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< WORDS FROM THE CEO Natalia Brzezinski recaps Brilliant Minds 2016
Quincy Jones talks with his son Quincy Jones III THE SAGA OF A LEGENDARY ARTIST >
Fashion designer Johan Lindeberg has stepped behind the camera < THE FEMINIST PHOTOGRAPHER
Wikipedia-founder Jimmy Wales on the power of the people A CHAMPION OF FREE KNOWLEDGE >
< ICONA POP ARE RULERS OF THEIR OWN DESTINY Pop duo Caroline Hjelt and Aina Jawo know what they want
WHERE ADVANCED TECH MEETS EMPATHY > Entrepreneur Scott Harrison uses virtual reality to do humanitarian work
< REFLECTIONS FROM THE FOUNDERS Daniel Ek and Ash Pournouri on future tech trends
WORDS FROM THE CEO It was Coachella for the mind and soul, a forum focused on intimacy and authenticity, a voyeuristic peak into the human condition, and the joy and curiosity that is awakened when humans interact, laugh and gather. It was Brilliant Minds 2016! “You’re the definition of a brilliant mind,” Quincy Jones III said in a touching on-stage dialogue with his father, Quincy Jones, at the finale of the event on June 10th. This year we welcomed a truly global audience, from Uber to Harper’s Bazaar, YouTube to Sony Music, AOL to Alphabet, Harvard University to Basel Art Fair phenomena, Maker’s Studio to Charity: Water. Leaders across tech, art, music, politics and fashion flooded Stockholm, the world’s creative capital and helped form what former Swedish Prime Minister and prolific foreign policy social media personality dubbed “the new installation to the magical Swedish summer.”
We fed our imaginations with the broadest panoply of perspectives challenging our own identities and biases along the way. Amidst the fresh underground sounds of Icona Pop, LIV, Miriam Bryant and breaking new music acts like The Royal Concept, Alias and Albin Lee Meldau, who are shaking the streaming scene. Baroness Joanna Shields, the UK Minister for Internet Safety, warned of Brexit and called for cross-cultural unity online and offline just days before the vote came in. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales deplored nations on censorship and defended the integrity of “cyber truth”. Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda crushed the music industry as we know it, encouraging artists to run their music like a startup. And French e-commerce star Chloe Macintosh announced a new sex tech startup and debated the role of technology on our intimate lives.
In a surprise statement Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt denounced the domination of artificial intelligence on a panel with Skype founder, Niklas Zennström: “The scenario you're describing is the one where computers get so smart that, at some point in their evolving intelligence due to some bug, they want to destroy us. My question is: don't you think the humans would notice this, and start turning off the computers?” Tech conferences were created to cajole creators away from the love affair with their screens and algorithms, and reinforce the architecture of creativity, born out of challenge from others different from ourselves, from the art of conversation and a free-flowing, open environment. Our quest was to find the world’s most creative minds with the grittiest most creative backgrounds. Entrepreneurs who are really excited about solving hard problems, and collecting them in an orgy of thought. Maximum inspiration stems from maximum
diversity, and inclusion is a laser focus for us. As the CEO of Symposium I try to practice “gender mainstreaming”, a Swedish concept that ensures gender is always top of mind in every decision. That’s why I’m proud to say that this year we had nearly 40 percent representation of women on stage as speakers, and our Symposium top team is 50 percent female. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than most and a priority from our founders, Ash Pournouri and Daniel Ek. It’s at the heart of our team. Now Brilliant Minds is firmly established as the new disruptor and misfit in the traditional conference scene. Makers and builders who want to cut a path through the mainstream and create something that’s uncompromised and inspiring, not corporate or manipulated by agendas. Next year we will prove even more that we’re the hub of creativity. All that is cutting-edge is Stockholm with Brilliant Minds as its true home.
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Adam Cahan Adam Fell Adam Jackson Adriana Cisneros Adrian Fenty Alex Asseily Alex Zubillaga Alexander Tamas Alexandre Mars Allen Grubman
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Andre Anjos Andrea Scotti Andreas Carlsson Andrej Henkler Aino Jawo Antonia Ax:son Johnson Anita Elberse Anna Felländer Anna Ryott Annie Wegelius Antonio Garcias Ash Pournouri Assia Grazoli-Venier Atte Hujanen Bohdana Tamas Beth Swofford Brian Celler Brian Message Brooke Hammerling Bryan Baum Camilla Herman Caroline Berg Caroline Hjelt Chandra Jessee Charles Henri Prevost Charlotte Erkhammar Che Pope Chloe Macintosh Claes Ekström Court Coursey Craig Kallman Damian Mould Dan O´keefe Daniel Birnbaum Danica Kraqic Jensfelt Daniel Ek
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Darin Friedman Dario Muriel David Schneider Dennis Kooker Desiree Gruber Diego Berdakin Doug Aitken Edgar Berger Emily Brooke Eric Zho
Eric Schmidt Eric Wahlforss Eugenia Kyuda Eva Röse Frank Briegmann Fred Davis Fredric Court Glenn Fuentes Gunilla Banér Hans Vestberg Holly Nielsen Hope Taitz Hosain Rahman Hugh Wringley Hugo Barra Ian Osborne Ilkka Kivimäki Jacob De Geer Jacob Felländer Jake Udell James Fabricant Jean Poh Jared Morgenstern Jimmy Furland Jimmy Maymann Jimmy Wales Joanna Shields Joe Belliotti Johan Dennelind Johan Lindeberg John Hering John Lindforss Jon Oringer Jonathan Prince Jordan Wolfson JR
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Julia Hartz Julia Heiser Julie Greenwald Kaj Hed Kara Swisher Karl Karlsson Kate Unsworth Khaled Helioui Lara Krug Laura Brown
Lawrence Vavra Len Blavatnik Lisa Lindström Luigi Berlusconi Lyor Cohen Marcel Reichart Marco Valta Marcus Wallenberg Marianne Vikkula Mark Boutros Martin Lorentzon Matt Bellamy Matt Mullenweg Max Lousada Maya Moufarek Mia Brunell Livfors Michael Birch Michael Evans Michael Kives Michael Nash Mikael Damberg Mike Butcher Mike Caren Mike McGinley Mike Shinoda Mitch Kanner Narry Singh Natalia Brzezinski Navin Thukkaram Niklas Zennström Noomi Rapace Nullah Sarker Om Malik Owen De Vries Patrick Cosgrave Patrick Moxey
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Peder Bonnier Peje Emilsson Per Sundin Peter Read Peter Wallenberg Jr Philipp Freise Phoenix Stone Pia Henrietta Kekäläinen Quincy Jones Quincy Jones III Rachel Springate Ralph Simon Renate Nyborg René Rechtman Rob Light Robert Gentz Robert Kyncl Robin Wauters Ronan Farrow Ruzwana Bashir Ryan Graves Ryan Smith Scott Harrison Scott Stanford Sean Parker Sebastian Knutsson Sebastian Siemiatkowski Seth Berman Shakil Khan Sheldon Himelfarb Sherryn Pishever Sonali De Rycker Sophie Schmidt Staffan Ahrenberg Stefan Blom Steve Martocci Stina Honkama Bergfors Sujay Jaswa Suzy Ryoo Tim Van Rongen Troy Carter Ty Roberts Vikram Gandhi Wilhelm Taht William Turner Zaryn Dentzel
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“MUSIC IS LIKE EMOTIONAL ARCHITECTURE” By Linda Iliste
QUINCY JONES IN A HEART-FELT CONVERSATION WITH HIS SON QUINCY JONES III, THE LEGENDARY ARTIST QUINCY JONES SPOKE ABOUT HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH SWEDEN, EARLY TECHNOLOGY AND WHY HISTORY ALWAYS NEEDS TO INFORM THE FUTURE.
Quincy Jones was born in Chicago in 1933. He came to prominence in the 1950s as a jazz arranger and conductor, before moving on to work prolifically in pop and film scores. Today he’s one of the most influential people to ever work within the music industry. His career spans six decades and 7 Academy Award nominations, a record 79 Grammy Award nominations and 28 wins including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. He was bestowed the Polar Music Prize in 1994. Quincy Jones III is the son of Quincy Jones and his Swedish ex-wife Ulla Andersson. He’s a musician, hip-hop DJ, documentary filmmaker and founder of WeMash and QD3 Entertainment. Since 2016 he’s one of the judges on Swedish Idol.
The scale of Quincy Jones’s legacy is gigantic. Most people remember him as Michael Jackson’s brilliant partner on Jackson’s record-breaking album “Thriller” from 1982. But ever since the 1950s Quincy Jones’s work as a composer and producer has spanned a multitude of genres – from swing to hiphop –, a legion of collaborators – from Frank Sinatra to Oprah Winfrey –, and a throng of nominations – from the Grammys to the Academy Awards. He has founded magazines, record labels and charities, and fashioned several number 1 hits on both music and television charts. Quincy Jones’s liaison with Sweden spans as many decades as his career. He first set foot in Scandinavia in 1953 while touring as a trumpeter with jazz musician Lionel Hampton. The love affair with Sweden was instant and later on Jones also fell in love with a Swedish woman, Ulla, with whom he has two children, daughter Martina and son Quincy Jones III. Just like his father, QJ III is a successful entertainer and entrepreneur. During Brilliant Minds father and son took to the stage to talk about Quincy Jones’s legendary artist saga.
QJIII: The mere fact that my mother is Swedish tells us a little bit about how smart you are… What do you remember about first coming to Sweden? QJ: I’ll never forget it, I was 18 years old. The head of the parks had scheduled us for every folk park in Sweden and we were touring for 10 months in a van with 33 people. It was incredible. Singer Lill-Babs taught me some Swedish. I wanted to be able to ask the audience if their feet were cold, “fryser ni om fötterna?”. I thought great, I can do that, but when I got on stage I had forgotten “fötterna”, feet… People just laughed at me. We had a great time.
QJIII: You met some incredible Swedish musicians. QJ: I was lucky. The first time I came to Sweden I met singer Evert Taube and his son SvenBertil Taube. They introduced me to great folk songs, like "Ack Värmland du fria". It was the best folk music I had heard in my life! The experience was unforgettable and shaped me in many ways. QJIII: You’ve been very prolific in entertainment and have reached the top mark in each category and in many ways set the mold for the multiplatform entertainment landscape. What do you think prepared you for this?
QJ: I grew up in the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s. Back then we [African-Americans] lived like street rats in this place that just bred gangsters. My grandmother was an ex-slave and one of the biggest black activists in South Carolina in 1895. She sent my aunts and my father to Rutgers University in Jersey, a wise decision. My father became a master carpenter and every day during our childhood he told us “once a task has begun, never leave it til it’s done, be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.” QJIII: You have an incredible work ethic. I’ve never seen anything like it. In no point in my life have I been able to hang out with you 24/7 and keep up! QJ: I think it probably comes from not having a mother. I mean, I’ve still got scars from when I was seven years old and went down the wrong street… Chicago was very tribal and fierce.
QJIII: How were you able to master so many verticals? QJ: Inquisitiveness. I want to know how everything works, I always have. For me it’s about always having humility with your creativity and grace with your success. It’s easy to get carried away; you get one hit record and go crazy. To me, that’s not the way to roll. It’s one thing to get a number one, but staying number one is something else. It’s about giving back. I’ve tried to teach you kids that too. My favorite phrase for life is "love, laugh, live and give" – and don’t expect anything in return for giving. QJIII: When I was growing up you always talked about learning the science behind something before you get creative. What’s that balance about? QJ: You have to learn the science of what you’re doing, no matter what it is. Because you can’t break the rules until you learn the rules – and once you’ve learned the craft core of your skill, then you can really break the rules.
QJIII: When I was growing up you took Michael Jackson and me to Silicon Valley. We went to the Apollo Alto Research Centre where Alan Kay was working. This was before computers were even mainstream… QJ: Alan Kay, the guy who created Mac One and Mac Two, overlapping windows on computer screens, computer icons… All that stuff was Alan Kay. All he spoke about was computers, computers, computers. I really thought he was smoking Kool-Aid. But then that thing came out to the public and within 11 months everyone on the planet had a computer… QJIII: So you’ve literally been involved in music technology from the beginning. QJ: Back in the 1970s, Robert Moog [the inventor of Moog synthesizers], came to me and asked why the brothers weren’t playing his instrument. I said, “Bob, it’s because it creates a sonic sound that doesn’t bend. And if it doesn’t bend, a brother ain’t gonna play it. He can’t get funky if it doesn’t bend.” So Moog came up with a portmanteau and a pitch bender – and eventually Stevie Wonder won four consecutive Grammys using that instrument.
“To me, you’re the definition of a brilliant mind” Quincy Jones III
QJIII: I work as a musician and we still debate whether sampling is real music or not… But the first time I ever saw a sampler, it was the Emulator 1 when you were working on “Thriller”. So you were at the forefront of that too. QJ: You remember that? You’re a smart cookie, boy! Even if you weren’t my son I’d want to be your best friend. QJIII: Growing up you always instilled in us to have a bigger purpose behind what we do, an underlying mission that can help other people. In everything I’ve done, I’ve picked people like Tupac or Ice Cube; musicians who are trying to change their communities and build a bridge that can help other people. Why is this important to you? QJ: It was so racist when I grew up and started working. The first time I worked with Frank Sinatra people like Sammy Davis and Lena Horne were part of it. They would be on stage and work a room of thousands of people as stars – but they had to eat their dinner in the kitchen, they weren’t allowed in the casinos, and they had to sleep in all-black
hotels across town. Frank said “we ain’t gonna have that” and then he put a bodyguard with each one of us.
QJIII: So having done pretty much everything there is to do in entertainment, what excites you these days?
QJIII: You learned it through your own history.
QJ: Everything, man! I’m a history junkie. For instance, I try to explain Sweden to my friends and my team, and they don’t get it until they travel there. “Where did this city come from, where did this country come from?” – it’s been here all the time, longer than ours! Sweden’s astonishing and they can’t believe it the first time. I love to live it through them.
QJ: Our history is fascinating. You know what our biggest problem is? We [America] don’t have a minister of culture. It’s pitiful. I talk to all my rapper friends – Ludacris, Drake, Dr Dre… – and they don’t know where their own musical roots come from. They think break dance came from the Bronx. That’s wrong, it came from Brazil with Angolan influences. It’s important knowing that stuff, to know where something started and how it came together. My friend, the architect Frank Gehry always tells me “if architecture is frozen music, then music must be liquid architecture!”. Music really is like emotional architecture.
QJIII: To me, you’re the definition of a brilliant mind.
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MAKING S T ORIES TRAVEL Known as the “French Banksy”, artist JR told the attendees of Brilliant Minds about his mission to give a worldwide voice to those without one.
By Linda Iliste
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make sense – in their villages, in cities nearby, or on the other side of the world,” he explains. JR describes how he was given the women’s trust in exchange for a simple promise: to make their stories travel. Thus, the final part for Women Are Heroes was made in 2014 with the dockers of the French Port of Le Havre. Using photos of a Kenyan woman’s eyes, JR and his team completed the largest pasting to date on shipping containers that were then stacked on a barge traveling the world to Malaysia. In doing so, JR literally took the women’s stories around the globe in the shape of a massive artwork. He says the containers acted as his pixels and that it was impossible for him to know how people would see the artwork along the way.
The French artist JR claims to own the biggest art gallery in the world. Namely, all of its streets. He creates huge, thought-provoking murals along them which appear as if from nowhere, mixing art and photography with activism. His mission is clear – he wants to make us see those who have become invisible. It’s a subject close to his heart: he himself used to be one of them. He grew up in a deprived Parisian suburb and was labeled a criminal for spray-painting walls and pasting photographs illegally in the streets.
In fairness, not much has changed. JR’s projects have just gotten a lot bigger at the same time as the idea of what is considered art has changed. Throughout the years, his political statements have become central to his work. He’s stressed the plight of immigrants and refugees, shone a light on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and highlighted how old residents are evicted when neighborhoods they live in get demolished to pave way for luxury development. He forces the viewer to take notice of the uncomfortable, having to ask ourselves who matters in this world, and why. One of JR’s most highly acclaimed projects is the series Women Are Heroes that began in 2007. It came to the world’s full attention the year
after, when giant photos of eyes of local women were plastered on households covering the mountainside of Rio de Janeiro favela Morro da Providência. Through those eyes, the settlement was given a voice. The series has later appeared in similar forms in many countries, from Sierra Leone to Cambodia. Inspiration came after JR traveled in conflict zones. “Women play an essential part in society but I realized that they are often the primary victims of war, crime, rape and political or religious fanaticism. My intention with Women Are Heroes was to underline women’s pivotal role and highlight their dignity by photographing them in their daily lives and pasting their photographs in places that would
Remarkably, life imitated art when the ship ended up rescuing immigrants from Libya, helplessly drifting in a boat in the Mediterranean off Greece. In this way, JR’s work underlines our humanity and sometimes the lack thereof. It all seems to subsequently come full circle in its very own happenstance way, and he smiles while disclosing, “as an artist, you never know where you are going. We create stories for others to connect around.” Name JR. The two initials are sometimes said to be short for Jean René, but the artist’s real name has never been officially confirmed. Born 1983 in Paris Known for Street art and photography, often in monumental size with a political message of giving a voice to poor and marginalized people.
CREATIVE SWEDES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD Thanks to immense talent, technological prowess and the tendency to fully embrace both, Sweden is considered an unparalleled creative hub. From the inventor of the threepoint seatbelt to one of the worldâ€™s top auteurs, these are some of the Swedes that have forever made a mark and often completely changed the world with their creativity.
By Viggo Cavling & Hugo Rehnberg Illustrations : Moa Dunfalk, www.jdesign.se
RUNE ELMQVIST (1906 –1996) MEDICAL DOCTOR, INVENTOR In 1958, Rune Elmqvist developed a battery-run artificial pacemaker, which was used for the very first pacemaker operation done by senior physician and cardiac surgeon Åke Senning at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. The pacemaker placed under the patient’s heart and the electrical pulses it generates ensure that the muscles expand and contract normally, regulating the heart.
INGMAR BERGMAN (1918 – 2007) THEATRE & FILM DIRECTOR Ingmar Bergman is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential auteurs of all time. He made some 50 films and was also a very productive theatre director with over 170 productions for stage, television and radio. Bergman grew up the son of a priest and throughout his nearly 70-year career his work often dealt with God, faith, death, illness, betrayal, bleakness and insanity. Bergman’s final and most successful movie, Fanny and Alexander in which a malicious priest plays a key role, won four Oscars in 1984.
NILS BOHLIN (1920 – 2002) INVENTOR
B J Ö R N
BORG (1956 – ) TENNIS PLAYER
One of history’s greatest tennis players earned the nickname “Ice Man” because of his unflinching calm on the court. Björn Borg’s admirers no less than his critics described him as a man with cold blood running through his veins. At the tender age of 25, Borg had won Wimbledon five consecutive times. The concluding final against rival John McEnroe in 1980 is still considered the greatest tennis game of all time. Borg also won The French Open six times, but stopped playing when he was 26 after concluding that he’d lost the spirit. All things considered, he seems to have found it elsewhere instead as the owner of the successful Björn Borg fashion label.
Now a standard requirement in every passenger vehicle, the three-point seatbelt saves around one life in every six minutes. It was developed by inventor and safety engineer Nils Bohlin in 1959 for Volvo. Its Y-shaped design make sure energy is spread out across a moving body during an accident. Ever since the 1970s, Bohlin was praised and awarded for his work, inducted into the Hall of Fame for Safety and Health, the Automotive Hall of Fame as well as posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
KARIN MAMMA ANDERSSON (1962 –) ARTIST Luleå born Karin Mamma Andersson is one of Sweden’s greatest living artists. The roots for her delicate figurative images can be found in both popular culture and historical traditions. Her inspiration stems from personal experiences carefully weaved together to come into existence throughout the working process. Together with her husband, Jockum Nordström an equally acknowledged artist in his own right they are a true power couple of culture.
AMALIA ERIKSSON (1824 –1923) PASTRY CHEF
I N GVA R KAMPRAD (1926–) ENTREPRENEUR Ingvar Kamprad was born and raised in the region of Småland in southern Sweden. When Kamprad was 17 he started a mail order company under the name of Ikea – and its first flat packages were introduced 12 years later. The first Ikea department store was opened in Älmhult in Småland in 1958 and is in a lot of ways still considered the heart of the company even though the business has long been run out of the Netherlands. By now it’s far from the only Ikea store, there are more than 300 of them in 26 countries and it’s one of the largest furniture retailers in the world.
In 1859 the impoverished widow Amalia Eriksson was permitted to run her own bakery in the small town of Gränna in Småland. This is were she came up with the white and red “polkagrisstång”, a unique type of hard candy cane containing peppermint, sugar, water and a small amount of vinegar that’s been made ever since. Everyone does not love its flavor, but it is still regarded a Swedish symbol and very often bought as a Swedish souvenir. All over the world, the polkagris and variations of it are also used as Christmas decorations. To acknowledge Eriksson’s work, a statue of her was put up in Gränna in 1997.
ALEXANDER BARD (1961–) MUSICIAN, PHILOSOPHER Alexander Bard is the founder of music collectives BWO, Vacuum and Army of Lovers. The latter were never interested in following any established Swedish music traditions, quite the contrary. They used sing-back when touring (and were outspoken about it). They also put a lot of effort into outrageous costumes and image-making. Clearly a genius move as Army of Lovers had a number of hits in Europe throughout the 1990s with the song "Crucified" being number one on the Eurochart for eight consecutive weeks. These days the multidisciplinary Bard splits his time between being a philosopher, writing books and doing lectures about the digital revolution.
GRETA GARBO (1905 –1990) FILM ICON Greta Garbo, born Greta Gustafsson, was one of the biggest film stars and icons in the 1920s and 1930s. Garbo launched her career with a role in the 1924 Swedish film The Saga of Gösta Berling, a performance that caught the attention of Louis B. Mayer, chief executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who brought her to Hollywood in 1925. She immediately stirred interest with her first silent film, Torrent; a year later, her performance in Flesh and the Devil, her third movie, made her an international star. After acting in twenty-eight films, Garbo retired from the screen at the age of 35 and continued to lead a private life of simplicity and leisure, maintaining her elusive mystique to the end.
AVICII (1989 – ) MUSICIAN, DJ Sweden may have produced numerous super DJs but the brave and genre-bending Tim “Avicii” Bergling is the greatest of them all. Or as legendary Nile Rodgers put it: ”Tim does stuff that I’ve honestly never even thought of and he makes it sound so funky.” With its record breaking 200 million plays, Avicii’s tune “Wake Me Up” is the most played song on Spotify ever. Earlier this year Avicii made a decision to stop touring, but there’s plenty more music to come.
ESTRID ERICSSON (1894–1981) ENTREPRENEUR, ARTIST Tin artist Estrid Ericsson and Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank have played a paramount role in Swedish design history. The duo added patterns and color to the otherwise naked and minimalistic functionalism. The effect is demonstrated through Svenskt Tenn, the shop and brand that Estrid founded and managed with great success up until her passing.
PER GESSLE (1959 – ) MUSICIAN Per Gessle has been a staple of the Swedish music scene since the 1980s when his band Gyllene Tider made it big. The international break came with his band Roxette in the 1990s, and for years, Gessle and band member Marie Fredriksson played sold-out arenas all across the globe. Gessle is acknowledged as a pop prodigy, having written many hits such as “När vi två blir en”, “The Look”, “Listen to Your Heart” and “It Must Have Been Love”.
FREDRIKA BREMER (1801–1865) WRITER, FEMINST REFORMER Fredrika Bremer is considered the Swedish Jane Austen, bringing the realist novel to prominence in Swedish literature. When Bremer was in her 50s, her novel “Hertha” prompted a social movement that granted all Swedish women legal majority at the age of 25 and established Högre Lärarinneseminariet, Sweden's first female tertiary school. It also inspired women’s rights activist Sophie Adlersparre to begin publishing the Home Review, Sweden's first women's magazine. In 1884, Bremer became the namesake of the Fredrika Bremer Association, the first women's rights organization in Sweden.
I B R A H I M O V I C` (1981– ) FOOTBALL PLAYER Zlatan is Sweden’s most famous and celebrated sports personality. Since the late 1990s he’s played football for Malmö FF, Ajax, Barcelona, Inter, Milan and Paris and is now part of Manchester United. Zlatan is known for his unexpected and radical football technique as well as his quick tongue and firm opinions. He’s currently building a business outside of the football field, selling cars, sports clothing, perfume and other designer toiletries.
HÅKAN LANS (1943– ) INVENTOR Swedish inventor Håkan Lans has patented several era-defining creations. His most famous inventions are the color graphics processor and a tracking system that makes use of a Self-Organized Time Division Multiple Access (STDMA) datalink. The STDMA datalink is currently in use in Automatic Identification System (AIS), a short range coastal tracking system which is used aboard international voyaging ships and airplanes. Unfortunately, Lans has spent decades defending his patents in court against computer and electronic giants like Dell, Hitachi and Hewlett-Packard.
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN (1966– ) GUITARIST When young Yngve Malmsten was rehearsing with his band in his hometown Stockholm he traveled by metro – and played his guitar all the way there and all the way home. In time, it became clear that practice really does make perfect when after moving to Los Angeles in the 1980s, he – now under the Americanized name Yngwe Malmsteen – quickly became the world’s most famous hard rock guitarist. Malmsteen’s intense and greatly equilibristic technique comes from classical music and he is one of the most influential musicians in the genre neo classical metal. He’s also known for speaking his mind, driving fast cars and occasionally crashing them. Just like a true rocker should.
JONNY JOHANSSON (1969– ) CREATIVE DIRECTOR, FASHION DESIGNER Multidisciplinary luxury fashion house Acne Studios is the fruit of a very dynamic collaboration between Mikael Schiller and Jonny Johansson. While Schiller keep track of all the numbers, Johansson creates the clothes. Fashion editors all over the world praise his well-calibrated mix of urban modernism and classical luxury – and it all started with Johansson more or less in jest producing 100 jeans with red seams. Acne Studios is one of Sweden’s true fashion export heavyweights, ousted only by H&M.
JAN STENBECK (1942 –2002) BUSINESS MAN Jan grew up as the second eldest son in a family with deep roots in the financial sector, and was called home from his life in the USA to take care of the family business when his older brother unexpectedly passed. Jan assumed the role well by creating companies with a global reach like Tele2, MTG, Millicom, Metro and Transcom. All his work stemmed from the idea that new technology is the enginge that drives all development. To question monopoly, political establishment and law was second nature to him.
L AG E R L Ö F (1858–1940) WRITER When Selma Lagerlöf was three years old she became paralyzed. But during a subsequent boating trip she saw a beautiful peacock and became so curious she simply stood up. This is a story that seems to set the tone for all of Selma’s life. Growing up she spent a lot of time reading and was surrounded by the strong tradition of storytelling that is prevalent in her childhood home of Värmland in central Sweden. In 1981 she won a literary competition with her book Gösta Berlings saga, translated as The Story of Gösta Berling. Eventually she became Sweden’s foremost author and was even able to buy her childhood home, the mansion Mårbacka which is kept as a memorial estate. Peacocks were bought and allowed to roam freely on the land, as a reminder of her most cruical memory.
LALEH (1982 –) MUSICIAN Laleh Pourkarim came to Sweden as a nine-year-old, fleeing from the revolution in Iran with her family. Today she’s widely recognized as one of the most interesting musicians and songwriters that has come out of Sweden in several decades. Her song “Some Die Young” acquired great importance in Norway after the terrorist attack in Oslo and Utøya, and her music is often described as the soundtrack of life’s most grand and elevated moments. Pop colossus Max Martin have persuaded Laleh to relocate to Los Angeles where she now continues to develop her artistic endeavors, writing and producing songs for the likes of Ellie Goulding and Adam Lambert.
STIEG LARSSON (1954 –2004) AUTHOR With his Millenium trilogy featuring the exceptional character Lisbet Salander writer Stieg Larsson made an extraordinary mark in literature. Salander is like a modern version of the strong and outspoken Pippi Longstocking – punky, tech savvy and with staggering vitality. But the three crime novels are just part of Larsson’s legacy. He was also the founder and editor in chief of antiracist periodical Expo, one of Sweden’s most important investigative publications. Sadly Larsson was not around for most of his global success. He passed away from cancer before the first Millenium book was released. He was working on the fourth volume when he died, a book that has now been finished by author David Lagerkrantz who has also written the notable autobiography of Zlatan Ibrahimović.
SOPHIA LINDHOLM ART DIRECTOR Business magazine Fast Company has named art director Sophia Lindholm “one of the world’s most creative people.” Sophia herself says it’s mostly hard work rather than sudden brilliant light bulb ideas. Lindholm works at acclaimed Swedish advertising agency Forsman & Bodenfors and is part of a team behind a string of ambitious advertising spots, most noteably for Volvo's truck division that relaunched in 2012. In the ad ”The Epic Split” actor JeanClaude Van Damme does a perfect horizontal split between two moving trucks and the 1,17 minute long video became a viral hit with over 85 million online viewers.
JOHAN HOLMSÄTER (1947– ) FITNESS GURU JH has a proud place in history as the Swede that has saved the most Swedish lives by keeping them healthy and fit. In the 1970s Holmsäter founded the gymnastics activity Friskis och Svettis that has some 500,000 members at the moment. With its utterly unique pedagogic Holmsäter introduced “jympa”, a form of group exercise that engages thousands of men and women every day. The exercise is based on something as simple as inclination and that everyone can participate based on their own ability.
LINDGREN (1907–2002) AUTHOR Astrid Lindgren is the world’s most successful children’s books author. Her first children’s book Pippi Longstocking was profoundly pioneering for two reasons. Pippi was, and still is, a new kind of superhero, a nine-year-old girl without parents who is not a victim but has superhuman strength and is sifting in money. But Pippi was also written to be entertaining for its readers whereas children’s books previous to it were disguised upbringing. Astrid Lindgren is the third most-translated children's writer after H. C. Andersen and the Grimm brothers and has sold roughly 144 million books worldwide.
BJÖRN ULVAEUS & BENNY ANDERSSON COMPOSERS & FOUNDERS OF ABBA In the mid-1970s, Swedish music was very leftwing – and Abba was dubbed shallow and too commercial. A lot has changed since then. Today Swedes are passionately proud about Abba and their 400 billion record sales. Benny wrote the music, Björn the lyrics. Even in light of recent year’s Swedish music wonder, Abba’s “Dancing Queen” is still the most brilliant pop song ever written by a person from the Nordic region. Or rather, two.
INGEGERD RÅMAN (1943 – ) DESIGNER Ingegerd Råman is known for her timeless yet very distinct style. For over four decades she’s been Swedish design’s brightest star, creating glass for the major glassworks as well as porcelain and silverwear for prominent design houses such as Gustavsberg, Gense and Svenskt Tenn.
MARKUS PERSSON (1979– ) GAME DEVELOPER When Markus Persson – or Notch as he’s known to most – released the first version of the game Minecraft, PayPal put a halt on the payments because they were coming in more rapidly than the sale of illegal drugs. Persson quickly left his dayjob and put all his efforts into developing the game. In 2014 Minecraft was sold to Microsoft for 2,5 billion USD.
ERLING PERSSON (1917–2002) ENTREPRENEUR A stone’s throw from Sweden’s most sophisticated department store Nordiska Kompaniet, young Erling Persson sold watches and fountain pens. When it didn’t take off he returned to his hometown of Västerås and started selling clothes instead. His idea was to offer both men and women fashionable attire for an affordable price. He began with female apparel, hence the shop was named Hennes, “hers” in Swedish. 1968 Persson added men’s wear and extended the name to Henne & Mauritz, H&M in short. In 1974 H&M shares were introduced on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, although the management was hesitant about adding a trading company. Today H&M is ranked number 1 of all companies on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
BIRGIT NILSSON (1918–2005) SOPRANO Birgit Nilsson was a celebrated dramatic soprano who specialized in operatic works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Her voice was noted for its overwhelming force, bountiful reserves of power, and the gleaming brilliance and clarity in the upper register. The Birgit Nilsson Foundation, funded by Nilsson herself, awards a prize every two to three years to a concert or opera singer, a classical or opera conductor, or a specific production by an opera company. Since 2014, Nilsson's portrait features on the 500 SEK banknote.
JOHN ERICSSON (1803–1809) INVENTOR There are a lot of claims of fame to be held by this inventor from Värmland – the propeller, the hot air engine and the ironclad warship called Monitor, making John Ericsson one of the most influential mechanical engineers ever. But Ericsson is actually better known in the US than anywhere else because of his groundbreaking developments for the American marine. For this, he’s commemorated with a statue in Manhattan’s Battery Park.
LENNART NILSSON (1922 – ) PHOTOJOURNALIST
M A X MARTIN (1971– ) PRODUCER & SONGWRITER Earlier this year Max Martin was bestowed the Polar Music Prize, a well-earned recognition that even though Martin is a mere 45 years old was a long time coming. Martin, born Martin Sandberg, has written 22 Billboard number 1 hits, the first of those number ones being “…Baby One More Time” with Britney Spears. The only people outranking his Billboard merits are Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Martin is a perfectionist with an unerringly sense for catchy melodies. On top of that, he also has the good taste of continuously collaborating with young talents to stay vital.
Lennart Nilsson became a celebrated pioneer when he in 1965, as the first person in the world, managed to photograph a living fetus in a woman’s womb. His images became the book Ett barn blir till, translated to A Child Is Born, that consists of photographs charting the development of the human embryo and fetus from conception to birth – and reportedly the best-selling illustrated book ever published. Lennart Nilsson is also a skilled portrait photographer who, among others, has photographed the Swedish royal family.
GIDEON SUNDBÄCK (1880–1954) INVENTOR The modern-day zipper as we know it was improved upon and developed by Swedish-American inventor Gideon Sundbäck from an earlier less effective model in 1913. Sundbäck’s redesigned version, called a separable fastener, was patented in 1917 and features interlocking teeth pulled together and apart by a slider.
BALTZAR VON PLATEN (1898–1984) INVENTOR In many ways, Baltzar von Platen was the caricature of an inventor. He was a colorful and very unique person, adamant that a genie had visited him when he was 16 and told him how to make a perpetuum mobile. He never made one of those – but he did invent the gas absorption refrigerator. The technique produced "cold" from a heat source such as propane, electricity, or kerosene, and in 1923 production began with AB Arctic. Two years later AB Arctic was purchased by Electrolux, which began selling them worldwide. Von Platen was awarded the Franklin Institute's John Price Wetherill Medal in 1932 and continued to work with ASEA, Sweden's major electrical company.
PEWDIEPIE (1989– ) YOUTUBER PewDiePie is the world’s most popular YouTuber. His channel has 47 million subscribers and some 3 000 movies, with over 8 billion views. PewDiePie’s real name is Felix Kjellberg and he stems from Gothenburg. He used to study industrial engineering at Chalmers University of Technology but got bored and decided to make funny videos of himself playing video games. These self-produced snippets quickly became a huge success. These days PewDiePie is well-known for his honest and fun-loving dialogue with his followers that he calls his “bros”. A few years ago he relocated to Brighton in England and have kindly requested his 47 million bros NOT to come for a house visit…
A L F R E D
NOBEL (1833 –1896) INVENTOR, CHEMIST
When Alfred Nobel’s will was read for the first time many in Sweden were awfully disappointed. That his prize was supposed to be handed out to anyone in the whole world and not just to fellow Swedes was considered a scandal… Alfred Nobel was a businessman and innovator that is most known for creating dynamite, but during his lifetime he registered about 350 patents. At the time of his death only 0,5 percent of his fortune was distributed among family members because he felt that large inheritances only contribute to “the apathy of mankind”. The rest of the money was put in a trust and the interest rate is distributed yearly to the winners of the Nobel Prize. The categories are chemistry, physics, literature, medicine and peace. The first four are presented in Stockholm, whereas the laureate of peace travel to Oslo. Due to the fact that the Nobel Prize is bestowed to the most worthy people no matter of their origin, it’s become the world’s foremost science prize.
TOMAS TRANSTRÖMER (1931– 2015) POET Tomas Tranströmer published his debut in the 1950s and continued to write some 20 poetry books. He was also working as a translator and psychologist, and was bestowed the Nobel Prize in literature in 2011. Tranströmer’s language was straightforward, yet full of melody and mystique. “Snow Is Falling,” from 2004 is a perfect example: “The funerals keep coming / more and more frequently / like the traffic signs / when approaching a town. [- - -] A bridge is building itself / slowly / out into space.”
FILIPPA KNUTSSON (1965 – ) CREATIVE DIRECTOR, FASHION DESIGNER Having grown up in London, creative director Filippa Knutsson returned to her native Sweden in the 1980s to work in the family fashion business, Gul&Blå. In 1993 she founded her own company Filippa K, a groundbreaking fashion brand that has paved the way for Swedish fashion design internationally. Knutsson still oversees all creative aspects of Filippa K, including conceptual vision, fashion design, retail concepts and brand communications.
HANS ROSLING (1948 – ) PROFESSOR IN INTERNATIONAL HEALTH With his much appreciated, very pedagogical lectures using boxes and computer graphics, Professor Hans Rosling have done more to halt global poverty than any other Swede. He’s been an advisory of both Bill Gates and Fidel Castro and brought Médecins Sans Frontières to Sweden. He’s also the founder of Gapminder, a trust armed with statistical facts to spread knowledge about what’s necessary to make the world a better place – without poverty, war and famine.
JONAS ÅKERLUND (1965– ) DIRECTOR Jonas Åkerlund is one of the world’s leading advertising and music video directors. Throughout the years, he’s made videos for Madonna, Lady Gaga and Metallica as well as a few full-length features. Åkerlund – who started out as the drummer of Swedish black metal band Bathory – often collaborates with his wife, world renowned stylist Bea Åkerlund. His disposition is often characterized by his raw, intense and dramatic style, but you don’t have to scratch the surface very deep to find humor and warmth.
ALICIA VIKANDER (1988 – ) ACTRESS The demand for Swedish film star Alicia Vikander hasn’t come out of the blue. After years of film and television work in Scandinavia, Vikander attracted widespread recognition in 2012 for portraying Princess Ekaterina "Kitty" Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya in Joe Wright's film adaptation of Anna Karenina and her role as Queen Caroline Mathilde in A Royal Affair, receiving a BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination for her breakthrough. Four years later she struck gold when receiving the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. Alicia Vikander is now one of the hottest names in Hollywood.
ERIK WALLENBERG (1915–1999) INNOVATOR Over 150 billion Tetra Pak food packages are sold each year. The company have made the Rausings one Sweden’s richest families, but it was the young lab assistant Erik Wallenberg who in 1944 came up with the idea of this environmentally friendly and cost effective milk package that could be folded out of a single cardboard. Wallenberg was granted a few thousand for his trouble – and another 47 years would pass until he got due recognition for the revolutionary invention, in 1991.
RO BY N (1979 – ) SONGWRITER, PRODUCER Robyn, born Robin Carlsson, has been making music for more than half her life. She started as a starlet in Sweden, signing a record deal aged 16 and releasing her debut album shortly thereafter, but later moved on to set up her own label Konichiwa Records. When her fourth album "Robyn" was released, it immediately marked her out as one of the decade's real innovators, writing empowering anthems such as the number 1 hit "Dancing On My Own" and using her music as a platform to dig into questions about gender identity, sexuality and feminism. She’s collaborated with the likes of Röyksopp, The Knife, Neneh Cherry and Snoop Dogg.
MARIA STRØMME (1970 – ) INVENTOR, PROFESSOR IN NANO-TECHNOLOGY Norwegian born Maria Strømme is a is a civil-engineer in technic physics and professor in nano-technology at Uppsala University. When she started her professorship in 2004 she was the youngest professor in Sweden in a technic subject. A decade later, Strømme has 30 patents of for example composite materials and cellulose gel formulations that are groundbreaking elements in finding cures for deseases such as cancer. She has written more than a hundred of internationally acclaimed scientific articles and holds a scientist position at Naturvetenskapliga forskningsrådet.
ELISABETH WIKSTRÖM-SHEMER (1970 – ) GYNECOLOGIST Elisabeth Wikström-Shemer is the inventor of the Gynocular, a pocket size microscope that is used to discover cervical cancer with the ambition to replace today’s clumsy and costly equipment. Not only that, it is also an imperative tool to save women’s lives in poor countries where health care instruments are often too expensive to even be used.
NIKLAS ZENNSTRÖM (1966 – ) ENTREPRENEUR For eight years, Niklas Zennström worked under one of Sweden’s most successful entrepreneurs ever, Jan Stenbeck. After that he started his own business, a file sharing program based on P2P technology. It began with music but quickly shifted to telecom and instigated the idea that evolved into the digital phone service Skype with 300 billion users. These days Zennström, considered a sort of Godfather of Swedish tech, works as a venture capitalist, investing in tech startups like Klarna and True Caller.
TORE WRETMAN (1916 – 2003) CHEF Tore Wretman was a culinary pioneer, creating unique dishes and restaurant concepts. He started working as a kitchen apprentice when he was 16 and continued working for some of the finest restaurants in Europe and USA. When he was 29 he started managing renowned Stockholm restaurant Riche, which continues to be one of Sweden’s best eateries to this day. Wretman also worked as a chef on TV, wrote several cook books and will forever be remembered as the person who reinvented the traditional smörgåsbord.
MAJ S J Ö VA L L (1935 – ) AUTHOR Together with her late husband Per Wahlöö, Maj Sjövall wrote ten crime novels that became seminal. Without these it’s basically impossible to imagine the subsequent Nordic noir stories being written. Their well-chiseled characters that serve under police detective Martin Beck have been turned into numerous movies and TV series. Even though the books are hardboiled and straightforward, their main theme is to give a voice to our societies most deprived people. In the books, the criticism of unfair social constructions is just as imperative as solving the crimes.
BRILLIANT QUO TE S B R I L L I A N T
T H O U G H T S
F R O M
B R I L L I A N T
M I N D S
“The next generation of millennials won’t work for your company if you don’t present something more than just success. It’s about what you do with your success. So if you’re a startup or entrepreneur, put one percent of your shares in a charitable foundation because that is what this next generation will expect from you.”
Alexandre Mars Founder & CEO, Epic Foundation
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“EVERY C OMPANY IN SWEDEN NEEDS T O LE ARN THE LOGIC OF THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION”
By Hugo Rehnberg
WHY SWEDES HAVE ALL THE RE AS ON T O BE C OCKY SWEDEN’S MINISTER FOR ENTERPRISE MIKAEL DAMBERG TALKS ABOUT THE PROS OF DIVERSITY, BEING A REMOVAL MAN AND THE RECIPE FOR “THE SECRET SWEDISH SAUCE.”
Name Mikael Damberg
What did you think of Brilliant Minds?
Occupation Sweden’s Minister of Enterprise
– It was impressive to gather so many interesting thinkers from near and far. I also appreciated the broad mix of industries. Originators from so many different backgrounds can really help and complement each other in their chosen field.
Did you know? Aside from his many political commitments, Damberg is also very engaged in raising awareness about and fighting honor killings.
What’s important to make an event like this exciting? – There must be substance and there was substance aplenty. Vital societal issues was brought to attention as well as what type of creativity can be used to solve them, which is a key ingredient in cruical and thoughtful conversations. Another important aspect is that an event like this can’t have too many lectures, then the audience will fall asleep. And last but definitely not least, you have to create time for and the possibility to get to know the other attendees. All of this was truly taken into account during Brilliant Minds. Brilliant Minds call Stockholm ”the creative capital of the world”. Do you agree? – It’s a cocky statement, but us Swedes have all the reason in the world to be cocky. When I’m traveling abroad people often ask me about the recipe for “the secret Swedish sauce.” They can’t fathom how our small country has put all these astonishing companies forward, from Ikea and H&M to Spotify and Klarna. At the same time you have to be humble, realize how tiny we actually are and that we’ve got plenty
to learn from others. But Swedes have mastered the discipline of being humble. With a relatively scarce population of only 10 million we’re barely a market on our own and we have to look beyond our borders. We’re interested in the rest of the world, we travel a lot and we’re good in English. What do you think might be the underlying cause for the Swedish tech success? – One explanation is that we’ve got a great IT infrastructure, great universities that develop the subject and a long, proud tradition of engineering. But personally I think it’s just as much about the social structure that modern Sweden is built upon: a country where equality and diversity has been paramount. Us Swedes are used to looking each other straight in the eye, rather than up and down. In a workplace, everyone is allowed and encouraged to have an opinion and come with suggestions to supervisors. Everyone is stimulated to contribute and that generates a major creative force. You’ve claimed in interviews that you loved being a removal man. Is this really true? – Absolutely, it’s one of the most fun summer jobs I’ve ever had. To me it was about taking responsibility and earning my own money. I liked the physical aspects of the work, and it was very satisfying to see how a task was always done by the end of the day. A flat was emptied and clean. You went home with a sense of accomplishment and could spend your evenings doing something else.
That’s not really the case when you’re a minister in the government… You’ve also said that you’d rather be on the board of Spotify than SEB. Why? – Both are enormously successful companies but, after all Spotify has revolutionazied a whole industry. I think there’s so much exciting knowledge and many insights to be gained from that. Every company in Sweden needs to learn the logic of the digital revolution, especially those that are still in the digital petri dish. Although it has to be said that SEB has realized this and thus reached very far. If you were an entrepreneur, what company would you found? – Oh, there have been so many ideas… I can’t pick just one. But I’m full of admiration for all these women and men who are so determined and insistent that they are able to fulfill their dreams. When you later on will look back on your time as minister, what do you want to have accomplished? – I want to make sure questions about innovation are high on the agenda. I want to give a better reputation to the Swedish enterprises that have been a bit tarnished for a while. And I want Sweden as a whole to become even more digitalized. My catchphrase as a minister for enterprise is ”create, grow, export.”
By Catharina Swartz
THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS THROUGH A SHARED PAST In one of the most remarkable conversations during Brilliant Minds, industry giants Antonia Ax:son Johnson and Marcus Wallenberg shared personal insights into what it’s like shouldering responsibility for a family business – and doing it well.
I remember asking myself ‘what is this all about?’ I was prepared for it but I really wasn’t ready for it,” she explains. During the first ten years, Ax:son Johnson was wondering if there was a “higher cause” and a “reason” for taking on the family business. She remembers reaching out to all the company leaders (“who were all men back then, by the way”) – and how they just talked about profits, power and positions. Nothing can change the world more than businesses can. This is Antonia Ax:son Johnson’s mantra and how she shapes her life’s mission. She is the Chairman of Axel Johnson AB, a company founded by her grandfather Axel Johnson in 1873, and with three generations of history before her she is now fostering the fifth generation. Something very similar can be said for Marcus Wallenberg. He is the fifth generation in one of Europe's most enduring family dynasties, acting chairman of three companies and board member of four.
A strong connection to the past is part of why both Ax:son Johnson and Wallenberg in many ways have been able to see into the future. For instance, Ax:son Johnson has been driving sustainability in her company since the 1980s – a time when the term “sustainability” hadn’t even been coined. “It definitely had to do with my background. I was born in New York City to a Swedish father and Brazilian mother. When my father had a stroke and wasn’t able to continue working anymore, I had to move into the business as chairman in my early 30s.
How did you manage to drive new values into an old company? “It became important to me to think about all the actual customers our shops had – and how this was an opportunity to make an impact in the everyday lives of people. When I was brought to the first conference on sustainability, called environment in those days, it was to feed the business perspective into the agenda. But most of the other business leaders thought that this was something governments and institutions should take care of. But I was so obsessed with the understanding that businesses can make a real change in the world and I have been ever since.”
So do you think it’s the responsibility of businesses to drive this change? “Even though we have good politicians, they can’t fix it. I think businesses will have to fix it and our main target is social sustainability. This spans all the way from how the products we bring into the market are made, to the influx of refugees and how we are going to care for them.” Marcus, what have been your driving values in your companies? “160 years ago my great great grandfather started a bank – Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, SEB – and today I am its chairman. By now we have so many different types of businesses in the portfolio, it’s not only banking. From our point of view, the key values are the very long-term perspective of these businesses yet staying focused on innovation. You have to stay focused on reinventing the company time and time again.” How are you achieving this? “For instance, we’re spending a lot of time figuring out how the digital revolution will change the companies
”A family business owner risks a lot. Money, assets – and a name ”
we have invested in. There is a motto in our family, that the only tradition worth keeping is moving from the old to what is about to come. This is something we live by and something we work with. It’s all about innovation, about pushing forward and never sitting still, trying to go that extra mile to not only find new stuff but also stay competitive. This is one of the reasons why we’ve started an innovation lab within the bank.” Handing things down generation to generation is not considered very innovative or creative. In an ever more competitive global market, what advantages does a family business give you, Antonia? “A lot of people think that the history of a family business makes them old fashioned, that you get stuck with old thinking. But in family businesses there is an owner with faith, because as a family business owner you risk a lot. Not only money and assets but a family name. Our motto is 10:50 – every ten years, 50 percent of our businesses are new. We’ve gone from shipping and steel trade into retailing and wholesale. I have a tremendously deep commitment to constantly protect, build, rebuild, change and challenge our business.”
In this day and age, it’s unique to have these long-term perspectives. Many startups have founders that are very exit focused. So what would you advice young entrepreneurs, Marcus? “It’s a very difficult question. Young people who are entrepreneurs move the new world; they are active people trying to achieve something. It’s extremely important, and it’s up to you if you want to be a seller or a builder of what you create. From our family business point of view, we focus on building but it doesn’t mean we never sell. Of course we do. A holding company that the family used to work through was the biggest coal trader in the 1920s, I’m sure happy we’re out of that! It’s fun to build, but you have to dare to move along and see the new opportunities that present themselves from time to time.”
”The only tradition worth keeping is moving from the old to what is about to come ”
And what would you advice, Antonia? “There is nothing more exciting than building companies. Stick with your company a little longer than you had planned to. It’s great to have companies take off, you get very excited, you reach a plateau, and you wonder whether it is going to be that exciting again. And from my perspective with almost 40 years in a business I can tell you; yes, it’s going to keep getting exciting as you change and challenge, build and rebuild, and re-challenge yourself.”
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“WE WILL HELP YOU BE A BET TER HUMAN BY USING DEEP ANALYSIS”
By Linda Iliste
HAS THE TIME C OME T O TRUS T AI? DURING BRILLIANT MINDS, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF ALPHABET INC. ERIC SCHMIDT TALKED ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF AI AND HOW MACHINE-LEARNING IS KEY TO FUTURE ADVANCES.
Name Eric Schmidt Education Bachelor of Arts and Science at Princeton University, Master of Science at University of California Berkeley, Doctorate at University of California Berkeley. Career Chief Executive Officer of Novell 1997-2001, CEO of Google 20012011, Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc. (formerly named Google). In 2016, Forbes ranked Schmidt as the 100th richest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of $10.8 billion.
More and more transformative technology is being developed outside of Silicon Valley. And as the global technology community is growing in numbers and impact, Europe is slowly but surely becoming the center of attention. European entrepreneurs are getting more confident, with bold visions of addressing big issues and utilizing technology to solve big problems. This development gives entrepreneurs great power and, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. So how can this generation of entrepreneurs ensure they have a suitable impact on the world around them? If you ask Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google who is now Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., you have to first and foremost look beyond politics. “The pressure that's on our political leaders makes it almost impossible for entrepreneurs to take outlandish, courageous, strong positions. It’s becoming more and more sclerotic. When anyone gets ahead, everyone just cuts him or her down. Clearly, the business sector of every kind, including entrepreneurs, needs to take this up.” Where is the advance going to come from? “Let me give you the example of machine-learning. Climate change is very real; I don't need to remind people here in Scandinavia about that. There is evidence that you can use machine-learning networks to watch complex adaptive systems change. So, if you look at fuel and power
distribution networks, they all continuously change with, for instance, usage. There's evidence that if you set up a monitoring mechanism that can work out what the usage structure is, from that you can learn how to prestage and manage the distribution network. Thus managing and tackling climate change more efficiently.” Explain what benefits such machine-learning give us. “Well, just ask yourself how much of a saving that monitoring mechanism might be. Do you think it's half a percent? No. It's five to ten percent. That's the amount of waste there is. So if I told you, 'here's a relatively simple idea that can save five to ten percent of your emissions', you'd go crazy! That's an example of the kind of ideas entrepreneurs are now proposing, using machine-learning.” Can you give any other similar examples? “Computer vision. It’s better than human vision. So if entrepreneurs are doing something that, say, ophthalmologists normally do, a computer can do them more accurately than a human. Not because entrepreneurs are better doctors, we're not doctors at all, but because we can see more through this technology." But with artificial intelligence potentially leading the way, what about AI taking over and destroying humankind? Scientist Stephen Hawking and business engineer and inventor Elon Musk have raised concern about this. “In the case of Hawking and Musk, although brilliant men, they are not
computer scientists. And the scenario you're describing is the one where computers get so smart that, at some point in their evolving intelligence due to some bug, they want to destroy us. My question is: don't you think the humans would notice this, and start turning off the computers? Then we'd have a battle between humans turning computers off and the AI relocating itself to other computers, evolving into a mad race to the last computer… And that's a movie. It's a movie.” You’re saying it’s fiction that AI could take over? “The state of the earth currently does not support any of these scenarios. It is seriously questionable when an AI would start to volition and choose its own targets in the way that science fiction talks about. In my opinion there are additional hard problems to solve before we even get near that. It’s speculations that come from futurist books, which of course are not vettable scientifically.” In other words, we should trust machine-learning as an influential tool for entrepreneurs? “I think in the next five to ten years, we’re going to be pretty good at providing assistance to people that is literally done through computers using deep data. We will help you be a better human by using deep analysis.”
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â€œ To be hone st, I had b arely held a camer a in my hands five year s agoâ€?
By Linda Iliste
“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A HUGE FEMINIS T” JOHAN LINDEBERG HAS CREATED LEADING FASHION BRANDS AND WORKED WITH TRUE SUPERSTARS – BUT IT’S BEHIND THE CAMERA HE FEELS MOST AT HOME.
Name Johan Lindeberg Occupation Photographer, Founder and Creative Consultant J.Lindeberg Fun Fact When Johan Lindeberg started Diesel Sverige in 1990 he hired several people that would later become some of Sweden’s most notable fashion personalities, such as Jonny Johansson (Acne Studios) and Karl-Johan Bogefors (JC).
Head of Marketing at Diesel. Founder of the eponymous lifestyle label J.Lindeberg and new brand BLK DNM. Justin Timberlake’s personal stylist and a close collaborator of Jay Z. In between all of these remarkable accomplishments, Swedish entrepreneur Johan Lindeberg has found his true calling – photography. During Brilliant Minds Johan was the in-house photographer. On the balcony of Grand Hôtel’s Winter Garden overlooking the conference stage, he captured invitees in his makeshift studio. Johan, tell us - how did you discover photography? “I’ve worked with photographers throughout my whole career and I’ve always leaned over their shoulders. At Diesel in the 1990s I worked with David LaChapelle and Steven Klein has done a lot for J.Lindeberg. But to be honest, I had barely held a camera in my hands until five years ago. I was building my brand BLK DNM and I realized how liberating it was to create a journey with images and a metaphorical language. I distinctly remember the first time I did it. It was in August 2011 and I asked one of my model friends if I could shoot her and she said yes. I also swiftly realized how cost effective it was to do the photography myself!”
How did you step out of the BLK DNM realm with your camera? “French model Caroline de Maigret contacted me to take her picture. That became my first shoot separate from what I did in-house and it was very successful. She got a revival as a model and it made me a name as a photographer. Since then basically all the super models have stepped in front of my camera, even Gisele Bündchen. I’ve been exceptionally lucky. These days when I’m back as creative consultant at J.Lindeberg I do all the photography for that brand too.”
portrayed as objects for the male gaze. So when I shoot, I love to support women as the powerful and independent people they truly are. I want to create good energies and inspire others, it’s important to me to have a strong voice in what I’m creating.” What inspires you as a photographer? “Aside from strong women and feminism, I get a lot of inspiration from my travels. I’ve brought my camera to places like Morocco, Jordan, Peru and Colombia.”
Was photography an immediate passion?
How did you get involved with Brilliant Minds?
“Yes. I started taking pictures all the time. I used my iPhone to take pictures of my daughter; it ended up being thousands and thousands. Also, my fiancé at the time was a model. She became my first muse.”
“Michael Elmenbeck introduced me to Natalia Brzezinski. She wanted me to do a speech but I said I’d rather take pictures. They were familiar with my personal style and its documentary feel, and I was basically given free reign.”
What type of pictures do you like taking? “I call it ‘raw style’. I usually have a clear idea beforehand. I prefer the models to be without makeup and excessive styling. I barely do any retouching. I want it to look and feel real and have a real connection with the person I’m shooting.” Do you convey a message with your photos? “I consider both my brands and my images to be message carriers. BLK DNM is highly political, based on the thoughts and ideals I grew up with. I’ve always been a huge feminist. Women should never be
Tell us about the work you did. “It was extremely intense. I shot 26 people in a mere two afternoons, some of whom I had never met before. Compare it to professional models that are always in front of the camera and know exactly how to work it and having as much time as you need to make a connection… It was hard, but that’s what made it so exciting.” How did you choose whom to photograph? “There was no one formula, it varied. Some popped by, others we went out in the hall to find. And then I had about 20-30 minutes with each.”
Which was your favorite Brilliant Minds shoot?
What did you think of Brilliant Minds?
“Icona Pop. We know each other well and have talked about doing a shoot for a long time. They’ve got great energy. I really love the portraits I took of Antonia Ax:son Johnson, there was a lovely connection, it ended up great. Daniel Ek told me that he doesn’t like to have his picture taken so when he said he likes the photos I took of him, it made me very happy. And it was of course an honor to photograph Quincy Jones.”
“I unfortunately didn’t have time to listen to most of the speeches. But the artist JR and I are good friends, and his art installation Women Are Heroes carries the same message as my photography project Women With Integrity. He’s a kindred spirit with similar ideas and work methods. Brilliant Minds is a great initiative.”
You’ve been an entrepreneur for decades and now you’re a photographer. Would you call yourself a creative pioneer? “Well, I guess you could call me a renaissance man since I do a multitude of work – design, photography, film scripts… And if I look back at my career, I was part of making Diesel what it is. J.Lindeberg was basically a startup; I worked with it from idea and vision to a full-established brand. I’ve worked with Justin Timberlake and Jay Z who just like Daniel Ek and Ash Pournouri, are at the forefront of music and technology. I’ve learned a lot from them.”
Why do you think Sweden has bred so many successful entrepreneurs? “Back in my Diesel days, in 1993, I told tabloid Aftonbladet that Stockholm is the most modern city in the world. The same is true today. Swedes are well educated, speak good English and are very innovative. We’re good at spotting international trends and recreating them. And of course, our society rests on democratic values of equality with flat organizations. Swedes have understood the value of creativity and how much confidence it can generate.”
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“Not all people within a business are creative – and that’s fine. I’m not expecting everyone to come up with amazing ideas. What I want to do is solve really hard problems within specific perimeters in ways that no one else has thought to do. That creates business value. I don’t want people to just be creative, I’m expecting everyone to do a great job in their own specific role.”
Sebastian Siemiatkowski Founder & CEO, Klarna
By Catharina Swartz
S TIRRI NG THE C OMPANY C OCKTAIL When startups are building a better future for themselves and for their surrounding ecosystems, might the flat “Swedish” management structure be key to prominence?
Sebastian Siemiatkowski and Julia Hartz have a lot in common. They are both champion entrepreneurs, founders and CEO’s of their own respective companies Klarna and Eventbrite with hundreds of employees across several offices in several countries. Simultaneously, there are huge underlying differences in company culture merely because Siemiatkowski is Swedish and Hartz is American. Sweden is well known for flat management structures whereas American business practice is much more hierarchic. Or is it?
“Well, there are studies that show if you ask an American manager what they want to do, they want to achieve results. If you ask a Swedish manager, they want to coach people,” Siemiatkowski starts off by saying. “But I always want to push in the opposite direction of everything to make sure a situation doesn’t get too extreme. If a Swedish manager only talks about coaching, I say ‘great, but please also think about the results.’ And if an American only talks about achievements, I tell them ‘yeah, but also focus on coaching’.” Hartz points out that she can’t speak about the Swedish model specifically, but that Eventbrite used to have a flat structure in its early days. “We were a collection of individual contributors. We started hiring people that were much more brilliant than ourselves in many different areas – and when we grew from 30 to 100 employees hierarchy almost happened in a blink of an eye. I remember thinking it was interesting because it felt like Americans do this naturally. But what makes a great leader? How can someone be the best coach and provide the best guidance?”
So how has your leadership changed over time? “I’ve only been CEO for a few months; I used to be President. But I think providing context is incredibly important; taking something that’s in the weeds and bringing it up to the big picture. We have weekly touch points and as CEO I’m much more mindful about every one of those touch points that I have. Communication is a big part of the role,” Hartz says. Siemiatkowski on the other hand has been CEO for about ten years and says that with each passing year, he feels like he’s learned something that makes him think he’s been “a horrible CEO” up to that point. “Each year it’s something different. When you’re a small team it’s so much easier, you don’t need to think about communication, alignment, organization… You just go after the business. Now we have a kickoff each year where we gather everyone from the local offices, give them some energy and vision. I used to just say ‘here’s the vision’ – but I’ve realized you need to be a little more specific, and think about who is supposed to be doing what in order to achieve that.”
Your companies are global with offices in many different countries. How do you sustain the company culture you want? “In our case it’s been about crossover and experiencing different cultures by physically being in the different offices, working together. We were always impressed by Ikea with its 100-year strong culture,” says Siemiatkowski. “The most important form of influence is great modeling. We have leaders all over the world, but when we bring them over to the US we are very careful not to brainwash them. I want everyone operating authentically based on geography with the core values of Eventbrite. But it’s tricky, because I always think of culture as being something that shouldn’t be stagnant; it’s a manifestation of whoever is in the company at one time. Therefore writing down core values is hard. As soon as the ink dries, it becomes stale,” continues Hartz.
”Company culture shouldn’t be stagnant. As soon as the ink dries, it becomes stale” Julia Hartz
How important is collaborative creativity and how do you foster that in management? “It’s interesting to have become leader of a group whom I think of as my peers since I wasn’t their CEO when we hired them. I have a shorter resume than most of them. For me, it’s about building a world-class team. I have a great team of leaders but not necessarily the best leadership team yet, which is what I want. Where collaboration and creativity meets is going to be key for us in the coming years,” states Hartz. “I don’t want people to just be creative, I want to solve problems, and sometimes the two get mixed up. Not all people are creative within businesses. I’m not expecting everyone to come up with amazing ideas. I’m expecting everyone to do a great job in their own specific role. To me, creativity is not a purpose in and of itself. What I want to do is solve really hard problems with specific perimeters in ways that no one else has thought to do. That creates business value,” says Siemiatkowski.
Is it the same with collaboration? “Well, of course we need to work together, otherwise Klarna will be 1,500 small companies doing nothing much. The purpose of being a big company must be to all pull in the same direction towards a problem that we all want to solve together. We need a clear vision that we want to accomplish together,” Siemiatkowski replies. So how do you motivate all those employees? “I think it’s easy to know who’s a game-changer and it’s often people who are purely driven to solve problems. They not only identify the problem, but they strategize around it and get fired up doing it. They are the amazing performers,” says Hartz.
”We need a clear vision that we want to accomplish together” Sebastian Siemiatkowski
“And if you have long-term problems with your motivation you’re probably in the wrong spot. Imagine Zlatan playing in the Champions League, I don’t think he needs to be motivated by being told he should play in a certain way because ‘hey, you could win the League!’. Sure, he’ll have bad days when he requires a coach to scream at him, but he shouldn’t need to be motivated towards that bigger, collective goal,” Siemiatkowski closes.
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“ There is a real shift of power, fr om a handful of br o adca st outlet s towar ds the pe ople”
By Linda Iliste
A CHAMPION OF FREE KNOWLEDGE AS WIKIPEDIA CELEBRATED ITS 15TH BIRTHDAY, CO-FOUNDER JIMMY WALES JOINED BRILLIANT MINDS TO TALK ABOUT INTEGRITY, ENCRYPTION AND WHY HE BELIEVES EDWARD SNOWDEN PERFORMED AN ENORMOUS PUBLIC SERVICE. Even in this day and age, when almost any stakeholder with a strategy can reach an online audience of previously unparalleled numbers, Wikipedia’s role is extraordinary. The interactive online encyclopedia has 15 billion page views per month. Every day 7,000 news articles are added. 18,000 unpaid volunteers assist with fact checking the exceptional volume of information. And if you wanted to read everything that Wikipedia has published so far, it would take you 21 years.
With all of these incredible stats in mind, it might come as a surprise to realize that co-founder Jimmy Wales is far from your average Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Then again, maybe it won’t. Wales’ passionate campaigning for open Internet has been going on for decades now. It’s no secret that he was an Internet pornographer back in the 1990s: when his information resource engine Bomis started not only linking to adult content but also selling it, the model really took off. It was from those proceeds Wikipedia was founded. Despite creating the planet’s sixth most visited website, it’s still a not-for-profit organization with no shares to sell on.
in a dialogue with the Chinese government that is actually very difficult,” says Wales.
Wales describes himself as merely a figurehead and receives no salary from Wikipedia. Pure profits have simply never been his incentive, only freedom of expression itself. So how does a freedom fighter such as Wales hold up Wikipedia’s integrity when faced with forces that want to limit the very same?
“In many places where they used to have filtered access to Wikipedia they’ve chosen to just let go. In some Arab countries it’s now uncensored and that is a positive step. But the Chinese have taken the choice of no Wikipedia at all. I’ve visited with the right minister and we’ve had a friendly dialogue. But I’m not budging, he’s not budging, and that’s where we are today.”
“Wikipedia has never agreed to comply with government censorship anywhere in the world. In China for instance, we’ve had a mixed history. We were completely banned for several years, and then we were completely open for several years. As of this past summer however, we are banned again. We’re engaged
The problem stems from the fact that Wikipedia used to be broadly accessible, but the government filtered out certain pages. “You know, the pages they didn’t like, such as Tiananmen Square and the artist Ai Weiwei.” But as a result of the current completely encrypted access to Wikipedia – meaning that when you visit Wikipedia it is “https” rather than “http”, making it impossible to monitor which pages someone’s reading – the Chinese have lost the policy option of being able to filter certain things.
Many, including the former Attorney General in the United States, Eric Holder, give credit to Edward Snowden for this broad surveillance debate that reached all around the globe. Wales agrees, and says his view on Snowden is that he performed an enormous public service.
“Snowden’s been very careful; he’s only worked with journalists who released things in a very careful way. He hasn’t released things putting agents in danger or anything of such nature. The US government of course say he did, but there’s no evidence of it. Generally speaking, when they say things like that, what they mean is he sparked a public debate that has amazingly ramped up the demand for encryption.” Wales firmly believes that the public wants a secure Internet and says that the industry is now following. The fact that chat apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram have recently switched to encryption is evidence of the same. “Of course that means the government is not happy, as it needs to be able to spy on everything people are reading on Wikipedia, and now they can’t.” The NSA tapped into the servers of all the major Internet companies, including Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. This caused a big issue, and Eric Holder says the espionage act of the US does not permit the public interest defense Snowden most likely would try to use in court. “I am no expert on the law, but this aspect of the law should be changed. I think Snowden should go to trial; he has clearly broken the law and that’s what we do in a civilized society. However,
DID YOU KNOW? Wikipedia tend to divide things by language rather than by country and the number one largest language on Wikipedia in the world is English. No surprises there. But what will surprise you is that number two, is Swedish. Jimmy Wales: “People always ask why this is, and I always reply that it’s because Swedes are smart and good-looking. All jokes aside though, the truth is that the Swedes cheated a bit. A Swedish man who has created tens of thousands of entries by gathering a lot of databases, mostly about plants and animals, and generating short articles on every species through a bot. The Swedish Wikipedia was already in the top 10, and thanks to this man Swedish catapulted above French and German.” The automated Wikipedia article-creating program is called Lsjbot and was developed by Sverker Johansson. As of July 2014, Lsjbot was responsible for 2.7 million articles.
he should be able to say; here is why I did it. This unveiling of wrongdoing of illegal acts by the government should be a valid defense. It might hold up, it might not, but that defense should be available to him. Snowden’s said many times he’s happy to come back to the US, he just wants certain guarantees that they’re not going to execute him, which is a pretty reasonable request. I’m sure he’s not very happy to sit in Russia, but it’s better than being dead…” There’s a comparable case from Sweden. Back in the 1970’s, criminologist Leif G.W. Persson discovered that former justice minister Lennar Geijer was tied to a prostitution ring in Stockholm, which lead to the national police board firing him. Persson subsequently wrote books on the topic. How do you read this example? “I think a man like this is a great hero, for bringing to light the information. When people really demand information, they demand quality information like this and we live in an era that we can all be proud of. Sure, almost everyone of us has clicked a headline, particularly on BuzzFeed because they’re really good at it, and as you’re sitting there clicking through 23
cat pictures, you start to think ‘why am I wasting my life?’… But despite click bait headlines like that, and our interaction with the loudest, angriest voices on social media, we also see an enormous demand for accurate, in-depth information.” How can we make sure we have trustworthy sources? “At Wikipedia we are surprisingly old fashioned, we’re always looking for reliable sources. We don’t permit random things from Twitter as a source. If you go into the discussion pages on our site and see members talking, it’s all about improving the quality. How do we make sure Wikipedia is accurate, neutral, reliable? We don’t get it right all of the time, but for me it’s a really wonderful thing to see that the integrity of the information still has as much relevance as it always did.” The thing about integrity and truth is that brands, companies and products no longer manage it. With this in mind, tell us a bit about Fandom which the Wikia Inc. community powers. It was launched recently so maybe not everyone knows about it yet, but it really has taken off like a rocket.
“Well, as you probably know Wikia’s traditional thing is encyclopedic comprehensive guides. You can do an entry about anything, but video games and TV shows are the most popular. So if you’re a fan of, for example, Game of Thrones, and find the TV show complicated and hard to follow, you can just go to the show’s Wikia. There you’ll find bio reviews of every character and summaries of every episode. It’s becoming incredibly popular, with about 170 million readers every month. So recently we launched a website called Fandom, where the same community of people now do original research, mainly in entertainment and gaming. It’s a media property that combines fan reporting with the greatest moments in pop culture, powered by the largest entertainment fan site in the world that puts fans at the center of entertainment and pop culture.” Why is this interesting, or maybe even important? “One of the things that we see a lot these days is the question of who is truly the expert? Is it really the reviewer at The New York Times? Probably not, as they’re reviewing lots of different things. The real expert is a group of 30 to 40 super fans, who really discuss a subject and get into
it every day. They make sure all their information is very detailed and very accurate. It’s a real shift of power, from a handful of broadcast outlets towards the people. And it’s much better than how we normally see this realm, which is people screaming at each other on Twitter.” So you could say that there is a new cascade of citizen journalists and citizen fans. And with Wikia Inc. and Fandom, you are in a fantastic position to observe it. “It all boils down to a real genuine community of people who are trustworthy, as they have the tools to stop people from doing bad things. The good news is that most people are basically decent and if you give them the environment and social cues to do good work, they will.”
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“It’s easy to know who’s a game-changer. It’s the person who cannot only identify a problem, but also strategize around it and get fired up doing that. That’s who’s a truly amazing performer.”
Julia Hartz Co-Founder & CEO, Eventbrite
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“WE CAN’ T INVENT EVERYTHING OURSELVES, BUT WE CAN BEC OME THE BES T AT WORKING WITH PART NERS”
By Hugo Rehnberg
LE ADERSHIP IS AB OUT CHANGE JOHAN DENNELIND, CEO OF TELEPHONE OPERATOR TELIA COMPANY, ABOUT SWEDISH LEADERSHIP AND WHAT ROLE TELIA PLAYS IN THE STARTUP COMMUNITY.
Name Johan Dennelind Occupation President & CEO, Telia Company Fun fact Described as an including and non-hierarchical leader, whom employees are encouraged to call by his first name.
Brilliant Minds call Stockholm ”the creative capital of the world.” Do you agree? ”I definitely think we’ve got evidence for it. A lot is happening in this area as a whole, not only in Stockholm but the Nordic and Baltic region. When it comes to the digital race, it seems we’re in the midst of a perfect storm. There’s amazing history and very brightly shining role models that stir up and inspire more of the same.” What part has Telia played in the Swedish tech success? ”We’re the ones that have been with it the longest. With our 163-year history we’re the oldest startup participating in Brilliant Minds. Telia have rebuilt itself many times to not loose track with development and the last 20, 30 years we’ve been a world leader when it comes to mobiles and Internet. Together with Ericsson we’ve created a great basis for IT entrepreneurs. Sweden is one of the most connected countries in the world with one of the fastest and safest networks. And a lot of the entrepreneurs that have worked for Telia have then moved on to other global companies."
Telia also invests in other startups, correct?
“Fika with Johan” sounds very Swedish. Explain what it is.
“Yes, we’ve invested in Spotify, Zound Industries, Springworks and Soundtrack Your Brand. We’ve also got ongoing discussions with hundreds of other startups.”
“It’s a way of bonding with my employees, a relaxed and informal conversation over a cup of coffee. Everyone can ask for a “fika with Johan” and we’ll try to squeeze it into my schedule. Telia have 26,000 employees. It’s a way for me to become more visible to them and an excellent opportunity to listen to their thoughts and ideas."
Aside from financial benefits, what makes you interested in these companies? “Over time investments obviously have to generate profit, but it’s also driven out of pure curiosity, to understand and keep up. I often say this to my colleagues: we can’t invent everything ourselves, but we can become the best at working with other partners and hence open up to new ideas and influences. A positive result of our engagement in the startup community is that we generate interest in working for Telia. That’s a sure sign we’re active and visible.” According to rumors you’re a typically Swedish boss. “I’ve worked abroad for eleven years in three different cultures and I’ve been influenced by many things. To me, leadership is about change, development and surrounding myself with people that are passionate about what they do.
What did you think of Brilliant Minds? “There was an amazing level of expertise among the delegates. This event has got all the right ingredients: founders with a passion, co-workers with amazing networks and great spirit in the talks. My only objection is that even more people should have the opportunity to participate in these intriguing discussions.”
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140 YE AR S OF HOSTING EXPERIENCE FROM THE ELLE GALA TO THE POLAR MUSIC PRIZE, MANY BIG INTERNATIONAL FUNCTIONS ARE HELD AT GRAND HÃ”TEL STOCKHOLM. BRILLIANT MINDS IS A JEWEL AMONG THEM. CEO PIA DJUPMARK EXPLAINS WHY.
By Hugo Rehnberg
”By and large, we do for our guests whatever is possible. We try to be creative to meet their demands”
For the second year in a row Brilliant Minds was staged at Grand Hôtel Stockholm, a five star deluxe hotel that has been home to celebrities, high-profile events and everyday bon-vivants since 1874. It was French chef Régis Cadier who took the initiative and founded the first Swedish hotel to live up to other renowned continental-style hotels around Europe. His main source of inspiration was the Palace of Versailles. Not only is the Grand Hôtel Cadier Bar named after him, but his memory lives on in the first-class guest services and love for glamorous events at the hotel. Pia Djupmark says her job as CEO is a lot of fun, but also challenging: ”It’s about managing a rich heritage yet all the while developing the hotel so it stays at the forefront and can meet the future. Régis Cadier was a pioneer, I often find myself thinking about what he’d say and do if he was still alive.” What do you think of Brilliant Minds? ”It’s amazing. Ever since Ash Pournouri presented the idea to me a few years ago, I’ve felt it was right up our alley. I like its mix of discussions, meetings, music – it has a fast pace that creates great energy. It’s exciting that it attracts so many interesting people too. Us Swedes have a tendency to be a bit shy, we often downplay all the good things we do. Brilliant Minds is changing that.”
What makes Grand a good meeting place for functions like this? ”Everything you need is here. Conference halls, restaurants, accommodation. On top of that, we’ve got 140 years of international hosting experience. It’s in our DNA, even the Noble Prize Banquet was held here in the early 1900s. These days, the Elle Gala and Polar Music Prize are two of our biggest yearly events. We will remodel Vinterträdgården, the Winter Garden, next year to make it better technically equipped for big events.” The hotel is home to Michelin starred restaurants and Stockholm’s most refined spa. What will be the next grand experience at Grand? ”Unfortunately it’s not something I can reveal but generally speaking various types of experiences have become increasingly important to our guests. Much more so than any gadgets. We try our best to pay attention and live up to that.”
There’s a rumour that a whole suite was repainted once, only to please Madonna. How far are you willing to go to satisfy a guest? ”We never talk about our guests, but by and large we do for them whatever is possible. International stars have their riders. Some want new fabric on the furnishings, some want to fly by helicopter to the ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi – others want the room painted black. We try to be creative to meet their demands. Maybe we won’t redecorate a whole room in black, but we’ll find a solution to make it darker.” Which one is your favourite room? “The Princess Lilian Suite is absolutely outstanding, 330 squaremeters that are newly refurbished, fully enclosed by two balconies with wonderful waterfront views. But if I were spending a night at the hotel I’d pick one of the corner rooms in Burmanska huset. They’re cosy and full of warmth, you never want to leave.”
Name Pia Djupmark Occupation CEO of Grand Hôtel
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Ic ona Pop are a s loud and pr oud about their opinions a s they are about their s ongs .
By Linda Iliste
RULERS OF THEIR OWN DES TINY DURING BRILLIANT MINDS, SYNTHPOP DUO ICONA POP PERFORMED A FEW SONGS THAT GOT THE WHOLE AUDIENCE DANCING. BUT THE FIERCELY FEMINIST PAIR ALSO TOOK TO THE STAGE FOR A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE NEED TO QUESTION OTHER PEOPLE – ESPECIALLY IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, AND ESPECIALLY AS A WOMAN.
Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop was formed by best friends Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt in 2009. The group first came to notice with the 2010 single “Manners”, but it was after performing on the European festival circuit and in the U.S. in 2012 that Icona Pop rose to international fame. The same year, their single “I Love It” became a multi-country top 10 hit.
One day, you’re sitting at home with your best friend, chatting about music and dreaming big. The next, you’re touring the world with a super successful feminist pop anthem. Okay, it might be a little exaggerated, but it’s more or less what happened to Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, the buddies who compromise Swedish synthpop duo Icona Pop. Released in 2012, their song “I Love It” became an instant runaway hit that got people grooving all around the globe and since then they’ve hardly pressed pause. They’ve toured with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry and been locked away in the studio working on EP’s and an album. Their infectious sound has been described as electro house with a dash of indie pop and punk. They themselves call it refreshing, personal, and without any rules.
Claiming that the music industry itself is without rules would be bending the truth a bit too far. But being Swedish, Hejlt and Jawo come from a flank of the industry that’s rare and groundbreaking, seen as a hotbed for great pop and dance music ever since Abba. These days, artists like Robyn, Zara Larsson, Elliphant, Lykke Li, Rebecca & Fiona and First Aid Kit carry those traditions forward; young female musicians who are as loud and proud about their opinions and values as they are about their songs. “I think the reason why it’s going so well for women in the Swedish music industry is because we’re from a society with great support. There’s never been a conflict in that sense; we grew up with those values. As women, we always talk about the need to be strong and independent, and I love that. But I think it’s also important that we’re all together,” says Hjelt, throwing a glance at Jawo who nods in agreement. Fiercely feminist, Icona Pop and much of their Swedish music sisters display the confidence and power historically allotted to men and they will immediately raise their voices when confronted by bigotry. And unfortunately,
Hjelt and Jawo have had their fair share of obstructive experiences in the industry. “A lot of it came when we started traveling and touring. We found ourselves thinking ‘sorry, wait a second, what did you just say to me?’,” says Caroline. Such clashes range from male DJs describing to them where to press play on the decks and being asked not to wear high heels because it can be offensive to men when women are taller than them, to being told that they need to be open to wearing less clothes if certain stylists are going to work with them. They call it shocking and nauseating. Hjelt describes how in the beginning, they would go home, talk about it and get themselves very fired up – but the person who was cause of the offense would be none the wiser. “The expectations on us… it’s scary sometimes. So these days, we will instantly call you on it. ‘Did you just say what I think you said to me? And if you did, may I ask why?’ It’s important to start immediately when it happens, to question people, and get the conversation going. Because it’s also very interesting to learn why
people behave that way. Is it out of bad habit? Is it because they don’t know any better? Or is it because they actually want you to feel smaller?” Jawo continues: “As a woman, I feel that sometimes you have to be twice as good as a man to be considered a ‘good’ performer.” Consequently, the necessity to query others moves through Icona Pop’s entire vision. It’s vital to have success on their own terms and being rulers of their own destiny. Their bold blend of pop may be packed with attitudes from an expressively feminist perspective, but Hjelt and Jawo are also the bosses of clothes, artwork and videos. They have a strong determination to not delegate artistic decisions and not repeat past mistakes of that nature. “When you start out as an artist it’s easy to think that if you just get signed you’re safe, you’re fine. You don’t realize that’s when the work starts. Also, you don’t ask enough questions because you don’t want to come off as stupid or inexperienced, and can end up blindly trusting people,” says Hjelt.
Over the years they’ve both come to accept possibly being annoying. Saying they’d rather leave a meeting having asked a million questions again and again and knowing exactly what they’re up against, rather than being paralyzed by fear and ending up clueless. There’s a multitude of grubby hands out there trying to get in on the action and it’s important to Icona Pop to know why and when to fend them off. “When you make sure you know everything, you can trust your own guts and make an informed decision. Asking questions is so important. We want to know, we want to learn. We want to be better at everything we’re doing, not just ride along. That’s not our style. We all make mistakes, that’s how we learn. It’s okay to not always have it together, as long as you’re doing what you want and what you like.” Or, as Hjelt concludes it in her trademark matter-of-fact way: “If you try to please everyone, you will end up destroyed.”
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"I truly think the problems we have on our planet, like sustainability, will be solved through new technologies and finding new ways to do things. And entrepreneurs are becoming more confident. Their ambition is growing. I like to back and support companies that want to address these big issues. I'm interested in entrepreneurs who want to utilize technology to solve problems, because they also become really sustainable businesses."
Niklas Zennstrรถm Partner & CEO, Atomico
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“WE S TARTED T O THINK OF OUR BAND AS A S TART UP”
By Linda Iliste
BANDS ARE TAKIN G BACK THE P OWER It’s still unconventional for musicians to treat their bands as a startup. But for Mike Shinoda it’s been a long time coming. At Brilliant Minds he explained how his band Linkin Park have managed to take a successful leap of faith and become their own puppet masters.
During his 20 years in the limelight, Shinoda has always had a tendency to disrupt what most others believe to be set in stone. Similar to musicians such as Radiohead and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, it’s mainly through technology that he has broken ground and hurdled way into the future as a true pioneer. Shinoda remembers how tech played a key part in the very launch Linkin Park, from the band name to how they reached out to fans.
Mike Shinoda may very well be the definition of a modern renaissance man. Not only is he the frontman of American rock band Linkin Park, but also a multi-instrumentalist, producer, film composer, graphic designer, co-founder of entertainment company Machine Shop and the charity Music for Relief.
“We formed back in the 90s when the Internet had started to make its way into people’s homes, but people were also still using cassettes. Half of our fans didn’t even have e-mail accounts, but we wanted to put out a mailing list for them to stay in touch with us. Also, instead of the presidential spelling of Lincoln, we chose our spelling as Linkin because we wanted the dotcom. We wanted to be able to keep in touch with our fans online.” Even in the very first meeting with your record label Warner Bros you had a special approach. What happened? “At the time we were roughly 21 years old and came face to face in a conference room with folks who, in some instances, had been in the music industry for decades. We
handed out outlines of how we’d like to see things done, literally telling people how to do their jobs all the while having zero work experience ourselves. Some of the people in that room are still with us today and we still laugh about it. But we had a very specific, clear band vision and we did our best to communicate that.” Why was it important to you? “Because whether we were home or on tour, we basically managed our mailing list, our fan club and our street team activities ourselves. We wanted to make sure our label could deliver that marketing too.” Where do you stand today? “Seven years ago we brought all the creative direction in-house to tighten up the branding and design which was inconsistent. That was the beginning of our evolution to be more self-sufficient. But an even more dramatic change came when we realized that we didn’t want the traditional management structure anymore.” How come? “Our managers were great, but philosophically they had a roster of artist that was all very differ-
Mike Shinoda founded Linkin Park with Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson in 1996. Since then the band has released seven studio albums and toured the world several times. Today, Linkin Park is the biggest band on Facebook with 65 million fans and they were the first band to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. They are currently working on their next album.
ent; from us to Enrique Iglesias to YouTube star Annoying Orange. So when they hired people, they hired people that would be good for their company culture, not ours. Someone who was accountable to the head of their company, not to us. So we took certain key members of our staff in-house and hired some very specific roles, decisions that are all still to this day unconventional for a band. For instance, now we have our own in-house data analyst. The first week he was on board he increased our e-mail captures on linkinpark.com by over 400 percent.”
So you started to think of yourselves more as a startup. “Correct. We used our original work chart, which looked a little bit like a molecule. It’s got this nucleus that’s the band. Outside you’ve got our COO, a partner that runs Machine Shop and so on.” Startups need to be agile as they are moving in a very uncertain environment. How do you apply that to artists? “The music industry and being an artist is inherently turbulent. You have to be on top of trends and technology; how it affects the way you make music, how you release it to fans and how you talk to fans. Be-
cause the fans want a puff of magic, that special innovation component… For example, we’ve released songs with a number of fun project like video games and online/offline scavenger hunts.” Your model is very good. But it’s also very easy for a band like yours because you already have the resources, network and influence. What’s your advice for emerging artists? “At the end of the day, most labels will agree that building up your own fan base and skill set is beneficial. Look at the same thing as everyone
else: your followers, views and subscribers. Work on it, get leverage and show that you are interesting to the fan base.”
BRILLIANT QUO TE S B R I L L I A N T
T H O U G H T S
F R O M
B R I L L I A N T
M I N D S
“There is nothing more exciting than to build companies. My advice to young people in the startup world is to stick with your company a little longer than you had planned to. It’s great to have companies take off, you get very excited, you reach a plateau, and you wonder whether it is going to be that exciting again. And from my perspective with almost 40 years in a business I can tell you; yes, it’s going to keep getting exciting as you change and challenge, build and rebuild, and re-challenge yourself.”
Antonia Ax:son Johnson Owner, Axel Johnson
By Linda Iliste
HOW T O ARTICULATE HARD TRUTHS One of the most noteworthy talks during Brilliant Minds was the conversation between TV broadcaster Ronan Farrow and Peek.com co-founder Ruzwana Bashir. In an open and honest conversation they discussed how to handle hard truths in the media by relating to their own difficult experiences. The time to be polite is over, we must all speak up and use our platforms for change, according to Ruzwana and Ronan.
We live in an open yet rigid society; conventional norms around the definition of success, religion and family are maintained in media by way of printed magazines or TV newsrooms. Journalist Ronan Farrow knows a lot about this. As the host of an investigative reporting series on American TV channel NBC, he remembers how he was met by skepticism by his colleagues when he suggested transgendered guests three years ago.
“It’s a structural problem. Short form content like Tweets may be trending, but those are a long way away from, say, New York Times reports that dig deep and uncover truths. I really have seen how the old school media is resisting to give a voice to those who have been made voiceless in our society,” he says.
attending Harvard Business School. There I was, years later with all this opportunity, looking back at my community where most women lack it. I knew there were kids that were probably being abused by the same person. So I went back and testified against my abuser who’s now in prison.”
Ruzwana Bashir, co-founder and CEO of the one-stop-shop to discover and book activities Peek.com, used to be one of them. When discussing how ideas of openness clash de facto with traditional customs and affect people in their everyday lives, hers is a very personal account. She has spent years ignoring and hiding difficult experiences due to a culture of shame. It was only recently that she decided to cut through the noise in her own life, and Farrow asks her frankly how she managed to take this stand on one of her own hard truths. Bashir explains that growing up in a very conservative Pakistani community in northern England, it was considered incredibly shameful when a neighbor sexually assaulted her when she was ten. The shame ran so deep at the time, that she didn’t even understand what had happened to her and never spoke up.
But the community was still not supportive, so Bashir did it privately and still didn’t talk to anyone about it.
“I was fortunate to be able to leave the community, first for Oxford and then by moving to America and
“But about two years ago the huge issues of sexual abuse relating to the Pakistani communities surfaced in the UK, without any Pakistani victims coming forward. I found myself in a position where I could share my story and take a stand to help end the shame. So I wrote an article about it and my experiences for The Guardian, ‘The untold story of how a culture of shame perpetuates abuse’. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Bashir says that even though she just wanted to be known to the world as an entrepreneur she also felt a moral obligation to speak up and quickly realized she’d done the right thing. The article was read by about a million people and hundreds of letters poured in. Women in Mexico, Nigeria, and Japan; they all said the same thing, that it had happened
to them as well but they remained silent. Bashir calls it a pandemic that can only be combated by talking about it. “We need to shine a bright light on these problems and firstly say it’s not okay, and secondly that we can survive and hopefully have good, fulfilling lives.” Farrow relates it to what he calls an old guard of people who defend the privileged and do so often by shaming the victims. Unfortunately it’s very common practice around sexual abuse, making it so much harder for anyone to come forward. This is when it gets deeply personal for Farrow. “My sister was sexually assaulted when she was seven years old. She told this story publicly two years ago, as a 33-year-old adult. In our case it’s a particularly acute example of victim shaming because she’s gone up against a very powerful director – our father, Woody Allen. In our society, there are all these powerful men, the Bill Cosby’s and Roman Polanski’s, who are able to use their power to escape justice for a long time, and in some cases, forever.”
”There’s a hunger for something different, something more raw and less filtered” Farrow says he only wanted to be known for his work, just like Bashir. Not some painful, personal moment that would risk overshadowing everything else. The culture of shame had him firm in its grip and he simply avoided the issue, overwhelmed by a need to be silent and not ruffle any feathers. But as time went by, he too began to feel gagged by the norm of being polite in a civilization that apologizes for the perpetrators and shames the sufferers. So when The Hollywood Reporter published a profile on Allen that didn’t take the allegation into account, and later approached Farrow and asked him to write about it, he accepted. Just like Bashir’s article, Farrow’s exposé ‘My Father, Woody Allen, and the Danger of Questions Unasked’ spread like wildfire across social media. Numerous people have read it and several journalists have since made the choice to question Allen about it. “It took me years to finally get to this point where I openly say I believe my sister. Not only because I love her, but because there’s a staggering amount of evidence and it’s wrong of the press to avoid it. There are some good lessons to learn from this. The Hollywood Reporter said they’d been criticized for not asking tough questions. Even though there’s still a long way to go, things are changing.”
”I hope we can all be more real in our lives”
When holes like these are being poked in the overall culture of shame, the overall conversation also changes. Farrow underlines how important it therefore is for journalists and the media to confront the hard truths. Bashir nods in agreement. “Issues such as domestic and sexual abuse are surrounded by fear of being different from everyone else. I think the more we say and share how lots of people have had these terrible things happen to them, the more we can make sure that the victims aren’t the ones to blame. We’ve lived in a world in which we’ve worshipped the idea of being perfect. But with smartphones and digital inter-connectedness, we’re beginning to see every skeleton in the closet, everything we don’t want others to know about. Hopefully the idea of perfection will go away as we realize that everyone’s actually imperfect.” They call it getting rid of a hero myth, and Bashir continues by using Apple founder Steve Jobs as an example – an astonishing genius in so many ways, but with other aspects of his personality that weren’t great.
“Being able to both have pure aspects of ourselves in which we are able to do incredible things yet also having flaws and defects is what makes us human. It’s really important. It’s an opportunity to be transparent that I hope we’ll see more of.” ”The good news is that we see an appetite for it. There’s a hunger for something different, something more raw and less filtered,” Farrow continues. Bashir concludes it’s something she hopes people will take to heart. ”I hope we can all be more real in our lives.”
T H E
P O R T R A I T
“It doe sn’t matter if pe ople tell me it’s a dis gusting s ubje ct, be cause there’s serious inve stment that goe s into this area”
By Linda Iliste
THE RISE (AND RISE) OF INTIMATE TECHNOLOGY SIX YEARS AFTER CO-FOUNDING THE MULTI-MILLION POUND FURNITURE EMPORIUM MADE.COM, CHLOE MACINTOSH HAS BRANCHED OUT ON HER OWN. AT BRILLIANT MINDS SHE DELVED INTO THE DEPTHS OF ARTIFICIAL INTIMACY AND TECHNOLOGY. Name Chloe Macintosh Career Co-founder of online furniture shop Made.com, Creative Adviser to the Soho House Group Fun Fact One of the first vibrators, The Tremoussoir, was invented in Macintosh’s homeland France in 1734.
Sex is everywhere on the web. Pornography stands for one third of the world’s online traffic; every third click goes to porn. It’s an industry worth a staggering $97 billion. Whether you claim to like such content or not, there’s no denying that online sex has an impact on our offline lives – and vice versa. As technology changes, so does adult entertainment, and for the last three decades consumers of pornography have truly accelerated new communication technologies. It can be traced back to camcorders and the Polaroid camera, through phone services and pay-per-view cable TV, to 3D home cinemas. Add modern intelligent design and the interconnected ‘Internet of things’ to the mix and you end up with today’s seemingly endless possibilities for artificial intimacy. For the last five years this is precisely what Chloe Macintosh has focused her research on. The interest was sparked by one of her two sons.
“I stumbled across a piece of content via my then five year old who came to me asking ‘Mummy, what is this?’ I was pretty unprepared as to how to respond. I didn’t really have enough knowledge on the subject to address it, or to make him understand what that piece of content actually meant. I started looking at the topic from a consumer perspective, and as a woman and a mother, and wondered how I could feel so excluded from such a large industry.” An entrepreneur at heart, Chloe also wondered where in this industry she herself might be successful. She never saw her lack of knowledge as a disadvantage. Quite the contrary, she was familiar with the situation. Back in 2010 when she co-founded Made.com, she was trained in architecture at Beaux-Art in her native Paris and had worked as an associate partner at Foster + Partners in London. But she had no background in hard tech and no experience of e-commerce and distribution. “Not knowing became a really good tool for me to confront experts who were telling me certain things couldn’t be changed or done differently. My innocence around the topic gave me the strength to keep going, trying to create something for myself that was also relevant to other consumers. I have the same approach to this. It doesn’t matter if people tell me it’s a disgusting subject, because there’s serious investment that goes into this area.” The changes in pornography are part and parcel of the larger changes we see in the information
revolution that affects commerce and cultures worldwide. It has not only shaken up technology but also the established pornography industry, forcing it to reinvent itself to survive. Chloe points out how the Internet made nudie magazines under our beds redundant, just like it made paying for content unnecessary. “Alongside that, the improvement around the quality of cameras and high speed Internet has meant that production and distribution have exploded exponentially and made the industry even larger. This in turn has provoked a lot of behavioral changes, especially with a young audience who are accustomed to using their mobiles which is the first device where porn is consumed.” Chloe’s research shows that the largest demographic online pornography platforms reaches are 12-17 year olds. Jokingly, she says nothing really shocks her anymore, but there is a huge difference between her as an adult consuming pornography and someone young watching it with no context, maybe without any sexual experience at all. In the UK there are increasing reports about girls coming to the NHS, the National Health Service, with injuries that are related to having sex in a way that is harmful to them. “When I looked back at my data, I found that more than 50 percent of all online porn content feature anal sex. This is not a representation of real life and it contributes to these issues,” says Chloe. She argues that this ushers in a
need to educate children about sex before they reach it on the Internet. But there are silver linings. Even though real sex seems to be lagging behind pornography, the dialogue is evolving, partly thanks to input from people like Chloe Macintosh. This in turn affects the industry. For instance, sex toys are becoming increasingly intelligent. Chloe shows a picture with a selection of the current best selling sex toys on the market. They range from devices to pleasure your partner from long distance to a so-called Twerking Butt. It is made by website Pornhub and described as a sensual device that is “so advanced in technology it allows you to experience the ultimate in cyber passion with motion and movement so real, you will never see it coming”. “Pornhub is one of the largest sites in the world. In 2014 they recorded 28.9 billion video views. That is 11 videos for every man, woman and child on this planet. With this Twerking Butt they are essentially turning content into hardware,” says Chloe.
According to futurologist Ian Pearson most people will own toys that interact with virtual reality by 2035 and there are several female-orientated companies breaking new ground. One of them is MysteryVibe, a group of peers that formerly worked at Google, Deloitte and Nokia. Together with trend forecaster Seymour-Powell they’ve researched what women actually want and concluded it’s a fully flexible vibrator. It took almost a decade to develop, but just in time for Valentine’s Day 2016 they launched Crescendo, a silicone device with iPhone interface and six motors that is easy to manipulate to a shape of your personal liking. It is said to lead the way into a brave new female-focused space. “The sex toy industry has brought an educational side to women who, on average, at the age of 16 will own a sex toy. This is not a bad thing. For a young girl to educate herself about what she likes and how to be assertive about what she doesn’t like, is really important,” says Chloe and adds that one of the most interesting aspects of the future of sex and love is happening in the world of robotics.
“Robot engineer David Levy has written a book called ‘Love and Sex with Robots’, he gives 50 years or less for people to be able to legally marry robots. And just the other day I found an interesting stat that said 26 percent of Britons are willing to date a robot – but only if it looks like a real-life human.”
BRILLIANT QUO TE S B R I L L I A N T
T H O U G H T S
F R O M
B R I L L I A N T
M I N D S
“We’ve lived in a world in which we’ve worshipped the idea of being perfect. But with smartphones and digital inter-connectedness, we’re beginning to see everything we don’t want others to know. Hopefully the idea of perfection will go away as we realize that everyone’s actually imperfect. Being able to both have pure aspects of ourselves in which we are able to do incredible things yet also having flaws and defects, is what makes us human.”
Ruzwana Bashir Founder & CEO, Peek.com
T H E
C O M P A N Y
â€œWe focus on r adical tr ansp arency, showing pe ople the imp act of their moneyâ€?
By Linda Iliste
WHERE VIRT UAL RE ALITY MEET S GENUINE EMPATHY AT BRILLIANT MINDS, SCOTT HARRISON SHARED HIS JOURNEY FROM PROMOTING NIGHT CLUBS TO PROMOTING EVERYBODY’S RIGHT TO CLEAN WATER WITH THE HELP OF TECHNOLOGY.
Charity: Water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. It was founded by Scott Harrison in 2006 and use 100 percent of all public donations to fund their projects. This is shown through photos, GPS tracking and VR movies. Salaries and overhead are paid for by investors and other foundations. By August 2016, Charity: Water had funded 20,062 projects giving 6.3 million people access to clean water in 24 countries together with 25 partners. Charity: Water was the first charity in the world to reach 1 million Twitter followers.
“I had become the worst person I knew.” Scott Harrison is not mincing his words when talking about his background as a club promoter in New York City. For ten years he threw parties for the likes of MTV, VH1 and Bacardi – and ended up with a crisis of conscience. He wanted to rectify, sold all his possessions and moved to Liberia in West Africa. “I joined a humanitarian mission. While I was there, I met 13-yearold Howa who was drinking from a swamp. I had never seen a child drink dirty water before. In fact, I used to sell $10 bottles of imported Voss water to people in clubs who would order 20 and not even open them. But I learned that there are 663 million people in the world just like Howa, who don’t have clean drinking water simply because they’re born without access to it. That’s where the idea for Charity: Water comes from, ‘end the water crisis!’.”
But when Harrison talked to his friends, he understood very few trusted charities and NGOs. He realized that in order to do something big, he needed to re-invent charity as a whole. Hence, the mission of Charity: Water is not only to ensure safe, clean drinking water for every person on the planet – but to do it through a “100% Model” that guarantees all public donations go directly to the field for wells and water. Staff salaries and overhead are taken care of by investors and foundations. When the work had begun, the underlying question was still there: how would they make sure that supporters knew and trusted where their donations ended up?
With a $5 million dollar grant from Google, Charity: Water has also been able to develop a sensor that’s been put on all the projects. Through it, each donor can track exactly what’s going on with the project they’ve donated to – from when water in a well flows to how many liters is pumped out of it. In their latest technology project, Harrison and his team have started using virtual reality. With VR headsets anyone anywhere in the world can watch a movie documenting a week in the life of 13-year-old girl Selam and her family in Ethiopia. It begins with Selam collecting unclean water and ends with a team of workers arriving by truck to drill a well in her village.
“Storytelling has always been at the core of what we do. People don’t respond to statistics. Nobody feels anything when I say that 663 million people are without clean drinking water. But through stories with real people we create genuine compassion and empathy. The place to do this is online.”
So far thousands have watched it through VR headsets. Merged with millions of views on Facebook and YouTube, it’s clear to Harrison that being virtually present makes a tremendous difference for potential donors and supporters. It has led to donations much higher than expected.
Since Charity: Water was founded the same year as Google Earth, every water point that was made was put up on the online map with photos right form the start. The work was led by locals to ensure it was truly sustainable.
“One of the hardest things is getting people to care about other people who live in extreme poverty oceans away. But through radical transparency we have managed to raise over $215 million, with the help of many people who didn’t trust charities before, making sure 6 million people have access to clean water. At Charity: Water we’re continuing to think of how we can use technology, how we can use it to connect it to other people, to inspire people and help people in need. We believe this is the future.”
“We focus on radical transparency, showing people the impact of their money. We have built online tools where we can use the 100% Model and track it all. For example, we crowdsourced a million dollar drilling rig and put a GPS unit on it. The 10,000 people who funded it can track this piece of machinery that is saving lives every single day, in real time. It tweets its location as it drills.”
T H E
A R T I S T
â€œEverything ha s the po s sibility to carry and be c ome an ideaâ€?
By Linda Iliste
THE ARTI S T ARMED WITH TECHNOLOGY WIDELY KNOWN FOR HIS INNOVATIVE FINE ART INSTALLATIONS, DOUG AITKEN IS AT THE FRONTIER OF 21ST CENTURY COMMUNICATION. DURING BRILLIANT MINDS, DANIEL BIRNBAUM, DIRECTOR OF THE STOCKHOLM MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, PICKED AITKEN’S BRAIN ABOUT USING AN ARRAY OF MEDIUMS AS AN ARTISTIC APPROACH. Doug Aitken is an American artist and filmmaker. Defying definitions of genre, he explores every medium, from film and installations to architectural interventions.
You’ve always been close to new possibilities created by technology. Is it important to you to distinguish between the various industries you’re involved in – music, film, art – or is it all merging now? I think this is a really big question. Brilliant Minds deals so much with technology as a movement and capitalist venture – tech tools are invented all the time and every season there are more of them. But if they’re not used with ideas and a sense of urgency and a concept, they die out. I find the term “digital darwinism” very interesting. If we look back at the 20th century, we see a series of movements pushing against an image and breaking apart that image, just pushing against at every established medium. Today we find ourselves in a different situation. Now, it’s liquid. Everything’s moving and you can work in a more porous way and use many – any – mediums. Do you think that art academies and their paintings, sculpture and such are still valid today? There’s a metaphor for culture that speaks of the past as a mountain. At the foot of this mountain are authors, critics and producers. At the top is what’s actually selected to be created and curated. Today, this mountain has been eroded. It’s a flat, dense jungle as far as you can see. Each of us has a machete and we’re allowed our own journey into that jungle. It is driven by our curiosity. It’s a completely different landscape of creativity and empowerment.
In the end, art wants to reach an audience. There are many different formats for that – galleries, shows and museums. But you did a project that was completely outside of how artists normally work and exhibit, called “Station to Station”. Tell us about that. I organized a twelve-car train to go 4,000 miles across America from New York City to San Francisco. It was a nomadic studio. We had a recording car, a film car… We used the stations in the nine places the train stopped and at each we invite 300 or so artists, filmmakers and musicians. Everywhere we went, every day, something different was happening with different people. What was the idea? To use the concept of nomadism, it was the tool to create with as opposed to being in your city, in your space. I saw this as an opportunity to produce a “nomadic broadcast tower”, because here you have a number of individuals – from Patti Smith to Beck – creating. After a while, I felt we should democratize it and share it so you didn’t need to be there in the desert with us to experience it. So we started creating short films and made 2-3 a day for 30 days.
What did you do with the films? We shared them with the media and on the Internet. The idea was to create something that was purely artist-driven, that was like pollen – art like seeds in the air that anyone could catch. The train was a moving light sculpture, broadcasting content to a global audience as it traveled. You could sit in a café in London or be a student in Berlin, and find one of these creations. Really, we were interested in the roots-system of modern creativity. So how do you view art and technology? Everything has a possibility to carry and become an idea. Photography was created as a tool for documentation – now we see it as an art form. For instance, maybe we shouldn’t use a platform like Instagram as a tool for producing art; maybe we should use it as a tool unto itself. It will be interesting when we look back in 50 years, to see what’s in a museum of modern art. Maybe it will be a 17-year-old blogger or someone writing code – things we don’t even see as art yet.
By Catharina Swartz
A DUEL OF EC ONOMIC CHAMPIONS Is digitalization and modernization always the better path? In one of the most heated debates during Brilliant Minds, Swedbank’s Anna Felländer and iZettle’s Jacob De Geer sparred in an inspiring intellectual battle, asking themselves where rival banks and fintechs might find love.
Ours is an era of disruption. Advances within technology have the potential to truly reshape the world we live in as it transforms businesses and the global economy. In 2015, financial technology starups, or fintechs, raised vast sums of money and talked up the disturbance they could cause the establishment, from banks to payment firms. It may be one of the loudest buzzwords at the moment but according to Jacob de Geer, CEO and co-founder of Swedish mobile payment company iZettle, it’s been a long time coming. And De Geer won’t mince his words about what a challenge it has become for old school players.
“First of all, the bond between banks and customers is weak. The fact that we don’t go and see our branch offices anymore means the bank can’t really connect to us. Secondly, our trust in banks was damaged by the global financial crisis. Banks used to be extremely reliable and that’s not the case anymore, especially for a younger generation. Truth be told, millennials don’t want banks.” Looking at statistics it seems De Geer is on to something. 53 percent don’t think their bank offers anything different from other banks. One in three are open to the idea of switching to a new bank within 90 days. 73 percent would be more excited about new offerings from financial services outside of the banking industry – and 71 percent would rather go to the dentist. “But small financial technology businesses with millennials actually working for them are extremely vertical. We are focused on one thing only: consumer finance. We can directly identify you, cross-promote services and often also initiate services. Banks need to reset, reboot and restart. They can’t continue the way they are, working with ancient technology. You know, Swedish banks still look for programmers that can work with Cobalt. And if you don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you, it’s a program from the 1960s,” De Geer says cheekily and continues
to ask what potential paths banks can take from hereon out.
that will keep us alive and ahead,” she resolutely says.
Are they going to fight for the customer relationship, creating state of the art digital services working with newer technology and a lot more data? Or are they going to become a white label balance sheet provider, cutting costs and becoming a different type of institution? Whatever way they choose, De Geer says they’re facing a deep-rooted cultural problem.
First of all, Swedbank has 7 million customers in its database, a critical mass that can be incorporated into digital platforms. Secondly, Felländer points out that they offer the whole service package.
“How do you get a 150-year-old organization with processes that were created way before smartphones, to reboot and get access to people who want to change the world rather than work 9-5? It’s a big challenge!” As the Digital and Futuring Economist of the Nordic-Baltic banking group Swedbank, Anna Felländer is eager to confront De Geer’s brazen statements. “I think banks and fintechs can become love partners, that an attraction will spark between us as soon as we realize our respective competitive advantages. Yes, financial sectors have been busy with compliance and slow to adapt. We’ve underestimated the pace of innovators and the speed at which they, you, have grown. But even if, as you suggest, we become a commodity provider or start fighting you for your clients, we have assets
“None of you fintech startups are competing with us on our whole offer. We still have advantage in areas such as the corporate sector and asset management. Fintechs can’t handle such big flows. Holding capital is expensive.” Thirdly, Felländer says that banks also have a clear advantage in being able to offer physical meetings, necessary in the emotional business finance actually is. According to her, the bank has its retail distribution and it won’t be the same in ten years time. Technological systems can only be complementary to what the clients need in terms of urgency and complex issues. De Geer can’t help himself and interrupts. ”As customers we want specialized stores when we go shopping for different retail consumer items. It should be the same with banks. Customers should have better products available to them.” ”Right,” Felländer replies, “but you need banks because fintechs have not been tested in times of crisis. The reg-
”All proposed technology is good news for financial stability.”
ulatory framework is not adapted; it is unclear if there are built-in systematic risks. We would love to cooperate with you, Swedbank actually employ a tech specialist just for the development of innovating partnerships. There’s need to be compliant.”
So what can banks and fintechs actually learn from each other? Felländer points out that the financial market is so much more than money. She calls it the pulse of society and therefore it’s a market where all stakeholders are in grave need of vast regulation.
“Swish opened up the databases and made real-time transactions between banks possible. And without the pressure from our competitors we wouldn’t be this innovative. I think we can become the world’s fintech unicorn factory.”
“Do you remember what happened to Swedbank during the financial crisis? Was that being successfully pressure-tested?” De Geer probes.
”It’s necessary to stress that we have no idea how a crisis would be handled by startups if they controlled the market. But we have a lot to learn from startups. All the technology that’s been proposed or is already being incorporated, is good news for financial stability. Banks need more ability to move fast, to be transparent and involve clients better in co-creation and co-innovation. We’re seeing cross-fertilisation between sectors and we’d be happy to partner up with tech innovators,” says Felländer.
Again, De Geer agrees partly.
Felländer’s response is quick: “You have not been tested in a crisis at all. There might be a flight back to safety.” So far fintech innovation has been niche innovation. But it needs to be driven by the same type of change as other industries: leveling the playing field, lowering costs and creating penetration. With 60 percent of clients never having changed banks, is it maybe actual fintech banks that the future holds? Might there be a fintech market that is as ingrained as the banking market? De Geer says he believes the reason why old school banks haven’t changed until now is because the technology hasn’t been in place. “But the new digital banks coming along will be able to give the customer a product that is compliant – and regulated.”
De Geer agrees, but only somewhat. “There’s no question about that. But from the consumer angle it’s going to be much more challenging. Customers are much more demanding.” Felländer believes banks should go from being a product provider to really focusing on the client. She says the threat, or rather opportunity is to make sure clients start choosing them first-hand again. We shouldn’t forget Swedish banking success stories such as Swish either.
“Yes, the biggest problem is compliance. However, from our point of view, we can work with much more up-to-date technology to facilitate the regulatory process from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA), than the banks can. Because you work on old platforms and systems. If Sweden were to really achieve pole position in financial technology, we would need to update the FSA to a more digital vision, looking at the next generation of banks and fintechs to set foundations for the next generation of financial companies.” “I could be really bitter. I mean, we have invested in high fixed costs and high regulation,” Felländer admits and stresses just how very regulated Swedish banks are. ”Banks are under so much pressure to which we haven’t been able to adopt in due time. And you just waltz in, flirting with the customer, coming in between them and us…”
”Well, too bad… Boo-hoo!” De Geer intersects. Felländer is once again quick to respond: ”I’m not saying you should be under the same regulatory umbrella as us. That wouldn’t be fair, we have a full-scale offer and you don’t. Yet, somewhere we need to protect our customers.” ”More like protect you from losing customers!” Maybe, what the future truly holds are more niche banks. They may not necessarily be the cheapest banks, but possibly the greatest banks – specialist banks who don’t need to accommodate the entire market in one fell swoop. Whatever one believes, the fact is that banks have laid the foundation and fintechs are on the rise, being progressively disruptive. In the end, it’s hopefully the customer who finds the love affair best suitable for them. ”In five years banks and fintechs will be one big happy family, for sure!” De Geer closes.
TEST IM ON IALS F R O M
T H I S
Y E A R Â´ S
E V E N T
TECH ENTREPRENEUR & CO-FOUNDER TIMBALAND PRODUCTIONS
MICHAEL “DADDY” EVANS “As the President of Marketing for a high end smart bag called WizPak by The Ridley Co., which is the luxury of wearable tech, it was a pleasure to come to Stockholm and be around such forward thinkers. My personal highlight was listening to Professor Anita Elberse speaking about her research concerning modern superstars and how they use technology. I think Elberse is one of world's best speakers. Sweden is the perfect base for an event of this magnitude and I’m already excited for next year.”
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
PRINCE DANIEL ”Symposium and Brilliant Minds gathers the world’s most successful innovators and entrepreneurs as well as artists, musicians and CEO’s of major companies. Cross-industry get-togethers of this kind make Brilliant Minds unique and very interesting.”
FOUNDER & CEO DOBERMAN
LISA LINDSTRÖM “Brilliant Minds was two very significant days for me, very far removed from listening to panels repeating the same ideas and messages over and over followed by shallow mingle parties. There were meetings with real meaning and depth, a sense of being part of a collective experience that inspired to make a change. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Quincy Jones tell parts of his life’s story and was also deeply moved by Eugenia Kuyda and her talk about AI and the deseaced.”
HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL MAKER STUDIOS
CHAIRMAN & CEO INTERNATIONAL SONY MUSIC
”What an excellent conference! And with amazing people, both speakers and delegates. It was very well organized too. The atmosphere was great and everything had a well thought through programming. Together with Peder Bonnier, Anita Elberse and Jimmy Mayman, I participated in a panel called ’Democracy or Oligarchy: What Will be the Future of Content?’ moderated by Mike Butcher. I enjoyed it very much. The level of expertise and knowledge is so high at Brilliant Minds and there were some really good talks. That goes for Stockholm as well. It is a great city with lots of educated people with a global perspective and global ambitions.”
EDGAR BERGER ”Once again, Brilliant Minds was a one-of-a-kind gathering of inspiring and innovative minds from around the world. I felt that the Symposium and all its parts had developed further since last year. It has now reached the next level. I found it a great success, something to be very proud of. Brilliant Minds is now a highly anticipated and fixed item in my annual calendar. It’s also difficult to emphasize one particular aspect – the entire event is exceptional. However, I always enjoy engaging with the other conference invitees and contributors. Having the opportunity to have direct conversations and connecting on this other, more personal level with such interesting people is definitely amongst the highlights for me. During 2016’s event I loved the speech by artist JR and the ’The Power of Entrepreneurs’ discussion with Skype founder Niklas Zennström and Alphabet Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt. In addition, the talk between Quincy Jones and Quincy Jones III was truly memorable. The Swedes have their own way of doing things, being very confident and hard-nosed yet humble at the same time. It appears to be a winning formula. There seems to be a real desire to rethink and renew the world and, after all, success breeds success.”
EXECUTIVE EDITOR HARPER’S BAZAAR
LAURA BROWN ”I loved Brilliant Minds. It was so well organized with many amazing people that would be great to hear more from, and the location was incredible. I was part of an art panel called ‘Picasso in the Pocket: The Art Tech Movement Now’ that had brilliant talents on it – the artists Doug Aitken and Jordan Wolfson, publisher Staffan Ahrenberg and museum director Daniel Birnbaum. I could have talked to them all day. Being part of that panel was definitely a highlight for me. I'm a huge admirer of Doug Aitken and we immediately commenced plotting on a project together. That's always the greatest joy – being surrounded by incredible talent.”
CTO UNIVERSAL MUSIC
FOUNDER UNITED SCREENS, BOARD MEMBER H&M
STINA BERGFORS “Brilliant Minds was simply amazing! It is a great platform, arena and forum to challenge each other to be more innovative in the areas of tech, music, art, fashion and film. It’s inspiring and energizing! Among all great sessions and superstars that were on stage, the Symposium CEO and host Natalia Brzezinski was the biggest star of them all to me. She kept up the high energy and tied it all together for the audience throughout a very comprehensive agenda, with content extending across such a variety of complex cutting-edge areas. I was very impressed by her. Sweden and Stockholm has great momentum and a ‘can do’ attitude within entrepreneurship, thanks to people like Daniel Ek, Niklas Zennström and Ash Pournouri. A few years back most young people wanted to start working at an established, big company – today more and more aim for building their own businesses or working for a startup. I believe this is just the beginning.”
“Brilliant Minds 2016 was awesome, bringing folks together from so many different verticals. I’m the CTO of a worldwide music corporation so it was also a great way to meet people for me, as it just so happens that 20 percent of the music top charts are written in Sweden! In the future I believe that Brilliant Minds will be able to do a lot more around virtual reality storytelling and more on social issues. And once Spotify gets an IPO I believe there will be 20 spinoffs created in Stockholm alone… We need to continue to build up friendships and partnerships and truly make the city a scene and place where you want to be.”
CO-FOUNDER & CEO EVENTBRITE INC.
CEO AXEL JOHNSON AB
MIA BRUNELL LIVFORS “Brilliant Minds 2016 was a rewarding and inspiring event that gave many fresh perspectives. I walked away from it with new thoughts and impressions. Choosing one highpoint is nearly impossible – it’s the mixture of business, music and art in an immense network that is the true advantage of Brilliant Minds. Why Stockholm and Sweden have become such a breeding ground for startups stems from numerous reasons. Historically, Sweden has had many international businesses. We already work well on a global market. We also have several contemporary Swedish role models that have managed to create huge, international companies in a mere few years. Furthermore, I don’t think one should underestimate the fact that Sweden is very far ahead when it comes to effective broadband, particularly mobile broadband.”
“Ash Pournouri, Daniel Ek, Natalia Brzezinski and the team didn't disappoint to amaze this year with an incredible collection of thought leaders, pioneers, innovators and artists. This event is unparalleled in terms of content and diversity of perspective. Speaking on stage with Sebastian Siemiatkowski and Lisa Lindström was thrilling. I loved our conversation about the future of team leadership, collaboration and innovation. I think Sweden's success as a technology pioneer and innovation hotbed comes from a confluence of factors: first, the risk to start a company in Sweden is lower due to the benefits in government and welfare. Second, Sweden benefits from a strong technology infrastructure, which has bred digital cultures. And third, the culture of collaboration and paying it forward is self-fulfilling in leveraging the community aspect of strong startups and successful companies.”
BRILLIANT QUO TE S B R I L L I A N T
T H O U G H T S
F R O M
B R I L L I A N T
M I N D S
“The future of business will be borderless. Music, tech, fashion and media will flow seamlessly together. The most sustainable businesses will happen ‘in between’ – in between sectors, societies and generations.”
Daniel Ek Co-Founder & CEO of Spotify, Co-Founder of Symposium Stockholm
T H E
P O R T R A I T
“B eyonc é can reach her c ons umer s dire ctly”
By Catharina Swartz
THIS IS THE AGE OF THE S UPERS TAR THANKS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY SUPERSTARS AT THE VERY TOP OF THEIR PROFESSION ARE INCREASING IN POWER. PROFESSOR ANITA ELBERSE CAME TO BRILLIANT MINDS TO TALK ABOUT HOW THIS MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR TODAY’S BIGGEST TALENTS TO CROSS TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES.
In her book “Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment”, Professor Anita Elberse show how the surest path to long-term success is building a business around a blockbuster product. Along the way, she also reveal why entertainment executives often spend outrageous amounts of money in search of the next blockbuster, why superstars are paid unimaginable sums, and how digital technologies are transforming the entertainment landscape.
Anita Elberse has dedicated her professional life to analyzing the conditions that lie behind some of present times most prosperous personalities. And even though Elberse herself might not be a widespread household name, it’s not an understatement to say that her work has made her a superstar too. With several awards and published studies behind her, she currently serves as the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She is one of the youngest female professors granted tenure in the school’s history.
In her research, Elberse primarily looks at entertainment, media, sports and other creative industries, and how firms can develop effective marketing strategies for such products. Especially digital ones. “It’s not a new phenomenon that markets for creative talent are ‘the winner takes it all’ markets. We’ve seen that for decades. Look at Tom Cruise or Sandra Bullock who can make 60-70 million dollars for a single film when
two thirds of the Screen Actors Guild makes less than a thousand dollars a year. But lately some of the biggest superstars have become even more powerful than some of the biggest corporations – and the explanation is associated with digital technology,” she explains. One of them is of course the collecting and accumulation of huge followings on social media. For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo has more followers online than Nike and Coca-Cola combined. This creates a climate in which superstars can disinter-mediate and bypass certain industry players. Someone like Beyoncé can leave her record label and traditional retailers behind and instead reach consumers directly. It’s become increasingly difficult for various distribution channels to catch up to the global reach some of these superstars have. But of course it’s not all doom and gloom. The tech friendly climate leads to many new interesting ventures. Elberse has primarily found three. “Firstly, we see a lot of innovative partnerships. Take rapper Jay Z and the campaign for his lyrical memoir ‘Decoded’. Pages from the book were hidden all over cities that have meaning in his life, like being wrapped on a car in Brooklyn. Then Jay Z spread the word on social media for users to go find them and hence drum up interest and awareness about the book. All was paid for by Microsoft simply because Microsoft wanted the association,” she says. A second development she sees is that of multi-hyphenates: people that do it all without strain. People that are actors, writers, directors, singers
and fashion designers – all at the same time, easily crossing boundaries between one business segment to another. “For instance, the American basketball player Dwayne Wade has become involved in the worlds of fashion and television. The UFC fighter Ronda Rousey is no longer just an athlete but has decided to do move into films, television and production. There is more cross-pollination across different sectors, more collaboration and more learning.” Thirdly, a new breed of media moguls has taken to the stage: individual stars that are having a significant impact on the world of media. “The best examples I can think of are basketball player LeBron James and wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. LeBron has not only become a television producer and gotten a deal with Warner Bros similar to Clint Eastwood’s, but also launched Uninterrupted. Uninterrupted is a platform where lots of athletes can come together online and share their views, and also get a stronger, more direct connection with audiences. ‘The Rock’ has with his company 7 Bucks Productions arguably become the world's biggest movie star at the moment. He controls a lot of what is going on. Both LeBron and ‘The Rock’ have the power to be real juggernauts. They are creating real value for fans and changing the way in which business is being done.”
T H E
M U S I C
By Hugo Rehnberg
MAGNIFICENT MUSIC FROM BRILLIANT SWEDISH MINDS Brilliant Minds is where tech and music flow seamlessly together. Naturally the next Swedish creative innovators in music performed at the event; from modern soul singers to highly conceptual acts. The live music breaks were cherished and often got the whole room on their feet. These are the eight Swedish acts that played this year.
MIRIAM BRYANT Miriam Bryant’s debut “Raised in Rain” became one of the most applauded Swedish albums of 2013. Since then she’s risen to huge international acclaim with an Interscope contract, European club tours and performances on Jimmy Kimmel as well as the MTV Movie Awards. In her native Sweden, Bryant’s participation in the latest season of music TV series “Så mycket bättre” has gained her even more admiration. The heartfelt ballad she performed on the show, “One Last Time” has currently been played more than 9 million times on Spotify.
THE ROYAL CONCEPT The Royal Concept, comprising of David Larson (vocals), Filip Bekic (guitar), Magnus Robert (bass) and Frans Povel (drums) first achieved worldwide attention in 2012 with their viral hit “D-D-Dance”. Since then, the pop rock quartet has released two EP’s and the debut album “Goldrushed” while crisscrossing the globe to play live shows in packed venues. In so doing they’ve made a name for themselves as a great live band full of uncontainable energy. No surprise then that the stage is where they claim to be most alive.
JANICE After merely one single, the beautifully swift and uncluttered “Don’t Need To”, singer Janice Kavander has quickly gained a reputation as the new Billie Holiday. Her voice is said to have even more intensity and depth than the legendary soul songstress. While she may only be 22 years old, Janice has extensive experience. She’s been performing since the age of 5 and just like Lykke Li and Seinabo Sey she’s an alumnus of the Tensta Gospel Choir. Her debut EP is out this fall.
ALBIN LEE MELDAU One of Scandinavia’s fastest rising stars is Albin Lee Meldau. A gravelly voiced singer-songwriter from Gothenburg, he holds raw emotion and folk-pop aesthetics close to his heart. For years he’s wandered the street corners, pubs and venues of European cities, filling them with people and his guitar case with money. After making his official debut with the single “Lou Lou” in the spring of 2016 he blew up on Spotify too with over 1.5 million monthly listeners. Meldau is currently recording his debut album as well as jet setting around the globe to play live for a new throng of adoring international fans.
MAVRICK Inspired by the textured drama of Massive Attack, the pop experimentation of Prince and the rhythmic pulse of Thom Yorke’s solo adventure, Mavrick channels the spirit of these musical renegades into a framework of classic pop songwriting. After his hugely well-received singles “Remedy” and “Funeral” the young singer was selected for the Spotify Spotlight Program in 2016. Since then he has become one of the most unique up-and-coming artists in Sweden. Signed to Universal Music, Mavrick is currently working on his debut album.
ICONA POP The infectious synthpop offerings of Icona Pop have delighted their devoted global fan base for years. Comprised of Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, the duo got their big breakthrough with the euphoric hit “I Love It” in 2012 and has been busy ever since. They have released two EP’s, a full-length album and toured the world several times. Icona Pop are described as an effortlessly cool millennial music blessing with a magnificent future ahead of them. In all honesty though, that future is already here.
LIV Well-established artists Lykke Li, Andrew Wyatt, Pontus Winnberg, Björn Yttling, Stella Mozgawa and Jeff Bhasker are all old friends whom have worked together in various constellations through the years. With LIV, the Swedish word for “life”, they have now stepped into the limelight as a dazzling pop collective with a shared love for songs, rock n’ roll and each other. Their performance at Brilliant Minds was their second ever; following a much talked-about unveiling held in the living room of Li and Bhasker’s Los Angeles home last spring. A debut EP is expected late 2016.
ALIAS The Swedish super group Alias is under development and shrouded in mystery. Who they are and when they will surface to the world is a secret that only a few select have knowledge about while the rest of us wait in eager anticipation. All that is known is that they have a song called “Have Me”, a mesmerizing piece from Alias’ upcoming album that was performed for the first time during Brilliant Minds.
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P O R T R A I T
Everything falling into plac e ha s not made Lykke Li le s s inspired. Itâ€™s really the oppo site.
By Linda Iliste
BRE ATHING NEW LIFE INT O MUSIC THE BAND LIV MADE THEIR OFFICIAL SHOW DEBUT DURING BRILLIANT MINDS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH CO-FOUNDERS LYKKE LI AND ANDREW WYATT TO TALK ABOUT COLLABORATIVE, CREATIVE FORCES AND HOW MUSIC CAN ECHO THROUGH THE AGES. The friendship and work ties between Lykke Li and Miike Snow singer Andrew Wyatt go way back. To them, the creation of LIV was sparked ages ago. But for the rest of us, knowledge of the band surfaced in April when it was launched in the Los Angeles home of Li and boyfriend Jeff Bhasker. It was something of a sleek and chic PR fantasy, with Li, Wyatt and their fellow band members Bhasker, Jonathan Wilson, Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) and Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow, Bloodshy Avant) taking to a makeshift livingroom stage during a dinner party. Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson were there, as was Lana Del Ray, Drake Burnette, Grace Dunham and many other creatives from Li’s ever-growing Hollywood network. A dreamy feature of the fête appeared in American Vogue and LIV became the talk of the town.
starts reminiscing how Miike Snow supported Li on tour in 2008 and that the two of them used to do a cover of the Kings of Leon song ‘Knocked Up’. “We realized how well our voices work together and with Liv we sing duets all the time. Now we finally have a lot of songs.” With Jeff Bhasker recently winning the Grammy for Producer of the Year and the other LIV members being similarly high profile, it’s something of an understatement to say that they’re all very busy and sought after musicians. But both Li and Wyatt grimace when I call LIV a super group. Many have duly wondered what was going to happen to the creativity of the Swedish songstress who has never made it secret that she sees a connection between anguish and art, now that she leads a seemingly blissful life with Bhasker and baby son Dion. Was she maybe going full time into throwing these lavishly Instagrammable house parties with an array of celeb crème-de- la-crème? It seemed a million miles away from wearing her bruised heart on her sleeve; she’s been bare and brokenhearted, telling blunt stories about unraveling relationships and subsequent sorrow on all three of her solo albums (2008’s ‘Youth Novel’, 2011’s ‘Wounded Rhymes’, 2014’s ‘I Never Learn’). But no, everything falling into place has not made Li less inspired. It’s really the opposite.
“We’ve known each other for years and we’re all on the same collective label, Ingrid. So when we were doing a label showcase in Los Angeles 3 or 4 years ago, we started rehearsing together. It was so easy to find the groove and damn, we sounded good. So we decided to create a band and call it LIV, ‘life’ in Swedish, and make it about that – about life. It’s an untainted, independent, pure lovechild born out of our love for songs, rock n’ roll and for each other. We do really love each other so much.” When talking to Li it quickly becomes apparent that she tends to frame life events in spiritual terms, and she continues to say it was inevitable and meant to be. Written in the stars. She says LIV is the materialization of the substance that exists in between all of them. Wyatt on the other hand calls it “some kind of crazy groovy musical connection”. He
“That’s so lame. Everyone’s called a super group these days, it doesn’t even mean anything,” says Li. “Did you know that Led Zeppelin was called a super group when they first came out?” Andrew chips in. Li’s eyebrows go from being frowned to raised. “Really? I didn’t’ know that.” “Yeah, but by now, nobody remembers that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page ever did anything else. Ultimately, music is what matters most. And we don’t want to be recognized for who we are, but for how we sound.” Speaking of the sound, still not many have heard it. Brilliant Minds was LIV’s first official concert, instigated by the fact that Winnberg is close friends with Daniel Ek who insisted they
come play. They performed two new songs (as well as Li’s solo hit ‘I Follow Rivers’ by request) and judging by the audience’s response, LIV has a bright future. At the aforementioned LA party show, Li was asked to describe the music. She called it a lovechild between Fleetwood Mac and Abba, a description she has regretted since. “People expect you to describe what it sounds like, so I just blurted it out, I was super hungover and just said something to say something. We did listen a lot to Fleetwood’s album ‘Tusk’ while working as well as Graham, Stills, Nash, and Everly Brothers. What we’re doing is an antithesis to all the music out there that is overproduced. With LIV, there are no tricks.” However well thought-out the launch of the band seems, they claim there are no tricks behind the scenes either. Everything is still done through their collective label Ingrid, allowing them to create music and put it out there in a spontaneous way. “It’s all in the band name, about going back to life, to the pure roots, and be free. We don’t want to give away control to a big label, we definitely treat our band
as a startup in that way,” Li clarifies. “Besides, big labels aren’t necessary. They used to have the game so locked down and making it without them was very, very, very rare. It’s not rare at all now. Labels keep demanding you turn in your record months in advance and set up the release in a traditional way, but all the bits and pieces that go into traditional promotion campaigns are available through Internet. There’s a financial side to it too. It’s been 6-7 years since the inception of major streaming on different platforms and in a sinister way the labels have been pocketing the money as a result of non-disclosure agreements, blaming Spotify and YouTube,” Andrew continues. So how will LIV go about releasing their music to the rest of the world? Li says the first EP will be out in late August. “We have so much material that we’re trying to space it out instead of doing just one album and letting it all go at once. We’re doing it as an installation… That can continue forever, into the afterlife. Music that echoes through the ages. That’s it.”
C I T Y
H A L L
S T O C K H O L M
“ THE MORE WE PUBLISH, THE BET TER WE GET AT PREDIC TING WHAT THE RE ADERS LIKE” PEDER BONNIER, FOUNDER OF WEBSITE KIT, EXPLAINS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND ONE OF SWEDEN’S MOST NOTABLE MEDIA COMPANIES.
By Hugo Rehnberg American politics, all at the same time. A mix of those topics would be strange in a magazine – but that person is fully rational and in this case, I am that person. Once the starting point is no longer a target group but an individual with complex interests, publishers need to think differently.”
When Kit was launched a few years ago the Swedish media industry collectively raised its voice in scepticism. What were they thinking, creating a journalistic website without a traditional landing page? But the team behind Kit presented their idea as a modern media company, tailored to a day and age in which content is extensively consumed through mobile platforms and social networks. Today, Kit is one of the most talked about companies in the Swedish media landscape – and an indisputible frame of reference for other businesses in the midst of digitalization. Kit was founded by Peder Bonnier, Robert Brännström and Fredrik Strömberg and is largely funded by Bonnier Growth Media. When I ask Peder Bonnier – who is the former Head of Digital at Bonnier Tidskrifter (Bonnier Magazines) – to describe the idea behind Kit, he tells me a story about the phases Internet publishers have gone through over the past few decades. ”During the 90s publishing was mostly done through a given portal. In the US, Yahoo and AOL were the dominant platforms. Here in Sweden, Passagen and Aftonbladet became the biggest and most obvious online destinations. Then our Internet habits changed around 2005. Google became the online starting point and took over. Most media outlets started focusing on SEO, search engine optimization. What subjects were people interested in reading about and how did they search for that information? Semantics, what words people used, became highly important. In 2013, we entered the next phase. Earlier about 10 percent of online traffic came through mobile phones, now it skyrocketed to about 50 percent. At the same time more and more information was channeled forward through social media, especially Facebook.”
Are you saying that content overrides the product?
What was the reason behind this change? ”Facebook had decided to not only become a mobile actor but to also be the main source for news, inspiration and entertainment. All of a sudden content utilization was based around feeds. This forced publishers to rethink.” What conclusion did you reach? ”Many realized that strong emotions and wide-ranging topics caused a high number of shares. That’s why the Internet was suddenly flooded with cute animal videos and angry gender articles. But EVERYONE was doing it and so the content quickly became more universal. We felt it wasn’t the right way to build structural capital.” So how does a publisher adapt to that? ”The biggest difference today is that you can access a lot more information about your readers. What sort of headline works with a given subject? Is it best kept objective or humourous? Is the material collected from the field or by a desk? Why has the text been written, is it to provoke or explain? At Kit, we mark everything we publish in different categories so that the next time we create content about a certain topic we already have vital background knowledge. And the more content we publish, the better we get at predicting what the readers will like.” As an editor myself, I’d say that you create great content – but that the mix is very sprawling. “Exactly. That’s the point. Most big publishers are used to building content for a given target group, and thus creating a well-defined mix that fits that specific group. In the world of Internet feeds you can’t think like that. One might like fusion jazz, basketball and
”Correct. Whereas before the product was overruled by content. If you watch CNN or read The Economist you see that they build partly on great content – but every single article that gets published in The Economist is still conformed by the magazine’s theme. In the world of Internet feeds, it’s the opposite. The brand is not completely immaterial – most people would rather share an article from The New Yorker than the National Riffle Association – but it’s still the content itself that you’re sharing.” How many readers do you expect when publishing a Kit article? ”It’s completely different depending on what story we’re sharing. You’ve got two types of stories. Number one is that Zlatan is quitting soccer and number two is that an obscure fashion designer has started making furniture. We expect the first story to be read by some million people. As for the other one, we’re happy with a few thousand.” But what does a few thousand readers actually give you? That doesn’t generate ad revenue or natives, does it? ”Wrong. Previously it’s been about producing click bait so you can sell stupid ad views. But if a client wants to reach women in southern Dalarna aged 20 to 30 who are thinking about saving for their retirement, then a thousand readers is a great number. Advertisers want to know how to tell a story that has an impact. Everything else they can buy themselves. But what to say to that woman from Dalarna – and how to say it – is what we sell them.”
Isn’t it scary to put so much trust in Facebook who keep changing their algorithms? ”Both yes and no. In most industries you’re part of a food chain of sorts. And Facebook is a pretty democratic actor. A small player like us gets treated the same way as Swedish national television. Facebook’s product is its newsfeed. They completely depend on keeping that feed relevant and therefore continuously optimize it. Many publishers have a tendency to blame Facebook’s changes on Facebook. ‘Look, now they’ve gone and changed the algorithm again.’ But our outlook is that changes happen because the readers are expecting something else in their feeds.” Okay, so everything about Kit sounds good. But isn’s it easy to just copy what you do? ”Again, yes and no. All the data we gather in our so called Kit Story Engine acts as a barrier. We’ve also built an editorial office on top of our product. I think it’s difficult to simply start working they way we do in an already existing and integrated editorial environment.” What’s the next phase for Internet publishers? ”We believe that online feeds will last for quite some time. Kit’s business is built on that assumption. But eventually it will of course be replaced by something else. Perhaps virtual reality will take over and we might find ourselves operating through portals again.” Last but not least, what did you think of Brilliant Minds? ”It was really great. The most important aspect of Brilliant Minds is that it shines a light on everything that’s happening in Stockholm. The city is still increasing its importance as a technology hub. The conference had a great program, enthralling speakers and a lot of fun satellite functions. The most interesting talk was the art panel with Doug Aitken and Daniel Birnbaum. Even though their subject is very far fetched from what I do it was very exciting to listen to.”
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P O R T R A I T
â€œMy appr o ach is how we can lever age te chnolog y to challenge evil, yet still maintain Internet fre edomâ€?
By Linda Iliste
GHALLENGING EVIL WHILE FIGHTING F OR FR EEDOM JOANNA SHIELDS IS ONE OF BRITAIN’S LEADING INTERNET STARS. IN 2015 SHE JOINED THE GOVERNMENT AS THE COUNTRY’S FIRST INTERNET SECURITY MINISTER TO FIGHT IN THE WAR AGAINST CYBERCRIME. AT BRILLIANT MINDS, SHIELDS SPOKE ABOUT HOW TO GET TO THE BAD GUYS WHILE MAINTAINING A FREE AND OPEN INTERNET. Name Joanna Shields Education Bachelor of Science degree at The Pennsylvania State University 1984, Masters in Business Administration at George Washington University 1987.
Joanna Shields background reads as a long list of remarkable accomplishments. It stretches all the way back to pre-Internet ages as the young Miss Shields came to Silicon Valley in 1989, just as the world was going from analogue to digital. Over the coming 25 years, she helped building some of the world’s leading technology companies, holding senior executive roles at Google, AOL and Facebook. She steered several startups to successful acquisitions and as Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook Europe, Middle East and Africa, she led the company’s international growth to over 1 billion users. So when former British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010 announced his ambition to make London a world center for digital innovation, it came as no surprise that Shields was called in. She was made Cameron’s digital advisor and chair of the newly formed Tech City UK, which promotes Britain’s tech sector and is responsible for rebranding the area around East London postcode EC1V as Britain’s Silicon Valley. Similar to Stockholm’s unique ecosystem, the area rubs shoulders closely with the worlds of design, architecture, fashion and the arts and the financial powerhouse of the City. In 2015 Shields was shuffled upstairs, and went from tech guru to Baroness when appointed to the House of Lords and subsequently made UK minister for Internet safety and security. On her to-do-list you’ll find tackling online child abuse and exploitation, access to harmful content, as well as combating online radicalization and counter extremism. It’s not an easy or straightforward task, and Shields has often made
the UK headlines when authorities claim they need to be able to break encryption. However, Shields insists that weakening encryption and introducing backdoors for doing so is out of the question – according to her such tools only threaten the integrity of the Internet itself. “In this connected world, forces of evil are in a position to influence these great tools of technology we all use. And of course it’s outrageous that pedophiles are able to groom children online and that one can live stream sexual abuse. It enrages me. But my approach has always been to see how we can leverage technology to challenge this evil and thus try to turn technology against the bad guys – yet still maintain the freedom of the Internet. Regulation is just one instrument; it is never the right solution. I think we have to unite as companies, governments, and NGOs, and all come together in a shared purpose. Everyone has to do their part.” How do you suggest we get there? “We need awareness campaigns so that everyone understands the risks and can work towards a goal; for instance, child sexual abuse online. It’s even more challenging in the case of extremism as there is no clear legal framework. There’s not even a definition of what extremism is. One person’s extremist is another person’s freedom fighter… We in government need to bring this to the forefront, make sure people are aware of it, and build products and platforms that we all connect and share. There is a vulnerability of young people today. Through modern tech they’re open and susceptible in ways we’ve never seen before, which in turn challenges society in ways we’ve never seen before either.”
How is this different from when you grew up? “My generation had a utopian dream of the Internet and we’ve seen 25 years of an incredible revolution. But now, the younger generation has to deal with the complexities and realities of a world that’s accelerating into an ever-connected and more interdependent future with companies counting their users in billions. No one company or country can look at challenges online in the same way. Instead, we have to look at it as a group, and we have to unite behind our principles and our shared humanity, to address some of these big challenges that we face online.” You often get criticized about the security solutions you propose in your job. A common accusation is that you’re trying to limit people’s civil liberties or right of expression. Do you yourself feel muzzled by the media? “Governments are required to keep people safe in the physical space, but in the virtual world it’s really nobody’s responsibility. So what to do? We have to help and support kids. We have to develop education programs so they can recognize risky behavior or when other individuals don’t have their best interests at heart. All these things require a conversation. And yes, it is really frustrating when you’re not allowed to have that conversation because outrage merchants jump in and say that you’re trying to limit freedoms. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am the biggest believer in free and open Internet. I will be a champion of that till the day I die. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to raise the issue, talk about it and try to solve the problem.”
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GUES TS OF 2016 AT B R I L L I A N T M I N D S
BRILLIANT MINDS CONFERENCE 2016 S ymposium Stoc kholm is a w eek- lo ng fest iva l of i de a s , fash ion, m us ic and t ec h. I t s fla g ship event is B r i l l i a n t M i n ds , held June 9- 1 0 . The c o nferenc e c o nvene s i n n ov ativ e inter nat io na l lumina r ies, g lo b a l d ec i s i o n - m a k e r s a n d yo ung em erging t a lent â€“ c o ming t o g et her to c h a l l e n ge con ventional think ing in b usiness a nd so c iet y.
Ash Pournouri, Natalia Brzezinski and Daniel Ek.
The Brilliant Minds venue, Grand HĂ´tel Stockholm.
Ash Pournouri and Daniel Ek
Symposium CEO Natalia Brzezinski
Chloe MacIntosh and Vikram Gandhi
Eric Schmidt, Niklas Zennstrรถm and Robin Wauters
Antonia Ax:son Johnson, Marcus Wallenberg
Jacob De Geer
Jacob de Geer, Fredrik Hedberg, Anna FellĂ¤nder, Sabinije von Gaffke
Quincy Jones III and Quincy Jones
HRH Prince Daniel
The Royal Concept
The Royal Concept on stage
Antonia Ax:son Johnson and Johan Dennelind
Antonia Ax:son Johnson, Marcus Wallenberg
JR with friend
Assia Grazioli-Venier and Caitlin Hughes
Matt Bellamy and Daniel Ek
Jacob DeGeer, Anna FellĂ¤nder
LIV on stage
Brooke Hammerling and Mitch Kanner
Daniel Ek and Ash Pournouri
BRILLIANT MINDS SPEAKERS DINNER 2016 O n the evening of Ma y 2 0 t h, a fêt e w a s held a t th e be a u ti f u l S t o c k h o l m i sl an d of Kungliga D jurg å rd en a nd Ned re M a nill a , a h i s to ri c m a n s i o n c a re d f o r by t h e B on nier f am ily. Tog et her w it h t he fa mily, Symp os i u m S to c k h o l m tre a t e d th e gu e s t t o E u ropean delic ac ies o f fo o d a nd w ine d ur ing a s pe c i a l S pe a k e rs D i n n e r.
Ulrica Saxon and Albert Bonnier
Anna Kinberg Batra, Niklas Zennström, H.R.H Prince Daniel
Eva Röse and Jacob Felländer
Mia Brunell Livfors, H.R.H Prince Daniel
Joen Bonnier and Eugenia Kuyda
SYMPOSIUM HOUSE DINNER 2016 T h i s year all the att end ees w ere invit ed t o Sym po s i u m H o u s e a t El f v i k , L i di n gö f o r di n n e r a n d drinks .
Anna Felländer, Eva Röse, Jacob Felländer
Noomi Rapace, Ash Pournouri
Sophie Soop, Kristina Tjäder and Karin Söderlind
Adam Kostyal, Mia Brunell Livfors
Quincy Jones III with friend
BRILLIANT MINDS AFTERPARTY 2016 T h e off ic ial af terpar t y w a s ho st ed b y Symp o siu m S tockholm at No sh a nd C ho w o n J une 9 t h.
Summerburst Stockholm 2016
MORE MAGIC DURI NG SY M P O S I U M S T O C K H O L M
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THE P OLAR MUSIC PRIZE THE POLAR MUSIC PRIZE was founded in 1989 by the late Stig ”Stikkan” Anderson, one of the true greats in the history of popular music. As the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, he played a key role in their enormous success. The prize name stems from Anderson´s legendary record label, Polar Music.
The Polar Music Prize is one of the most prestigious and unique music prizes in the world, crossing over musical boundaries and awarded to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements. Laureates from a wide range of countries, cultures and continents have received the Prize in Stockholm from the hand of His Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf. When, in 1989, Stig Anderson donated 42 million SEK it was with the intention of endowing “the world’s biggest music prize” and that is exactly what he accomplished. The donor’s breadth of musical vision, characterized by an insistence that it is not only “good” music in the conventional sense which deserves to be rewarded because “good” music can mean such a wide variety of things, is reflected by the statues of the foundation. Without any restrictions of nationality, the prize is to be
“awarded for significant achievements in music and/or musical activity, or for achievements which are found to be of great potential importance for music or musical activity, and it shall be referable to all fields within or closely connected with music”. The Polar Music Prize is globally unique through its combination of scope and size. Nominations are handled by a prize committee, which is entitled to nominate candidates of its own. This committee includes representatives from SKAP (the Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers), FST (the Society of Swedish Composers), representatives from the Anderson family, musicians, previous laureates and Musikförläggarna (the Swedish Music Publishers Association). The Polar Music Prize is held annually in Stockholm, Sweden.
Some of the previous Polar Music Prize Laureates Paul McCartney - 1992 Elton John - 1995 Joni Mitchell - 1996 Ray Charles - 1998 Ravi Shankar - 1998 Stevie Wonder - 1999 Bob Dylan - 2000 B.B King - 2004 Led Zeppelin - 2006 Björk - 2010 Ennio Morricone - 2010 Patti Smith - 2011 Paul Simon - 2012 Yo-Yo Ma - 2012 Emmylou Harris - 2015 Evlyn Glennie - 2015 Max Martin - 2016 Cecilia Bartoli - 2016
H.M. Queen Silvia and H.M. King Karl XVI Gustaf together with 2016â€™s Polar Prize winners Max Martin and Cecilia Bartoli.
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S UMMERBURS T Summerburst is Scandinavia's premier contemporary music event for electronic dance music.
The f es ti v a l wa s f o u n d e d i n 2011 a s a pa rt o f S t u re pl a ns gruppen, a S w e d i s h ev ent gro up wi th a n u m b e r o f res ta ura nts a n d n i g h t c l u b s tha t ma i nl y o pera t e a rou n d the a rea o f Sture p l a n i n S t oc k ho l m. Si nc e 2015 , S u m m e rburs t i s pa rt o f L i v e N a t i on . I n i ts s i x y ea rs th e a n n u a l mus i c ex tra v a ga n z a h a s g ro w n f ro m 13, 000 v i s i t or s d u r i n g o ne da y i n Sto c k h o l m t o 120, 000 v i s i to rs d u r i n g t w o da y s i n two c i ti es , S t o c k h ol m a s wel l a s G o the n b u rg .
Summerburst takes pride in w e l c om i n g m u s i c l ov e r s f ro m a l l ov e r t h e w or l d . Ov e r t h e years, the festival has also had t h e p r i v i l e g e t o h os t m a n y o f t h e w or l d ’s m os t p rom i n e n t D J s s u c h a s Av i c i i , S w e d i s h House Mafia, Axwell/\Ingrosso, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Alesso, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, A r m i n v a n Bu u re n a n d m a n y m ore . Ve n u e s f or S u m m e r b u r s t i n 2 0 1 7 a re : S u m m e rbu r s t G o th e n bu rg Nya Ullevi, Ullevigatan G ot h e n b u rg , S w e d e n S u m m e rbu r s t S to c k h o l m G ä rd e t Op e n A i r Ve n u e , Va l h a l l a v ä g e n , S w e d e n
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THE DENNIZ P OP AWARDS THE LEGACY C ONTINUES The Denniz Pop Awards were created by former producers at Cheiron Studios (the hit factory located by Fridhemsplan, founded by Denniz Pop), together with colleagues, friends and the family of the late Denniz Pop. "The idea is to support new talent in the music industry in order to carry on where Denniz Pop left off and to keep the legacy alive," says one of the founders, Jacob Schulze. Denniz Pop grew up in Tullinge, a suburb south of Greater Stockholm. He was not a musician himself but a DJ who played at youth centers and dreamed of performing at the big clubs in town. His greatness as a producer was that he never forgot the user perspective. His strength was to spotlight the core of a song and then clarify and simplify it. He was extremely skilled at instinctively knowing what made a song work or not. But Denniz Pop’s greatest contribution to pop history was perhaps his way of working. He saw music creation as a team effort, where everyone helped everyone and new talents got the chance to take a step forward. He became a mentor to a whole generation of successful Swedish songwriters and producers.
The Denniz Pop Awards Foundation collects money for the prizes and also makes donations each year to the Denniz Pop Foundation, which supports the environment at the Radiumhemmet hospital. The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (SKAP), companies and private individuals make contributions. The prize statuettes are handmade by the artist Paul Sundvik and can be viewed at the Swedish Music Hall Of Fame.
"The Denniz Pop Awards are amazing as they highlight the origin of what we call the ‘Swedish Music Miracle’ while providing active support to and putting the spotlight on the songwriters and producers of the future. It's like a musical relay baton where everyone is a winner," says Alfons Karabuda, Chairperson of SKAP. Previous winners include Avicii, Ash Pournouri, Tove Lo and Swedish House Mafia.
"In the jury we look for artists, songwriters and producers who we think have the potential to achieve an international career. All the contributions – those with and without record deals, well-known and unknown – all have exactly the same chance when they face the jury," says Jacob Schulze.
The awards are divided into the following categories:
The jury consists of Denniz Pop's producer and songwriter colleagues from the legendary Cheiron Studios: Max Martin, Rami Yacoub, Jörgen Elofsson, Andreas Carlsson, Jacob Schulze, John Amatiello, Kristian Lundin, David Kreuger and Per Magnusson. People who together with Denniz Pop contributed to bringing about the ”Swedish Music Miracle”.
• Rookie Artist/Band of the year • Rookie Songwriter/Producer of the year • The Grand Prize • MVP of the Year
“A good pop song has to be interesting. It can’t be boring and bland because then it’s not a pop song anymore. Then it’s something else, then it’s… music.” Denniz Pop
REFLECTIONS FROM THE FOUNDERS By Hugo Rehnberg
Daniel, why was Brilliant Minds initially created? “Because the future of business will be borderless. Music, tech, fashion and media will flow seamlessly together. The most sustainable business will happen ‘in between’ – in between sectors, societies and generations. With Brilliant Minds, we hope to challenge conventional thinking in business and society, and identify new drivers, incentives and components of modern creativity. In connection with the conference we want to unveil the lessons of Sweden’s highly successful business and life cultures and attempt to apply them to the global challenges of our time by bringing together the world’s preeminent minds in an intimate, authentic and collaborative setting.” Ash, what influences and inspires you to keep building the conference? “Normally most people attending conferences are locked up for hours on end from morning to evening. The listening is passive and you have very little time to actually connect to those on stage. At Symposium and Brilliant Minds we curate the experi-
ence for those who are normally just the draw for the attendees. Those that are used to fending for themselves because they are too influential. Most conferences can’t cope with their needs. We take care of them from the moment they land until the moment they leave – guiding them through the best we have to offer.” Daniel, back in 2012 The Economist pronounced on its cover “Sweden has reached the future first”. Do you believe this to be true? “In many aspects, Sweden is leading solutions for sustainability and can be counted as one of the most ‘socially aware’ countries. It has come very far in terms of creating awareness for climate change, gender equality and progressiveness in technological advances. Not to mention the fact that we have had peace in our country for over 200 years.” Ash, do you agree with American President Barack Obama when he says that the world would be more prosperous and well run if it were a bit more Nordic?
Brilliant Minds is the brainchild of entrepreneur and music manager Ash Pournouri and Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek. We spoke to them about Brilliant Mind’s core values, why Sweden is creatively unique and how innovation is ushered forward through technology.
“It’s of course a very big question… But generally he’s right in regards to the fact that at the core of our society there is collaboration, which serves most citizens, not just the top few.”
just a matter of time before the world of health and pharmaceutical companies catch on and begin to focus on accessible proactive treatment instead of just reactive care.”
Speaking of how Nordic models create flourishing communities… Daniel, you have first hand experience from the Swedish tech ecosystem. What allowed you to take a risk, start Spotify and build it into a success?
Ash, what inspires you as an entrepreneur?
“I think Sweden offers a unique foundation in terms of financial stability, raw technical talent and innovation. That is what makes it a great testing ground for entrepreneurial ideas.” And what inspires you as an entrepreneur today? “To try and make the world a better and more accessible place. We started Spotify in order to make all of the world’s music accessible through a single service, whenever and wherever you are. And I think accessibility will play a huge part in the world of innovation moving forward. Just look at some of the most disruptive companies today – Airbnb, Uber and Alibaba… It’s hopefully
“The fact that I can make a difference in the world. Looking at the challenges we are currently facing, sustainability is a super hot topic for any industry to include in their thinking about the future and innovation.” What do you think the future holds in terms of technology trends? “The next big digital revolution is the one that AI will bring. Actually, it is bringing it right now as we speak. It will change everything digital in our world. After that, nanotechnology will change everything physical.”