzl on the future of humanity
Aug 5, 2019 00:30:24
Will AI-assisted IVF be the new normal when it comes to having smarter and healthier children? This, and other provocative questions are at the heart of Jamie Metzl’s brilliant new book, ‘Hacking Darwin’, which argues that we are at the dawn of a new genetics revolution. In Jamie’s view, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. What will this mean for humanity as we start to reengineer our own genetic code and radically change our lifespan and capabilities?
Karthik Ramakrishnan and the coming age of AI products
May 15, 2019 00:30:04
As AI moves out of research labs and into the real world of commercial applications, we will increasingly see the rise of AI products. Whether it be detecting fraud in financial transactions or optimizing supply chains, while you won’t need a detailed knowledge of machine learning models to take advantage of the next generation of AI tools, you may well require an appreciation for confidence intervals and a new approach to making decisions. On a trip to Toronto, I caught up with Karthik Ramakrishnan, Head of Industry Solutions & Advisory at Element AI. We spoke about the near-term challenges of embedding AI decision-making in organizations, and why just as important as getting algorithmic products to work with people, will be getting the products to work with each other to make complex, synthesized decisions across the company of the future.
Jason Hosking on building the retail AI stack
May 6, 2019 00:29:50
I met Jason in Las Vegas while speaking at the National Automatic Merchandising Association show. The vending industry is uniquely placed to be a testing ground for the intersection of data, consumer behavior and autonomous retail solutions. Jason, who is the CEO of AI startup Hivery was originally selected as part of an innovation accelerator organized by the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. Tasked to take Coke assets and create a new business model, they came up with an AI platform designed to transform retail decision making. Catching up backstage in Vegas, we spoke about the future of machine learning, and what it might take to build a complete retail AI technology stack.
George Kaczmarskyj on avoiding the steampunk automation trap
Apr 28, 2019 00:29:36
Robotic process automation is a tempting proposition for many leaders: who wouldn’t want the ability to replace your processes with cheap algorithms that can run 24/7? However, the real benefit of automation is not efficiency or cost-savings, but the opportunity to rethink your entire operating model. I spoke recently with some of EY’s automation clients in New York, and one of the most interesting chats I had was with George Kaczmarskyj, a principal within EY’s Financial Services advisory practice, who leads Robotics and Intelligent Automation for Americas Financial Services. In this episode about the future of automation, we spoke about the similarities with the early days of electricity when companies also struggled to reinvent their paradigm and business models.
Rob Tercek on the unexpected economics of the data-driven future
Mar 26, 2019 00:33:14
Rob Tercek is a fascinating thinker and futurist. His most recent book, VAPORIZED: Solid Strategies for Success In A Dematerialized World, was selected as a winner for the 2016 International Book of the Year by GetAbstract. I met Rob a number of years ago at the METal networking events in LA. As a pioneering executive for MTV, Sony and OWN, as well as an entrepreneur in disruptive startup ventures, Rob has long been at the forefront of critical thinking about the digital world. Meeting up at LACMA, we discussed a wide range of topics from placeless innovation to the challenge of tech-driven inequality, the myth of perpetual growth to algorithmic management, smart contracts to the economic fallout from a data-driven future.
Phil Armstrong on ethical AI and the digitally transformed insurance company of the future.
Mar 19, 2019 00:29:52
Despite being one most traditional and conservative sectors in the world, insurance is a sector primed for digital transformation and reinvention through AI. I met Phil Armstrong, the Global Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice-President at The Great-West Life Assurance Company while speaking at event for them in Toronto. Great West Life is a 32 billion dollar financial services holding company with interests in the life insurance, health insurance, investment and retirement savings, and reinsurance businesses. Armstrong has been a key driver of adopting automation to transform their operating model, and we spoke about the challenges of embracing AI while maintaining legacy platforms, digital ethics, his vision for a ‘factory of bots’, and the new kinds of algorithmic talent that companies will need to thrive in this environment.
Tiffani Bova on finding your pathway to growth
Mar 5, 2019 00:30:57
I met Tiffani a number of years ago when we were both speaking to an audience of business leaders focused on digital transformation. I was struck by her pragmatic message around navigating the difficult choices that surround achieving sustainable growth, and was keen to interview her for my show. Tiffani is the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Prior to that she spent ten years at Gartner as a distinguished analyst and research fellow. Catching up with her in Los Angeles recently, we spoke about her latest book, ‘Growth IQ’, and what leaders need to be thinking about today as they plan their next smart move.
Mark Pesce on life in 2030
Feb 11, 2019 00:30:50
Mark Pesce has been living in the future for longer than just about anyone I know. He was one of the original pioneers of virtual reality, having invented VRML, the standard for 3D on the Web and a core component of MPEG-4. He is the author of 6 books, including "VRML: Browsing and Building Cyberspace", "The Playful World", and, most recently, "The Last Days of Reality". We caught up recently in Sydney where he now lives, to talk about the coming age of algorithms and the perils and pleasures of what it will be like to live in the AI-haunted world of the near future.
Kshira Saagar on how to create a culture of data-driven decision making
Feb 4, 2019 00:29:21
For retailers, being data-driven in the 21st century is not a luxury but a matter of survival. Everything is measurable: from engagement to purchase patterns, and that creates the need for leaders who are capable of being both creative and analytical when it comes to integrating data into their decision-making process. To explore this challenge, I spoke with Kshira Saagar, Head of Analytics and Data Sciences at The Iconic, one of Australia’s leading online retailers. Previously at Datalicious and Fairfax, Saagar was responsible for institutionalizing data-driven analytics across the company’s core competencies and building next-generation analytical products for his organization.
Dr. Simon Longstaff on ethics for an age of smart machines
Jan 28, 2019 00:33:27
We are at a pivotal moment in our society where the forces of accelerating technology are starting to collide with our personal values, social priorities and legal systems. With the rise of AI and automation, knowing how to identify what is right or good in any given situation is becoming both more complex, and more essential. To get to the bottom of some of these challenging issues, I caught up with Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of The Ethics Centre. Longstaff, who has been named as one of AFR Boss’ True Leaders for the 21st century, recently released a fascinating report entitled ‘Ethical By Design: Principles For Good Technology’ - that provides a framework that unifies centuries of philosophical thought, with today’s data-driven dilemmas.
Mike Walsh on how to be smart, when machines are smarter than you
Jan 20, 2019 00:41:25
To kick off a new season of Between Worlds, I’m turning the camera and the microphone on myself! What you are about to hear is the first chapter of my brand new audiobook, ‘The Algorithmic Leader: How to be smart, when machines are smarter than you.’ In this book, you will meet many of the leaders, pioneers, and scientists that regular listeners to this show will recognize from previous episodes. What will happen to jobs in a time of accelerating automation? How does the availability of real-time data change the way we need to think and solve problems? What will it take to be an effective leader in a world changed by AI? What are the secrets to successful digital transformation? I’ve synthesized years of research into a set of 10 principles about what it takes to succeed in the algorithmic age. My book is out in early March, but if you enjoy this sample, please download the entire audiobook at Audible (https://mikewal.sh/2DhTobe) or iTunes (https://mikewal.sh/2sAehYP).
Andreas Ekstrom on speaking to truth and power in the algorithmic age
Nov 19, 2018 00:29:30
The algorithmic age raises new difficult questions about truth and objectivity. For leaders of companies and countries alike, reconciling accountability and transparency, with freedom and privacy have never been more difficult. To debate these issues, I sat down with Andreas Ekström, a Swedish philosopher and author of seven books, known for his writing and lectures on life in the digital age. His TEDx talk on the false objectivity of search results has been viewed over a million times.
Aleksandro Grabulov on how to unleash disruptive innovation in traditional organizations
Nov 12, 2018 00:30:38
I met Aleksandro Grabulov almost a decade ago, when he invited me to speak to the global innovation team at Philips in Amsterdam. Back then, Philips was at a turning point. Shortly after I spoke to the group, they divested a number of their consumer appliance divisions, to focus on opportunities in data-driven health tech and connected devices. Grabulov now leads Philips digital and connected products teams in the US, and was responsible for ground-breaking work around their connected toothbrush product line. We spoke about the future of health tech in the algorithmic age, and what it takes to unleash the forces of disruptive innovation, in the context of traditional organizations.
Sherif Elsayed-Ali on defending human rights in an age of AI
Oct 29, 2018 00:31:02
Sherif Elsayed-Ali leads Amnesty International's global technology and human rights program. Sherif previously established Amnesty’s technology and human rights program and the organization’s artificial intelligence and human rights initiative. We met up in London to talk about the impact of algorithms, automation and AI on freedom, identity and privacy. Given the encroaching power of states and global corporations to collect and analyze data on their citizens and customers, there has never been a more important time for leaders to ask themselves, what is the right moral compass for the algorithmic age?
Manish Singh on how AI will force us to find new jobs, inside our old ones
Oct 22, 2018 00:26:37
When AI platforms are not busy beating us at Go or showing us how to drive cars properly, they are also changing the way that companies spend and track money. Talking with Manish Singh, an EVP at Oversight Systems, I learned how machine learning is both automating financial operations, and transforming the way we mitigate risk. Although Manish and I had fun talking about some of my favorite geeky AI topics (probabilistic thinking and the influence of Thomas Bayes), what you may find really interesting, is our discussion on how clerical jobs in the company of the future will not be simply automated, but elevated into something altogether new with very different skills and outcomes.
Steve Cronan on what Marvel can teach us about digital transformation
Sep 24, 2018 00:31:26
Steve Cronan started out as the digital asset manager on the Matrix movies in the early 2000s. The experience inspired him to start a company that helped Hollywood Studios and global brands manage vast amounts of content and digital assets across processes, workflows and global markets. If you watched the latest Avengers movie, you would seen Cronan’s company, 5thKind in the credits. Catching up in LA, we spoke about the lessons that studios like Marvel can teach other organizations about digital transformation, and how we are just at the beginning of a new renaissance in AI-powered creativity.
Katz Kiely on designing a culture for transformation
Sep 17, 2018 00:33:23
For big organizations, the biggest roadblock to transformation is not technology but culture. How do you design an environment conducive to rapid, constant and often disruptive change? Katz Kiely has spend her career working on such questions. She built the world’s first open innovation platform for HP, re-architected the way a UN agency did business and delivered a ground-breaking project with Intel that connected mobiles, big screens and data to change behaviour. We caught up in London to discuss how leaders and companies can adapt to the new algorithmic era.
Calum Chace on surviving the post-AI economy
Aug 27, 2018 00:30:39
One of the most interesting and controversial topics today is the potential impact of AI on employment, economics and politics. Calum Chace has written a number of bestselling books on these topics including ‘Surviving AI’ and ‘The Economic Singularity’. We met up in London to talk about the broader social consequences of superintelligence, the merits of a Universal Basic Income, and how the concept of work and employment might radically change in the future.
Lucie Greene on the power and politics of Big Tech
Aug 20, 2018 00:29:55
The platforms and devices provided by Big Tech pervade every aspect of our private and public lives. They promise a more efficient, social and entertaining world, but how far should we trust this new algorithmic oligarchy with our future? Author and futurist Lucie Greene has spent the last few years studying this question for her book, ‘Silicon States’. I caught up with her in New York to discuss what drives these organizations, and what might happen when they move beyond social media and search, to reinventing other sectors like space travel, education, finance or the housing market.
Hugh Harvey on whether AI means the end of the radiologist
Aug 13, 2018 00:30:42
Geoffrey Hinton, one of the world’s most renowned computer scientists has argued that ‘we should stop training radiologists right now’, and that as a result of AI, most would be out of a job within 5 years. But is this really true? Dr Hugh Harvey has a unique perspective on this question, having worked both sides of the fence - both as consultant radiologist, and also as leader in the AI space first at Babylon Health, and currently as the Clinical Lead at Kheiron Medical. Catching up with Hugh in London, I was keen to find out about the impact of algorithms on employment in the healthcare, and what it might mean to be a radiologist in the 21st century.
Martin Raymond on anticipating the future consumer
Aug 6, 2018 00:31:00
Martin Raymond is one of the world’s most respected consumer forecasters. He is the co-founder of The Future Laboratory, is editor-in-chief of Viewpoint magazine and LS:N Global, the online lifestyle news and consumer insight portal. Author of a number of books including ‘The Tomorrow People’ and ‘The Trend Forecaster’s Handbook’, he has a unique perspective on the skills required to anticipate future consumer behavior. Visiting him in their London headquarters, and provisioned with a very English cup of tea, we spoke about the evolution of the ‘business of the future’, and how the algorithmic age is creating new challenges for understanding and building trust with customers.
Ali Parsa on the algorithmic healthcare revolution
Jul 30, 2018 00:37:57
Ali Parsa is a fascinating leader and entrepreneur. Founder of Babylon Health, a company that is working with algorithms and AI to reinvent the healthcare industry, Ali has been both an influential and provocative figure at the intersection of medicine, business and technology. A few years ago, he was an early guest on the Between Worlds podcast. Since then, Babylon has expanded globally to Africa and China - as well as achieving significant advances with their own AI systems. I caught up with Ali again to learn more about his early experiences fleeing Iran as a child, where AI-first healthcare is going next, and what it takes to design successful, algorithmic organizations.
Daniel Hulme on designing organizations for AI
Jun 19, 2018 00:31:20
Daniel, a British expert in AI and machine learning, founded Satalia, one of the world’s first companies that brought algorithms from the academic world, into practical application at organizations. He has a Masters and Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence from UCL, lecturing in Computer Science and Business, and spoken everywhere from TED to the Singularity University. We caught up in London to discuss the latest developments in AI, the new kinds of people that algorithmic organizations will need to hire, and his own experiments in designing a management model without traditional KPIs and hierarchies.
Adam Raeburn-James on transforming big pharma
Jun 5, 2018 00:29:11
GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is in the midst of a fascinating digital transformation. To accelerate their process, they recently created a new chief digital and technology officer role, and brought on the former CIO of Walmart to fill it. They have been active in applying AI to drug discovery and clinical trials, have sought to use inhalers with clip-on sensors to combat asthma, and have deployed their first medical device mobile app. To get some detail on what was going on behind the scenes of their transformation, I spoke with Adam Raeburn-James, SVP End User and Infrastructure Services and Business Service Centers.
Ganesh Padmanabhan on augmenting human beings
May 29, 2018 00:31:41
Right before he joined the AI company, Cognitive Scale, Ganesh Padmanabhan was working on his own AI startup aimed at trying to make systems that were able to explain how they reach their conclusions. The real threat of AI is not killer robots or rogue star destroyers, but rather systems that lack accountability, or consideration of their economic impact on job replacement. Speaking at the Cognitive Scale HQ in Austin, Ganesh and I explored some of the big topics around augmenting human intelligence through machine learning, capturing knowledge and talent patterns, and how to personalize customer experiences at scale.
Keith Schaub on AI, baseball and the future of semiconductors
May 22, 2018 00:28:19
A topic that has fascinated me recently is how the semiconductor industry is changing with the advent of AI and machine learning. We have already seen the stellar rise of NVIDIA, a company previously known for making video gaming cards, once AI developers realized how useful their chips were for deep learning. To get a handle on what’s next for chips, as well as the impact on jobs in that sector, I spoke with Keith Schaub. Keith started out working on radar systems on the famed Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet. He is now a VP at Advantest, which is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of automatic test equipment for the semiconductor industry.
Rasmus Andersen on what leaders can learn from great gamblers
May 15, 2018 00:32:12
Applying the logic of professional gambling to leadership might not strike you as obvious, but Rasmus Andersen is no ordinary thinker. Currently running two football teams with the assistance of data and machine learning, he is also a provocative thinker on human performance. When he became curious about why certain towns and cities produced so many top athletes, he decided to find out himself, venturing from Africa to Korea, in search of the secrets of talent clusters. Those experiences became his bestselling book, ‘The Goldmine Effect’. More recently, in ‘Hunger in Paradise’, he explored why success can be the undoing of companies, even at the peak of their powers. We met up for a coffee in London to talk about what might really drive talent and high performance in the 21st century.
Manoj Narang on the future of algorithmic investing
May 9, 2018 00:34:21
Manoj Narang is one of the world’s leading thinkers, and provocateurs, when it comes to the future of investing. A proponent of high frequency trading, he previously founded Tradeworx before setting up electronic trading and asset manager Mana Partners, with a $1 billion under management. What makes Mana interesting, especially for my research on algorithmic leadership, is Manoj’s vision for tomorrow’s investment manager, is super smart humans augmented by smart AI. When I caught up with him in NYC, he gave me a master class in the secret structures of the investment markets, and how they will be shaped and influenced by machine learning and algorithms.
Chris White on legal tradition vs digital transformation
May 1, 2018 00:32:04
Chris White is Global CIO of international law firm Clyde & Co, one of the world’s leading legal firms particularly known for their work in the insurance sector. The legal world, deeply conservative and based in tradition, has been under growing pressure to change with rapid changes in technology, AI, machine learning and the increasing algorithmic nature of client’s business activities. Chris, who manages a team of 140 technology across 40 offices globally, is helping drive his firm’s push into automation and case management technology. What will this mean for the future of the law firm? Listen in to find out.
Ramya Joseph on how to build an AI financial advisor
Apr 23, 2018 00:32:04
Recently named Founder of the Year by Benzinga, Ramya Joseph is a former banker that combined her knowledge of investment management and machine learning, to create Pefin, the world’s first AI financial advisor. Pefin, which won the People's Choice Award at SXSW in the interactive innovation category, is a neural network which starts with the user’s current finances and projects how they will change over time with market conditions, inflation, taxes, government rules, and the user’s plans. I caught up with Ramya at her company's HQ in New York, where we spoke about the future of algorithmic financial advice, and also what kinds of people AI-first organizations need to hire in order to succeed.
Melissa Schilling on what it takes to be a genius
Apr 15, 2018 00:32:45
If you have ever been fascinated by the lives of brilliant people like Einstein, Tesla, Curie or Musk - you might have wondered how exactly they were able to do what they do. And, more to the point, what drove them to such impressive achievements? That is a question that Melissa Schilling, a professor at NYU Stern, and author of the bestselling book ‘Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World’, seeks to answer. I had a coffee with Melissa on a recent trip to New York, and we spoke about what makes these serial innovators tick, and in particular, the personality traits that lead to breakthroughs. What we might think of as impossible - for these people - is simply a place to begin.
Tim Denley on digital transformation in Japan
Apr 9, 2018 00:28:32
I got to spend some time with Tim on a recent trip to Tokyo, when he and his colleagues at KPMG Advisory hosted me for a week of talks and research meetings. Tim is a partner in the Japan practice, where he leads the digital innovation team, and has experienced first hand some of the fascinating characteristics of Japanese business enterprises, and their recent embrace of automation and AI as a way of transforming the way they do things. As we rode in the back of a gleaming black taxi, in heavy Tokyo traffic en-route to a meeting, we spoke about digital transformation in Japan, the shift to probabilistic decision making, and the challenges of changing traditional cultures.
Yossi Ghinsberg on the magic of getting lost
Apr 3, 2018 00:28:43
Yossi Ghinsberg is a true adventurer. Although best known for his story of survival when he was lost in an uncharted part of the Bolivian Amazon jungle for three weeks in 1981, he has since led a life of inspiration, motivation and raising awareness for humanitarian causes. His bestselling book, ‘Jungle’, was recently released as a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe. Over a cup of coffee we chatted about life, the universe, and the magic that happens when you find yourself off the beaten track.
Bala Mahadevan on building smart cities in India
Mar 26, 2018 00:25:26
If by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities - how do we reimagine our infrastructure, resources and services to cope? Bala Mahavaden is one of the thought leaders involved in planning the next generation of super cities in India, the Middle East and Europe. We spoke about the role of data in tomorrow’s cities, digital identity and citizen information, and how predictive analytics might help civic leaders mitigate day-to-day problems and response to crisis.
Dr. Kent Moors on why the future of energy is not what you think
Mar 18, 2018 00:31:04
It would be easy to imagine in this age of Teslas, Powerwalls, and Nest thermostats, that we are somehow on the brink of escaping traditional energy sources forever. Yet, oil, gas and coal persist - and continues to shape economies, nations and industrial policy. Dr. Kent Moors, a global expert on energy and a professor in the Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy at Duquesne University, where he directs the Energy Policy Research Group, has some ideas on why that may be. He has also had a fascinating life. You will hear how I try, unsuccessfully on a number of occasions, to get him to talk about his former life as a covert operative working for the State Department.
Frederik Janssen on preparing for Industry 4.0
Mar 13, 2018 00:30:00
Industry 4.0, or the digitization of the world’s manufacturing and logistics ecosystems, represents an incredible opportunity to profoundly reinvent very traditional organizations and processes. In this podcast Frederik Janssen, who is the director responsible for strategy an innovation for IT infrastructure at industrial giant Siemens, outlines how agility has become a way of life in his team, and how important digital transformation is to their future. As manufacturing moves from mass production to mass personalized, IT leaders need to also reimagine what they do, and how they do it.
Jason Collins on why humans should stop making making so many decisions
Mar 6, 2018 00:31:53
One of the hardest things for any algorithmic leader is knowing when do nothing at all. This is not an entirely new dilemma. Test pilots in the early days of the space program, struggled with the idea of not having manual controls - even when their own interventions led to deadly mistakes. So just when do humans make good decisions? To get to the bottom of that, I chatted with Jason Collins, a behavioral economist, who has written extensively on these ideas at the Behavioral Scientist, and currently runs the data science team at a major financial regulator. He previously co-led PwC Australia's behavioral economics practice.
Gautam Thakkar on reinventing life insurance
Feb 26, 2018 00:29:46
The Life Insurance industry is a fascinating case study in the challenges, and the potential rewards of digital transformation. Traditional insurance carriers have been largely slow to transform themselves, with many policies hosted on a multitude of legacy platforms. But change is coming, in the form of new types of insurance companies, like Haven Life, a spin-off from MassMutual, which uses AI and machine learning to radically reimagine the customer experience. To learn more about this complex industry, I had coffee with Gautam Thakkar, who is the CEO of se2, a company that builds platforms for 21st century insurance carriers.
Mark Van Rijmenam on how to build a business on Blockchain
Feb 20, 2018 00:30:54
Mark van Rijmenam is one of the world’s foremost experts on the Blockchain, and its potential impact on the future of the firm. Named as one of the top 10 global big data influencers by Onalytica, he is the author of the book Think Bigger – Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business. His latest book is titled Blockchain: How a Revolutionary Technology will Improve Business and Society. After reading some of his research papers, I was fascinated to have a coffee with him and talk about algorithms, smart contracts and what decentralized autonomous organisations might mean for tomorrow’s leadership teams.
Rusty Young on the unexpected economics of the global drug trade
Feb 12, 2018 00:30:55
Rusty Young has spent his life living, and writing about things that most of us would feel uncomfortable thinking about, let alone actually experiencing. Strangely enough, he and I first met at law school many years ago. But while after graduation, I left to join the digital industry, he travelled to South America where he met Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia's famous San Pedro Prison, and ended writing about his story in his first bestselling book, ‘Marching Powder’. Rusty was then recruited as a Program Director of the US government's Anti-Kidnapping Program in Colombia, after which he released a new novel about Colombia's child soldiers called 'Colombiano’, and a documentary on the drug trade called ‘Wildlands’. Catching up with him in Sydney, we spoke about the global drug trade, how Cartels design their technology stack, and the economics of the world’s strangest prison.
Vince Frost on how to think like a designer
Feb 5, 2018 00:30:59
Vince Frost is a world renown designer, author, creative impresario, and one of the most brilliant thinkers on human centered design that I know. He is the founder and Executive Creative Director of Frost*collective, Sydney. We met almost a decade ago, when I approached him to design my first book, ‘Futuretainment’ which was published by Phaidon. His inspired work on that book led to a design award by the Art Director’s Club in New York. Before starting Frost* Design, Vince was the youngest Associate Director at Pentagram. In 2004, he relocated to Sydney and, as Executive Creative Director of Frost*collective, has lead a wide range of projects for clients such as Deutsche Bank, Qantas, Frasers Property and the Sydney Opera House. His latest book is called, ‘Design Your Life’, and is well worth a read. Vince dropped around to my beach pad in Bondi for a coffee, and we took the time to chat about the future of design, and how everyone, even business leaders, could benefit from thinking more like designers.
Paul Greenwood on how AI will transform the legal industry
Jan 29, 2018 00:30:48
Artificial intelligence and automation are disrupting the business of law, leading to faster, more accurate decision making and improved access to justice. But what exactly will this mean for the future of lawyers, and law firms? To find out I spoke with Paul Greenwood, CIO at Clifford Chance - one of the top ten law firms in the world, and a member of the "Magic Circle" of leading British law firms. Some of the issues we discussed include the impact of algorithms on complex document analysis, whether AI tools trained against a firm's accumulated knowledge might also be a source of competitive advantage, and how companies might be able to automate strategic decision making in the future.
Molly Flatt on whether there is a future for reading in a digital world
Jan 22, 2018 00:30:52
I first met the writer Molly Flatt in Bogota, Colombia a number of years ago, but to continue our discussion on the future of books and publishing, we arranged to meet in an equally interesting, although somewhat less exotic, bar in Fitzrovia, London. A prolific journalist and researcher into digital trends, Molly is the Associate Editor for FutureBook, Digital Editor for PHOENIX magazine and Associate Editor for the Memo, and writes regularly for publications such as the BBC and the Guardian. Her debut novel is entitled The Charmed Life of Alex Moore.
Peter Sheahan on how big companies can reinvent themselves for the future
Jan 15, 2018 00:32:28
Peter Sheahan is one of the smartest people I know, and the perfect choice for our first podcast guest of 2018. An expert on business transformation, he runs Karrikins Group with staff in more than 23 cities across seven countries. He is the author of seven bestselling books, including the recently released ‘Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, Create More Value, and Become the Obvious Choice’. When our paths crossed again recently, we caught up over a meal and spent some time debating recent market moves by players like Amazon and CVS, and what it really takes for established companies to fundamentally reinvent themselves.
Mohamed Marfouk on how LVMH is reimagining luxury for the digital age
Dec 7, 2017 00:32:02
The new luxury consumer has never been more different. They're younger. They're more connected. They're more global, and more demanding of brands than at any time in history. To understand the significance of digital for the future of luxury, I caught up with Mohamed Marfouk, Global Operations Director of LVMH at their headquarters in Paris.
Bruce Turkel on how to find the authentic truth of your brand
Nov 20, 2017 00:30:30
In an age of multiplying devices, platforms and social media channels - it can be tempting to forget the classic lessons of marketing and branding. On a recent trip to Miami, I caught up with Bruce Turkel, an author and marketing guru who has helped some of the world’s leading brands including Hasbro, Nike, American Express and Citicorp. We chatted about the challenges of marketing in this new fluid digital environment, and why some things - like discovering the authentic truth of your brand - will never change.
Michael Bungay Stanier on how to ask better questions
Nov 13, 2017 00:31:45
Sometimes the hardest thing for any leader to do, is to actually do nothing and just listen. For Michael Bungay Stanier, a bestselling author and a world-leading expert on coaching - the best way to engage someone in a meaningful conversation is to know the right questions to ask. Speaking with me over a coffee in Toronto, Michael (who left Australia 25 years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University) explained the 7 simple questions that leaders should start with, and that where explored in his latest book, ‘The Coaching Habit’. My own question was perhaps a little more troubling: why will coaching still be important in the algorithmic, AI-dominated companies of tomorrow?
Peter Clines on transformation, teleportation and the secret history of America
Nov 7, 2017 00:31:46
I was in LA over Halloween, and so took the opportunity to look up one of my favorite genre-bending, sci-fi authors - Peter Clines. Peter has a number of brilliant books including ’14’, ‘The Fold’, and his latest, ‘Paradox Bound’, which he originally pitched to his agent as a cross between Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ and ‘Cannonball Run’. Growing up in Stephen King's hometown of Maine, his first epic novel at the age of eight was ‘Lizard Men From The Center of The Earth’. In the bright glare of the LA sun, we spoke at length about a wide range of geeky topics from time-travel to the occult, evil stars to parallel universes.
Alex Capecelatro on AI, smart homes, and the new battle for the living room
Oct 31, 2017 00:30:59
The war for the living room used to be simple: influence whoever was in charge of the family TV’s remote control. With the rise of the Internet of Things, smart speakers, and AI-enabled home automation systems - the home itself has become the next computing platform. To get a handle on what the future of smart homes might look like, I caught up with Alex Capecelatro in LA. Alex started his career as a research scientist for NASA, the Naval Research Lab, and Sandia National Lab. He later joined Fisker Automotive, ran his own startup, At The Pool, before creating Josh.ai, an AI agent for the home.
Dr Jason Fox on empathy, curiosity and the persistently human future of work
Oct 23, 2017 00:30:11
If, at first, you are unconvinced of Dr Fox’s biographical assertion that he is a ‘modern day wizard-rogue’, you will certainly, when presented in the flesh, be assured by his impressive beard. Bestselling author of ‘The Game Changer’ and ‘How to Lead a Quest: a handbook for pioneering executives’, Jason is a thoroughly unconventional thinker on leadership, creativity and designing 21st century work environments. We caught up in London to talk about how we might need to reimagine the idea of work, in the post-algorithmic rubble of the robot job apocalypse.
D. Sahay and Rohan Fernando on data, decision-making and the algorithmic healthcare revolution
Oct 16, 2017 00:30:37
Healthcare is on the brink of a profound transformation, enabled by data, analytics and algorithms. As the health ecosystem moves from providing ‘sick care’, to an integrated, human-centric approach to helping people manage wellness - providers, payers and pharmaceutical manufactures will need to change. I spoke with healthcare analytics experts, D. Sahay and Rohan Fernando, from the global advisory group, ZS Associates, about how leaders can learn to make decisions based on data and algorithms rather than experience and excel spreadsheets.
Natalie Panek on Mars, the space race and how to inspire a new generation of young explorers
Oct 10, 2017 00:30:17
Natalie Panek is an inspiring young innovator, with dreams of playing a dynamic role in the future of space exploration. A rocket scientist, she was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, a Forbes 30 under 30 2015, and “a vocal advocate for women in technology” by The Financial Post. In her spare time she has designed and driven a solar-powered car across North America, and builds space robotics.
Rob van Egmond on complexity, agility and the future of the supply chain
Oct 2, 2017 00:29:06
I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about logistics. Supply chains might not strike you as a particularly interesting topic, but if you think about it, one of the first industries to be disrupted by our obsession with ordering everything and anything online, is the complex business of moving things around. To get a better handle on just what that kind of complexity entails, I met up with Rob van Egmond in Amsterdam, who runs a company called Quintiq. In Rob’s view, complexity is the natural state of 21st century companies. Trying to control it is futile. The key to mastery is reacting to it with agility.
Jay Guilford on Cirque du Soleil, creativity and the secrets of 21st century team performance
Sep 25, 2017 00:31:12
From humble beginnings as street performance in a small Quebec town in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has grown to become the world’s most diverse, and dynamic brand of creative performances. On a recent visit to Las Vegas, which is home to seven permanent Cirque productions, I caught up with Jay Guilford, who is the creative content strategist for their team building program, SPARK. SPARK helps big companies embrace some of the innovation and creativity that is at the heart of the Cirque du Soleil shows, albeit without some of the accompanying acrobatics of course.
JS Cournoyer on deep-learning, empathy and what it takes to build an AI-first company
Sep 18, 2017 00:31:41
Montreal, it turns out, is ground zero for some of the best and brightest in the emergent AI community. Look closely at the newly hired AI ranks at Google, Uber or Facebook and you will lots of expat Canadians. Now, a new company called Element AI, is working to help other companies apply the very same cutting edge deep-learning research to commercial problems from manufacturing to logistics. One of the co-founders of Element AI is JS Cornoyer, who also started Montreal Startup and Real Ventures. Catching up at his co-working digs in downtown Montreal, we spoke about the future of deep-learning, and the kinds of empathetic skills that will be prized in humans in a post-automation future.
Andy Harries on making TV for Netflix, the royal family, and why bad weather drives creative genius
Sep 11, 2017 00:31:51
Andy Harries runs Left Bank Pictures - which, if you happen to love shows like the Crown, Outlander, Strike Back, Cold Feet or Prime Suspect - is probably responsible for much of your time spent staring blankly a screen. Andy and I met when I was running a strategy workshop for Sony Pictures Television in London. Catching up over a cup of tea, we chatted about how the rise of ‘OTT’ entertainment brands is changing the business of television, what it was like to raise teenager kids who became overnight YouTube stars, and the strange, dark corners of British creativity.
Rick Willett on analytical decision making, citizen development and the no-code revolution
Sep 4, 2017 00:28:53
Starting work in the nineties, I quickly discovered that professional mastery had a lot to do with your ability to manipulate complex Excel spreadsheets. Analysts crunched numbers, programmers cracked code. These days, 21st century companies are trying to do the exact opposite - putting the power to create software and automate activities, in the hands of people closest to the work. Rick Willett, CEO of Quickbase, is one of the people leading this no-code revolution. Formerly at GE, and now focused on reinventing enterprise collaboration, we spoke about the future of work and the power of algorithmic decision making.
Jamie Metzl on North Korea, biotech and the promise and peril of extreme longevity
Aug 28, 2017 00:31:58
I caught up with Jamie Metzl for a coffee in Bryant Park, New York. A fellow futurist, geopolitical expert and sci-fi novelist - suffice to say, we had lots to chat about. Jamie is a Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, serves on the Advisory Council to Walmart’s Future of Retail Policy Lab, and even ran (unsuccessfully) for the U.S. House of Representatives. It seemed strangely appropriate that our topic of conversation - human performance and leveraging technology to live much longer - was with someone who himself completed thirteen Ironman triathlons, twenty-nine marathons, and twelve ultramarathons.
Garrett Lord on data, talent and how to recruit smart millennials
Aug 21, 2017 00:30:29
With more than 200 inches of snow each year, and a good eight hour drive from a major city, Michigan Tech didn’t see many recruiters from outside of the Midwest. That didn’t seem right to Garrett Lord. Why should talent be located just in geographies closest to tech companies? After driving to college campuses across the country, he realized that student access to opportunities was universally unequal, and so along with Scott Ringwelski and Ben Christensen, decided to form Handshake to reinvent the college recruiting business. I caught up with Garrett in Las Vegas, to talk about how data might change the way companies find, recruit and manage talent in the future.
Magnus Lindkvist on creative friction, Depeche Mode and why the future loves small ideas
Aug 14, 2017 00:33:14
Magnus is a cool guy. As a fellow futurist, speaker and writer, we had met another times professionally over the years, in a variety of cities - but most recently in Kuala Lumpur, we got to properly hang out, and talk about a wide range of seemingly unconnected, but hopefully interesting things. Magnus is Director for Trendspotting and Future Thinking at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, and an active member of TED. His most recent book Minifesto (2016) tells us why small ideas matter in the world of grand narratives.
Arthur Hayes on the Bitcoin civil war, crypto-banking, and the power of algorithmic thinking
Aug 6, 2017 00:30:19
Arthur Hayes has a big idea. He wants to build the Goldman Sachs of Bitcoin. Starting life as an equity derivatives trader, on his first day of trading, Lehman Brothers collapsed. A few years ago, he formed BitMEX, the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange. BitMEX is trading platform that gives retail investors access to the global financial markets using Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and financial derivatives. BitMEX through the use of Bitcoin as collateral, allows anyone anywhere to trade any type of financial asset. The vision is that even the unbanked in emerging markets, with just a $1 to invest or save, might be served by this entirely new model of financial services.
William Bao Bean on messaging, chatbots and other secrets of the Chinese digital ecosystem
Jun 18, 2017 00:31:06
I met William almost ten years ago when he was a technology analyst in Hong Kong, and I was consulting for Star TV. The Chinese Internet was already rapidly evolving then, and now, a decade later, the combination of a sophisticated technology, a mobile-first culture and relative isolation behind a national firewall, has led to a vastly different digital ecosystem. Based in Shanghai, William is now an Investment Partner at SOSV and the Managing Director of Chinaccelerator. William joined SOSV from SingTel Innov8 where he was the Managing Director supporting China investment activities. Previously William was a Partner at Softbank China & India Holdings, an early stage venture capital firm backed by Softbank of Japan and Cisco.
David Mattin on global change, truthful consumerism and thriving in an age of uncertainty
Jun 11, 2017 00:33:37
Whether it be Brexit, terrorism or a tumultous general election - the UK seems to be a crucible for many of the global forces that threaten to overturn the status quo. To get a better sense of what all that might mean for 21st century companies - I caught up with David Mattin in London. David is the Head of Trends & Insights at TrendWatching. Previously a writer at The Times, David’s work has appeared everywhere from Fast Company to the Guardian to Google Think Quarterly. We spoke about his latest research on ‘truthful consumerism’ and how leaders can try and navigate a time of such rapid, and unpredictable change.
Chris Van Noy on media, content and the escalating war for attention
Jun 4, 2017 00:31:49
Chris is a thought leader in the media industry. He previously ran strategy for the global content infrastructure business known as Akamai, and over the last 12 years, has sourced, negotiated and closed high level media and technology deals and partnerships for companies such as NBC Universal, Hulu, ESPN, ABCNews, Microsoft, 24/7 Real Media and Disney. Over breakfast in NYC, I did my best to gain a crash course in the new economics of attention, and the secret infrastructure that makes today’s streaming platforms possible.
Ted Persson on Swedish startups, data-driven brands and how AI will AI will impact creativity
May 29, 2017 00:31:39
Ted Persson is one of the most interesting and creative thinkers in the Nordic tech scene. Currently a Design Partner with Swedish private equity group, EQT, he previously founded digital agency Great Works, as well as Our/Vodka, a global vodka made by local people in cities around the world run by Pernod Ricard. We met a few years back while I was working on the board of his agency’s parent company, the North Alliance. Reconnecting in Stockholm, we talked about the secrets of Swedish startup success, how brands are changing the way they think about data, and the broader impact of AI on the creative professional.
Juan Senor on fake news, paid content and the enduring appeal of newsprint
May 22, 2017 00:32:30
Juan Senor is somewhat of an international man of mystery. We met in Guayaquil in Ecuador, but it was in the more salubrious settings of the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London that we re-connected most recently. A former foreign affairs reporter and business program host, conversant in six languages, and a partner in a consulting firm that helps newspapers reinvent themselves, Juan had just returned from an expedition in Antartica to study climate change. An appropriate context, perhaps, for our discussion about what the ailing print media industry might do to also save itself.
Jeremy Philips on competitive advantage, platforms and the power of network effects
May 14, 2017 00:31:13
Jeremy Philips is the epitome of smart money. He is currently a General Partner of Spark Capital, which is behind disruptive innovators like Slack and Wealthfront, but many would know him from his provocative columns in the New York Times. Prior to Spark, Jeremy co-founded ecorp, Australia’s leading, publicly traded Australian internet company, and was also Executive Vice President at News Corporation, focusing on digital strategy and acquisitions. We caught up for a coffee in New York, to talk about the difference between true disruption and great execution, whether we should be frightened about the ‘frightful five’, and what it takes to gain competitive advantage in a networked age.
Nikolaj Nyholm on gaming and what the rise of professional eSports means for 21st century brands
May 6, 2017 00:31:49
Nikolaj Nyholm is one of the most prolific European entrepreneurs and investors. When I first met him many years ago, he was on the verge of selling his pioneering image recognition company, Polar Rose, to Apple. Previously, he also founded Speednames/Ascio (acquired by Group NBT) and Imity (acquired by Zyb/Vodafone). Nikolaj’s new passion is gaming. His latest venture is RFRSH, an esports marketing and media rights company working with a growing number of the best player-owned esports teams including Astralis, Godsent, Heroic, and Norse. I caught up with Nikolaj at his brand new elite, training facility in Copenhagen to talk about the future of professional gaming, digital branding and the art of avoiding tilting.
Kjell Nordström on cities, women and the rise of the multi-urban corporation
Apr 30, 2017 00:30:57
I met Kjell Nordström a number of years ago in Oslo. He and his colleague Jonas Ridderstrale, who had written the international bestselling book, ‘Funky Business’, were the equally bald, brilliant rockstars of Swedish innovation. Fortunately, I was able to catch Kjell again, while I was visiting Norway. Currently a Professor at the Institute of International Business (IIB) at the Stockholm School of Economics, Kjell is an expert on global markets, big ideas and creativity. We spoke about his latest book, ‘Urban Express’, co-authored with Per Schlingmann, which details why the future belongs to cities, women and new types of global organisations.
Matt Pearson on nanosatellites, global networks and the new race for space
Apr 23, 2017 00:29:32
Matt Pearson, along with Fleet’s other two co-founders, saw an opportunity to use nanosatellites to enable the world’s next industrial revolution, the connection of the estimated 75 billion devices set to come online over the next decade. Beginning in 2018, their plan is to launch more than 100 nanosatellites into space to create a free, global network. Just following a recent fundraising with Niki Scevak at Blackbird Ventures, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and other investors - I caught up with Matt in Sydney to talk about why the future of global communications is cheap, small and disposable.
David Jay on courage, resilience and photographing humanity
Apr 10, 2017 00:32:47
I met David, many years ago, at a cafe on Bondi Beach. Originally from California, he had moved to Australia for work, and for the last 20 or so years, had made a name for himself as a fashion photographer, whose work had been featured in international editions of Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Style and Shape among others. Then, about eight years ago, everything changed when a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Soon after, David began The SCAR Project which documented survivors of breast cancer. Following this series, David continued to dedicate his work to capturing often unseen aspects of humanity, including The Unknown Soldier, The Alabama Project, Grief Camp, and Naked Ladies. Jay’s photography has been published in the New York Times, BBC, LIFE, Forbes, USA Today, and countless other publications throughout the world.
Dan Anthony And Sean McKeever on algorithmic design and the future of the office
Apr 2, 2017 00:30:32
Dan Anthony and Sean McKeever are architects and leaders of NBBJ's design computation team. NBBJ is the go-to architecture firm for when the world’s biggest technology brands – Google and Amazon in the US, and Alipay and Tencent in China - want to build innovative, new workspaces. Over coffee in their headquarters in Seattle we spoke about parametric design and how algorithms are now being used, in conjunction with learnings from neuroscience, to optimize workspaces for productivity, collaboration and wellbeing.
Bradley Trevor Grieve on wildlife, freedom and the secret joys of idleness
Mar 26, 2017 00:31:49
Bradly Trevor Greive is an extraordinary person. He has written 25 books, which have sold over 30 million copies in 115 different countries, several of which have appeared in the New York Times bestseller list, including his classic title, ‘The Blue Day Book’. But that is only a small part of a resume that reads more like the bio of the world’s most interesting man. A certified Cosmonaut, a former Paratrooper Platoon Commander in the Australian Army, a Polynesian Rock-Lifting Champion, and a survivor of 17 surgeries to date - comedian John Cleese once described his life as ‘one long suicide attempt’. Meeting up in LA, we spoke on the importance of conservation in his work, why Bertrand Russell’s essay in praise of idleness is so important in the 21st century, and the challenges of surviving Hollywood.
Ross Dawson on algorithms, human-centered design and the future of work
Mar 20, 2017 00:30:45
I caught up with Ross Dawson, a fellow futurist and an Australian native, on a recent trip back home to Bondi Beach. Ross is a futurist, and the author of four books including the Amazon.com bestseller ‘Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships’, and the acclaimed book Living Networks, which foresaw the social networking revolution. Over coffee we riffed over some areas of common interest, in particular the impact of AI on the future of decision-making and work.
Brady Forrest on talking short, manufacturing smart and the art of the hardware startup
Mar 13, 2017 00:31:28
For as long as I’ve known him, Brady Forrest has been at the very epicenter of whatever the West Coast alpha geeks think is going to be the next big thing. I met him around 2008 when he was running the brilliant ETech conference for O’Reilly Media - which incidentally, was one of the first public tech talks that I ever gave. Since then he cofounded Ignite, a talk series which has been held thousands of times around the world - as well as Highway1, a hardware accelerator which has helped launch over 58 hardware startups.
Jeff Ma on blackjack, bias and what it takes to become a data-driven leader
Mar 5, 2017 00:31:13
A member of the infamous MIT Blackjack Team, Jeff Ma was the inspiration for the best-selling book ‘Bringing Down the House’ and the hit movie, ’21’. A successful entrepreneur and expert on analytics, he is also a pioneer in the ‘Moneyball’ movement working with professional sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers and the Portland Trail Blazers to help them make better decisions with data. After selling his latest business, tenXer to Twitter, Jeff now works there as Senior Director of Business Insights. We met up for a coffee in San Francisco to chat about what playing Blackjack can teach you about overcoming cognitive bias, the quantification of work and what it takes to be truly data-driven.
Daniel Kraft on data, machine learning and the future of healthcare
Feb 27, 2017 00:32:26
Daniel Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator. I met him some years ago at the Singularity University, where he was chair of the Medicine Track. Daniel is also the Executive Director of Exponential Medicine, a program that explores convergent, rapidly developing technologies and their potential in biomedicine and healthcare. On a recent visit to Silicon Valley, I caught up with him to talk about how traditional medicine is being disrupted by the digital age.
Carl Richards on uncertainty, wealth and the future of financial advice
Feb 20, 2017 00:31:12
If you have ever picked up a copy of the New York Times, you have probably come across one of Carl Richards and his insightful, back-of-the-napkin drawings and posts that illuminate the basics of money. A financial planner, and author of The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money and The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money - Carl is a fascinating thinker on the future of wealth. We spoke about his latest research on uncertainty, financial planning for freelancers, and why human advisors will remain relevant even in an age of algorithms.
Richard Holden on inequality, network capital and the future of the firm
Feb 12, 2017 00:31:10
Richard Holden, a Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School, is one of the world’s leading experts on contract theory. He has also been a Visiting Professor of Economics at the MIT Department of Economics and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School - and has written extensively on the boundary of the firm, incentives in organizations, mechanism design, and voting rules. Many years ago, he was also one of my debating rivals at university. After running into each other on a flight to Dallas recently, we caught up to discuss some of his recent research on why so much wealth is controlled by so few, the impact of smart contracts and the Blockchain on the future design of companies, and why now is a good time to brush up on our understanding of game theory.
Tamer Nakisci on undesign, emotion and the wonderfully strange, non-specified future of objects
Feb 5, 2017 00:26:33
Tamer Nakisci is an award-winning Turkish designer with a strong vision and fascination for the future. He started his career at Fiat Advanced Design Concept Lab – Milan in 2004. His design for a flexible, wearable "Nokia 888" concept phone over a decade ago inspired device designs that are only now becoming a reality. Most recently his work was featured in the 2017 Wallpaper Magazine design awards. We caught up in Istanbul to talk about the future of design, the challenges of creating technology that is formless and adaptable, and how creativity comes alive when you provide tools without instructions.
Peter Xing on automation, the blockchain and the race to build the cognitive enterprise
Jan 30, 2017 00:31:21
While in Sydney, I caught up with Peter Xing, a key figure in the Australian transhumanism movement, and an expert on business automation. We spoke about the road to building cognitive enterprises, why we need to shift from thinking about digitizing documents to smart contracts, and why the first step in any good digital transformation is defining processes in a way to make your company ‘machine readable’.
Art Morales on data, the placebo effect and the future of clinical trials
Nov 27, 2016 00:29:03
Art Morales is the CTO at Analgesic Solutions, a clinical research company focused on the conduct of clinical trials in pain. I caught up with Art to try and understand how emerging technologies like data, AI and algorithms will impact the way we both research and test new medicines in the future. One of the most interest areas of innovation is the cross pollination of ideas and frameworks from one industry to other. To that end, Art and his team are bringing in concepts from manufacturing and statistical process control to monitor and improve the effectiveness of clinical trials for pain medication. Upon completing his Ph.D. with Dr. Paul Schimmel at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Art started his career with Genome Therapeutics as a Senior Computational Biologist. He subsequently led a variety of teams at various companies including the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where he was Global lead for Biology Platform Informatics.
Perry Oosting on Hasselblad, post-luxury and the rise of Chinese consumer electronics
Nov 20, 2016 00:32:36
Perry Oosting, who started his life as a gold and silversmith, is now the CEO of famed Swedish camera manufacturer, Hasselblad. It is hard to overstate the significance of Hasselblad in the world of imaging. Most famously, the iconic camera was used during the Apollo program missions when humans first landed on the Moon. I myself learned studio photography and black and white printing, while using a Hasselblad 500CM. The first time I looked down through the viewfinder with this cult camera held at hip level, was like catching a glimpse of a strange, beautifully inverted version of reality. I met Perry a number of years ago, when he was the CEO of luxury phone manufacturer, Vertu - and given his twenty year background with brands like Prada, Bulgari and Gucci, I was interested why he has decided to ban the word luxury at Hasselblad and what the future of the company might hold, given their recent strategic investment by Chinese drone manufacturer, DJI.
Mark Bowden on body language, communication and the challenge of creating an emotional machine
Nov 14, 2016 00:32:29
Mark Bowden is an expert in human behaviour and body language. His bestselling books include the bestselling Winning Body Language; Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals ; and Tame the Primitive Brain – 28 Ways in 28 Days to Manage the Most Impulsive Behaviors at Work. Bowden originally received a university degree in performance in the UK, and studied the gesture-control methods of Jacques Lecoq’s Laboratory of Movement in Paris. He then went on to work with leading practitioners of movement psychology, building upon the influence techniques of Dr. Milton Erickson. When we met up in Toronto, he explained to me how the ancient survival instincts of our brain wire us to interpret gesture, and what this means for the future of both human communication and also the design of machines that can understand and relate to us.
Ken Rutkowski on the future of media, hyperloops and life extension technology
Nov 6, 2016 00:31:58
Ken Rutkowski is, hands down, one of the most connected people I’ve ever met. And not in that very East Coast, I know everyone, sort of way, But rather, in a friendly West Coast, I know just the person who can help you, manner. Many years ago I spoke at his weekly METal (Media, Entertainment and Technology Alpha Leaders) event which has become a key node in what Ken calls the ‘Creative Coast’, an emerging epicentre of innovation and disruption in Los Angeles. Ken Rutkowski founded ‘Business Rockstars’, which was the number one business radio talk show in America, heard on over 185 radio stations nationwide, reaching 3.5 Million daily listeners. Catching up in Las Vegas, we had a far ranging discussion about the power of podcasting, the future of radio, why Apple needs to become a content company, why LA is better than NYC, the merits of uploading your personality into the Cloud, why Ken has been using electroshock therapy to boost his IQ and whether or not the Chinese have figured out quantum encryption.
Ali Parsa on affordable healthcare, machine learning and the future of data-driven wellness
Oct 31, 2016 00:32:19
Ali Parsa, founder of Babylon Health, has created an extraordinary platform — an app-based service that cost-effectively connects top GPs with patients via their smartphones, and is the UK’s leading digital healthcare service. Babylon allows its users to book a video consultation with a GP in minutes, or message with a photo to receive an answer for simpler questions. The true aim of the service is to leverage realtime data, adaptive health monitoring and clinically curated machine learning to detect diseases more quickly and ultimately prevent them before they happen. Visiting him at his head office in London, we spoke about the future impact of AI on the provision of healthcare services, how data changes the way we think about wellness and why the digital delivery of medical advice will transform the lives of millions in the developing world. Ali is a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. He previously created Circle, a multi-million pound business running private hospitals across Britain. He was named by the Times among the 100 global people to watch in 2012, and by HSJ among the 50 most influential people in UK healthcare.
Ron Tite on creativity, comedy and why everyone is an artist, or at least should be
Oct 24, 2016 00:32:10
Ron Tite is a very funny guy - not to mention, a very creative one. Named one of the 'Top 10 Creative Canadians' by Marketing Magazine, he’s been an award-winning advertising writer and creative director for some of the world’s most respected brands, including Air France, Evian, Hershey, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Intel, Microsoft, and Volvo. Once a professional comedian, he now helps brands develop their content and storytelling strategy. Executive Producer & Host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, Ron is also a featured marketing expert on the new Mark Burnett-produced business reality show, Dream Funded. His latest book, ‘Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be)’ explores why the most successful executives and entrepreneurs have learned to think like artists. We caught up in Toronto to talk about the power of reinvention, counterintuitive thinking and how comedy teaches you to rebel and break the rules.
Eric Schoenberg on tech bubbles, status anxiety and the dynamics of wealthy families
Oct 17, 2016 00:33:05
I had an interesting coffee with Eric Schoenberg in New York recently. He is an adjunct professor who teaches about family wealth at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and also a member of a group known as the Patriotic Millionaires, who believe counter-intuitively, that he and other wealthy people, should be made to pay more tax. Facts like that twenty Americans own more wealth than half the population bother him, and are a reason why he believes that the US system is in need of reform. Eric saw first hand the effects of greed and wealth on human decision making. Having been involved in the first dotcom boom during the nineties at Broadview International, and the experience had led him to conducting research on the psychology of money and asset market bubbles. Since then he has taught behavioural economics and leadership at Columbia Business School, NYU's Stern School of Business, and the Haas Business School of the University of California at Berkeley. We reminisced about the strange digital tulip-mania of the late 90s, and why in the midst of a bubble people seem want to take on more risk even though they feel like they are making a lot of money.
Memory hacking, algorithmic cruelty and why AI systems are better with imperfection
Oct 9, 2016 00:31:34
Memory has also fascinated me - from the stories of the memory palaces of famous classical orators and artists, to the vast armada of 21st century tools that allow us to capture, process and share moments in our lives. In London for a few days, I met up with Dr Julia Shaw, who is a senior lecturer and researcher in the Department of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University. Author of "The Memory Illusion”, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences including a tedX event at Burning Man this year - she is more curiously known as a ‘memory hacker’. Julia’s research focuses on false memories, and in 2015 she published a study with Stephen Porter in which she succeeded to get 70% of the participants to falsely remember a crime from their past. Over a cup of tea in the lobby of the Edition Hotel, she explained the art of manipulating memory, how the way we remember things is shaped by modern technology and algorithms, and why AI designers are so interested in the imperfect nature of human cognition.
Natasha Schull on addiction, ludic loops and why smartphones are mobile ‘Skinner boxes’
Oct 3, 2016 00:32:39
With every new connected device, messaging application or digital service that enters our lives - it becomes increasingly difficult to resist the seductive lure of technology on our attention. For Natasha Schull, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, the addictive nature of devices, whether slot machines or smart phones, is no accident. In her recent book, ADDICTION BY DESIGN: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, she explored the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction. Her next book, KEEPING TRACK: Personal Informatics, Self-Regulation, and the Data-Driven Life concerns the rise of digital self-tracking technologies and the new modes of introspection and self-governance they engender. Meeting up in Soho, New York - we spoke about the nature of addiction and what makes the design of a particular technology so enthralling, the strange trance-like states that gamblers experience, the quantification of work and life, and why smartphones are a kind of ‘Skinner box’.
Mike Reiss on comedy, the Simpsons and the globalization of entertainment
Sep 26, 2016 00:30:55
If you are a fan of animated comedy, chances are you have laughed at a joke written by Mike Reiss. Mike Reiss is the four-time Emmy award-winning producer, a 28 year veteran of ‘The Simpsons’ and has contributed to more than two dozen animated films — including four ‘Ice Age’ movies, two ‘Despicable Mes’, ‘The Lorax’, ‘Rio’, ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’, and ‘The Simpsons Movie’ – with a worldwide gross of $8 billion. He was the showrunner behind Season 4 of ‘The Simpsons’, which Entertainment Weekly called ‘the greatest season of the greatest show in history.’ Mike has also seventeen children’s books, including the best-seller ‘How Murray Saved Christmas’ and the award-winning ‘Late for School’. I caught up with Mike at his apartment in New York City to learn about the dark arts of writing comedy, the impact of the digital age on content, and why China and Latin America are such important export markets for entertainment.
Seth Porges on virtual reality, the history of pinball and why sex robots won't save the Singularity
Sep 18, 2016 00:32:19
I met Seth at this secret, underground gathering of thinkers in New York, known as ‘The Influencers’ where he was giving a disturbingly funny talk entitled ‘you can tell a lot about a man by the sex bot he makes for himself.’ Seth Porges is a journalist covering a wide range of topics from pop culture to emerging technologies. He has written for everyone from TechCrunch to Maxim, and is a regular commentator on numerous televisions shows on the National Geographic, Discovery and History channels. I probably should have asked him about the reference in his Wikipedia profile about his work as a test pilot on the maiden voyage of an experimental pulse jet-powered carousel, but we ran out of time talking about why pinball was once a moral hazard in New York City, the challenges of translating social interactions in virtual reality and the future of robotics.
Roy Horan on mindfulness, martial arts and hacking creativity
Sep 12, 2016 00:34:41
When Roy walked into my apartment in Hong Kong. it felt like I was about to get a spirited lesson from the blind sensei Stick, from the comic series Daredevil. I had grown up watching Roy as a kid, playing characters in the Bruce Lee and Jackie Chain Kung Fu movies I loved. Since retiring from film, Roy has gone on to become a global expert in creativity and innovation, founding Innovea, a company specializing in high performance and well-being for both business and education sectors. Roy also teaches as an assistant professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design where he focuses on creative and higher order thinking as both a teacher and researcher. In this podcast episode, we shared a fascinating discussion on the power of meditation and mindfulness, and its links to creativity and break-through thinking.
Robyn Benincasa on performance, synergy and what it takes to be a world champion adventure racer
Sep 5, 2016 00:31:01
Talking to Robyn Benincasa about performance - a world champion adventure racer, a CNN hero and a full time firefighter - was a bit like interviewing Sarah O’Connor about her thoughts on Judgement Day. Robyn is the ultimate adventure addict. She holds three Guinness World Records for distance paddling, and has competed in the extreme sport of adventure racing from the jungles of Borneo to the Himalayan peaks of Tibet, the rivers of Fiji to the rainforests of Ecuador and the desert of Namibia. These experiences have given her a unique perspective on what it takes to build successful teams, and what leaders need to become, if they want to inspire commitment rather than simply securing compliance.
Ted C. Fishman on aging populations, Chinese urbanization and the dynamic potential of Indonesia
Aug 28, 2016 00:32:04
Ted C. Fishman is a global expert on populations, demographics and emerging markets. When we met up in Chicago, he slipped through the crowded hotel lobby to greet me, in a wonderful Indonesian batik shirt - like a covert character from a Graham Greene spy novel. Ted is a veteran journalist, essayist and former member and trader of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. His most recent book, Shock of Gray, The Aging of the World’s Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation looks at how the aging of the world is propelling globalization, redefining nearly every important relationship we have and changing life for everyone young and old. He also wrote the international bestseller, China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World, which describes the effects of China's emergence as a world power on the lives and businesses of people across the globe. In this podcast, we had a wide-ranging chat about the future impact of shifting population demographics on global growth, the rapid urbanization of China and how technology has impacted daily life there, as well as Ted’s latest journeys and insights about the Indonesian market.
Sage Brennan on WeChat, travel and the value of stalking Chinese tourists
Aug 21, 2016 00:31:39
Sage and I used to hang out in Shanghai years ago, when he was an analyst covering the Chinese market. Since then, he has returned to the US where he now runs China Luxury Advisors, a consultancy that helps brands and destinations prepare for the next wave of Chinese consumers. Sage first visited China in 1987, and has studied and embraced the language and culture ever since. He has worked in China as a researcher, investor, entrepreneur, journalist and advisor, with a specialization in digital, mobile and strategy. We caught up in Palos Verdes, the beautiful beach town just outside of Los Angeles, to talk about the future of destination marketing, why WeChat is the operating system for life in China, and the challenge for brands in navigating an increasingly complex and multicultural world.
Jeremy Heimans on digital activism, new power and what it takes to start a revolution
Aug 14, 2016 00:31:27
You might say Jeremy always had activism in his blood. At the tender age of 8, he pressed his family’s fax machine into service to lobby leaders on issues like children's rights and nuclear non-proliferation. Since then, he has founded GetUp, an Australian political organization and internationally recognized social movement phenomenon that today has more members than all of Australia's political parties combined. He also co-founded Avaaz, the world’s largest online citizens’ movement, now with more than 40 million members. Now Jeremy runs Purpose, which helps bring social movements to life with a combination of digital smarts, creative storytelling and community building infrastructure. Jeremy and I debated together many years ago at University, so it was great to catch up with him in New York and talk about how technology is is a powerful force for social change against the backdrop of increasing gun violence, racial and religious tension and the divisive US election.
Chetan Dube on AI, neural networks and the future of the cognitive enterprise
Aug 6, 2016 00:31:58
Chetan Dube is the cool math professor you always wished you had at college. Impeccably attired and capable of switching between anecdotes about a childhood spent in New Delhi, Paris and London with deep dive explanations of probabilistic vs deterministic neural networks - he is one of the most interesting personalities in the emerging world of AI and cognitive computing. After founding his company IPsoft, he developed Amelia, a “virtual service-desk employee”, that understands the semantics of language, and can solve business process queries just like a human being. Over coffee in his office in New York, we spoke about the impact of AI on the design of companies, and in particular, the rise of the cognitive enterprise, in which software platforms will be able to understand, learn and anticipate customer needs, even before they know them.
Valerio Cometti on wit, surprise and the essence of Italian design
Jul 31, 2016 00:31:31
Valerio Cometti is one of the world’s foremost industrial designers. Founder of V12 Design and based in Milan, he and his team have created product designs for some of the world’s leading furniture, fashion and luxury automotive brands. Having originally trained as a mechanical Engineer, Valerio bases much of his approach on a product engineering core, thanks to a deep understanding of manufacturing processes. I visited him at his studio in the bohemian Navigli district, where we talked about the values of Italian design, the challenges of bringing great products to life, and the future of data-driven wearables.
Andy Stalman on brands, Latin America and the secrets of Spanish creativity
Jul 24, 2016 00:31:56
Andy Stalman is an expert in launching and nurturing brands in Latin America. Author of “Brandoffon. Branding the Future” and CEO of Cato Partners Europe & LatAm, he also lectures as a visiting professor at a number of business schools and companies worldwide. We have spoken and shared meals together a number of times, from Bogota to Madrid, and I was keen to get his views on the challenges of engaging Hispanic consumers, as well as the secrets behind successful Spanish companies like Zara and Santander.
Porter Erisman on Jack Ma, Alibaba and the e-commerce revolution in China
Jul 18, 2016 00:28:08
Alibaba is one of the world’s most dynamic and powerful digital brands today, and yet it originates not from Silicon Valley but from China. As a former Vice President at the business, Porter Erisman had front-row seats to the development of Alibaba from Jack Ma’s apartment into what it is today. In his book, ‘Alibaba’s World’, Porter details the rise of the company against the backdrop of China’s digital revolution and the challenges faced by US web giants trying to crack the local market. In our conversation, we discussed how Jack Ma wrote the operating system for e-commerce to work in China, what brands can learn from the innovative ways that Chinese sell things online, and how everything from wealth management to insurance will soon be re-invented by these new digital platforms as they move from retail to financial services.
Bryan Kramer on sharing, authenticity and the art of staying human
Jul 9, 2016 00:32:19
Bryan Kramer is one of the most social people around - not only in person, but with over 300,000 fans and followers, a maven in the personal branding and marketing space. His latest book, “Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy”, explores the history, art and science of sharing, and illustrates why sharing is what gives us a unique competitive advantage as individuals and brands. In a unique sharing experiment conducted in his recent TED Talk @ IBM titled “Why Sharing is Reimagining Our Future”, Bryan witnessed the true power of sharing when inspiration combined itself with reach and technology. The results were stunning – 21 million impressions in just 4 hours, spanning the globe to over 10 countries. We caught up to chat about why remembering human values is so important for brands and leaders, as they try and design authentic communications.
Adam Alter on decision-making, influence and the seductive allure of technology
Jul 3, 2016 00:32:32
Adam Alter is the author of the New York Times bestseller ‘Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave’, which examines how the world shape our thoughts and feelings beyond our control. I met up with him at NYU Stern, where he is an Associate Professor of Marketing with an affiliated appointment in the New York University Psychology Department. We spoke about his research on judgment and decision-making and social psychology, as well as his new book, which asks why so many people today are addicted to so many behaviors, from incessant smart phone and internet usage to video game playing and online shopping.
Cindy Gallop on sex, diversity and re-inventing advertising
Jun 25, 2016 00:33:42
Cindy Gallop is one of the most brilliant and controversial minds in advertising today. Starting as a theatre publicist in the UK, she went on to forge a 30 years career in brandbuilding, marketing and entrepreneurialism, as well as launching a number of provocative platforms including IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn. Never shy to throw a few punches, her Twitter bio reads simply: ‘I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.’ From the elevated surroundings of her New York penthouse apartment, I was to find out just how many industries, companies and professions were, according to Cindy, long overdue a serve of disruption and re-invention.
Alex Rosson on head-fi, the emotional impact of analogue music and the birth of Shinola Audio
Jun 17, 2016 00:30:02
Alex Rosson is a legend in the music business, having founded one of the world’s best headphone brands, Audeze, and is now responsible for starting up a new audio division for Detroit based watch and lifestyle brand, Shinola. I met up with Alex at the famous Village recording studios in West Los Angeles. The Village has been home to most of the greatest names in rock, from The Doors to Guns N’ Roses, Coldplay to Lady Gaga. The room we recorded this interview in was the same used to produce the classic album, Aja by Steely Dan. Alex and I talked about the origins of digital cinema, the rise of the head-fi movement, why listening to analogue music is good for you, and his plans for the launch of Shinola Audio. Listen out for the fun cameo from Alex’s uncle (the owner of the studio) and who makes a grand entrance at the end of the interview.
Gordon Watson on luxury tech, data-driven concierge and the future of mobile
Jun 10, 2016 00:28:04
Gordon Watson has taken over the reins at luxury phone brand Vertu at a crucial junction for the company. I previously encountered the brand, famous for its high end communications devices, when I presented at EQT’s annual conference, a Swedish private equity group that had acquired the company from Nokia. Late last year, Vertu was bought by Chinese investors and is on the verge of launching a new suite of data driven, luxury concierge services to complement its high end handsets. Visiting their headquarters in England, I spoke with Gordon about the future of mobile devices, and what luxury might mean in a technology context.
Ankur Kothari on robots, automation and the virtual workforce of the future
Jun 4, 2016 00:30:19
Ankur Kothari is a pioneer in the area of robotic process automation and the design of digital back offices. A co-founder of Automation Anywhere, he has been working over the last decade on transforming entire industries by introducing them to a digital workforce and human–robot partnerships that can help them scale efficiently. We met up in Hyderabad, a city in India where many of the world’s biggest companies locate their outsourced IT and back office operations. We have all heard that robots may be coming for our jobs, but I was curious to learn - will anyone really be sad to see transactional, routine tasks done by a machine rather than a human being?
Rob Lilwall on cycling through Siberia, walking home from Mongolia and finding moments of adventure
May 28, 2016 00:32:35
One day Rob Lilwall, an ordinary geography high-school teacher, decided to drop everything to cycle from Siberia to London via China, Australia and Afghanistan. The journey took 3 years, covering over 50,000 km. He didn’t stop there. Soon after, he attempted another trip from Mongolia to Hong Kong. 5,000 km. In winter. On foot. An adventurer, author and motivator - Rob and I caught up to talk about overcoming obstacles, the call to adventure, and how to survive being chased by bandits in Papua New Guinea.
Ian Goldin on global transformation, complexity and why we are living through a new Renaissance
May 20, 2016 00:29:02
Professor Ian Goldin is Professor of Globalisation and Development and Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. Previously he was Vice President of the World Bank, and also served as an adviser to President Nelson Mandela on economics and development. He is the author of 20 books on innovation, globalisation and economics - and it was his latest title, ‘Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance’ that we spoke about over coffee when we caught up in Dubai. Despite populist claims that countries and individuals are better off alone, Professor Goldin believes that the modern age is inextricably connected and interdependent. And that’s a good thing - as just like the original Renaissance, we are about to live through a new age of innovation, transformation and reinvention.
Eileen Gittins on the future of books, female entrepreneurs and why more kids should play Minecraft
May 13, 2016 00:34:12
When I wrote my last book, ‘The Dictionary Of Dangerous Ideas’, I wanted to find a platform that represented the future, rather than the dusty past of publishing. That brought me to Blurb, and many years later to their offices in San Francisco where I met up with their founder, Eileen Gittins. Starting her career in imaging at Eastman Kodak, Eileen left to found a number of successful digital companies before coming up with the idea of creating a simple digital platform for authors to produce high quality books. We spoke about where books will go in the future, how games like Minecraft help teach kids computational thinking, and what can be done to encourage more young women to become entrepreneurs.
Philippe Schaus on global luxury, Chinese consumers and the future of travel retail
May 8, 2016 00:32:21
This week, I had coffee in Hong Kong with Philippe Schaus, the CEO of the DFS Group. DFS, owned by LVMH, is one of the world’s leading travel retail brands and has been a key player in the globalization of luxury, driven initially by the rise of the Japanese middle class, followed by the rapid growth in mainland Chinese travellers. Formerly a President at Louis Vuitton in Europe, and also a current member of the LVMH Executive Committee - Philippe shared some fascinating insights in our discussion on the future of travel and the design of airport experiences, as well as new directions for global luxury brands as well.
Light Watkins on mindfulness, mental agility and the future of wellness
Apr 29, 2016 00:31:51
Author of ‘The Inner Gym’, Light Watkins is a renowned expert in Vedic meditation who has personally coached over 2,000 people, from bankers and artists, to comedians and rockstars. He recently founded The Shine, a community event centered around inspiration in Los Angeles. At TEDxVeniceBeach last year, Light gave a popular talk on ‘Debunking the 5 Most Common Meditation Myths’. We caught up in West Hollywood for breakfast where we chatted about why mindfulness has become such a hot issue for 21st century companies, and the connection between meditation and the adaptive mindset that leaders need to survive in this time of complexity and constant change.
Siimon Reynolds on hacking failure, Chinese fortune tellers and mastering the success mindset
Apr 25, 2016 00:31:19
Siimon Reynolds - a successful entrepreneur, an award winning author and speaker and now a leading high performance coach for CEO's and entrepreneurs, is also one of my good friends. After becoming a Creative Director of a top advertising agency at just age 21, Siimon went on to win almost every major advertising award for creativity in the world, including the Gold Lion at Cannes, TV Commercial Of The Year, Magazine Ad Of The Year, Newspaper Ad Of The Year, and Agency Of The Year twice. Catching up at his home in LA, we spoke, strangely enough, not just about what it takes to achieve success - but more importantly, about what leaders can learn from failure - based on his most recent bestselling book, ‘Why People Fail’.
Kristen Ashburn on photographing pandemics, the faces of teenage martyrs and the power of the image
Apr 16, 2016 00:35:00
Kristen Ashburn is an award-winning documentary photographer and humanitarian, whose photographs and stories from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa have appeared in many publications worldwide. She began photographing the impact of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa in 2001 and released a book of this work in 2009 entitled I Am Because We Are with a forward by Madonna. Ashburn's work has also taken her to Iraq a year following the US-led invasion; Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, New Orleans after Katrina, Haiti after the quake and Russia to cover the spread of MDR-tuberculosis in the penal system. Over coffee in Miami, Kristen shared with me the story of how she went from shooting fashion in New York to capturing images of global crisis, and why, even in this age of Instagram, the photo retains a persistent power to give voice to the voiceless and inspire collective action.
Vinh Giang on sleight of hand, showmanship and the secret books of magic
Apr 11, 2016 00:29:57
An Australian Entrepreneur of the Year and magician, Vinh Giang is a renown stage performer and also the brains behind the online learning platform, Encyclopedia of Magic. Coming from the humble beginnings of a Vietnamese refugee family saved by a boat captain off the coast of Australia, Vinh has since re-invented himself as a master magician and global business coach. We caught up in Cancun, Mexico where I asked him all my burning questions about the history of magic, and what business leaders might learn from the secret arts of stage illusion.
Gemma O'Brien on typography, design and the cult of the handmade
Apr 3, 2016 00:28:51
Gemma O’Brien is an Australian artist and designer specialising in lettering, illustration and typography. Known for her hand lettering skills, she has worked for everyone from QANTAS to The New York Times. If you were a fan of my recent book, ‘The Dictionary of Dangerous Ideas’, you might also recognise her hand in the design of the custom alphabet created for the project. In this episode we spoke about the future of design, the continuing influence of type, and why in this digital age, brands are so enamoured with the handmade.
Peter Baines on crisis, leadership without authority and why the future of charity is profit
Mar 26, 2016 00:29:16
Peter Baines is an extraordinary individual. A former forensic investigator, he led international identification teams into Indonesia and Thailand following acts of terrorism and the South East Asian Tsunami. It was his experience of meeting youth left orphaned by that horrific natural disaster in Thailand that compelled Peter to create an Australian charity called Hands Across the Water which has gone on to dramatically improve the lives of both those children and their communities. Against the backdrop of the current acts of terrorism in Europe and the Middle East, Peter and I spoke about the challenges of leadership in times of crisis, the power of community engagement, and why corporate social responsibility should be a profit centre in the 21st century enterprise.
Henry Mason on spotting trends, why experiences are viral and the algorithms that run Swedish rail
Mar 19, 2016 00:31:29
Henry Mason spends his days trying to figure out what consumers might want next. Author of the book ‘Trend-Driven Innovation’ and head of the research firm, Trendwatching, he and his team scour the world for new ideas, business model innovation and the impact of disruptive technologies. Over a cup of tea in London, we spoke about the viral impact of great experience design, how to look outside your frame of reference, why the most powerful trends cross demographics, and the human needs that will shape the future of virtual reality, AI and machine learning.
Geoff Colvin on culture, leadership and how to prepare for the robot uprising
Mar 12, 2016 00:30:58
Geoff Colvin is the author of the bestselling book, ‘Humans Are Underrated’, which outlines the capabilities that will keep human beings from being made utterly obsolete by tomorrow’s robots, algorithms and machine intelligences. A longtime editor and columnist for Fortune, Geoff is also the author of ‘The Upside of the Downturn’, ‘Angel Customers & Demon Customers’, and ‘Talent is Overrated’. We spoke about the rising influence of AI, the skills leaders will need to survive them, and the challenges of integrating across traditional company silos to deliver on the kinds of innovative experiences that customers now demand.
Matt McFadyen on mental resilience, high performance teams and surviving polar bears
Mar 5, 2016 00:34:16
Matt McFadyen was youngest Australian to ever reach the North Pole. Since then, he has become a seasoned sailor and polar adventurer - leading a number of record-breaking expeditions both on some of the most extreme environments on the planet, as well as through virtual simulation with other business leaders. Thankfully it was in the relative safety of the Soho Grand Hotel over coffee and breakfast, that we caught up to talk about surviving crisis, how to build high performing teams, and understanding the true meaning of failure.
Rama Allen on room-scale VR, immersive world building and biometric art
Feb 29, 2016 00:28:15
Rama Allen is one of the handful of people on the planet who are not only thinking about virtual reality, but are actually creating and designing content for those platforms today. He is an executive creative director at The Mill, where he also leads the Mill LAB, an arm of the Mill focusing on the intersection of art and technology, prototyping the future of film through experimental projects and the invention of creative technologies. We hung out in New York, where we talked about the current state of the art in VR, the challenges of telling stories in multiple dimensions and what a truly cyberpunk, immersive Internet might look like.
Melanie Perkins on disrupting design, jigsaw puzzles and the magic of small empowered teams
Feb 19, 2016 00:28:50
Melanie Perkins is one of Australia’s most successful digital entrepreneurs. CEO and co-founder of Canva, an online platform which makes graphic design simple for anyone, Melanie and her team have grown the business to over 9 million users worldwide. I visited their offices in Surry Hills, Sydney where we talked about the power of authentic origin stories, disrupting the design industry, the challenges of building an agile culture, and the value of small teams.
Dan Gregory on reptilian brains, behavioural design and cognitive agility
Feb 12, 2016 00:28:24
Dan Gregory, a behavioural researcher & strategist, is the author of ‘Selfish, Scared and Stupid: Stop Fighting Human Nature And Increase Your Performance, Engagement And Influence’. He studies behaviour and belief systems, in other words, the things that make us buy and the things that make us buy in. In this fast paced discussion on human behaviour, we spoke about the power of identity, why design is more powerful than motivation or discipline, preventing ‘failure’ in brand or product interaction, and the importance of cultivating cognitive agility.
Emile Sherman on emotional truth, managing creative talent and the future of film
Feb 5, 2016 00:31:23
Emile Sherman, the Academy Award-winning producer of ‘The King’s Speech’, is one of the world’s most prolific independent film makers. His other credits include ‘Top Of The Lake’, ‘Tracks’, ‘Shame’, ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ and ‘Macbeth’. I caught up with Emile in his production office in Sydney, where we talked about the power of storytelling, why some ideas resonate with us at a human level, the impact of technology on the TV and film industry, and what business leaders might be able to learn from successful film directors on getting the most out of a team when under creative pressure.
Martin Lindstrom on small data, brands and why leaders should sleep with their customers
Jan 28, 2016 00:30:38
Martin Lindstrom is one of the world’s foremost experts on building brands. Author of six best-selling books, and acclaimed by Time Magazine as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People”, Martin’s expertise is in the areas of consumer psychology, marketing, brands, and neuro-scientific research. I first met Martin many years ago, at the beginnings of the digital revolution in Australia - so it seemed appropriate that we re-connected once again at a cafe in Bondi Beach. We spoke about his new book, Small Data, and why it is better to gain insight through small observations of how people behave, rather than a blind devotion to big data. Make sure you listen through to the end of the podcast, when Martin outlines the 3 key actions that traditional brands need to take in order to re-invent themselves for the future.
Paul Husband on luxury retail, Chinese consumers and embryonic markets
Jan 22, 2016 00:29:52
Paul Husband is one of the world’s leading experts on luxury and retail in Asia. Co-author of the book, ‘The Cult of The Luxury Brand’, Paul helps brands understand the scale and dynamics of the Asian luxury goods market. If you have ever been to a luxury mall in either Hong Kong or Shanghai, chances are, you are in a building of retail experiences that Paul helped curate and bring to life. Catching up in his offices in central Hong Kong, we talked about the future of luxury, experiential retail and emerging technologies, super-malls in Dubai, the challenges of communicating global brands to Asian consumers, and the growth potential of new markets from Dubai to Sri Lanka.
Rodolfo Saccoman on sensors, people tracking and the internet of things
Jan 15, 2016 00:28:46
Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things, but just what does it take to merge the physical and digital world? Brazilian entrepreneur Rodolfo Saccoman has been working on designing hardware and platforms for the coming explosion of connected devices. Put one of his AdBeacon units in a retail store or next to a billboard, and you can track people’s reactions, their emotions and demographics. His new product, the MATRIX, is like a Swiss Army knife of sensors and hopes to do for the IoT what the smartphone achieved for mobile. It just won an innovation award at CES 2016. Catching up in Miami at the offices of his company AdMobilize, we spoke about the future potential of a world in which every object is not only connected, but can see, comprehend and engage intelligently with our gestures and intentions.
Niki Scevak on going global, idea mazes, and designing cities for self driving cars
Jan 7, 2016 00:31:27
Niki Scevak is one of the smartest people I know. He and I worked together at Jupiter Research, over a decade ago. Now he runs Blackbird Ventures, Australia’s largest VC fund with nearly a quarter of a billion dollars under management. When I visited him at his offices in Sydney, we talked about how enterprise software companies have shifted from steak dinner selling to letting their products pitch themselves. It is not that people aren’t important, but as Niki pointed out, the expensive people have been shifted from the start of the process, to the end of it, once users have created a groundswell. In this episode you will also hear us debate the power of founder passion, whether or not big companies can really emulate startups and the unit economics of driverless cars.
German Montoya on Miami startups, kidnap insurance and emerging market innovation
Dec 6, 2015 00:31:00
This weekend marks the start of the Miami high season, with Art Basel and the attendant influx of well-heeled collectors, bored oligarchs, and international jetset in search of fun, sun and an excuse for a good party. But that’s not the only reason why the world is watching Miami. The city is becoming an emerging hub for high tech companies, especially those with a focus on the Hispanic market. German Montoya, a former McKinsey consultant, and Nabyl Charania, a mathematician who founded software developer Decipher Labs, are at the heart of Florida’s new tech renaissance. Their new venture, Rokk3r Labs, is a collective of engineers, creatives, and strategists who are trying to accelerate the process of launching new companies. Catching up in their offices in South Beach, I spoke with German about emerging market innovation, local solutions with global potential, the challenge of scaling global venture investment, the future of geofencing, and why truly great ideas can come from everywhere, not just Palo Alto.
Adam Fraser on struggle, mastery and the workers of the future
Nov 29, 2015 00:29:42
What is it that makes us happy, motivated, and full of purpose? Dr Adam Fraser has been studying, writing and speaking about human performance for the last 18 years. We caught up in Sydney to chat about his latest research on what he calls, ‘Human 2.0’, the characteristics of people that thrive in complex environments, and those that fail. Many leaders today demand that their people be more innovative, but are at a loss to describe the exact behaviours that define innovation. For Adam, the key is our approach to struggle. What makes people happy, and ultimately more innovative are not more intangible nouns, but rather providing challenges for your teams to overcome, and opportunities to be creative.
Matthew Waldman on telling time, wearables and the power of universal language
Nov 22, 2015 00:29:44
Matthew Waldman is a New York based designer, best known for his iconic watch brand, Nooka. Like many of Matthew’s creative projects, Nooka timepieces defy traditional interfaces, whether they be ’telling time’ or other, everyday interactions that we rarely question or challenge. In his studio, situated amid the madness of Manhattan midtown, we chatted about how good design creates pathways of behavior, the necessity of universal language, Hello Kitty and trans-cultural communication, implantables and the bio-programmable future of wearables, and why the ultimate function of a well designed device should be to increase the number of interactions with other people.
Erik Qualman on reputation, digital leadership and why what happens in Vegas stays on YouTube
Nov 14, 2015 00:28:36
Chance are, if you have attended a business event anytime in the last ten years, you will have watched someone play the ‘Did You Know?’ video full of astonishing facts about the digital world. The man behind that video, the most viewed social media clip of all time, and a number of bestselling books such as ‘Socialnomics’ and ‘What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube’ is Erik Qualman. And it was in Vegas, strangely enough, that Erik and I caught up to chat about managing reputation in a fully transparent world, the importance of investing in human relationships, the future of automated sharing, and mobile voting, whether a Yelp for human beings is a good idea, and the five habits of great digital leaders.
Tim Sanders on dealstorming, emotional talent and the sales driven company of the future
Nov 7, 2015 00:28:37
For bestselling author Tim Sanders, the biggest problem with the game of sales today is that it has become less like playing Pong, and more like a round of Halo. Selling in the 21st century is incredibly challenging. Sales professionals face multiple decision makers, layers of product complexity, and cloud based competitors. For Tim, the key to being a true sales driven organisation, is to build on the innovation that deal-focused teamwork can unlock. In his words, a quality sale is a thousand problems solved. Catching up in Las Vegas, we discussed why creative brainstorming doesn’t work, the essential habit of conscious collaboration, and why leaders need to think like designers when it comes to creating emotional experiences for customers, partners and employees.
Harper Reed on Norwegian death metal, the art of tending robots and re-inventing mobile commerce
Nov 2, 2015 00:35:09
Harper Reed is one of the world’s foremost thinkers on data and digital innovation. He served as the CTO of Obama’s re-election campaign and was also one of the founders of Threadless.com. His latest company, Modest, inc, was recently acquired by Paypal, where he is now working to figure out the future of commerce. Over dinner at Soho House in Chicago, we talked about digital bias and the stubborn persistence of paper, why technology is best used as a force multiplier of people power, the quantification of marketing and how smarter tools replace the need for experts, reactionary interfaces and why retailers are afraid of their customers, why iTunes credit is more meaningful to kids than cash, the power of ‘undo’ in e-commerce, and the link between local infrastructure and global innovation.
Marco Tempest on magic, engineered interactivity and the future of storytelling
Oct 24, 2015 00:29:26
Technology and science may seem the natural enemies of magic, but for Marco Tempest, who describes himself as a cyber-illusionist, they are his daily tools of trade. Magicians have a long history of deploying advanced technology to be ahead of the reality curve in order to fool their audiences. For Marco, that means experimenting with motion tracking, drones, augmented and virtual reality, projection mapping, gaze tracking, robotics and AI. When I visited him in his New York workshop, we spoke about the art of telling stories about the near future, open source collaboration, sandboxing emerging technologies, engineering interactivity and how the world’s magicians have kept a secret private archive of their tricks and what that might mean for crafting the future of experiences.
Hikari Yokoyama on art and brands in the age of Instagram
Oct 16, 2015 00:28:54
Art and fashion maven Hikari Yokoyama, is one of the world’s leading thinkers on the intersection of the art world and technology. A curator and art consultant, she was part of the founding team at online auction house Paddle8, the news platform Art Observed, and in her advisory business, connects artists with brands like Audi and Miu Miu. Over coffee in London, we spoke about the impact of globalisation on collecting, the evolving relationship between art and luxury brands, the death of art movements and how, in a digital age, the way we consume images is changing.
Luke Williams on disruptive leaders, personality cults and unconventional ideas
Oct 11, 2015 00:30:47
Luke Williams is the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship and the founder of the W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab at NYU Stern. He is also a fellow Australian. We met some years ago when we were both speaking at a digital conference in Norway where he was talking about his book, Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business. Having previous worked at frog design, Luke is also a profilic inventor, with over 30 US patents and more than 100 products to his name. Catching up over coffee in the lobby of the new Edition Hotel in NYC, we chatted about the challenges of leading disruptive innovation, the dangers of aspiring innovators trying to mimic the personality traits of Steve Jobs, and why every company should be building a portfolio of unconventional ideas.
Sean Bonner on citizen science, geiger counters, and the secret mailing lists of the tech elite
Oct 4, 2015 00:32:00
Sean Bonner is someone that defies easy classification. His Twitter account describes him as a ‘misanthropologist’, while his LinkedIn profile simply states that he ‘ likes working on things that empower people to take care of themselves.’ As the co-founder and global director of Safecast (an open global sensor network currently monitoring radiation levels in Japan), that is probably an understatement. We caught up at Intelligentsia Coffee, which in case you don’t frequent Silverlake or are not a certified LA hipster, turns out to be ground zero for both. With Sean’s geiger counter flashing insouciantly on the table between us, we chatted about citizen science, crowdsourcing invention, neo-minimalism, hacker spaces and the emergence of a maker ecosystem in LA. Then he told me about these secret tech insider mailing lists that if you don’t know about, you are unlikely to ever be invited to join.
Christian Hernandez on AI startups, disrupting health with data, and 3D printing your lost keys
Sep 29, 2015 00:30:34
I met up with Christian Hernandez at his offices located at Second Home, the eclectic co-working space that has become ground zero for all things creative and entrepreneurial in London. Christian is the managing partner, and co-founder of White Star Capital, one of Europe’s leading venture capitalists. He previously held senior roles at Facebook, Google and Microsoft and started his career in technology at MicroStrategy, a start-up he joined prior to its 1999 IPO. We spoke about the explosive growth of the London startup scene, the cultural and commercial challenges of launching Facebook in Europe, the evolution of data as an asset, backing machine intelligence startups, and new potential applications of computer vision and big data from printing lost keys to disrupting the health market.
Maria Konnikova on con artists, counting steps, and thinking like Sherlock Holmes
Sep 19, 2015 00:32:29
Maria Konnikova is the New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, a brilliant book that draws on the adventures of the fictional detective to illustrate the power of observation and critical thinking. Her latest book, The Confidence Game, explores the flipside of detection, and why humans are so hardwired to believe in con artists and those that would exploit our trust. Over breakfast in New York, we spoke about the differences between the way Holmes and Watson see the world, the art of building a memory attic, and how con artists are so adept at manipulating people’s belief systems. Of course, none of these things might strike you as shocking if you had chanced upon her first ever book, written in Russian. It was five pages long and, she assures me, had something to do with trolls.
Jack Myers on media, emotion-tech and the future of men
Sep 13, 2015 00:32:40
I’ve hung out with Jack Myers in a bunch of strange places, from Mexico City to Oslo, and even on the outskirts of Las Vegas. He is one of the most original thinkers in the media space, and for many years, has provided the data and insights that US brands, agencies and content providers based their planning on. Jack is the author of four books including Reconnecting with Customers: Building Brands and Profits in The Relationship Age and Hooked Up Generation. He has been nominated for both an Academy Award and an Emmy Award for the documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream." Catching up in New York, we spoke about the changing media patterns, the potential of emotion sensing technology, and his next book, The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century.
Gideon Stein on data, adaptive learning and the future of education
Sep 5, 2015 00:27:26
When I was growing up, my parents despaired about my refusal to open a book. They sought out doctors and teachers, convinced I had some kind of learning disability. Finally, someone worked out that the problem was not reading, but rather what they were giving me to read: I was bored with the picture books. Taking a personalized approach to teaching kids to read has long been a challenge for traditional educators, but is now within reach with new technologies like LightSail Education, an award winning literacy platform for K-12. I spoke with its founder and CEO, Gideon Stein, about how data and adaptive learning is changing the classroom, and why literacy, even in this digital age, remains a foundational skill.
Ari Popper on science fiction prototyping, storytelling and how to 3D print a candybar
Aug 31, 2015 00:28:59
What if the best way to come up with a brilliant plan for the future of your company was to hire a sci-fi writer? Ari Popper does just that. He connects companies with storytellers to create visions and prototypes of what the future of their products and customers might look like. Ari previously ran the market research company, Brainjuicer USA, but it was a science fiction writing course at UCLA that made him realise the power of creating compelling stories for companies. I was introduced to Ari after a speech I gave at Visa’s incredible new San Francisco headquarters. In the spirit of a Silicon Valley startup, Visa had commissioned Ari’s team to create an interactive, high impact data wall that provided a real time view into the company’s universe. When I visited him at their lab in Burbank, we chatted about the power bringing ideas from fiction to life as prototypes, comic books, and immersive installations.
Tim Kring on Heroes Reborn, YouTube celebrities, and starting a conspiracy to save the world
Aug 23, 2015 00:30:15
‘Walk with me’, said Tim Kring, gesturing for me to follow him into the edit suite, where he and his team were busy putting the final touches on his new show, Heroes Reborn. If you were one of the 76 million people watched the original Heroes series during its three-and-a-half-year run, you would already know exactly who Tim is. Tim is one of Hollywood’s most successful writers and producers, best known for shows like Strange World, Crossing Jordan, and Touch. He is also an Emmy award winning pioneer in transmedia storytelling. When we finally sat down for a chat, we talked about the shifting behavior of TV audiences in the digital age, how the next generation think about entertainment, why interconnectedness is such a big theme in his work, and how he uses storytelling as a strategy to create social change.
Michael Keferl on Astro Boy, Bitcoin and the art of keeping a ramen notebook
Aug 16, 2015 00:31:11
Michael Keferl runs the Tokyo office of the global innovation consultancy, Mandalah. But I knew him from the early 2000s, when he was the genius behind one of my favourite, and in fact, one of the most popular blogs in the world at that time - CScout Japan. CScout was the go-to emporium for all things weird and wonderfully Japanese. When we caught up in Tokyo, Michael gave me a behind the scenes tour of the city’s latest retail, technology and subcultural trends. Later that day, sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Shibuya, we debriefed on what we saw, discussing the evolution of mobile technology and payments in Japan, interactivity and politeness, why ramen fanatics keep notebooks, Astro Boy’s influence on modern robotics, the fall of Mt Gox, and why this tiny island continues to be a source of inspiration to innovators.
Robert Richman on culture hacking, understanding Zappos and why NBA All-Star games are boring
Aug 8, 2015 00:28:44
What does it take to create a great culture? If anyone knows, it is Robert Richman. He wrote the book on it, The Culture Blueprint, and after embedding himself at Zappos, co-founded Zappos Insights, the program that helps leaders learn the secrets behind the online shoe company’s game-changing employee culture. Over breakfast at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, we talked about the system dynamics of what connects people, why great cultures are noisy, how Zappos is able to constantly re-invent itself, creating a startup mentality inside big companies, the power of re-imagining meetings, and why culture is like an operating system.
Refik Anadol on sculpting with data, earthquakes as art and the hidden algorithms of emotion
Aug 2, 2015 00:30:29
Refik Anadol sculpts with data, not stone. When he frets about permanence, he is not concerned about the effects of wind and rain on his structures, but whether his algorithms and data sources will continue to be relevant as things change around them. Refik is foremost of a new generation of 21st century artists that have begun to creatively interpret a data-driven world, using its native protocols. Originally from Istanbul but educated at UCLA, he is best known for his recent collaborations with Frank Gehry, Microsoft and the LA Philharmonic to stage an immersive orchestral performance that projection mapped the inside of the Disney Hall, based on real time musical data and the live movements of the conductor. I visited Refik in his new studio in Silverlake where we talked about computation in art, the challenge of designing algorithms that stand the test of time, the beauty of a hundred years of seismic data, and how one might make emotions visually manifest with a little help from a 48 channel EEG and a team of neuroscientists.
Brett King on breaking banks, contextual credit and why CEOs should be geeks
Jul 27, 2015 00:24:18
Brett King has made a career of terrifying bankers. He has written numerous bestselling books on financial innovation; was voted American Banker Innovator of the Year in 2012; hosts a radio show on Fintech with millions of listeners; and if that wasn’t enough, is also the founder of a startup called Moven - the world's first downloadable bank account. Despite being at serious risk of being drowned out by a melodramatic cafe soundtrack, we chatted about the art of breaking banks, re-imagining traditional financial concepts like credit by using context and wearable devices, and why banks struggle with the challenges of digital transformation.
David Epstein on genetics, Kenyan marathon runners and the art of finding fighter pilots
Jul 19, 2015 00:28:05
David Epstein is the New York Times bestselling author of The Sports Gene, an investigative journalist, and a long time contributor for Sports Illustrated where he co-authored the report that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had used steroids. He has also been a crime writer, has lived in the Sonoran desert, on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, and in the Arctic. Fortunately, it was in Soho, New York City that I was able to meet up with him where we talked about the intersection of sports and genetics, the physiology of elite athletes, why Kenyans are such great marathon runners, Belgian Blue cattle, the origins of cognitive ability, and how to find the world’s best fighter pilots or bob sled drivers.
Serkan Toto on mobile gaming, galapagos phones and the rise of LINE
Jul 12, 2015 00:28:07
Visiting Tokyo is like stepping off a subway station into a parallel universe of strange technologies, animated characters and perfectly wrapped pieces of fruit. Long before the iPhone existed, Japan led the world in smartphone technology and gaming. To this day, it remains a primordial soup of emerging consumer trends and digital innovations. One of my key contacts in Tokyo is Serkan Toto. German by birth, he has been based in Japan since 2004 and runs a game industry consultancy called Kantan Games. I’m not the only one to enjoy talking to Serkan - he has been quoted everywhere from the New York Times to Techcrunch. In our conversation we chatted about the future of mobile games, the curious persistence of flip phones in Japan, and why a Korean communications company decided to incubate the global messaging hit, LINE, in the country that infamously asked the world to say, Hello Kitty.
Sean Gourley on the mathematics of war, chess playing centaurs and augmented intelligence
Jul 5, 2015 00:30:52
I met Sean when we both in Tokyo speaking at an intimate summit for banking executives. As an information junkie myself, I was fascinated by the company he co-founded, Quid, which offered analysts and decision makers a visual platform for seeing patterns in complex data. Not surprisingly, Sean’s background is also a nexus of complexity. He is a physicist, decathlete, political advisor, and a TED fellow. Sean studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he received a PhD for his research on the mathematical patterns that underlie modern war. In our conversation we talked about the power laws behind violence and insurgency, what Kasparov learnt from his infamous chess defeat by Big Blue, the merits of creative exploration through visualization and the art of defining the 21st century concept of manliness.
Efe Cakarel on Kubrick, the economics of streaming, and why Arabs love Turkish TV shows
Jun 19, 2015 00:32:36
Despite being the founder of arthouse movie streaming platform, Efe Cakarel, is not what you might call a conventional cinephile. He studied electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, got an MBA at Stanford and then worked at Goldman Sachs - before throwing it all in to dedicate himself to the world of film. In his office, situated in the heart of London’s Soho, and surrounded by old film posters, vinyl records and computer equipment - we talked about the influential behaviours of Asian consumers, the dynamism of emerging markets, the economics of online streaming and the paradox of infinite choice.
Aaron Dignan on wicked problems, clever ants and re-inventing organizations
Jun 19, 2015 00:28:01
I caught up with Aaron Dignan for breakfast at the Soho Grand Hotel in New York. Aaron is the CEO of digital transformation firm, The Ready. Aaron is, however, no ordinary consultant. The first line of his bio explains that he “dressed up like a super hero for 180 straight days of the first grade, which marked the beginning of his life as an iconoclast, observer, theorist, and performer”. Over coffee and French Toast, we chatted about complexity theory, the many strange but important lessons of ants and bees, the dangers of innovation departments, Artificial Intelligence and the enduring power of networks.
Tariq Krim on French innovation and the Slow Tech Movement
Jun 19, 2015 00:27:50
Tariq Krim describes himself as a dreamer and a doer. He is founder and CEO of Jolicloud, a pioneer in personal cloud computing. Prior to Jolicloud, Tariq founded Netvibes, the personal startpage used by millions around the world. Sitting in a beautiful courtyard in Paris, enjoying the late afternoon sun - we had a far reaching conversation ranging from the rise and fall of French innovation, the slow-tech movement, culture, luxury, and the future of consumer product design.