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CREAT IVE CAPITAL OF THE WOR LD W W W . S Y M P O S I U M . C O
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C ONTENTS. W E L C O M E
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WORDS FROM THE FOUNDERS Ash Pournouri & Daniel Ek
Jan Gradvall THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RISKING IT ALL
Why entrepreneurs are vital for Sweden's future! HRH PRINCE DANIEL
The ultimate way to BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY
THE ENTREPRENEURS WHO BUILT SWEDEN
NIKLAS ZENNSTRÃ–M A Swedish IT pioneer
THE OTHER PARTS OF SYMPOSIUM STOCKHOLM
WORDS FROM THE CEO When you live in Stockholm, you’re living in the future. And we’re helping to build the future of creativity, music and tech thought leadership with Brilliant Minds, part of Symposium Stockholm. What drives me is working with people who aren’t afraid to stand out, challenge the status quo, tackle an obstacle or opportunity with their own two hands and create disruptive solutions that make a difference in the world.
This is the culture and aim of Brilliant Minds, and working with Ash and Daniel, two of the most innovative entrepreneurs I’ve ever met, and a dynamic Symposium team, is empowering and path-breaking! In my time in Sweden, I studied the Swedish tech scene and it’s interconnectedness with entrepreneurship, innovation and the empowerment of women, youth and inquisitive minds. Very quickly I began to sense that this is a very special moment between Sweden and the world. Stockholm is one of the most creative hubs in the modern era, and an international symbol for what a society of the future can look like. It espouses new generation values of egalitarianism and equality, consensus, inclusion, decentralized thinking and openness to new trends. These are values that Millennials from Africa to Canada to the Middle East and Europe hold universal. In Sweden the world’s hopes are realized. It’s a place where most women work, where the young and the old are looked after, and one that has put a premium on sustainability and being green for decades. For these reasons and more, it’s no surprise that Stockholm has been attracting record numbers of venture
capital for years, outshining larger and more cosmopolitan cities like London and Berlin— cities that are much louder in promoting themselves than Stockholm. But Stockholm doesn’t need to “shout”, it just opens the doors and ushers visitors down a path of self-discovery. At Symposium Stockholm 2015, I had the pleasure to moderate a panel on leveraging social media to create social change and drive business. One of my favorite panelists was the Swedish singing phenomenon, Zara Larsson, who at just age 17 has established an authentic voice on modern feminism and is never afraid to challenge authority or prejudice. Her social media platforms are the most powerful and wide-reaching in Sweden, and she uses them to provoke for the right causes. She has also bypassed traditional business models around music to create her own brand based on the viral nature of The Internet. She represents a future where women around the world have a voice and use it boldly. I met so many interesting international business leaders, creative artists and founders at Brilliant Minds that I’ve remained in touch with and have continued to collaborate and work with thereafter. I’ve been to hundreds of conferences and never made the same genuine connections based
on shared values and a shared vision of the world. Symposium was an informal, fun, intimate setting where people could connect naturally and substantively. Media and business is changing at an exponential rate. We’re in a very fluid moment where influence can come from many different areas and global narratives are shaped through an individual human lens. The future of business will be borderless. Music, tech, fashion and media will flow seamlessly together, and we are sitting at the cross-sector of this flow and curating it through Brilliant Minds. We will be one bridge encompassing the singularity of creativity. And we will build a community of thought leaders defining the innovation of tomorrow. I’m so excited to help Ash and Daniel export innovation from Sweden to the world with Brilliant Minds and Symposium Stockholm. The world could be more innovative and forward-looking if it were a little more Swedish!
WORDS FROM THE FOUNDERS "Symposium will show you why Sweden, through its entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation and creativity, is uniquely positioned to breed tomorrow’s success stories, today. We are excited to have the top minds in the world come together in our hometown; we expect great ideas and connections to happen". / Ash Pournouri “Stockholm has long been a hub of innovation and our unique viewpoint has impacted industry, music, technology, and culture. I am excited that we will be able to look at what makes this city the creative capital of the world, and what that means for the future”. / Daniel Ek
Words from Ash Pournouri co-founder of Symposium Stockholm
What do you want to accomplish with Symposium Stockholm. What is the vision?
What sparked the idea of Symposium Stockholm and Brilliant Minds?
As mentioned when answering the first question - create a platform, but also and even more importantly, a bridge between Stockholm and the rest of the world. We want to put Sweden and Stockholm on the map, positioning it as the creative capital of the world. We want to drastically increase the attention spent on Sweden as an innovative country and have the world see why they should be either spending more time on, or even establish business in, Swedes and Sweden. We want to better communicate with the rest of the world and improve housing abilities so that we can attract the world's best talent for Swedish companies to recruit.
Both of us travel a lot around the world and get to represent Sweden everywhere. We were glad to see how great a reputation "Swedes" have but very few around the globe actually knew anything about the country or even where it is, often confusing Swedish culture with Swiss, Norwegian or the North Pole! We felt Sweden needed a better platform from which to speak on the many attributes that are globally influential and impressive. Symposium Stockholm is becoming that platform.
Was it an obvious approach to match tech with music as a theme? Considering the fact that Sweden has the highest income per capita in the global music business and Stockholm being second after Silicon Valley in per capita billion dollar startups, it was an obvious first launchpad to bring those worlds together here. In the following years we will expand into fashion and film, but retaining creativity as the essential consideration.
Are you happy with the inaugural year? Not having done any conferences in the past, both of us had big expectations of ourselves and the event to deliver a first class, unique experience. Basically combining the best of what we both had seen from other events around the world and adding in what we have been missing. The result, even in the first year, was something I think most guests found an unforgettable experience. Most guests walked away having had a lot of fun while actually achieving something for themselves or their business. New relationships, old relationships rekindled and many comments on how this was the best conference they've been to, were all quotes we took to heart, aiming even higher for 2016 and beyond. Any personal highlights? The unbeatable dinner experience on top of the hill on the south side of the city centre could not have been better. Relaxed atmosphere, amazing weather and great food offered the group of brilliant minds from mixed industries a night that I think was one of the best business social occasions of the year."
What ingredients are crucial to make a conference successful at this level? Attention to detail. All the way. From the format to taking care of the guests to the branding. What is your theory on why Stockholm and Sweden have bred so many successful tech companies? I think many have stated various reasons for this but in general Swedes tend to build for the world first, rather than Sweden first, when it comes to tech. Usually the tweaks needed to make something global rather than local are not that demanding (as in music - a hit song in Sweden could potentially be a hit song internationally when sung in English). But more than that, the ecosystem of, among other things, great healthcare, role models and free education, is what breeds the culture of entrepreneurial opportunities.
Which of the younger tech companies do you think could be the next Spotify or Klarna? Truecaller is poised to be the next. And beyond that a lot is happening in the next wave of startups coming. It will be interesting to see how many of those will make the billion dollar mark. Sweden is already good at breeding great entrepreneurs. What can we do to be better? Brilliant Minds is exactly the kind of platform for all companies and individuals seeking to improve the basics required in order to be better breeders of entrepreneurs. With everyone speaking in their own corner, it's hard to get attention from the world. Under the Symposium Stockholm umbrella, we can all speak louder through a giant megaphone.
Why are there so few women entrepreneurs - in Sweden and globally - and what can be done to improve this? I think Sweden is already doing a lot in trying to be better than the rest of the world in empowering women in the business world. Equality promotions such as equal parental leave, several opportunities to obtain exclusive grants and many initiatives - both state-backed and private - for women entrepreneurs to gain focus in the business climate, have all been there for years. What traits are the most important in a skilled entrepreneur? The ability to predict the future.
What can we expect from Symposium Stockholm 2016? Now that we know the ins and outs of running a conference, we can iron out the kinks and focus on providing even greater content on stage with the outsight that we are speaking about the future. On the board of Symposium Stockholm now are, among others, Niklas Zennstrรถm (Skype, Atomico) and Karl Johan Persson (H&M), with Natalia Brzezinski as full time CEO and with a fully dedicated team, unlike the first year, so we are hoping to step things up not just one but five notches.
You are both known for thinking global rather than local. Will Symposium Stockholm be a multinational event within the near future? Very likely. At least with lead-up events on a smaller scale. We have already been invited to join many other influential business conferences around the world to organize dinners and programs under the Symposium Stockholm/Brilliant Minds banner. Our main focus will however always be the Symposium Stockholm festival and all the events under its umbrella.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RISKING IT ALL. J A N G R A D V W H Y D A R I N I N V E S T M E N M O R E A N D
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Text: Jan Gradvall
Jan Gradva ll is o ne o f Sw ed en' s lea d in g j o u r n a l i s t s , and has, amo ng o t her t hing s, b een nam e d Co lum nis t o f t he Yea r in Sw ed en.
If you want something you do to be your best, you have to be willing to risk that the outcome could be your worst. It’s easier said than done. Few of us dare to take that chance. On one hand, playing it safe – that is working predominantly on defending your position instead of taking the offensive – can be just as distinctive in a creative field as it is in football. Tech companies, entrepreneurs, musicians, even journalists – everyone talks about how important it is to give 100 percent. Realistically, we most often end up giving somewhere around 80 percent. That way we know, worst case, things can’t turn out all that bad. Then at least we stay in the game. The above quote regarding the best/ worst scenario is credited to Swedish advertising creatives Paul Malmström and Linus Karlsson. At the end of the 1990s I wrote a feature story about Paul and Linus in Minneapolis, where they had recently moved. Like two Swedish hockey players, they had been recruited and drafted to North America. Previously Paul & Linus, later nicknamed “The Swedes”, had been creating revolutionary commercials in Sweden for clients such as OLW and Diesel, among others. There in that established and conventional ad agency in the US, with its Draper-esque interior, their first assignment would be to put together a pitch for Miller Brewing Company, one of the country’s largest accounts. Almost anyone else would have played it safe and served up something that would make the client feel comfortable.
However, Paul and Linus reminded themselves of their motto, the benchmark they’d always lived up to in Sweden: “If you want to do your best, you have to be willing to risk doing your worst.” They went all out.
As early as 1975 a Kodak employee had developed something called a digital camera, but why invest in that and risk what you knew worked?
What they presented was a completely insane and deeply ironic campaign of TV-commercials featuring chimpanzees, heavy metal drummers, cheerleaders, and evil beavers.
Having been a music journalist for over 30 years, I see examples like Boeing and Kodak all the time. The artists that avoid developing themselves and try to rest on their laurels repeat a once-successful formula, stick around for two years but are forgotten within five.
Their risk paid off. The Miller Lite advertising campaign became one of the most famous in the US in modern times. If The Swedes had failed, it’s more than likely they wouldn’t simply have gotten a better-luck-next-time pat on the back – they would have been fired. In the constantly changing world of today, daring to stake it all in aggressive investments has become more and more important. Those who play it safe or try to rest on their laurels will someday wake up and realize that they are without a job. Financial Times named Boeing as an example in their supplement on the topic of Corporate Longevity. If Boeing had played it safe back in the day, the company most likely would have followed the same fate as all the other aircraft manufacturers founded in the 1910s who were closed down. People today would remember neither their name nor their aircraft. However, Boeing came to be known for making riskier investments than anyone else in the industry - investments that put everything that had gone before at stake. Boeing was first with the turboprop plane, first with the modern jet plane and first with a 747 jumbo jet. All these investments were so expensive that, each time, Boeing risked the future of the whole company. All out. The entire history of commerce is full of examples of the opposite. Right up until 1999 Kodak earned so much money from analogue cameras and film rolls that they prioritized profits over technical development.
In 2012 Kodak applied for bankruptcy.
The Beatles, the greatest pop band of all time, never rested on their laurels. Every new Beatles' single sounded completely different from the one before. With elements of everything from reverse sounds to Indian folk music instruments, The Beatles always risked every new project being the worst they’d ever done. Or look at David Bowie, who during the 1970s shed his skin and every year scrapped set-in-stone concepts on which other artists would build whole careers. Or look at Avicii, who during the Ultra Festival in Miami 2013 - I was there - was laughed out by house music connoisseurs when he suddenly played an odd tune, influenced by bluegrass, called "Wake me up".
If you want something you do to be your best, you have to be willing to risk that the outcome could be your worst.
I have this quote taped on the wall in my office at home. It reminds me not to play it safe by writing the type of texts clients request if I want to avoid the same fate as Kodak. Instead, I have to seek out the things I don’t yet have a grip on. Maybe I should tape up a picture of a 747 as well?
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By Hugo Rehnberg
HIS ROYAL HIGHNES S
PRINCE DANIEL TALKS ABOUT HOW VITAL ENTREPRENEURS ARE FOR SWEDEN'S FUTURE. Prince Daniel has a great entrepreneurial streak and a history of running several companies. Two reasons which made him a natural choice as both speaker and guest of honour at the first ever Brilliant Minds. Afterwards he was very positive about the experience. "Brilliant Minds brought together Sweden's tech and music elite, and showed that Stockholm is one of the most creative cities in the world. We Swedes still live with 'The Law of Jante' and 'I'm not worthy' (Scandinavian culture of not promoting any individual achievement above others) - Brilliant Minds shows that Stockholm, and Sweden, are incredibly creative and successful within both the technology and music industries. The guests at Brilliant Minds were a mixture of the world's most successful innovators and entrepreneurs as well as artists, musicians and CEOs of major companies. Cross-industry get-togethers of this kind make Brilliant Minds unique and very interesting. Any particular highlights? "There were many items in the programme that were extremely inspiring. It’s difficult to pick out something in particular." What made the Prince want to participate? "For me, it’s important to illustrate the significance of entrepreneurship. We have to praise those who dare and honour those who succeed. It is important to shed light on our skilled and successful entrepreneurs.
It’s also important that people from a broad range of industries gather under one and the same roof and recognize Sweden and Swedish success stories. Sweden is one of the world's leading countries within telecoms, music, computer games and much, much more. We just need to learn how to be better at sticking our necks out and acknowledge that. Entrepreneurs are important in the development of society. They solve big and small problems for the rest of us, and sometimes create fantastic things out of nothing. Things which the rest of us thought were impossible or which we didn't realise we couldn't be without. Neither should we forget about the job opportunities that entrepreneurs create."
What are the key ingredients to make these kinds of events interesting? "I think the key is partly the mixture and partly the fact that the event includes many different industries. Interacting across boundaries, and sharing one's experiences, is both inspiring and enriching." Has the Prince any theory about why Stockholm and Sweden have produced so many successful tech companies? “Sweden has a long history of entrepreneurial spirit. Since the domestic market was relatively small, Swedish companies entered the global stage early on. As a result, already back in the 19th century it was not unusual to carry out business globally.”
Which of the younger tech companies does the Prince think could become the next Spotify or Klarna? "There are many companies throughout Sweden that have such potential. Of the ones I’m familiar with I suspect Truecaller and iZettle are both going to reach that level of success. What are the most important qualities of a skilled entrepreneur? "Everything is basically down to the execution. You can have the world's best idea but if you lack the drive, your product or service will not reach the market. To be daring and not afraid to fail are also key aspects.
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”When I travel abroad, everyone wants to hear about Swedish music and Swedish tech. How could anything good come from such a strange place up in the North? But you should know it hasn’t always been like that. When we started with Abba and sent demos out, they went straight to the bin at the record companies”.
Björn Ulvaeus - Music legend Songwriter, founder of Abba and creator of musicals Chess, Kristina från Dufvemåla and Mamma Mia!
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B JรRN ULVAEUS
"WITH ABBA, WE OPENED A DOOR" Bjรถrn Ulvaeus talks about flops, the Nordic work ethic and the reasons behind the Swedish Music Miracle.
By Hugo Rehnberg
Text: Hugo Rehnberg
Björn Ulvaeus’ presentation during Brilliant Minds was one of the most popular. Among other things, he talked about ABBA’s trouble finding an international record company that wanted to invest in them. In the early 70s, Sweden was mostly known for its soft porn and beautiful women. Nobody thought that good pop music could be created in the north. Their demos were rejected by all the international record labels - except for Playboy Records. But this was not with the name ABBA, but instead “Björn and Benny with the Swedish girls”. The record was a complete flop. But they didn't give up, and tried the next alternative: the Eurovision Song Contest. And that went a bit better…
It sounds like you had a good dose of entrepreneurship? "Absolutely, we were stubborn. In particular Stikkan (Andersson, ABBA’s manager) was a real entrepreneur. And he inspired Benny and me in particular. Stikkan had written a hit for (Swedish 60s star) Lill-Babs and he created a small publishing company using the royalty money from that. Some of his entrepreneurial drive no doubt rubbed off on us. Relatively speaking, Swedes are very successful in the worlds of music and tech. Why do you think this is? ”Yes, I suppose that’s quite strange. But one has probably given rise to the other. If one takes music, which is of course closest to my heart, I think ABBA was certainly very important. Before we appeared, Swedish musicians didn't really believe they could make a major international breakthrough. We're a very modest people. But with ABBA, we opened a door. Today many young artists and songwriters think globally from the very start. Nothing is insurmountable. The mentality is completely different today from how it was in the 60s and 70s," says Ulvaeus and continues:
"I also think that Scandinavians have an unusually good work ethic. We are steadfast and have realised that one has to put a lot of time into something in order to make it good." How long did it take you to write Dancing Queen? "Haha, I do not remember exactly, but we sat and bounced ideas backwards and forwards for ages for all the songs. Benny and I sometimes worked around the clock and then things would usually fall into place. Many people think that once you have a good chorus you are done. For us, every little thing in the song was equally important." Abba stayed together for just over 10 years and has to date sold about 400 million records. Since then, Björn Ulvaeus, along with Benny Andersson, has created the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla and Mamma Mia, among other things. The latter was also made into a film featuring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. ABBA the Museum opened a few years ago on the Djurgården island in Stockholm and it has quickly become a popular tourist attraction.
Björn Ulvaeus is currently busy writing the next chapter in the Mamma Mia Saga. The classic pub Tyrol at the Gröna Lund amusement park in Stockholm is being rebuilt into a Greek tavern, which will host "Mamma Mia! The Party". "The idea is to party in a setting reminiscent of the film and the musical "Mamma Mia!". With ABBA's music of course. Guests will be able to enjoy a Greek atmosphere. There is also a part in which the guests can participate - this part is flexible depending on the audience. There will be a great party to the soundtrack of ABBA. Finally, what did you think of Brilliant Minds? "I thought it was well-oiled, wellattended and well-organised. Very professional! I normally turn down almost everything, but when Ash (Pournouri) called and described the plans they had, I answered: 'Yes indeed, if you manage to pull all that together, then I'm in'. And I most certainly don't regret it."
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â€?You have to connect with your business. You also have to reinvent your business so it is always relevant for the consumersâ€?.
Cristina Stenbeck - Executive Chairman of Kinnevik.
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Walk and Talk, Minimising the number of decisions that need to be taken and understanding your body's energy levels. These are some of the tricks that the world's most brilliant minds make use of when they need to be creative.
JACK DORSEY, IT ENTREPRENEUR AND CREATOR OF TWITTER:
DIFFERENT DAYS, DIFFERENT SUBJECTS Learning to understand your own mind, and the routines that are best for it, is a simple way to improve creative ability, says entrepreneur and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey. He is at his most creative when he has a disciplined schedule, something he exploited to the full when he was working on Twitter and Square in parallel. To handle this workload, he spent exactly eight hours at each company - on every working day. The trick for staying alert and focused was to divide the days into different subject areas. For example, Mondays were reserved for management, Wednesdays were all about marketing and Fridays were dedicated to recruitment and corporate culture. Sixteen-hour working days make it sound like he was a borderline workaholic. But Dorsey rejects this and says that he was good at disconnecting and recharging his batteries during weekends. "I took the whole day off on Saturdays. Sundays were devoted to reflection, strategies and preparing myself for the week ahead," Jack Dorsey
STEVE JOBS, FOUNDER OF APPLE:
WALK AND TALK We sit for an average of 9.3 hours per day. The health risks associated with today's sedentary lifestyle are obvious, but in Silicon Valley people have found a solution that also enhances creativity: "walk and talk". Steve Jobs was the trendsetter who at an early stage realised the benefits of discussing business during long walks, both in terms of physical well-being and creativity. Jobs and Bill Gates had a number of walk and talk meetings, and shortly before his death, Jobs introduced the walking meeting's benefits to his friend and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in connection with their discussions regarding cooperation on Apple's social network Ping. Despite long walks in Palo Alto, the cooperation never came about, but Zuckerberg has since embraced the walk and talk concept and is now Silicon Valley's most well-known power walker. His favourite route is a path close to Facebook's head office that leads up to a viewpoint with breathtaking views of The Valley.
SIR RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER OF THE VIRGIN GROUP:
FRUSTRATION IS THE BEST SOURCE OF CREATIVITY Richard Branson has been hatching ideas that have transformed entire industries ever since the hippie days of the 1960s. He likes to give the impression of being a crazy ideas man, but his creativity is in fact the result of extensive research and evaluation. "My best source of inspiration is the everyday frustration I face in my professional and private lives. Taking note of and following up a problem has repeatedly led to the creation of successful businesses as I have been able to provide better solutions than those that were already on the market," comments Richard Branson to The Innovators. During his more than 40 years as an entrepreneur, Branson has always carried a notebook with him, in which he writes down ideas and observations. A great entrepreneur has to be curious, in his opinion. "When you find the seed of an idea in your everyday frustrations you should start by asking yourself the question: is there a better way to do this, and if so - why has nobody done it before? If the answer is "because it has always been done this way", it is time to take the idea to the next level," Sir Richard Branson
GEORGE ORWELL, AUTHOR:
MOVING TO A REMOTE ISLAND Writer's block is the nightmare of all authors. In 1945, George Orwell was hit by a particularly severe case of this after his wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy died. Eager to get away from London, he asked his publisher to find a place where he could find peace and inspiration. The publisher suggested Jura, a rugged and remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. And Orwell did indeed find both peace and the desire to write on the island. He lived on the Barnhill farm for a few years, where he had no amenities like electricity and heating. All he could see outside the windows was the island's desolate landscape; and there he wrote his most famous work "1984". SUZE ORMAN, AUTHOR AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR:
SPREADING YOUR PASSION Suze Orman was in the midst of a successful career as a financial advisor when she decided to switch career path about ten years ago. Since then she has experienced a meteoric rise as a multi-million-selling author of "Get rich quick" self-help guides, an award-winning host of a TV show and a motivational coach. When asked about what lies behind her success and creativity, she always says inspiration. "You cannot create or inspire others if you yourself are not inspired. And with inspiration I mean passion. All inspirational leaders are passionate, but not necessarily about the product they sell, but rather about what it can mean for the consumer," says Suze Orman to Entrepreneur, citing Steve Jobs as an example. "Jobs was not passionate about computers as such. He was passionate about building tools that helped people unleash their creativity. There is a big difference there." Suze Orman
WINSTON CHURCHILL, PRIME MINISTER AND AUTHOR:
WORKING IN BED Prime Minister Churchill had a lot on his plate. When he wasn't writing books and puffing on cigars, he had to save the world from Hitler. But he wasn't an office sort of person. Instead, he found creativity in his bed, which also served as his workplace during the mornings. An enviable arrangement that meant the British Empire was ruled in a comfortably reclining position from a bed chamber at 10 Downing Street, where Churchill dictated words of wisdom to his secretaries and read his sixteen daily newspapers. Churchill only got up at around lunch time, ate a three course meal with friends and family and then sat down at his desk, happy in the company of a whisky soda. Churchill returned to bed at around five o'clock for a power nap. Rarely has blood, sweat and tears seemed so comfortable.
TONY HSIEH, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ZAPPOS:
ENCOURAGING ONE'S POTENTIAL BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT:
MINIMISING THE NUMBER OF DECISIONS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN President Obama likes mentioning that his rapidly greying hair is a sign of how hard he is working for the United States. However, in most other respects he seems to be in good health and great shape for being a 52 year old in his second term as president. So how does he ensure he has the required creativity and energy when new worries await him in the Oval Office every morning? First of all, Obama is careful not to be distracted by decision fatigue. "I never take any decisions about what to eat or wear. I have to filter out those sorts of questions in order to be able to focus on decisions at work," the president has declared. Obama is also keen to find a balance between work and family life. To the greatest extent possible, he tries to eat breakfast and dinner with his family, and he also ensures that he has time to exercise in the morning. Late each evening, Obama returns to work for a few hours to catch up and prepare for the next day. These evening sessions allow the president to come to work focused, prepared and often with creative solutions to the issues of the day.
Zappos in Nevada is a success story that over the course of just ten years has become one of the world's largest online shops for clothes and shoes, with an annual turnover of one billion dollars. A significant part of the success has been attributed to the company's creative and open working environment, for which Zappos has been called one of America's best workplaces. In order to help encourage its employees' creativity, the company has a number of so-called â€?goal coachersâ€?. In an interview with The New York Times, Managing Director Tony Hsieh was asked what kind of creativity Zappos encourages: "We encourage all sorts of creativity. The other day, we helped a young guy who wanted to learn to play the guitar and a woman who had dreamed all her life of writing a book. " The reporter then asked what this has to do with Zappos. "It has everything to do with Zappos," said Tony Hsieh, who also encourages the company's employees to set up Twitter accounts and blogs.
EVAN WILLIAMS, CO-FOUNDER OF TWITTER AND BLOGGER:
MONITORING THE BODY'S ENERGY LEVELS As a busy IT billionaire and co-founder of companies like Twitter, Blogger and Medium, it is easy to think that Evan Williams rarely leaves the office during the working day, let alone managing to do just that for a couple of hours of â€?me timeâ€?. But after having noted how his body's energy levels varied during the day, he moved his daily gym session from the morning to the afternoon, when he realised that this was the best time for him to work out. "My focus and my creativity is at its best in the morning. So going to the gym at that time was like throwing away productive time. However, I had a bit of a dip in energy after lunch, but thanks to the workouts I now get a real boost then instead," says Evan Williams to Forbes. He admits that it initially felt strange to leave the office for two hours every day for something that was not job-related. "With the new routine my total time in the office is a little less, but my creativity and productivity has increased substantially," explains Evan Williams.
COLIN POWELL, FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE:
OPTIMISM IS A CREATIVE FORCE Great leaders are generally more optimistic than the average person. Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell has often remarked that optimism is an invaluable creative force for both presidents and business leaders. He has also said that optimism was the secret behind Ronald Reagan's charisma. "Never before has civilization had access to such a wealth of ideas, resources and opportunities. Now we just have to learn how to use them in the most creative way possible," says Colin Powell, in an interview with CBS 'Face the Nation.'
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”This is the most exciting time in history to be a technology entrepreneur or a technology investor.” ”Ten years ago nobody thought that great technology companies could be developed outside of Silicon Valley. Today 65 % of all billion dollar tech companies originate from outside of Silicon Valley. Great entrepreneurial talent can be found everywhere, but they need an eco system to thrive. And each time founders and entrepreneurs succeed, they become role models for younger entrepreneurs. Success breeds success.”
Niklas Zennström - serial entrepreneur, founder of music sharing service Kazaa and telephone company Skype. Founder of technology investment firm Atomico.
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AN AC C OMPLISHED BRAND DESIGNER
ZARA LARS S ON Zara Larsson is not only one of Sweden's biggest artists. This seventeen-year-old whizz-kid is also a superbly masterful brand designer and power-broker on social media.
By Jan Ekholm
When Zara Larsson was ten years old she entered TV4's ”Talang 2008” (the Swedish version of Got Talent). With a powerful voice and a fluttering blue dress, she floored the judges and went on to win the whole competition with a spinetingling version of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On". Even back then she was tipped to become Sweden's next big star. But the promising child prodigy from the Stockholm suburb of Enskede was in no hurry. It would be another five whole years before she released the EP “Introducing” which drove lyrical reviewers to superlatives such as “a Swedish Beyoncé” and “a fifteen-year-old with primordial force in her voice”. Last year her debut album “1” came out, spawning two massive European hits: the ballad “Uncover” and the Rihanna-reminiscent “Never Forget You”. Next up is her US launch.
So what is it like to be a seventeen-year-old superstar-in-the-making? “Not always very easy,” says Zara Larsson. "I can actually never attend the after-parties at award shows. I am always the youngest, “the little one”. I don’t feel like I absolutely must go out and party, but I would like to be able to if I wanted. That would give me more freedom. But my time will come,” says Zara Larsson, who despite her young age is now in a hurry to succeed. “Before I turn 18 and become an adult, I have to show “them”. I think it is because people have been saying to me for such a long time: “do it while you are young”. It is imprinted in my head. Also, why should I wait? I have wanted this my whole life." However, Zara Larsson is not only a remarkably gifted, and successful, artist. She is a modern artist who has taken control of her own media image by skillfully using social media to put across her message.
Artists of today are not as dependent on traditional media. We don’t necessarily need newspapers or TV channels. We have our own platforms through which we can reach out,” said Zara Larsson during a panel discussion at Brilliant Minds, and named Beyoncé as an example of an artist who has succeeded in creating their own platform. “As an artist you can now truly be yourself and decide how you want to be perceived. In our generation it is you and nobody else who chooses what you want to do and how you want others to see you.” As proof that Zara Larsson really has managed to create her own platform, last spring she was named Sweden’s most influential person on Twitter. Even though she may not have the most followers, she manages with impressive regularity to provoke debates around issues such as equality, feminism and racism for a fast-growing audience. Add to that a million followers on Instagram - “when the number of followers matches your bank account”, as Zara put it when she crossed the million mark - and there is no doubt that Zara Larsson has reached a position as an important voice and trendsetter, as well as a symbol for young feminism.
“I want a Billboard No.1. That is my dream. Nothing else comes close. And then I have promised myself that I’ll become a billionaire by the time I turn 25. Not because I am really interested in money, but because it is proof of success.”
Zara Larsson talks about Brilliant Minds “I am delighted that I could be part of it, not only as an artist, but also sitting in a panel and discussing important issues. For me, my voice is my instrument, and also my strongest weapon in different discussions and contexts. It was fun having your voice heard by so many important people and discussing things that affect our everyday lives all the time. It was a good event and I hope that I can participate in it again in the future.”
Amidst the viral storms Zara Larsson stirred up during the previous year, we recall the famed “free the nipple” picture which she posted on Instagram in protest at their breast censorship. She also succeeded in creating a major debate about the uneven gender balance within the headlining acts at Sweden’s largest music festival, Bråvalla, which consisted one hundred percent of men. And if possible even more attention was drawn when she pulled a condom over her leg and posted the result on Instagram with the text: “to all the guys saying “my dick is too big for condoms” - TAKE A SEAT!” The picture set the internet boiling, with as much praise as hate. Zara Larsson never expected it to become so big. “No, I really didn’t! The things that explode on the internet, you can’t plan them. I have never thought: 'now I’m going to write something that will be shared five million times',” she says. Sadly enough, the combination of using her freedom of speech and being a young girl has its downsides. Something which Zara Larsson has most certainly experienced, with countless attacks and the very darkest kind of net hatred in the form of death and rape threats.
The hatred has even taken more physical forms; for example during a festival performance in Malmö, Zara Larsson was attacked with tomatoes by a man in the crowd. However the artist recovered quickly and got the crowd rejoicing with her quick retort: “He has invested his time, bought the tomatoes and come here to stand in the crowd and wait for his moment. There is something sweet about that.” Touché! However as net hatred reached its peak during the autumn, support grew with it. Among other things the campaign “Back Zara” was started, where a long list of artist colleagues, and Sweden’s Culture Minister Alice Bah Kunke, gave their support. The only person who wishes that Zara would tone down her political statements is her mother. “Mum always says: 'can you not write about something else for a while.' But I am not going to do that. It infuriates me when people don’t understand and that makes me continue, to show that it is necessary,” says Zara Larsson. What about the future, then? The finishing touches are currently being put to Zara’s second album. And in-between she records a new episode of her podcast, “The Fantastic Journey” every week with her friend, Noel Flike. And in the longer term the plan is world domination. Of course!
“I want a Billboard No.1. That is my dream. Nothing else comes close. And then I have promised myself that I’ll become a billionaire by the time I turn 25. Not because I am really interested in money, but because it is proof of success.” But having a No.1 at the Billboard chart and money is not everything. In the introduction to her Sommarprogram on P1 (a Swedish radio programme where hosts discuss topics of personal relevance), Zara revealed just how high her sights are set: “I do not intend to accept that I am just a little drop in a very large ocean. I plan on becoming immortal, for real.”
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P O R T R A I T
By Hugo Rehnberg
A MULTIFACETED ARTIST
DANIEL ADAMS RAY He is an acclaimed artist and a sought-after designer. Daniel Adams-Ray talks about the â€?Swedish Music Miracleâ€?, designing his own clothes and why he refuses to abandon the classic album.
Daniel Adams-Ray has an interesting background.
Why have Swedes in particular become so successful with music?
His mother is from Indonesia and father is of Swedish/Scottish heritage. For the first 13 years of his life he lived in Nairobi, Kenya. After a short sojourn in Holland, the family landed in Stockholm.
"I see two explanations: the first is that we Swedes have the same relationship to music that Brazilians have to football: it is a kind of folk sport with lots of positive competition. Together we move the boundaries for how music can sound and how good it can be. The other explanation is that Sweden is a fairly rich country. Almost everyone has access to a computer, and music is a subject on the curriculum in our schools."
At upper secondary school he met Oskar Linnros. They started rapping together and eventually they formed the duo Snook, which had major successes in the middle of the '00s. Snook split up in 2006, and since then both Linnros and Adams-Ray have had successful solo careers. Daniel Adams-Ray has also found time to run his own clothing brand Lagom. "It started during the time of Snook. Oskar and I came up with stage clothing which I designed. At that time there were no clothes we really liked. Admittedly we worked with hiphop, but we also liked soul and pop. We were not hardcore and didn't want to have do-rags and baggy jeans, but wanted a more dressed-up and sophisticated street style. So we made the clothes ourselves." Daniel received thousands of emails from people who wondered where the stage clothes came from, and somewhere there the idea of starting his own brand came to life.
"Today there are lots of brands with this style. But back then there was a gap. And I think that is true for most things you create, that you discover a niche. It is the same with music there is never anybody who invents a whole new genre. You find tiny niches where you can step in and try to hone your thing."
self. That kind of thing is difficult when your teammates work with old mottos. Brilliant Minds feels like a fresh think tank, where one starts to break open old truths and power structures.
What did you think of Brilliant Minds?
"I have some difficulty embracing this particular phenomenon, because I am passionate about the concept and the entirety. As a test, I released a song in the summer (which was co-written with Avicii) but I didn't really like the strategy. I want to try to move the boundaries for how urban music should sound - and that demands more than one song, it needs maybe ten songs."
"I love the whole concept behind Brilliant Minds. It feels obvious, in a good way. As a songwriter and an artist, I often hear the tired argument when you try to question old truths. "We can't change that - we have always done it this way." On the other hand, one often hears about the importance of being inventive and updating one-
A new truth in the music industry is that people don't listen to albums anymore, they listen to songs.
For the time being Daniel Adams-Ray is focusing on music. But he is also sought-after as a designer, and already next year is expecting to collaborate with the reputable Swedish glass company, Kosta Boda, and on a secret (for the moment) project with one of the world's most famous sporting brands. What is the likelihood of Snook going on a reunion tour? "Very small, at the moment. Oskar and I are very good friends. But if you work closely together you risk creating friction within the friendship. He is my childhood friend and there are things that are much more important than earning some money on a reunion tour."
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F U T U R E
H E R E .
10 IDEAS THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD T R E N D S , I N V E N T I O N S I N N O V A T I O N S T H A T W I L L H O W W E L I V E .
A N D C H A N G E
Illustrations : Moa Dunfalk, www.jdesign.se
I N S E C T S
ON A PLATE The world's population is growing fast and in the future we will have difficulty supplying enough food for everyone if we continue to eat in the way we do.
A solution other than vegetarian burgers could be to simply eat more insects. A large proportion of the world's population already eats insects, and there are many advantages - for example they are healthier than meat. There are nearly 2,000 edible insect species and many of these are bursting with protein, calcium, fibre, iron and zinc. Breeding insects is cheap or free and requires very little equipment.
MEAT Breeding cows, pigs and other animals to satisfy our hunger is not feasible in the long term. The environment and our natural resources quite simply take too much of a battering if we all want to eat meat. The company Impossible Foods, founded by Stanford professor Patrick Brown, has found molecules in plants that are identical to the molecules in meat. The company's business idea is to produce food free from cholesterol, hormones and antibiotics. The company has now created vegetarian meat, based on plant substances, vitamins, amino acids and fat, that is very similar to meat from animals in terms of taste and texture. According to Patrick Brown, Impossible Foods can produce all animal products, such as milk, meat, bacon and chicken, from vegetables using its proprietary technology.
WAT E R S AV I N G
TOILETS The fact that water is a scarce commodity in many parts of the world is not news in itself. But the fact that a third of all the water we in the developed world use during an average day is for flushing toilets is a frightening fact. So investment in water-saving toilets may seem small and unnecessary, but it can in fact have enormous consequences for the availability of clean water and agricultural opportunities worldwide.
D R I V I N G
CARS It's basically completely crazy that millions of people get into what are potential death traps, both for themselves and for everyone else, every morning.
As cars keep advancing in terms of technology and safety systems continue to improve, it is the human factor that is involved in most accidents, so the next step in creating safer traffic is to minimise the human factor as much as possible. Most major automobile makers are already testing self-driving cars, but the great revolution in our car usage is expected to come if and when Apple and Google release their models.
C A N N E D
WIFI The entire mobile economy and the wide range of new tech innovations, payment solutions and such are based on the fact that we are constantly online. And with ever increasing connection speeds. Unfortunately, reality is not quite like that. An invention from the company Chamtech is therefore a potential solution to this problem. It involves a liquid filled with millions of nano-capacitors that can be sprayed onto any surface and receive wireless signals. The sprayed surfaces can act as antennas that can connect to a wifi network. The idea is thus that one can always carry around a personal wifi network in a spray can.
AIRCRAFT While the automotive world constantly reinvents itself in order to achieve lower fuel consumption and lower emissions, the aircraft industry has come to a dead end in this respect. Fuel consumption by aircraft has admittedly fallen considerably over the years, but it is now no longer possible to do much more with today's aircraft technology. So the Swiss prototype plane Solar Impulse 2 may be a small step on the way to flying around the world without emitting a single gram of carbon dioxide. This is because the aircraft is powered by electricity and has wings packed full of solar cells. Above the clouds the sky is always blue, and at night one can fly using batteries charged during the day.
O N L I N E
P OW E R E D Google Glass was a technological revolution that has petered out somewhat. Many people have heard about the glasses, but very few have seen them. Or looked through them. And the question is whether our vanity will even allow us to wear them... Babak Parviz, a professor at the University of Washington, is now researching smart contact lenses instead. The idea is that they will completely eliminate the need for screens, as all the information we need will appear directly on the lenses. They could also serve as health monitors, by measuring how we feel.
DESERTEC Most of us probably think of deserts as inhospitable places that create more problems than benefits for the world, mankind and the environment. But it's time to think again and see deserts as unused, virtually unlimited energy resources. "Desertec" is a concept that involves using all the energy that is available in areas, primarily by utilising solar energy. 3,300 square kilometres of solar panels in North Africa could, for example, account for 20 percent of Europe's energy consumption, and would create job opportunities in the region.
BODY GENERATED E N E R GY Our bodies generate heat throughout the day. Heat that is simply released and not utilised. But some brilliant minds at Wake University have developed a new material with which clothes can be made and which consists of plastics and carbon fibre channels, among other things. The material absorbs body heat and converts it into energy, so your favourite jumper could actually be used, for example, to charge your mobile telephone. Or you could use the material as the fabric for your car seats, and utilise the resulting energy for the car stereo and air conditioning.
MIND READING A staple part of science fiction films that has long been seen as just unrealistic science fiction. Until now. Researchers at IBM are currently looking into how we can connect our brains to mobile phones or computers. Put simply, it involves thinking about calling someone and the phone initiating the call for you. Headsets already exist that measure and read electrical brain activity and convert this into commands, and work is also being carried out on sensors that can read facial expressions. A not too wild guess is that game developers are at the front of the queue for this, hoping to transform mind reading technology into an entirely new way to interact with games.
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THEY WANT TO OPEN OUR EYES.
By Hugo Rehnberg
RO SLING GAPMINDER OUR VIEW OF THE WORLD IS INCORRECT AND OFTEN TOO NEGATIVE. GAPMINDER WANTS TO PROVIDE US WITH A FACTBASED WORLD VIEW THAT EVERYONE CAN UNDERSTAND.
It began with a 'chimpanzee test'. Hans Rosling, professor of Global Health at Karolinska Institutet (KI), tested his Masters students' knowledge of child mortality. The test consisted of several multiple-choice questions and the results showed that his students performed worse than if it had been done randomly. In other words: chimpanzees would have performed better. Their pre-conceived ideas about the world were wrong.
The test was one of many triggers for what was to become the Gapminder Foundation. Moreover, he wasn't getting his students to understand the world with the statistics he presented. In an attempt to make it more comprehensible, Hans’s son, Ola, and daughter-in-law Anna, started developing moving graphs, in which countries were represented by bubbles. Now the information became easier to understand. Ola and Anna develop the teaching methods and material - and the charismatic Hans Rosling explains the world in ways which even children can understand. Hans Rosling has given acclaimed Ted Talks, lectured to world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, joint lectures with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and gained a place on Time Magazine's list of the most influential people in the world.
Anna Rosling Rönnlund says: ”The media present scary events from all over the world. Things that happen close to us get exaggerated in our brains while things we are not related to tend to be forgotten. All three of us are driven by a strong social pathos and we all want to achieve something important. We believe we will have the biggest impact by building a pedagogical concept which is data-driven and makes the world more comprehensible."
Today Gapminder has around ten employees, and they work with a network of consultants from all over the world. They are commissioned by major companies to explain how the world is developing, based on statistics for mortality, births, illnesses, economics and a number of other factors. In addition to lectures, income comes from funders such as Ikea Foundation, Svenska Postkodstiftelsen, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Millenium foundation.
Give me an example of a common misconception?
The world is better than we think, is what you say. Is it really? "Yes, over time the world is improving in many ways. Today fewer kids die, we live longer and we have more money than we used to. But these are often slow trends, and they seldom make it into the media. "
"We hear about gender inequality all the time. Therefore we tend to overestimate the difference. For example; globally, boys attend school for an average of 8 years and girls for an average of 7. But, when asked, the most frequent answer from Swedes is that girls attend school for an average of 4 years. This means that even if girls generally attend school for fewer years than boys, the difference is much smaller than people think.”
Why is that?
What did you think of Brilliant Minds?
"It is basically because of how our brains work. We tend to magnify things we are afraid of. "
"It was a really nice event and a good size of audience. Although I suspect that some of the participants had been partying the previous day, as they looked a little tired."
In 2007, Gapminder sold the Trendalyzer software to Google. Ola and Anna moved with it to Mountain View. What did you learn at Google? "At Google we learned to think largescale: and the importance of building the right infrastructure. We also learnt that giving people access to the numbers is not enough, you have to help them get the bigger picture of the data. We realized it would be easier to do that in Gapminder so we dropped out of Google and moved back to Sweden." Is it correct that you took your children to work with you? "When we started at Google we had a three-week-old baby. We brought him with us to work every day during the first quarter. It felt like the right decision at the time even if several American colleagues admitted that they thought we were a little strange..."
What is important for this kind of event to succeed? "For me, it is important that you learn something new; hopefully something that is unexpected and surprising.â€? On the Ted lecture website, Hans has been called a "Data rock star". He has become a superstar. What are the pros and cons of that? "It is great to see that there is a desire for education among the general public, and that a professor focused on slow global trends and poverty can become a star. But sometimes it's hard for people to understand the long term scope of Gapminder's activities. In what way can tech entrepreneurs make the world a better place? "First by focusing on what is important to humanity and creating scalable free services. I think that IT entrepreneurs can gain a lot from thinking in terms of offering things for free."
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 most successful games don’t come from the traditional gaming companies, they come from companies that focus on the social side of playing. It is they who have changed the world of gaming.” ”Part of the success for Nordic companies is that they think globally from the beginning, since the domestic market is so small.” ”Start learning and taking chances early, and learn from your mistakes. Know your strengths, but also know your weaknesses, and find a team that can complement your weaknesses.
Sebastian Knutsson - Co-founder of King, the company behind the gaming success Candy Crush Saga, the most popular game on Facebook.
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
”You need to transform constantly to survive and to be relevant”. ”The basics today are the same as when Ericsson was founded in 1876: communication is a human need.”
Hans Vestberg - CEO of Ericsson.
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THE ENTRE PRENEURS WHO BUILT SWEDEN
EVERYTHING HAS A STORY The fact that Sweden today has leading entrepreneurs in the areas of technology, fashion, design and telecommunications has its basis in the Swedish companies that have shaped the business world since the mid-1800s. By Oskar Hammarkrantz
The Swedish entrepreneurial spirit really got going in 1864. There had of course been some private operators and entrepreneurs before that, but it is still an important year for what would shape the image of Sweden. Because it was in this year that the socalled freedom to conduct business was passed by parliament, which among other things meant that guilds were abolished and that there was free right of establishment for commercial businesses and factories. "Swedish men and women are entitled to engage in commercial or manufacturing businesses, craft or other handiwork in cities and in the countryside; to export goods to foreign locations or import goods from these, and to transfer goods between foreign locations." It was quite simply time to begin to realise one's business ideas.
One of the first people to take advantage of these rules was the brilliant mind GĂśran Fredrik GĂśransson, who became the first person in the world to convert liquid pig iron into malleable steel. The method quickly spread across the world, and became the basis for Sandvikens Jernverk (Sandviken Ironworks), which was founded in 1868. Today the company is called Sandvik and has been one of the engines and pillars of Swedish industry for more than a century, during which time it has helped develop many fine engineers who have in turn driven entrepreneurship forwards.
The Swedish achievements in the world of telecommunications can quite easily be traced back to a specific origin, with this being 1876. It was then that Lars Magnus Ericsson opened a small electro-mechanical workshop in Stockholm. Seven years later, Henrik Tore Cedergren founded Stockholms AllmĂ¤nna Telefonaktiebolag (Stockholm Public Telephone Company), to which Ericsson delivered equipment. The two companies merged in 1918 to form LM Ericsson, which was the foundation on which Sweden quickly became a well-connected country, and took great leaps forward in the area of communications, with the world's best-selling electro-mechanical telephone systems, the world's most sold electronic systems for fixed telephony and the world's best-selling mobile telecommunications systems.
Swedish design is today a well-known and recognised concept around the world. And many of today's designers can thank a forward-looking woman who laid the foundation for Swedish design. In 1924, interior designer and entrepreneur Estrid Ericson founded Svenskt Tenn and spread the Swedish interior design style Swedish Grace. She was also a pioneer with regard to bringing in external expertise, or guest designers as we say today, when in 1934 she brought in the Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank to the business.
Other geniuses who laid the foundation for generations of future businesses and entrepreneurs at this time included Axel Johnson, who improved the efficiency of transport and shipping, and Alfred Nobel, who took out 355 different patents. Among other things he managed to get nitroglycerine to explode, and this was followed by the detonator, dynamite in 1865 and gelignite. But Alfred Nobel was much more than just an eccentric inventor; he was also a shrewd business leader who created an international business empire. Gustaf DalĂŠn also deserves a mention, as he designed a revolutionary system for lights in lighthouses and also the fuel-efficient AGA cooker, thus making AGA world famous.
The inventor Gustaf de Laval was equally brilliant - he registered 92 Swedish patents, including a milk separator and steam turbines, and founded 37 different companies. The fact that de Laval was totally lacking in economic skills and that most of the 37 companies collapsed clearly demonstrates that one or even many good ideas do not necessarily lead to successful entrepreneurship.
The Swedish fashion miracle, featuring internationally successful companies such as Acne, Filippa K and J. Lindeberg, can also be traced directly back in time.
A parallel fashion history is provided by Per-Olof Ahl, who started selling cheap coats (kapp) in a basement in Gothenburg in 1953. Today, KappAhl has almost 400 stores around Scandinavia.
In 1947, the former pen salesman Erling Persson started a clothing shop in Västerås called Hennes. A few years later, the company began selling men's clothes, and the company, which had by then become a chain with several stores, was renamed Hennes & Mauritz. Even though it was actually Erling Persson's son Stefan who really established H&M as a fashion force to be reckoned with in the world, it can be claimed that the Swedish fashion miracle started in Västerås. And many of the creators who today fly the flag for Swedish fashion on the international scene started their careers at H&M.
Swedish design doesn't just include the clothes we wear, but also all the Swedish furniture that showcases Scandinavian aesthetics in the world's leading interior design magazines. The companies Kinnarps, Lammhults, Kasthall, Källemo, Blå Station, Offecct and Swedese can no doubt attribute some of their international success to an unusually forward-looking 17-yearold who in 1943 started a mail order company called IKEA. The first flat packs came in 1955, as a result of an idea created by the often overlooked designer Gillis Lundgren. Its first store was opened by Ingvar Kamprad in Älmhult in 1958, and today there are more than 300 IKEA stores in 26 countries. The foundation that Lars Magnus Ericsson and Henrik Tore Cedergren created and which enabled Sweden to become a leader in the world of telecommunications was developed
and refined by Jan Stenbeck during the 1980s. Like his predecessors, he realised the potential offered by the new technology at an early stage and created businesses that made a rapid spread of telephony possible. Comviq, and subsequently Tele2, launched new ideas for getting more phones sold and making them more widely used. In 1993 the company began paying retailers who sold the subscriptions, which led to huge discounts on handsets.
Of course there are also multi-entrepreneurs who connect the different areas and thereby manage to create a new and successful context. Niklas Zennstrรถm, who revolutionised music distribution with his Kazaa, and later Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, who turned the music industry upside down with their Spotify, all used the Swedish music success and the Swedish telecoms and tech traditions as their starting point for creating a successful new industry, namely music-tech. Many of today's most successful entrepreneurs, such as Niklas Zennstrรถm and Janus Friis, started their careers at Tele2. And Markus "Notch" Persson, the man behind the Minecraft phenomenon, King which launched Candy Crush Saga, and visionaries behind the Swedish tech successes Klarna, iZettle, Skype, Dice and Fingerprint Cards should also give a thought to Jan Stenbeck and his efforts for the tech-nation Sweden.
Similar importance to that of Stenbeck, but in a completely different area, is accorded to Stikkan Andersson. He succeeded, with considerable assistance from Abba's brilliant pop songs, in taking Swedish music out into the world. Today, Swedish music exports are a power-broker and an integral part of popular culture. Artists and producers such as Max Martin, Avicii, The Hives, Cardigans, Ace of Base, Tove Lo, Robyn, Denniz Pop, Shellback, Swedish House Mafia, In Flames and Roxette all most probably hummed along to the occasional Abba hit at home in their childhood rooms before their careers really took off.
The future is bright for Swedish entrepreneurs, who look both backwards and forwards. And we haven't even mentioned what may come in the wake of super entrepreneurs such as Ivar Kreuger, Ruben Rausing, Axel Wenner-Gren, Ulla Murman, Ayad al-Saffar, Clas Ohlson, Sven Winqvist and Wilhelmina Skogh...
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"Iâ€™m really excited about the levels of entrepreneurship in Sweden in general, and I met so many interesting founders at Brilliant Minds..."
By Hugo Rehnberg
NIKLAS ZENNS TRÖM A SWEDISH IT PIONEER Niklas Zennström is a superstar in the IT industry. Now he wants to help European companies become the next Facebook or Google.
Niklas Zennström is easily one of Sweden's greatest IT entrepreneurs, famed for having created the companies Kazaa and Skype, together with the Dane, Janus Friis. For several years now he has run Atomico, a venture capital company that invests in IT companies, mainly in northern Europe, and helps them to grow. With his experience he wants to show that Europe has the same potential to produce major, international IT companies as Silicon Valley. What were your thoughts about this year’s Brilliant Minds?
What, in your opinion, is the key to a successful event?
of them went international in their first year.
"I felt very proud to be part of such a vibrant tech scene.
"Definitely the people it attracts. What’s really interesting about the most successful businesses in Sweden is that they come from many different sectors, like gaming, music, financial services and fashion - which makes for a far more interesting crowd and everyone learns from everyone else."
The challenge now is to grow companies to the scale of H&M or IKEA, and to ensure that European investors benefit as well. As ecosystems across the world and beyond establish themselves as technology hubs, we face fierce competition for the best people and capital. But Stockholm’s certainly on the right track!"
It was great to see ambitious entrepreneurs just starting out, alongside established icons of innovation like Daniel Ek. Success breeds success. Talk to young entrepreneurs in Sweden and they want to build the next Skype, Spotify, or Klarna. As well as inspiration, these entrepreneurs often provide mentoring to the next generation, as well as attracting talent and capital from outside. This virtuous circle was one of the hallmarks of Silicon Valley; now it is happening across Europe, and beyond. I was excited to see that in action - at scale - at Brilliant Minds."
Any theory about why Stockholm has become such a successful hub for tech startups? "The cycle of success I’ve mentioned is certainly an important factor, but it’s also interesting that companies from Sweden tend to think globally from the outset. With a smaller domestic market, founders must think about internationalising much sooner than those in America or China, for example. Five billion-dollar tech companies have been founded in Sweden in the last 12 years – three
Which of the beautiful young Swedish tech companies impresses you right now? "I’m really excited about the levels of entrepreneurship in Sweden in general, and I met so many interesting founders at Brilliant Minds - it’s incredible that Stockholm now ranks alongside Silicon Valley in billion-dollar companies per capita! It’s not a ‘startup’ anymore, but I’m really impressed by Truecaller at the
moment. They have 200m users and are transforming the way we think about our phonebooks. They’re seeing huge growth in Asia, most recently in India, and are an excellent example of a company that’s been thinking globally from the outset." When you (Atomico) look at tech companies in which to invest, what are the most important characteristics? What should an entrepreneur do to impress you? "Great companies can come from anywhere. Today it matters much less where you come from than where you scale into. We look for impressive founders who believe from the start that their company can be a global winner, and who want to disrupt their sector in an original way. We look for companies with a great product, underpinned by excellent technology, which have the potential to become an international category winner and are truly loved by their users and customers. Passion and confident entrepreneurs are key we can help with scaling and growth, but we can’t fix a poor idea!"
Which sectors in particular interest you at the moment? "Traditional industries like transport have been transformed by tech entrepreneurs in recent years, but there are many sectors that still represent huge opportunities. I’m excited that trillion-dollar sectors such as healthcare, education and real estate have yet to be seriously disrupted by innovative technology. Some will be harder to crack due to regulations and regional obstacles, but we are seeing newer tech hubs like Stockholm maturing and taking on these bigger problems through innovation. Companies like Transferwise, Knewton and ZocDoc are taking on financial services, education and healthcare." Are there any companies in which you chose not to invest and about which you regret your decision today? "There will always be successful companies that I feel I should have invested in, but I don’t regret any of my decisions. I honestly don’t have the time to sit back and dwell on companies I haven’t invested in because I’m so focused on the hundreds of great startups emerging today. I really believe that now is the best time to be a European tech investor - so I’m very much focused on the present!"
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
”Swedes have a desire for freedom. We have an openness towards the world and what the world has to offer”.
Prince Daniel - Duke of Västergötland, former gym and fitness entrepreneur.
T H E
P O R T R A I T
’IT ’ S NO T E ASY BEING A LE ADER’
By Hugo Rehnberg
CAP TAIN OF ERI C S S ON
HANS VES TBERG CEO of Eriksson, Hans Vestberg, is a fast-talking handball fanatic who enjoys building successful teams and prefers to focus on group achievements rather than individual accomplishments.
Ericsson is the world's largest provider of telecommunications equipment. The Swedish company has existed for 140 years and today conducts business in 180 countries. The company's CEO Hans Vestberg - a tall, blonde and exceptionally energetic Norrlander - gave one of the most lauded speeches during Brilliant Minds. He had lots of positive things to say about Brilliant Minds: "I think that the objective is very good: spreading Swedish entrepreneurship and trying to create a better ecosystem for improving technology. It is always a challenge in the first year to get the right people to participate, but I think that they succeeded in achieving an even and high standard. Any highlights? "I liked the mixture of music and technology. Usually, in these kinds of contexts, the crowd is more often a mixture of computer nerds and businessmen, like myself, and that quickly gets dull. Instead, it was something completely different, with livelier components as well. What do you consider to be the major reasons that Sweden has become a hub for successful tech startups? "I think there are two main reasons. One is that Swedes are good at seeing the whole world as their market.
We are so small that we are forced to think in that way. You can't build big companies that just focus on the towns of Kalmar or Örebro. The other factor is that there is a genuinely good knowledge of technology in Sweden and we are, in addition, generous when it comes to sharing knowledge, which breeds more good companies. How is Ericsson's relationship with the tech entrepreneurs? "Great. As a major company we can, of course, sometimes be a bit clumsy when it comes to collaborating with smaller players. However in the past five years we have managed to get a little closer to one another. Of course we have a lot to learn about their driving forces, technology developments and pioneering approaches, and they can learn from us how one creates a company that is still successful and expanding after 140 years.
Hans Vestberg joined Ericsson in 1991, checking travel expenses at the company's cable factory in Hudiksvall. The path to becoming CEO has taken him to every continent except Africa. Hans Vestberg has worked in all of Ericsson's business areas and within all functions, except research and development. You are often praised for your leadership. What would the title of your leadership book be? - ’It’s not easy being a leader’. The book should focus on the fact that being a leader is a job in itself. In order to be able to lead others you must constantly evaluate and develop yourself. You should be really inquisitive and care about other individuals. Today I work with many different nationalities; Swedes, Cubans, Indians. My job is to understand them, where they come from, why they are where they are and what motivates their drive. I really love helping people to develop.
You have a background as an elite handball player and you are chairman of the Swedish Handball Association. How has sport influenced your career? "Tremendously. I was never the best at handball but I was still given the role of the leader in my teams. From very early on I was able to understand how the different players in the team function: some needed lots of encouragement, others didn't. It taught me how to manage people in different situations. And so I learned that the team is more important than the individuals. That may sound obvious but one sometimes really has to remember that it is important. Several years ago Hans Vestberg was voted onto the board of directors of the UN Foundation, together with Kofi Annan and Jordan's queen, among others. "We discuss the major challenges in the world, and have boiled it down to 17 specific goals. In my case the focus is mainly on mobiles, broadband, cloud services, equipment which can
improve education and healthcare in vulnerable countries. Ericsson has its Technology for Good programme, which aims to contribute to the global sustainability goals. "For example we might help with a disaster in Haiti or ensure that the poorest countries have access to basic technology. What is the single most important thing in your job at the moment? "It is the transformation. Because there is always one taking place. Fifteen years ago Ericsson sold mobiles and fixed networks, but we don't do that at all any longer. The key is succeeding in retaining our core operations at the same time as developing new areas. You always have to be one step ahead and be prepared to change direction quickly. Do you miss the old mobile phones? "I can miss having a clear consumer product although it was a good decision to stop producing them."
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
”Until the year 2050 the population in Asia will grow by 25% and the population in Africa will grow by 100%. That is where you will find your market. This population will also be educated and wealthy.” ”In 2050 the old west, North America and Europe, will only account for 10% of the world's population. So the economy is changing and the culture is changing. And it happens fast.”
Hans Rosling - Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet, co-founder of Gapminder Foundation.
T H E
C O M P A N Y
"We re c eived a ho stile bid fr om a B onnier c omp any but cho se to de cline it. Instead they be came one of the fir st inve stor s in True caller."
By Hugo Rehnberg Photo Christopher Hunt
SWEDEN'S LATES T UNIC ORN?
TRUECALLER The app company Truecaller has 200 million users and a value of one billion dollars. However Nami Zarringhalam, one of the two founders, is much more interested in developing products than talking about unicorns.
When IT pioneer Niklas Zennstrรถm was asked to name a Swedish IT company that impressed him a little more than usual, he chose Truecaller. And there are lots of people who share his opinion.
The Swedish number presentation app crossed the 200-million-user mark just the other day. According to Techcrunch, Truecaller is about to take in 800 million kronor in venture capital, in a transaction that would take the value of the company to 1 billion dollars. However Nami Zarringhalam, who founded the company together with Alan Mamedi, does not look entirely comfortable when I point out the fact that the investment would make it Sweden's latest unicorn. "No, that is mostly just a lot of rumours. We have too much to do to go around thinking like that, and when I am not working I am with my family and trying to switch off from everything." There are certainly a few explanations for this humility. One of them is that Nami Zarringhalam knows that things can change quickly.
In 2013 Truecaller stood on the edge of collapse. There was only enough money to last another month or two. Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam had met a lot of investors but despite strong growth there was nobody who wanted to inject funds. By coincidence they made contact with the American star investor Jerry Murdock. He invited them over for dinner. Maybe this was their last chance to avoid bankruptcy. Although venture capitalist Murdock lived in Aspen in Colorado, they didn't hesitate for a second. "It really stung having to buy such expensive flight tickets although it felt like we didn't have very much to lose," explained Alan Mamedi to the Breakit website. Nami says that Murdock asked really tough questions about the company and its users - questions they were unable to answer. And they didn't dare ask him for money. "No, we turned very, very humble in front of him." Jerry Murdock must have seen something he liked in the two entrepreneurs because, not long afterwards, he invited them to share breakfast with him in Paris - the following day. Nami and Alan - who weren't exactly
used to flying to Paris for breakfast - saw no alternative but to go. This time, however, they had done their homework on their company a little better. But the entrepreneurs still didn't dare ask Jerry Murdock for money this time. "But when we arrived home in Stockholm he called us and asked how much we needed. And today he sits on our board," says Nami Zarringhalam. It has been difficult to find a time to interview Nami. He travels a lot ("roughly half the year"), this year spending a lot of time in the USA, Jordan and Brazil. Truecaller also has offices in India, Dubai, Sao Paolo and San Francisco. But today we meet at Truecaller's head office on Kungsgatan in Stockholm. In here the desks are decorated in the national flags of the employees. It is a hive of activity, displaying Romanian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Russian, Swedish and American pennants. "Our board usually calls us 'Mini UN'", laughs Nami. When we started building up the company we wanted to create a culture where you weren't rewarded for anything other than being diligent and passionate. It should not matter at all whether you are Afghan, Nigerian or Swedish."
Where does your entrepreneurial streak come from? "I have thought about that question quite a bit. The idea of controlling one's own destiny has always appealed to me. In my case, and I think this also applies to Alan, it is a lot about the fact that we are second generation immigrants. My parents always said that I had to work twice as hard as the average Swede. That has created a sense that I must prove myself - and that becomes a strong inner driving force." This was an important factor for the venture capital giant Sequoia, one of Truecaller's investors. "Several of their key people are second generation immigrants, mainly Irish and Italian, and they believe in the inner driving force in other second generation immigrants. Until now the focus has been on growth." But according to Nami Zarringhalam, the strategy for making Truecaller profitable is also in place. "As of yet the plan is still secret, but I feel very certain about it. Have you any direct competitors? "Google, Apple and Facebook have similar services. Of course I have downloaded them and it is quite clear what has inspired them... and through the grapevine I know that they are fascinated by how big we are in emerging markets."
India is Truecaller's biggest market. Nami explains that the app in some cases works as a form of identification there. "It is significantly less common to have a form of ID there. And in India there are many people who don't have a computer, whereas there are more and more people getting mobile telephones. In this case you log in with your telephone number instead of an email address. The number becomes more important, more personal and a part of your identity. And that is where we come in, by enabling a person to be identified using their telephone number." You say that you crawl the net. What does that mean? "In the same way that Google indexes and finds information on the net, we go around different places and gather facts. It is about being the best at finding the relevant information. Google is a good example, they were not the first search engine but quickly become the best at finding the most relevant information. If your telephone number was owned by ten individuals before you, that is not interesting, the key lies in finding the most up-to-date information." Truecaller is Alan and Nami's third company. After their studies at the Institute of Technology, they ran jobbigt. se (employer review site) and mรถbeljakt.se (home interior search engine). Mรถbeljakt closed down in 2010.
"We received a hostile bid from a Bonnier company but chose to decline it. Instead they became one of the first investors in Truecaller." Those first entrepreuneurial adventures taught them to think globally: "Our first companies were Swedish services. After that we realised that it is difficult to create scalable traffic from Sweden. Of course you can build a great company with Sweden as a market, but that is not the company that we wanted to build." What did you think of Brilliant Minds? "It was an exciting event. Personally, I really liked the mixture of Swedish and international, which you don't see at similar events in Sweden."
Any particular highlights? "I am a music geek, so it was fun to see all the bands playing live. And then there were a lot of interesting speakers, such as Cristina Stenbeck and Niklas Zennstrรถm." Today you often hear people complaining about our compulsive relationship with our mobile phones. You work with apps and, in all likelihood, spend your life at the screen. Does your wife often complain? "Haha, no, she has similar problems. Most people do these days. My solution is discipline. If I have to work in the evening, I decide on a timeslot of perhaps two hours. After that I put it all away and spend time with my family."
O L D
T O W N
S T O C K H O L M
F E W
T H E
TEST IM ON IALS F R O M
T H I S
Y E A R Â´ S
E V E N T
HEAD OF GLOBAL MUSIC MARKETING FOR THE COCA-COLA COMPANY
PRESIDENT OF MOTION PICTURE MUSIC AT PARAMOUNT PICTURES
What were your thoughts about this year's Brilliant Minds?
What were your thoughts about this year's Brilliant Minds?
"My experience at Brilliant Minds was excellent. I enjoyed the convergence of people from across different businesses, experiences and backgrounds creating a great energy. The group was very open to sharing ideas and opportunities from both the presentations and the one-on-one conversations. I’m very much looking forward to next year."
"It was really, really good. An interesting blend of creators, entrepreneurs and people from business. An unbelievable amount of knowledge gathered in one and the same place, the kind of thing which inspires. In addition, Brilliant Minds was very professionally organised, down to the smallest detail."
Any specific highlights? "There were many. If I had to pick one it would be the presentation by Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson. I learned so much about Ericsson, the work they do everyday and their innovations and research. I felt inspired by his vision and the company’s vision for the future." Did you make any interesting contacts? "Indeed. Some good relationships started and some good new business initiatives came from the time." Did you enjoy Stockholm? "I always do! I am lucky to be able to visit often as Coca-Cola has a deep relationship with Spotify and Avicii and his team. There is such a spirit of innovation and positivity in Stockholm. And every visit for me includes a stop at the ABBA Museum, which I love." Any thoughts on why the city has become a hub for successful tech startups? "I really don’t know if there is one reason. I see it as a combination of factors: the culture, the people, the environment and the heritage all play a part in fostering startups."
Any highlights? "Björn Ulvaeus gave both an entertaining and interesting speech about how ABBA made their breakthrough. In general there was a high standard among the speakers: I learned everything from how to use social media better when you are designing a brand to what is important when you create 'customised shoes'. And, during the dinners and cocktails, I had the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people." Did you make any interesting contacts? "Yes, I met several people with whom I hope to have the opportunity to work in the future. And I also met a number of old contacts who I haven't met for a long time and really missed - hopefully I will get to work with them again soon." Sweden is sometimes called the number two, after Silicon Valley, when it comes to developing successful tech companies. Any theories on this? "That is an interesting question. Clearly there is something about Sweden that triggers creativity in people. Barely a day passes that I don't hear about a new band, a new songwriter or a fantastic new app that comes from Sweden. You have always been a country of skilled entrepreneurs but it now feels as if it has become the universe's hub for creativity."
PRESIDENT OF 2 DEGREES VENTURES
HEAD OF MOBILIUM GLOBAL LIMITED
What were your thoughts about this year's Brilliant Minds?
What were your thoughts about this year's Brilliant Minds?
"I was so enchanted that I feel I must return next year. It was a terrific event, with a truly interesting mixture of guests and speakers. The programme is really cleverly put together: with subjects that are relevant and interesting. So many brilliant brains. And I have to say that the event was very professionally produced considering it was being held for the first time."
"Right from the pre-start, the Brilliant Minds looked intriguing. Everything about it and surrounding it was tasteful and artful. Bring together an eclectic group of leading visionaries and digital entrepreneurs against the backdrop of a beautifully produced speaker line-up reflecting the depth of creative industry in Stockholm, in Sweden, and you have a fascinating gathering."
Any specific highlights? "Annie Wegelius (legend of Swedish television) is always interesting to listen to. Björn Ulveaus was both hysterically funny and uniquely interesting. I did not know that before. I had great expectations that I would learn a lot about technology and music - and both these expectations were met." Any thoughts on why Stockholm has become such a hub for successful tech startups? "It is cold and dark there, so what else are you going to do? It was the first time that I had visited Stockholm, in the middle of a wonderful summer week, and already I am longing to go back. I think that the city seems to have an inviting, positive and stimulating environment for young entrepreneurs. You help one another and have many good examples to look up to."
Any specific highlights? "From Bjorn Ulvaeus's detailed recall of when ABBA first broke big to Christina Stenbeck, a powerhouse executive with rare people quality; from HRH Prince Daniel, to Niklas Zennström and Hans Vestberg – true global thought leaders! Throughout the event, there was a terrific vibe and ‘feel’. Outstanding conversations and happy entrepreneurialism was a common theme. The inaugural participants all agreed on one thing: this Brilliant Minds gathering was brilliantly special and of great importance. Looking forward to Brilliant Minds 2016."
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
”Sweden is a different market from most other places, and the Swedish behavior is unique. We have internet penetration of 91%, worldwide it is 40%. With smartphones it is 73% in Sweden and worldwide it is 24%.” ”People want to create and produce the content themselves; they expect to be involved.” ”We are moving from mobile first to mobile only. Everything is happening on our smartphones.”
Stina Honkamaa Bergfors - former CEO of Google Sweden, founder and CEO of the YouTube-network United Screens.
T H E
"Brilliant Minds was fantastic, really dope. There is always someone saying that they are organising a forum with the 'next this' and the 'next that'. But the team behind Brilliant Minds truly succeeded in capturing a group of extremely intelligent people from tech, music and science. It was really a 360 brainfuck."
P O R T R A I T
S UPERS TAR IN B O TH HE ART AND MIND
WYCLEF He formed the legendary band The Fugees, produced one of hip-hopâ€™s most influential albums and has won three Grammy Awards. Aside from being a superstar, Wyclef Jean is one of the music world's most interesting minds. Among other things, he attempted to stand as a candidate for president in Haiti. By Hugo Rehnberg
During the summer he was a guest of honour at Brilliant Minds. And he was impressed with what he saw.
Do you have a theory on why Stockholm has become so successful when it comes to music and tech companies?
As well as being an artist, you are known as a staunch philanthropist. What issues are you engaged in at the moment?
"Sweden is a small country. I come from Haiti, which is a very small country. One of the advantages of living in a small country, according to me, is that it is easier to focus on your own thing. Regardless of whether it is about developing the perfect melody or the best app."
"Partly the climate issue, and the whole aspect of global warming. Time is running out and it is not getting better. Then I think a great deal about all the world's refugees. My parents fled from Haiti and built themselves a good life in the USA. So the issue of refugees will always be close to my heart. People are fleeing in boats from Africa and Syria and hoping for a better life. This is one of the most important issues for both the USA and Europe to try and solve."
Best song ever written by a Swede?
"Brilliant Minds was fantastic, really dope. There is always someone saying that they are organising a forum with the 'next this' or the 'next that'. But the team behind Brilliant Minds truly succeeded in capturing a group of extremely intelligent people from tech, music and science. It was really a 360 brainfuck." Any specific highlights? "The highlight for me was learning so much. Mainly about entrepreneurship and science. I felt like I was among 'the movers and shakers of the world'. Also, I really liked the music."
"The Backstreet album Millenium was unbelievably good all the way through. ABBA wrote some fantastic songs. And the song which everyone in The Fugees loved was Ace of Base's 'The Sign"'. You have said that you would like to move to the little Swedish town of Sandviken. For a Swedish person that is not very easy to understand; it is not exactly a tourist attraction. What did you fall for? "Many people say that it is strange to fall for Sandviken of all places, but I had a concert there a few years ago and I really liked the nature, the lake, the simplicity. It is so peaceful there. Sometimes I long for some tranquility. I like that kind of energy more than the kind in town."
What is your philosophy when it comes to charity? "I come from a little village in Haiti, where there was neither electricity nor water. I did not come to the USA until I was ten years old, and so I have always wanted to give something back. However I do not believe in giving money, but instead creating jobs. When I come to the farmers in Haiti now I do not give them money, because they will just need more money the following week. I bring seeds, fertiliser and machines." Finally, when is your next album coming out? "I was actually working on it when you called. It will be out in the summer of 2016 and sound like a meeting between "The Score" and "The Carnival" - but 2016. I have tried to find my way back to my roots and just have some fun with the music."
T H E
C R E A T I V E
C O L L E C T I O N
GUES TS OF 2015 AT B R I L L I A N T M I N D S
Ash Pournouri and Daniel Ek
B R ILLI AN T MI NDS
Jacob de Geer, Carl Waldekranz and Hans Vestberg
Eva Hamilton and Annie Wegelius
Ash Pournouri and Avicii
Sofi Fahrman with friends
Abbe Ibrahim with friend
Niklas Adalberth & Konrad Bergstrรถm
Daniel Ek and Ash Pournouri
Daniel Ek with friend
T HE BRI LLI ANT MI ND S D I NNE R AT FÅ FÄ NG A N
Eric Zho with friend
Joe Belliotti and Ash Pournouri
Elisabeth Thand Ringqvist, Natalia Brzezinski and Anna FellĂ¤nder
Julia Hartz, Daniel Ek and Scott Stanford
Fred Davis and Natalia Brzezinski
Natalia Brzezinski and Ash Pournouri
Jonas Åkerlund with friend
Niklas Bergman, Amir Chamdin
S Y M POSI UM COCK TA I L AT JO NAS ÅKERLUN D
Tyler Crowley with friends
Susanne Najafi with friends
Johan Ernst Nilson Daniel Katzenellenbogen Johan Åhström
Ralph Simon and Hans Vestberg
Jacob de Geer, Martin Lorentzon, Niklas Zennström and Sofi Fahrman
S U MMERBU RS T FES T I VA L
Andreas Carlsson, Bea Åkerlund and Jonas Åkerlund
T H E
P O R T R A I T
"I want to give the students more hands-on training in the things that have become increasingly important in professional life, such as branding, pitching, packaging and developing oneself as an individual," says Andreas, and continues: "The development partly involves reflection: understanding where one fits in within a group, in relation to oneself and to others. And it also partly involves perception: seeing possibilities rather than the opposite; creating good core values and doing things for the greater good."
A HIT-MAKER WITH GOOD BUSINESS ACUMEN
ANDREAS CARL S S ON He’s a successful Swedish songwriter and producer who had a hand in writing a number of internationally-successful pop singles such as ”I Want It That Way” with Backstreet Boys and Celine Dions ”That's the Way It Is”. Now, Andreas Carlsson wants to help young people become successful musicians and entrepreneurs.
By Hugo Rehnberg
He has written hit songs for Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Katy Perry, and was a key figure in creating what is usually called the ”Swedish Music Miracle”. In Sweden, most people recognise Andreas Carlsson from the talent shows Idol and X-Factor. A few years ago he founded a musical and entrepreneurial course of education called the Acadamy of Music and Business, for which a curriculum based on the motto "my better self" was developed. It all started with a school in the Småland region of Sweden, and today the Academy of Music and Business is located in several places across the country. At the same time as the school is expanding, Andreas is writing a Broadway musical, together with among others, Cirque de Soleil. ”Yes, that project is incredibly exciting, especially as I like trying out new stuff.” What are your favourite musicals? "I would say Mamma Mia and Jersey Boys". What did you think about this year's Brilliant Minds? "Absolutely fantastic. It was obviously based on good values. Everything was imbued with generosity: one wants to share knowledge and networks, thus creating a wider perspective and a good opportunity for other people to succeed. For me this is synonymous with Ash Pournouri and the others behind Brilliant Minds. They want everyone to have fun and play together in the sand pit; you can borrow my bucket and spade and we
can create fun stuff together. I like things like that." Any specific highlights? "It's difficult to choose one specific thing, but it was great to see something that shone a spotlight on Stockholm and all the talented people there. The meeting between tech, corporate and creators was very dynamic. I think that the world of commerce really needs to acquire more soft values, and we in the entertainment industry can contribute in that respect." And what can the creators learn? ”Loads. Not all artists in, for example, the music industry have kept pace with developments. Instead, they are still hoping to sign a contract with a record company, even though no one is interested in buying records anymore. Therefore they need to learn more about packaging, promotion and personal branding. Look at Taylor Swift and Zara Larsson, both great artists who have truly broken new ground." Why do you think Sweden has created so many successful tech startups? "We have had some wonderful role models who have made it big internationally, and success breeds success: the role models make other Swedes feel that they can do the same. We are also sensitive to trends, work hard and combine talent with lots of common sense."
You have lived and worked in the USA for a long time. Where do you see differences between Swedish and American entrepreneurship? "Since the economy is so huge in America, the carrot is usually larger. That helps create an incredible drive. The concept of Darwinism is more evident in the USA. One has to be pushy in order to make it and not afraid to market oneself. We Swedes tend to think more in terms of our ’Jantelag' (stating that everyone is equal and nobody should stand out more than others). On the other hand, we are more humble and inclined to help our neighbor, which gives us an advantage. We have a healthy business ethic and usually don’t stoop so low as to do whatever it takes, even if situations may be unfair, in order to promote ourselves. If you are an asshole in Sweden you are quickly filtered out. Another thing is that Sweden has almost always had a left-leaning government, which has contributed to a high tax burden that makes it difficult to start with 10 employees. This means that an entrepreneur has to learn all aspects of the business inside out, and I think that's very useful."
T H E
P O R T R A I T
A MOMENT WITH
S OFI FAHRMAN One of Sweden's brightest media entrepreneurs talks about social media strategies, the invigorating effects of Brilliant Minds and a longing for fresh snow.
By Hugo Rehnberg
As one of Swedish fashion's most prominent voices, Sofi Fahrman, has run the eponymous magazine ”Sofis Mode”, written best-selling novels and for the past ten years been one of the country's brightest shining social media stars. Above all, Sofi Fahrman has adroitly used social media to build brands, both her own and that of the major media house Schibsted, where she is the perennial star in their big investment ”The You Way”, a site that is a clever hybrid of e-commerce and fashion. But when we ask whether there is a secret to breaking through on social media the answer is somewhat disappointing. "There really is no secret magic potion. Attracting and building up many, loyal followers is about a holistic approach; personal appeal, creating curiosity, credibility, inspiring, surprising and working damn hard. Or do "a Tash Oakley" and pose in a bathing suit with a paradise backdrop. That can also break the internet. What are you doing right now? "I am praying to the weather gods for loads and loads of snow. My home base is in Verbier in Switzerland and, ski fanatic that I am, snow and the start of the season is the highlight of the year. Autumn is one long impatient wait and the day when I can strap on my skiing boots is a "Yee-ha moment".
What did you think about this year's Brilliant Minds? "It was so inspiring that I wanted to drop all my projects and invest 100% in tech, there and then. The mix of speakers, panels and performances gave me hope for the future and ignited a spark in me. Felt proud to be "made in Sweden" and on the guest list. This year's Brilliant Minds proved that Stockholm is a world leader in the area of creativity. Any special highlights? "I like being positively surprised. Without exception there was a high standard to the entire event but in particular I remember the opening with Prince Daniel, the dinner at Fåfängan with Stockholm showing off its most beautiful early summer side, Hans Rosling's acumen and the wide smile of the founder of Fishbrain with his fish prop on stage. Did you make any interesting contacts for the future? "Absolutely. It is my life mission to ALWAYS be open to new meetings and contacts. It was very exciting to talk to a range of people who inspire me, such as Ash Pournouri, Assia Grazioli, Cristina Stenbeck and Niklas Zennström.
What can companies in general be better at when it comes to social media? "Having a clear strategy and vision for social media, in the same way that you have for your core business. How do we want to be perceived? Arouse emotion, provoke laughter or get followers' eyes to melt into hearts. Social media is a perfect marketing window and a place to engage and arouse emotion. When will you move on from Schibsted and be completely on your own? "I have run my own company for over ten years, and Schibsted Nya Medier is one of my clients: a client that helps me to develop in terms of creating new products. From Sofis Mode to our latest product, The You Way. As long as I feel it is a challenge I will stay. I also work with books, TV and other collaborations at the same time and that suits me. I like the contrasts in work and life as a whole.
ST OCK HOL M T H E
S W E D I S H
S T A R T- U P
S C E N E
WHAT IS THE REAL REASON BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF SWEDISH STARTUPS? Viggo Cavling has talked to professors, investors and entrepreneurs to try and get an answer to this question.
By Viggo Cavling
In 1996, 10 percent of the students at the Stockholm School of Economics wanted to become entrepreneurs. Today, the figure is 70 percent. In the 1990s the dream was to get a job at a large Swedish or international company. Today, the dream of many young men and women in Stockholm is to start a "Unicorn" themselves.
The goal is of course that BolĂĽnegruppen will become another of Sweden's Unicorns. This term was first coined by Aileen Lee from Cowboy Ventures, and refers to a newly started tech-company with a value of at least one billion dollars. There are quite a few of these now in Sweden, such as Klarna, Spotify, Avitio, Skype, Mojang and King.
Someone who has been there the whole time is multi-entrepreneur and lecturer Ola Ahlvarsson. Twenty years ago he was a pioneer in e-commerce with Boxman. For the last 10 years he has been one of the driving forces behind the digital conference Sime. And for just over a year he has also been running the Epicenter incubator in central Stockholm.
One of them is Dag Wardeus, who runs the company BolĂĽnegruppen (The Mortgage Group) along with partner Carl Johan Nordquist. The business concept is to lower the mortgages paid by Swedes by pursuing collective procurement. After graduating, Dag worked at a major international consulting firm for a while, but never really settled there. Today he sits in a small room at SSE Business Lab, the school's incubator. "I think that the success of (the financial services provider) Klarna has played a major role in more students at the School of Economics wanting to start a company now. It's a bit like Zlatan Ibrahimovic's achievements, which inspire new young players today. Stories about how the Klarna trio started the company while frequently studying is still told at the school and is probably crucial for encouraging many more people to take the plunge."
Not all these companies have been born and bred solely in Stockholm of course, but Stockholm is a hub and a port of call through which many entrepreneurs pass on their great journey. Many companies have found venture capital and employees in Stockholm. Many entrepreneurs test their wings here for the first time. And many choose, after having sold their company and made millions or, in some cases, even billions from it, to return to Stockholm. The city has experienced two digital gold rushes. The first was in 1996-2000, and the second started a few years ago and is now in full swing.
"There are a variety of reasons for Stockholm being one of the world's 16 leading startup locations. To begin with, the PC reform in the 1990s, when Swedes were given the opportunity to obtain computers cheaply, played a big role. We have also had close ties to the USA for a long time, and what happens there subsequently also happens quickly in Sweden."
An extremely important figure at this time was the business angel Kjell Spångberg. He linked together old money such as the AP funds with venture capital. "His amazing returns of 20 times the invested capital made it possible for a lot of people to start working with IT and startups. Thousands of people secured jobs and hundreds could travel around the world and become managing directors at a young age. At the age of 16, Daniel Ek got to work with the digital fishermen in the lobby at Spray. People who worked at Spray then started Tradedoubler, which led to Spotify." The Dotcom crash in 2000 put the brakes on things economically, but technology continued to evolve. Facebook, iOS and cloud services made it cheap to create things. There was a focus on products. The number of Internet users in Sweden increased massively in the 2000s. The young managing directors who had travelled around the world tried again. We meet in the café on the ground floor of the Epicenter. The building previously housed the major Swedish bank Swedbank, but the whole neighbourhood has now been rebuilt and turned into something like an urban Silicon Valley. The goal is to link large companies with startup companies. The project's working name is Urban Escape. It's crowded and there are people everywhere. In one corner there is a Bitcoin vending machine. Here you pour your own coffee. Someone who appreciates Epicenter is Per Roman, from the international investment bank GP Bullhound. He is involved in investments in many of the hot new Swedish companies. We talked on the phone while Per was in Spain. His thoughts about why companies are successful today are similar to those of Ola. "Those who are successful today are standing on the shoulders of the greats. Spray, Icon and Framfab were very important. They trained people and helped them dare become entrepreneurs. What is happening now in Stockholm is reminiscent of Silicon Valley in the 70s. That generation of entrepreneurs trained the next generation. And when they sold their companies they reinvested the money in new companies and supported new entrepreneurs," he says, and continues: "Swedish industry was characterised for a long time by the fact that when you became wealthy you never had to work again. One would buy a mansion in the countryside and sit there tasting wine. I have nothing against drinking wine. But Jacob de Geer, Daniel Ek, Markus "Notch" Persson, Jonas Nordlander, Filip Engelbert,
Niklas Adalberth, Niklas Zennström and Hjalmar Winbladh, among many others, have not stopped working even though they have been enormously successful and earned a lot of money. They are continuing to work with new companies, invest in others and act as mentors. They inspire a dynamic mindset and continue to work hard. They want to be in an interesting context. This is a big difference compared to previous generations of great entrepreneurs. Perhaps the hottest startup hub in Scandinavia, SUP46, is located on the other side of the neighbourhood, on the 5th floor of Regeringsgatan 29. Around 50 startup companies are crammed into Swedbank's fairly rundown old premises here. The office furniture consists of the cheapest models one can find at IKEA and there aren't many well-ironed shirts on show. Baggy trousers, computers covered in stickers and t-shirts are
eration for our members and also to act as a facilitator to allow the rest of the startup community to gather. One can compare it to a really good night club - we focused on getting the very best, both in terms of investors, startups and partners. The whole thing then snowballed and this resulted in a good flow of interested parties to the meeting place. The meeting place is the open part of SUP46, in which everyone is welcome to get a part of the people, businesses and, perhaps most of all, the fantastic atmosphere created when really awesome people gather in one place. According to Swedish techcrunch magazine Breakit, one billion US dollars have been invested in Swedish companies during the first nine months of 2015. Favourite segments for investors include media, financial services and e-commerce. 37 percent of the capital has come from foreign investors.
According to Swedish techcrunch magazine Breakit, one billion US dollars have been invested in Swedish companies during the first nine months of 2015. Favourite segments for investors include media, financial services and e-commerce. 37 percent of the capital has come from foreign investors.
the accessories of choice if you are an entrepreneur. Basically, all startup hubs are a bit like office-space hotels. In order to enable SUP46 to be able to provide inexpensive office space to new entrepreneurs, a number of well-known sponsors are involved, with the largest being MTGx, Schibsted Growth, Microsoft and Cisco. The Managing Director of SUP46 is Jessica Stark. SUP46 has become a magical meeting place. What is the secret behind it? "Firstly, it is really important to create an environment that is clearly based on the specific needs of startups and is developed on that basis - regardless of whether it involves designing the premises, deciding which workshops to hold, or something as simple as the pricing model. It was important for us to build a network that generates both business benefits and accel-
A company that received a lot of money is the financial-tech company KNC Miner. It produces and delivers processors for transaction processing, including some tailored specifically for the Bitcoin network, but mainly capacity for blockchain calculations. I meet their marketing manager Nanok Bie over lunch at Taverna Brillo. We worked together at the Dagens Nyheter newspaper almost 20 years ago. "In the past I worked as a journalist, and I researched facts in this context. Thanks to Bitcoin, I and everyone else can today ensure the existence of certain information at a given time without having to rely on any single authority. KNC Miner has about 100 employees. Half of them are located in Boden. Our processors are faster and more energy efficient than those of Apple. It is basically a matter of the distance between CPUs on the Silicon circuit board. We have about eight percent of the world market. Blockchain technology will revolution-
ise everything. It is a revolution in the spirit of Gutenberg, ensuring that the information is accurate. Nanok Bie has a somewhat unexpected explanation regarding why financial technology is developing so strongly in Stockholm. "Sweden has the world's most modern central bank (the Riksbank). It is not only the world's oldest institution as such, but is also one of the most innovative. Thanks to the bank, all residents of Sweden have their own RIX account at the Riksbank. This forms the basis for the Mobile BankID form of digital identification. This is why the Swish payment system via mobile phones works so well. So Bitcoin isn't really needed here so far, but it is needed in the rest of the world, as they don't have our central bank. Moore's Law will continue to apply. We have now become accustomed to everything becoming twice as fast every other year. People do not want technology to get a bit better, they want it to get a lot better. It is part of our psyche to test the limits set by nature. We finish our lunch and split the bill. Nanok gets me to download the Bitcoin app Breadwallet and transfers a hundred kronor to me. The next morning I get an email from Nanok in which he writes that the hundred kronor he transferred to me the day before is today worth 101 kronor. I return to Epicenter. Sara Öhrvall also spends a few hours each week in the 8,000 square metres of office space. She was previously Head of R&D at Bonnier AB and developed, for example, the company Adlibris's e-commerce platform, as well as designing Bonnier's first digital magazine. When Steve Jobs presented the iPad for the first time he highlighted Öhrvall's work as being outstanding. Why are things going so well for Startup Stockholm? "We have a high level of UX skills. What we do is logical and appeals to users. There is a tech-culture in Silicon Valley. It is a much harder environment. In Sweden we understand technology plus fashion plus design plus culture. It becomes a cultural meeting between different skills. We win by mixing. Unlike in the USA, everyone dares to question the boss here. There is hierarchy over there that we don't have, thanks to our cultural background and all the group work we do at school. Our consensual approach means that everyone can contribute and everyone is allowed to question decisions. This means that we are more modern and thus more attractive, including for international talent."
Multi-entrepreneur and lecturer Ola Ahlvarsson
An early figure on the Swedish startup scene was multi-entrepreneur Johan Staël von Holstein. Early on he became an icon with his company Icon Media Lab. The company rocketed on the stock exchange, but suffered losses and plummeted in the crash at the turn of the millennium. Johan currently runs the site MyNameClub. We meet over breakfast at Riche. Johan talks like a machine gun and has definite opinions about both politics and business. He emphasises the Stureplan area of town as the engine of what takes place in Stockholm.
Johan Staël von Holstein
"I love Stureplan. It is a unique place. You can have breakfast, lunch, dinner and go clubbing here. You can meet the King, the Prime Minister, venture capital, and the management of a large number of multinational companies on the street. The Institute of Technology, the School of Economics and Stockholm University are here. All the startups are here. As are all the cinemas and theatres. All the journalists and advertising agencies hang out here. I have lived all over the world. Such a concentration doesn't exist anywhere else. London, Berlin and New York are just too big and it takes two or three hours every time you want to meet someone. Here you can bike to everything in no more than 15 minutes. This results in huge efficiency. We can work more than everyone else." The message is similar when I speak to Kjell A. Nordström. He is an associate professor at the School of Economics and a well-paid lecturer with a rock star status. "When I studied at the School of Economics in 1982, the percentage of would-be entrepreneurs was zero. The school fostered reliable officials, capable men and women who could count and with whom one could entrust the company's cash. The school initially nurtured potential CFOs, but over time the education also included marketing managers and all sorts of executives at large companies. We studied large companies like General Motors and ABB. And looked at how they expanded globally in the fields of oil or steel. The School of Economics was founded in 1909 in order to allow commercial traders and merchants to get closer to the academic world. They were basically shopkeepers who wanted to obtain scientific illumination. It is no coincidence that the Nobel Prize in Economics is not a real Nobel Prize, but was created by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation in memory of Alfred Nobel."
Kjell A. Nordström
Why did things change? "What we see today in Stockholm's startup world is a result of various factors. It began in 1994 with Netscape 1.0, when the Internet became accessible to more people. Another important factor is that Sweden is America's 51st state. We are the fastest in the world to embrace what's happening in the United States. Even though we are a small country near the North Pole. This includes music, gym, sushi, how organisations are structured, and anti-smoking. When the Internet started in California, we were faster to adopt it than our European cousins and faster than Great Britain, even though it is America's mother." In Stockholm, a flock of new companies were established in the mid-90s, such as Framfab, Spray and Icon. They were based on technology and the Internet, but also on investment. "They needed people who were good at economics and maths, in other words people from the School of Economics. It is not enough to have a lot of energy and a good idea for a company, you also have to go through financing rounds and meet with banks. There was a bit of a collision with the School of Economics, as when the students had done the financing rounds, they rushed down to Stureplan and started working at Icon or Spray, sometimes without finishing their degrees. Some made money, but not all of them did. Almost all of them had fun though and they created a whole new world. Those who were there learned how to start a company. They were 22 or 23 years old then; today they are 40. They are machines at building companies, because in many respects one uses the same recipe each time one does it - there are the same challenges and traps every time." I meet Sara Wimmercranz at Café Rival, which is owned by ABBA's Benny Andersson. She is one of the "company-making machines" Kjell A. Nordström was talking about. Sara has a background in the company Lensway's management team and is now a co-founder of Footway, the largest footwear e-retailer in Scandinavia. Sara is also active in the Springfield Project, which assists startups with capital and expertise in the early stage. "I work with the Springfield Project because I love to help create scalable companies. They needed someone with experience in e-commerce. We meet hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs every year. But today, many people want to create the new "Uber or Spotify because it ..." But it's not that simple. Instead, start by looking at customer benefits."
Tell me about Footway. "We have a huge customer focus and have allowed customers to help build the company. Customer care begins with understanding the customer. One does this by knowing what data is relevant and how it can be used. We as e-retailers have data about everything, such as what the customer is looking at and NOT buying." We of course talk about Stockholm. Sara highlights the Swedish model.
"I think Stockholm is a good place for startups because we have a social safety net. Even if your company goes bankrupt, you and your family will not be forced to live on the streets. Education and kindergarten for everyone, which means that everyone gets a chance. People from other countries are shocked when I tell them how it is here. “In Sweden you live, in the States we survive”. I believe that our safety net allows people to be creative and dare to fail. I was born in the southern Småland region of Sweden, and there is a good environment there. It is in the people's DNA to solve problems and to laugh while doing it.
But not everything is as rosy. "The startup world could be even better if we took advantage of all the potential that exists. We are one of the most equal countries in the world and nearly 30 percent of all entrepreneurs are women. However, it is mostly Nordic men who invest in companies led by Nordic men. A new report shows that only 0.01 percent of all public money goes to women. A too homogeneous investment culture misses talented entrepreneurs and important customer insights. Because 60-70 percent of all purchases are made by women. It is important not to miss the potential provided by this." A major trend is that major global companies based in Stockholm have woken up to the digital revolution and are directing their focus towards the startup scene. Someone who has seen this before is Mikael Ahlström. In the 90s he started a digital marketing agency that was Icon Medialab's first acquisition. Mikael has his fingers in a few different pies in Startup Stockholm, such as SUP46 and the Hyper Island school. A few years ago, the school mainly trained creative people from advertising agencies, but now the customer base includes companies such as Ikea and Google. Hyper Island's tagline is Change the Word. "What has happened now in tech-Sweden is that politics has woken up. A few weeks ago, the Hyper
Island Managing Director Johanna Frelin and I conducted a workshop for Mikael Damberg, the Swedish Minister for Economic Affairs, Trade and Industry, and all his associated ministers, under-secretaries and related director-generals of agencies. The task was to transform Sweden digitally. The problem with our authorities is that they are afraid to make mistakes and be issued with negative reports by the National Audit Office. But ensuring one never makes a mistake does not mean that things are being done correctly. The startup algorithm involves testing, making a mistake, redoing and testing again. Trial and error in a close relationship with users. Authorities should act in the same way." Mikael Ahlström is positive about the desire of the large organisations to develop. "There is a lot going on at the moment. The startup culture is reaching an ever wider group. I have just come from a large meeting with ABB in Västerås. Now it is the large companies that are interested in digital development. The Internet of Things means that all companies need to think like startups. More entrepreneurial thinking is required. This leads to the meeting of two cultures: large companies and startups." Kjell A. Nordström is skeptical about whether or not this will be a success: "The large companies in Sweden, such as Ericsson, AGA, Alfa Laval and Sandviken, started in the 1850s, 60s and 70s. They made us rich and created a lot of jobs. They were employment machines for many years. Many of these companies have tried to create their own start up settings. Not only Swedish companies but also Coca Cola, Google and Siemens. It would be incredibly convenient for them if they could create their own Silicon Valley. The problem is that all major companies are based on a financial model much like planned economies which makes them risk the same fate as Sovjet did in 1989. The managing director of a major corporation must have knowledge of internal processes and is required to keep track of and question irregular expenses. This may cause trouble when young, eager people join the company who prefer expensive meals at Sturehof for example. When the company later question this it may lead to differences with the result that the young, brilliant minds – who value freedom above a regular pay check – move forward to start their own companies.” Nobody who I talked to is worried about the development in Stockholm. But Sara Öhrvall has an observation.
"I read in Wired's annual assessment of European startup-clusters that the problem in Stockholm in terms of being a digital hotspot is that we have our fingers in all the pies. We should instead focus on a few areas and create larger clusters related to these. That would result in the expertise being even more cutting-edge and multiple companies in the same area of work would allow them to learn from each other. Research in a specific field can be deepened. One person who has frightened many people in Sweden is the economist Stefan Fölster. In a report, he writes that half of all jobs will disappear by 2025. The question regarding what everyone should then work with and how those who have high paying jobs today will be affected is quite complicated. But Kjell A. Nordström is not particularly worried: "It is a big adjustment, but it is comparable to when agriculture was transformed. At that time, 80 percent of the population worked with agriculture and lived in small villages. Books such as ”The Emigrants” and ”The Settlers” were written about the transformation. People moved from the farms to the mills and industrial works. It was pretty messy. We shot workers in Ådalen and many people protested. Back then people asked themselves how it would be possible for everyone to fit in the cities and what they would work with. In the same way the fast progress today worries the chattering classes of Stockholm. Automation affects those of us who write in the newspapers and talk on the television. We worry and wonder what will become of us. But we might get a new job on a dating site or at Spotify. Already now, more people work at Spotify than at Dagens Nyheter. It will be tough, but it is unreasonable to assume that it will not be possible. It will be brutal, but we will adapt. Once upon a time we were the best at building boats in the shipbuilding industry; today that is nothing but a distant memory, but we have managed anyway.”
Summerburst Stockholm 2015
THE OTHER PAR TS O F 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. Its 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 MSEK 42 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 statutes of the foundation. Without any restrictions concerning 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 breadth 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 - 1988 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
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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 on Fridhemsplan, founded by Denniz Pop), together with colleagues, friends and the family of 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, outside of Stockholm. He was not a musician but a DJ who played at youth centres 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. Denniz Pop was extremely skilled at instinctively knowing what made a song work or not. But perhaps his greatest contribution to pop history was his way of working. Denniz Pop saw music creation as a team effort, where everyone helped everyone and where 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. Contributions are made by the Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (SKAP), companies and private individuals. The prize statuettes are handmade by the artist Paul Sundvik and can be viewed at the Swedish Music Hall Of Fame. "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 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”.
"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. The awards are divided into the following categories: • Rookie artist/band of the year • Rookie songwriter/producer of the year • The Grand Prize - MVP of the year
"The Sign" by Ace of Base was the first Denniz Pop-produced song to reach No.1 on Billboard Hot 100. Together with his protĂŠgĂŠ Max Martin, he continued to write and produce chart-topping songs for American stars such as Backstreet Boys at Cheiron Studios.
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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 p l a n sgruppen a nd i s s i n c e 2 0 1 5 a pa rt o f L i v e N a t i o n . S u mmerburs t i s a two d a y m u s i c ex tra v a ga nz a hel d i n G o t h e nburg a nd Sto c k ho l m a n n u a l l y. I n f i v e y ea rs the f es ti v a l ha s gro w n f ro m 13 000 v i s i to rs d u r i n g o n e da y i n Sto c k ho l m , t o 1 2 0 0 0 0 v i s i to rs duri ng tw o d a y s i n t w o c i ti es . Thro ugho u t t h e y e a r s the f es ti v a l ha s h a d t h e p r i v il ege to wel c o me m a n y o f t h e wo rl d’s mo s t prom i n e n t D J s s uc h a s Av i c i i , Sw e d i s h H o u s e Ma f i a , A x wel l /\ I n g ros s o, D a v i d G uetta , Ca l v i n H a r r i s , A l e s s o, A f ro j a c k , Ma rti n G a r r i x a n d ma ny mo re.
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 . D a t e s a n d v e n u e s f or S u m m e r b u r s t i n 2 0 1 6 a re : S u m m e rbu r s t G o th e n bu rg May 27-28, 2016 Ve n u e : 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 June 10-11, 2016 Ve n u e : 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
Alesso & Martin Garrix
By Hugo Rehnberg Photo Bezav Mahmod
T Y LER CROWL E Y 'T H E S TA RT U P W H IS PE R E R ' He is commissioned by cities across the world to create better "tech scenes". Tyler Crowley explains why Stockholm breeds unicorns and how it's likely there will be even more.
Are many successful?
Tyler Crowley has called Stockholm a "Unicorn Factory".
Tyler Crowley is contracted by the City of Stockholm. He has similar contracts in Australia, Poland, Japan and Croatia.
That is a reference to the fact that the city has managed to create an astonishing number of successful IT companies in relation to the number of inhabitants. "Stockholm currently has seven unicorns (IT companies that are valued at over one billion dollars), and one million inhabitants. Berlin, for example, has four million inhabitants, and four unicorns. New York, with nine million people, has maybe four or five unicorns. Silicon Valley also creates seven unicorns per million inhabitants. This means that Stockholm and Silicon Valley have the same ratio. Which company will be our next unicorn? "Izettle and Truecaller. Truecaller in particular has had one of the fastest developments I have ever seen in a company.
Los Angeles-born Tyler Crowley helps cities develop their tech scenes, in order to become more like Silicon Valley. In some circles he is known as 'the startup whisperer'. By arranging both monthly and annual events, he brings IT entrepreneurs and investors together. The events in Stockholm are held at the Hilton Slussen. These look at the latest industry news - who has managed to raise money and who has exciting news to tell. Those people are often in the audience and they get to come up and talk about their news. "Everything is very informal," explains Tyler Crowley, "but because we are talking about Swedes, they make sure they are very well-prepared, whereas I, as an American, am very careful not to be too prepared. There is a warm-up guest at the event. Last time it focused on how the tech world can help refugees. The main guests are usually a group of investors. Most recently they were from the Middle East. The climax of the event is a Dragons' Den-type show in which three companies take to the stage to pitch their businesses to the investors."
"Around one in three usually get an investment. A few months ago, for example, Universal Avenue got five million dollars."
He attributes Stockholm's successes, in part, to its schools. ”Stockholm School of Economics is a very good school, as are the Institute of Technology and the various Design Schools. People are prepared for working life when they leave the lecture halls. Plus it has become easier for Swedish entrepreneurs to get funding," says Tyler Crowley, who also points out that we have 'rockstars' in tech, such as Daniel Ek at Spotify and Sebstian Siemiatkowski at Klarna. "They are vital as sources of inspiration. I think that it was Stockholm's School of Economics that had some interesting statistics. In the 1980s, 10 percent of students wanted to become entrepreneurs; today that figure is around 70 or 80 percent. That is a remarkable development. In Silicon Valley the fuel for recruiting talent is 'stock options'. When key people are recruited, they can choose between three different salary options - almost everyone chooses the lowest salary and the highest options programme. In Stockholm it is different.
When Mojang was sold to Microsoft it was only the three founders who got any money at all. Tyler Crowley explains that this would be unheard of in San Francisco. The reason for this is tax. "In the USA stock options are taxed at 12% whereas the equivalent figure here is 65%. In the long term I think this is dangerous. You need stock options to attract the best talent, otherwise you risk them disappearing off somewhere else. At the same time one can view this as a source of potential growth, because if Sweden sorts out this problem it will be in a position to become even better." What did you think of Brilliant Minds? "It was an extremely "well-oiled" event, down to the very last detail. I have been to many tech events across the whole world and can honestly say that this was the most impressive." Any specific highlights? "The networking was outstanding, and so was the content - I listened to exciting presentations by, for example, Hans Vestberg, Prince Daniel, Björn Ulvaeus, Cristina Stenbeck and Niklas Zennström.