A Conversation with Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis

Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional.  His work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Madonna have sold over 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide.  Merck Mercuriadis is one of the most successful music managers and entrepreneurs of all time; former manager of globally successful recording artists, such as Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden and Beyoncé, and hit songwriters such as Diane Warren, Justin Tranter and The-Dream, and former CEO of The Sanctuary Group plc.  Their latest venture, Hipgnosis Songs Fund (LON:SONG) turns the most successful songs in history into a new investment asset-class and already owns copyrights including Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’, Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ Kanye West’s ‘All Of The Lights’, Justin Beiber’s ‘Baby’, and Jay-z’s ‘Holy Grail’ featuring Justin Timberlake.  Estimates suggest the fund could rapidly grow to well over £1 billion in market capitalisation. In these exclusive interviews I spoke to Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis to learn more about the business of music, their creative process, the secrets of great management, production and what they’ve learned from a lifetime at the pinnacle of the music world.

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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 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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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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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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Leadership

Leadership sits at the very heart of everything we do as a civilisation, and to understand more we spoke to a group of the world’s foremost experts on leadership across the military, business, government education and research: General Stan McChyrstal (Founder, McChrystal Group & former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan), Tony Hsieh (Founder & CEO, Zappos.com), General Richard Myers (President of Kansas State University, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), John Kotter (Chairman, Kotter International & Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership – Harvard), General Sir Peter Wall (Chief of the General Staff, the Professional Head of the British Army), General Sir Richard Shirreff (Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, NATO), Professor Stewart Friedman (Founding Director, Wharton Leadership Programme & Wharton Work/Life Integration Project) and Drew Povey (Headmaster & Leadership Expert).

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A Conversation with Slack Co-Founder, Stewart Butterfield

Slack launched in 2014 and has become the fastest growing business application in history- allowing millions of people in tens of thousands of organisations around the world to get work done. I caught up with Slack Co-Founder, Stewart Butterfield to learn more about his entrepreneurship journey, and the changing global workplace.

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Entrepreneurship

In this exclusive interview series, we speak to some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs: Sir Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin Group), Robin Li (Founder of Baidu), Sir James Dyson (Founder of Dyson), Professor Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Founder of Grameen Bank), Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (Founder of Biocon), N. R. Narayana Murthy (Founder of Infosys) Tim Draper (Founding Partner, Draper Associates and DFJ), Jamal Edwards MBE (Founder, SBTV), Nathan Myhrvold (Founder & CEO, Intellectual Ventures), Wendy Kopp (CEO & Co-Founder, Teach For All), Tory Burch (Chairman & CEO, Tory Burch), Steve Case (Co-Founder,  America Online – AOL &  Revolution), Jerry Yang (Co-Founder, Yahoo!), Tony O. Elumelu (Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation), Dave McClure (Founder, 500 Startups), David Cohen (Co-Founder, Techstars), Ricardo Salinas (Founder & Chairman, Grupo Salinas),Vladimir Potanin (Founder & President, Interros), Gary Vaynerchuk (Founder, VaynerMedia), Troy Carter (Founder & CEO, Atom Factory), Dr. Michael Otto (Chairman, Otto Group), Jack Welch (Former CEO of GE and Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute), Naveen Jain (Founder of InfoSpace, Intelius, Moon Express and Blue dot), Weili Dai (Co-Founder, Marvell Technology Group), Steve Ballmer (Co-Chair of Ballmer Group & Owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA Basketball Team), will.i.am  (Entrepreneur, Entertainer and Innovator), Donna Karan (Founder of DKNY and Urban Zen)Laurence Graff OBE (Founder & Chairman, Graff Diamonds), John Caudwell (Entrepreneur & Philanthropist), Dr. Frederik Paulsen, JR (Chairman, Ferring Pharmaceuticals), Thor Björgólfsson (Founding Chairman, Novator), Kanya King MBE (Founder, MOBO Organisation), Dennis Crowley (Co-Founder, Foursquare), Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank), John Sculley (CEO of Apple from 1983-1993), Alfred Lin (Partner, Sequoia Capital & Former Chairman, Zappos) and Stewart Butterfield (Co-Founder, SLACK). We look at the characteristics of great entrepreneurs, how some of the world’s most successful companies have succeeded, and discuss wealth, philanthropy and the realities of business in a global economy.

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A Conversation with Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary

Since 2009, entrepreneurs have raised investment capital of over $70 million after entering the shark tank. Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian-Irish serial-entrepreneur and investor who has been a shark since series 1 first aired.  I caught up with him to learn about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

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