The Reality of Silicon Valley

The San Francisco Bay Area (more commonly known as Silicon Valley) has a GDP of $840 billion, to put it another way – if this region was a country, it would be the 18th largest global economy, larger than the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, and only a little smaller than Turkey and Indonesia.  It is perhaps with eyes on this prize that so many leaders therefore divert civic investment and incentivisation into the growth of technology companies. To learn more about the reality of Silicon Valley, I spoke to three world experts. Kara Swisher (Co-Founder of Recode & NYT columnist), Nicholas Thompson (Editor in Chief of WIRED), John Carreyrou (Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist & Author of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup) and Cary Mcclelland (award-winning writer, filmmaker and human rights lawyer who is the author of Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley).

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A Conversation with Perez Hilton on Celebrity Culture in the Digital Age

Perez Hilton is one of our world’s foremost commentators on celebrity culture.  Since launching PerezHilton.com in 2004, his site has grown to receive over 300 million hits per month – making him a celebrity in the process!  The LA Times calls Perez, “like US Weekly, the Star, the Enquirer and Life & Style all rolled into one sweet yet snarky, sagacious yet salacious gay man.”  Perez was named the #1 Web Celeb for 2007, 2008, and 2009 by Forbes Magazine and has recently been tapped as one of the 15 most influential Hispanics in the US by People in Espanol and named 2009 Hispanic of the Year by Hispanic Magazine. I caught up with Perez to learn about the realities of celebrity culture in the digital age.

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A Conversation with Farfetch Founder & CEO, José Neves

José Neves started his first business aged just 19, creating software for business in the North of Portugal.  His family had a history in shoemaking, and it was perhaps inevitable that fashion would play a role in his career – but few could have predicted the decade long-journey, beginning in the depths of the global financial recession, that would see José take the idea for a luxury fashion eCommerce marketplace and build it into Farfetch; a business with close to 3,000 employees, 3m customers, almost U$1bn in listed merchandise, and a market capitalisation approaching U$6bn – making José a billionaire in well-under 10 years from a standing start. I caught up with José to learn more about his entrepreneurship journey, and building a global luxury brands business.

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A Conversation with the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo.

It took the unconscionable horrors of two World Wars to bring the international communities together to meaningfully define the rights of all individuals that existed from birth, irrespective of any factor such as race, sex, language, religion or nationality. We may feel intuitively that these are rights that should be shared and upheld by all nations, but the reality is rather different; and everywhere in the world, we find governments, corporations, and many others who subvert these basic rights of individuals and groups with devastating consequences.  To learn more about why our rights are being subverted around the world, and how Amnesty are working to fight these abuses, I spoke to Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

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Equality

In this exclusive series of interviews from 2015-today, I spoke with the world’s foremost experts on inequality: Kate Gilmore (United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights), The Rt. Hon. The Lord Bird MBE (Founder & Editor in Chief, The Big Issue), Harry Leslie Smith (1923-2018 Activist, Survivor of the Great Depression and WWII RAF Veteran), Professor Sir Anthony Atkinson (1944-2017, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford), Professor David Hulme (Executive Director of the University of Manchester Global Development Institute) , Professor Sir Michael Marmot  (Director of the Institute of Health Equity, University College London),  Baroness Onora O’Neill (Former Chair of the Equality and Human rights Commission) and Prof. Richard Wilkinson (Co-Founder of the Equality Trust).  We discuss the fundamental question of why inequality exists in our society, the impact it has on our world, and what we can do to fight it

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A Conversation with Chris Hadfield, Former Commander of the International Space Station (ISS)

Referred to as “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield was selected as a NASA Mission Specialist, and three years later he was aboard the Shuttle Atlantis, where he helped build the Mir space station. In 2001, on Shuttle Endeavour, Colonel Hadfield performed two spacewalks and in 2013, he became Commander of the International Space Station for six months off the planet. I caught up with Commander Hadfield to discuss his leadership learnings from an incredible career in space.

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Capitalism – What Comes Next?

In this exclusive interview series, we speak to Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Edmund Phelps (Director of the Columbia University Center on Capitalism & Society and the McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University), Professor Lawrence ‘Larry’ H. Summers (Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. He served as the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and the Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama) and Professor Sir Paul Collier (Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School, Oxford  & director of the International Growth Centre). We look at the story of modern capitalism, the benefits it has brought, and the challenges it has created. We explore the ‘post crisis’ economy, the role of government in society, the relationship between capitalism and conflict, inequality and look at what needs to be done to ‘fix’ our global economy, and the science of economics itself.

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A Conversation with David Goggins, Ultra-Athlete & Former Navy SEAL

David Goggins is a retired Navy SEAL and the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces ever to complete SEAL training, U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. Goggins has competed in more than sixty ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five. He is a former Guinness World Record holder for completing 4,030 pull-ups in seventeen hours, and inspires tens of thousands each year through his speaking engagements and training. I caught up with David to learn more about his journey, and howe we can build the resilience and endurance he has.

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A Conversation with Wim Hof, ‘The Iceman’

Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” after he broke a number of records with regards to resisting cold. Some of his feats include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Wim is convinced that our bodies are capable of doing the same exceptionally things his body allows him to do. I caught up with Wim to learn more about how we can all learn to embrace the cold.

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Understanding Democracy

In these exclusive interviews we speak to Jüri Ratas (Prime Minister of Estonia), Guy Verhofstadt (Former Prime Minister, Belgium & EU Chief Brexit Negotiator), Vicente Fox Quesada (Former President of Mexico), Noam Chomsky (Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who – with over 150 books published – is regarded as ‘one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today’), Alastair Campbell (Communicator, Writer and Strategist), Glenn Greenwald (Multi Award Winning Journalist, Constitutional Lawyer and Author), Lawrence “Larry” Lessig (Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School), Professor Yanis Varoufakis (Economist and Former Minister of Finance of Greece), Professor A. C. Grayling (philosopher, thinker, author and educator; Master of the New College of the Humanities, Matthew d’Ancona (Journalist & Broadcaster), Dr. Brian Klaas (Author & Expert on Democracy, Authoritarianism and Foreign Policy), Congressman Ted Lieu (Representing California’s 33rd District),Robert Peston (Journalist, Broadcaster & Author), Michael Lewis (Author & Journalist) and General Michael Hayden (Former Director of the CIA & NSA).  We discuss the state and future of democracy around the world, together with the role that government, corporations and the media play in shaping our lives.  We also look at the global war on terror, globalisation, populism, and the forces changing our world.

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