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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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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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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The Role of Music in Human Culture

In these exclusive interviews, we speak to Moby (Multi Award Winning International Recording Artist, DJ and Photographer), Hans Zimmer (International Award Winning composer and music producer who has composed music for over 100 films), Rita Ora (multi award winning singer & actress), and Rusty Rueff (Chairman Emeritus of The GRAMMY Foundation).  We discuss the fundamental question of ‘what’ music is and the role of music in human culture.  We also explore the business of music, and how technology has impacted the production and consumption of music around the world.  Digging deeper, we discuss the secrets of what makes a great piece of music and look at why music is fundamental to our very experience of being human.

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A Conversation with Kanya King, Founder of the MOBO Organisation

One of the characteristics linking our greatest entrepreneurs is their ability to create platforms.  These are the mechanisms that bring others on the entrepreneur’s journey, creating wealth, success and impact along the way. Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce have created hundreds of multi-million dollar businesses through their sales-channels.  Apple and Google have created millionaires (and billionaires) through their app stores and mobile technology, while YouTube has generated wealth and impact for thousands by giving them the…

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Mental Health

The World’s Most Profound Health Challenge. In these exclusive interviews we speak to: Dr. Thomas Insel (Former Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, NIMH – Co-Founder, Mindstrong Health), Dr. Shekhar Saxena (Director: Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organisation, WHO), Paul Farmer CBE (Chief Executive of Mind, the world’s largest Mental Health NGO), Sergeant Kevin Briggs (Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge), Marcus Trescothick (International Cricketer and Mental Health Campaigner) Professor Vikram Patel (Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Public Health Foundation of India), Professor Andrew Solomon (Writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, and President of PEN American Center),Professor Green (Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, Actor and Television Personality) and Matt Haig (Author, Journalist & Activist). We look at the realities of mental health worldwide, understand the true burden on individuals, communities and countries and look at the opportunities to deal with our global mental health crisis.

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A Conversation with will.i.am

A Conversation with will.i.am Global Music Artist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist “Entrepreneurship is about taking risks, pushing boundaries, and not being afraid to fail,” Sir Richard Branson told me, adding that it’s “a combination of passion, vision, creativity and a sense of adventure,” that drives entrepreneurs to do what they do. Over the years, I have been fortunate to meet many of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world and one shared-characteristic of practically all of them…

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The Role of Hip Hop in Culture

In these exclusive interviews, we speak to Russell Simmons (Co-Founder of Def Jam, Chairman & CEO of Rush Communications – described by USA Today as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years”) and Tricia Rose (Professor of Africana Studies and Director, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University). We discuss the story of hip-hop, its growth into a global phenomenon and how hip-hop reflects the extreme social realities of urban culture globally.

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