Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

A Conversation with Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group.

We are in a complex world- made difficult to model because of the nonlinear, emergent, spontaneous and adaptive interactions of trillions of elements.  Whilst our biological and environmental complexity has had millions of years to evolve into a form of stable-chaos, our cultural, economic and political complexities are growing in scale and momentum meaning that for many of us- this world feels riskier than ever before. To learn more about the risks facing our world, I spoke to Ian Bremmer, President and Co-Founder of Eurasia Group (one of the world’s leading political risk research and consulting firms), Global Research Professor at NYU, and Co-Founder of GZero Media.

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Why We Sleep

If you are lucky enough to live to 79 (the global average lifespan) you will have spent around 25 of those years (roughly one third of your entire life) asleep. Scientific advances over the past quarter of a century have created a renaissance in sleep research, giving us greater insights into the role and importance of sleep in our lives. To learn more, I spoke to Dr. Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Founder & Director of The Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Rand Fishkin’s Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World

Our inability to disconnect extreme events from the norm also affects our perceptions of business. The picture we see of the business environment shows us the tails not the curve, we here about the super exciting startups, and the gigantic behemoths but we don’t see much about the middle; the small and medium sized businesses who account for the majority. We don’t see that of the 6 million companies in the US, 90% have less than 20 employees. I caught up with Rand Fishkin, Founder of SparkToro and Co-Founder of MOZ & Inbound.com to understand more about the realities of starting-up, and what we can learn from the businesses in the middle.

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Learning from the Superhumans among us.

Dr. Rowan Hooper is Managing Editor of New Scientist, and in his recent book Superhuman, he scoured the world, aiming to answer a few key questions: Why can some people achieve greatness when others can’t, no matter how hard they try? What are the secrets of long life and happiness? Just how much potential does our species have? Rowan met ultrarunners, those who have rebounded from near-death, those who have exhibited exceptional bravery, found incredible happiness, and who have minds, voices and abilities that seemingly the rest of us could never match.  I caught up with Rowan to understand what he learned from meeting our world’s superhumans.

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A Conversation with Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of Mozilla

Technology push also brings with it a range of unintended or unexpected consequences, particularly at a time (as we are now) where technology can grow from the germination of an idea to sweeping ubiquity at a frightening pace.  As a society, we seemingly cannot adapt ourselves, our culture, economy and political landscape fast enough to cope with the momentum of technological advance, but things needn’t be this way. Mitchell Baker co-founded the Mozilla Project to support the open, innovative web and ensure it continues offering opportunities for everyone. As Chairwoman of Mozilla, Mitchell   is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide, collective of employees and volunteers around the world who are building the internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all.   I caught up with Mitchell to ask whether we need a more human internet.

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Our World’s Refugees

The greatest humanitarian crisis in history, is also the greatest crisis of our humanity.  To learn more about our global refugee and migration crisis, we speak to Gulwali Passarlay (Afghan refugee, author & Co-Founder of My Bright Kite), Professor François Crépeau (Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants), Pierre Krähenbühl (Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine – UNRWA), Alexander Betts (Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, University of Oxford), Catherine Woollard (Secretary General, European Council on Refugees and Exiles, ECRE), Professor Michael Lynk (United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967), Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (PLO Executive Committee Member, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council & Founder of MIFTAH), Professor Noura Erakat (Human Rights Attorney & Activist) and Professor George Rupp (Former President of the International Rescue Committee, IRC).

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A Conversation TED Curator and Owner, Chris Anderson

From humble beginnings in 1984, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has grown to become the centre of gravity for the intellectual curious of our digital era. Their flagship TED conference, and global network of TEDx events have created hundreds of thousands of unique pieces of video content, watched billions of times, covering topics as diverse as humanity itself. This remarkable organisation is bound together with the single mission, that being to promote ideas worth spreading. TED has showcased many of the world’s greatest speakers and storytellers, and I caught up with the organisation’s owner & curator, Chris Anderson to learn more about storytelling and what makes a great talk.

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A Conversation with Scott Farquhar, Co-Founder of Atlassian

Scott Farquhar is the archetypal entrepreneur.  He and his Co-Founder Mike Cannon-Brookes started Atlassian in 2002 (after meeting whilst studying at the University of South Wales, Sydney).  Deciding neither of them wanted a corporate job, they took out $10,000 on on credit cards and bootstrapped Atlassian; a company which has now grown to over $13 billion in market capitalisation, with 2,500 staff in 6 countries (2 planets) and over 100,000 customers.  Scott and his Co-Founder are now both billionaires in their own right, and two of the world’s most progressive philanthropists. I caught up with Scott to learn more about purposeful entrepreneurship.

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A Conversation with AJ Mendez

AJ Mendez, the youngest of three children, grew-up in a family fighting poverty, mental illness and addiction, an environment without stability which would cause many to write her off.  In the ultimate act of rebellion against expectation, AJ went on to build a career as one of the world’s best professional wrestlers (under the ring name AJ Lee) before becoming a New York Times Bestselling author with her book Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules.  She is an advocate an ambassador for causes ranging from animal rights to mental health, and has built a hugely successful life, arguably against the odds. I spoke to AJ to learn how she’s turned ‘Crazy’ into her superpower.

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My Interview with Vincent Kompany, Captain of Manchester City FC

As Captain of Manchester City and of the Belgium National Team, Vincent Kompany has achieved huge success on the pitch.   Like many of his peers Vincent has immersed himself in playing football and being the best on the pitch- but perhaps most interestingly, he has also taken a deep interest in the business of football itself. I caught up with Vincent to learn more about the business of football, and what he learned doing an MBA.

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