Lord Simon McDonald spent over four decades in HM Diplomatic Service. Sir Simon joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1982 and served in Berlin, Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn, Washington, and Tel Aviv, and in a wide range of jobs in London. He served as the British Ambassador to Berlin from 2010 to 2015. He was the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser and Head of Foreign and Defence Policy in the Cabinet Office from 2007 to 2010. From 2003 to 2006 he was British Ambassador to Israel. His government career culminated with him being Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, and Head of the UK’s Diplomatic Service. He is Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge. In his first book, Leadership: Lessons from a Life in Diplomacy, Lord Simon McDonald shares his observations from working in close quarters with ministers, diplomats and leaders – on some of the most complex issues faced by our world. In this interview, I speak to Lord Simon McDonald, Former Ambassador & Head of HM Diplomatic Service. We discuss the nature of leadership, how diplomats work to resolve challenging and complex situations, and what his life in diplomacy can teach us all about leading.

Thought Economics

DoorDash is a remarkable business. Founded in 2013, the business now has millions of monthly active users, across 27 countries, who utilise the services of millions of Dashers on the platform to get, ‘restaurants and more, delivered to their door.’ DoorDash is empowering a whole new economic model – In the period from Q1 2020 through today, the platform has generated over $70 billion in sales for merchants, and over $25 billion in earnings for Dashers. It took 7 years for DoorDash to complete their first billion orders (from founding through October 2020), it took 10 months to complete their next billion – the scaling continues – in Q3 2022 alone, DoorDash delivered over 430 million orders. DoorDash IPO’d in 2020, and is regarded as one of the most valuable consumer businesses on the planet. In this interview, I speak to Christopher Payne, President of DoorDash. He served as COO from 2016-2021, and prior to joining DoorDash, he led the North American business at eBay, ran development of MSN Search (now Bing) and mapping (Virtual Earth) for Microsoft. He also led Amazon’s expansion beyond books into video, electronics, wireless, PCs and software. He is one of the world’s most accomplished technology leaders.

Thought Economics

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of the podcast The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. In this interview, I speak to him about conspiracy theories, conspiratorial thinking and why the rational believe the irrational.

Thought Economics

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, a New York Times #1 bestselling author, has written or edited 51 books which have sold over 3 million copies, been translated into 32 languages, and become bestsellers in 12 countries. Amazon recently recognized the ‘100 Best Leadership & Success Books Ever Written’ – and included Marshall’s Triggers and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. He is the only living author with two books on the list. His other bestsellers include: MOJO, Succession: Are You Ready?, The Leader of the Future and How Women Rise (with lead author, Sally Helgesen). His new NYT bestseller, The Earned Life, is an Amazon Editor’s Choice for Book of the Year So Far in 2022. Marshall’s acknowledgements include: Global Gurus – Corps D ’Elite Award for Lifetime Contribution in both Leadership and Coaching, Harvard Business Review – World’s #1 Leadership Thinker, Institute for Management Studies – Lifetime Achievement Award for Teaching, American Management Association – 50 great thinkers who have influenced the field of management and BusinessWeek – 50 great leaders in America. His life is featured in the documentary movie, “The Earned Life” and the New Yorker profile, “The Better Boss”. He is one of a select few executive coaches who has worked with over 200 major CEOs and their management teams. He served on the Advisory Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for ten years. In this interview, I speak to Dr. Marshall Goldsmith about finding our path in life, the pursuit of happiness, the scorecards for success, the power of mentorship, discipline and what it takes to live the life you deserve.

Thought Economics

On 24th February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War (which began in 2014). Whilst exact figures are difficult to establish, by May 2022, some 8 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced and some 7.7million had left the country. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations has estimated over 16,150, and expectations are that military losses are several times more. Commentators have said this is one of the greatest threats to the international peace since the outbreak of World War 2. Simon Smith is chair of the steering committee of the Ukraine Forum at Chatham House. He was previously the British ambassador to Ukraine, and Russia, South Caucasus, and Central Asia director at the Foreign Office. He has also served as British Ambassador to South Korea and to Austria- where he was also the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN and the UK Governor on the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In this interview I speak to Simon Smith CMG about the history of the Russia-Ukraine War, Russia’s role in the world, how this war could play out, and what it means for international peace and order.

Thought Economics

Renowned economist Nouriel Roubini was nicknamed “Dr. Doom,” until his prediction of the 2008 housing crisis and Great Recession came true – when it was too late. Now he is back with a much scarier prediction, one that we ignore at our peril. There are no fewer than ten overlapping, interconnected threats that are so serious, he calls them Megathreats. From the worst debt crisis the world has ever seen, to governments pumping out too much money, to borders that are blocked to workers and to many shipments of goods, to the rise of a new superpower competition between China and the U.S., to climate change that strikes directly at our most populated cities, we are facing not one, not two, but ten causes of disaster. There is a slight chance we can avoid them if we come to our senses – but we must act now. In this interview, I speak to Professor Nouriel Roubini, who speaks on how We are heading towards the worst economic catastrophe of our lifetimes – unless we can defend against ten terrifying threats.

Thought Economics

Francis Ngannou is a remarkable individual. He is currently the heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and is ranked as having the hardest punch in the world. Francis Ngannou was born in the village of Batié (Cameroon), and grew up with very little: no home, no formal education, and no support. What he lacked in support, he made up for with his enormous dreams. He eluded the demands of local gangs, began working in salt mines as a child, and set his sights on a life outside of the town that was determined to retain him. Francis began boxing training at 22, and at the age of 26 took an arduous journey to France to pursue his professional career. Upon reaching Europe, he was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally crossing the border. When he reached Paris, with no money, friends, or home, he became homeless. Francis met fighter Francis Carmot who introduced him to trainer Fernand Lopez and MMA Factory. Lopez gave Ngannou some MMA gear, allowed him to train and sleep at the gym, and with that his career began. Today, alongside his fighting success, Francis operates a foundation in his name which extends his providence to his hometown. In this interview, I speak to Francis Ngannou, heavyweight champion of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). We discuss the power of combat sports, the reality of pain, of resilience, of failure and success.

Thought Economics

Mike Evans is the founder of GrubHub. Hungry and tired one night, Mike wanted a pizza, but getting a pizza was a pain in the neck. He didn’t want to call a million restaurants to see what was open. So, as an avid coder, he created GrubHub in his spare bedroom to figure out who delivered to his apartment. Then, armed with a $140 check from his first customer and ignoring his crushing college debt, he quit his job. Over the next decade, Mike grew his little delivery guide into the world’s premier online ordering website. In doing so, he entered the company of an elite few entrepreneurs to take a start-up from an idea all the way to an IPO. In 2021, JustEat acquired GrubHub for over $7billion. In this interview, I speak to Mike Evans, Founder of GrubHub. We talk about the brutal realities start-up life, what it takes to lead an innovative, scaling, consumer focussed business and how he took a $140 cheque and turned it into a $7bn+ business.

Thought Economics

Albert Wenger is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures (USV), a New York-based thesis-driven venture capital firm, where his investments have included Etsy, Twilio and MongoDB. Before joining USV, Albert was the President of del.icio.us from founding through the company’s sale to Yahoo. Albert graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT. In his new book The World After Capital, Albert discusses how, “Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting once more. We need to figure out how to live in The World After Capital in which the only scarcity is our attention.” In this interview, I speak to Albert Wenger, Managing Partner of Union Square Ventures, about our shift from the industrial to the knowledge economy, and what that means for all of us.

Thought Economics

Alibaba combines the economic might of Amazon, the penetration of Facebook, the ubiquity of Google and the cultural significance of YouTube. In China alone, Alibaba has over close to 1billion active customers and over 250,000 employees. At peak, the platform processed over 583,000 orders per second. Each year, Alibaba receives over 12.7billion orders, and over half of China’s domestic parcels relate to Alibaba. Brian A. Wong is a Chinese American entrepreneur and investor. He was the first American, and only the 52nd employee to join Alibaba Group, where he contributed to the company’s early globalization efforts and served as Jack Ma’s special assistant for international affairs. During his sixteen-year tenure, Wong established the Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) division and was the founder and executive director of the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy. In his new book the Tao of Alibaba, Brian A. Wong reveals the secret sauce of this remarkable global business, a consciously cultivated ethos and spirit that has enabled Alibaba to weather tough times and setbacks, and to persist towards a common mission. In this interview, I speak to Brian A. Wong about the management philosophy of Alibaba and how purpose-led entrepreneurship played a key role in creating one of the world’s fastest growing, and most successful businesses.

Thought Economics

Stay up to date. Signup to my newsletter.

We use cookies on our website to give you the best possible experience. By continuing to use our site, we assume you are OK with that.
Accept Privacy Policy