Swedish startups, data-driven brands and how AI will impact creativity

Posted by Mike Walsh

May 29, 2017 7:46:16 AM

Ted Persson.jpg


Ted Persson is one of the most interesting and creative thinkers in the Nordic tech scene. Currently a Design Partner with Swedish private equity group, EQT, he previously founded digital agency Great Works, as well as Our/Vodka, a global vodka made by local people in cities around the world run by Pernod Ricard. We met a few years back while I was working on the board of his agency’s parent company, the North Alliance. Reconnecting in Stockholm, we talked about the secrets of Swedish startup success, how brands are changing the way they think about data, and the broader impact of AI on the creative professional.



CATEGORY: Global, Venture Capital

Cities, women and the rise of the multi-urban corporation

Posted by Mike Walsh

Apr 30, 2017 8:59:07 AM

Kjell Nordstrom.jpg


I met Kjell Nordström a number of years ago in Oslo. He and his colleague Jonas Ridderstrale, had together written the international bestselling book, ‘Funky Business’, and were the undisputedly bald, brilliant rockstars of Swedish innovation. Fortunately, I was able to catch Kjell once more, while I was visiting Norway last week. Currently a Professor at the Institute of International Business (IIB) at the Stockholm School of Economics, Kjell is an expert on global markets, big ideas and creativity. We spoke about his latest book, ‘Urban Express’, co-authored with Per Schlingmann, which details why the future belongs to cities, women and new types of global organisations.


CATEGORY: Global, Government

Hasselblad, post-luxury and the rise of Chinese consumer electronics

Posted by Mike Walsh

Nov 21, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Perry Oosting.jpg


Perry Oosting, who started his life as a gold and silversmith, is now the CEO of famed Swedish camera manufacturer, Hasselblad. It is hard to overstate the significance of Hasselblad in the world of imaging. Most famously, the iconic camera was used during the Apollo program missions when humans first landed on the Moon. I myself learned studio photography and black and white printing, while using a Hasselblad 500CM. The first time I looked down through the viewfinder with this cult camera held at hip level, was like catching a glimpse of a strange, beautifully inverted version of reality.


I met Perry a number of years ago, when he was the CEO of luxury phone manufacturer, Vertu - and given his twenty year background with brands like Prada, Bulgari and Gucci, I was interested why he has decided to ban the word luxury at Hasselblad and what the future of the company might hold, given their recent strategic investment by Chinese drone manufacturer, DJI.



CATEGORY: Luxury, Global

Comedy, the Simpsons and the globalization of entertainment

Posted by Mike Walsh

Sep 25, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Mike Reiss


If you are a fan of animated comedy, chances are you have laughed at a joke written by Mike Reiss. Mike Reiss is the four-time Emmy award-winning producer, a 28 year veteran of ‘The Simpsons’ and has contributed to more than two dozen animated films — including four ‘Ice Age’ movies, two ‘Despicable Mes’, ‘The Lorax’, ‘Rio’, ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’, and ‘The Simpsons Movie’ – with a worldwide gross of $8 billion. He was the showrunner behind Season 4 of ‘The Simpsons’, which Entertainment Weekly called ‘the greatest season of the greatest show in history.’ Mike has also seventeen children’s books, including the best-seller ‘How Murray Saved Christmas’ and the award-winning ‘Late for School’. I caught up with Mike at his apartment in New York City to learn about the dark arts of writing comedy, the impact of the digital age on content, and why China and Latin America are such important export markets for entertainment.


CATEGORY: Global, Media & Entertainment

Aging populations, Chinese urbanization and the dynamic potential of Indonesia

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 27, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Ted Fishman


Ted C. Fishman is a global expert on populations, demographics and emerging markets. When we met up in Chicago, he slipped through the crowded hotel lobby to greet me, in a wonderful Indonesian batik shirt - like a covert character from a Graham Greene spy novel. Ted is a veteran journalist, essayist and former member and trader of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. His most recent book, Shock of Gray, The Aging of the World’s Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation looks at how the aging of the world is propelling globalization, redefining nearly every important relationship we have and changing life for everyone young and old. He also wrote the international bestseller, China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World, which describes the effects of China's emergence as a world power on the lives and businesses of people across the globe. In this podcast, we had a wide-ranging chat about the future impact of shifting population demographics on global growth, the rapid urbanization of China and how technology has impacted daily life there, as well as Ted’s latest journeys and insights about the Indonesian market.

CATEGORY: Global, Healthcare

WeChat, travel and the value of stalking Chinese tourists

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 21, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Sage Brennan


Sage and I used to hang out in Shanghai years ago, when he was an analyst covering the Chinese market. Since then, he has returned to the US where he now runs China Luxury Advisors, a consultancy that helps brands and destinations prepare for the next wave of Chinese consumers. Sage first visited China in 1987, and has studied and embraced the language and culture ever since. He has worked in China as a researcher, investor, entrepreneur, journalist and advisor, with a specialization in digital, mobile and strategy. We caught up in Palos Verdes, the beautiful beach town just outside of Los Angeles, to talk about the future of destination marketing, why WeChat is the operating system for life in China, and the challenge for brands in navigating an increasingly complex and multicultural world.

CATEGORY: Travel, Global

Brands, Latin America and the secrets of Spanish creativity

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jul 23, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Andy Stalman


Andy Stalman is an expert in launching and nurturing brands in Latin America. Author of “Brandoffon. Branding the Future” and CEO of Cato Partners Europe & LatAm, he also lectures as a visiting professor at a number of business schools and companies worldwide. We have spoken and shared meals together a number of times, from Bogota to Madrid, and I was keen to get his views on the challenges of engaging Hispanic consumers, as well as the secrets behind successful Spanish companies like Zara and Santander.

CATEGORY: Marketing, Global

Jack Ma, Alibaba and the e-commerce revolution in China

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jul 17, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Porter Erisman


Alibaba is one of the world’s most dynamic and powerful digital brands today, and yet it originates not from Silicon Valley but from China. As a former Vice President at the business, Porter Erisman had front-row seats to the development of Alibaba from Jack Ma’s apartment into what it is today. In his book, ‘Alibaba’s World’, Porter details the rise of the company against the backdrop of China’s digital revolution and the challenges faced by US web giants trying to crack the local market. In our conversation, we discussed how Jack Ma wrote the operating system for e-commerce to work in China, what brands can learn from the innovative ways that Chinese sell things online, and how everything from wealth management to insurance will soon be re-invented by these new digital platforms as they move from retail to financial services.


CATEGORY: Retail, Global

Global transformation, complexity and why we are living through a new Renaissance

Posted by Mike Walsh

May 20, 2016 12:00:00 AM



Professor Ian Goldin is Professor of Globalisation and Development and Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. Previously he was Vice President of the World Bank, and also served as an adviser to President Nelson Mandela on economics and development. He is the author of 20 books on innovation, globalisation and economics - and it was his latest title, ‘Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance’ that we spoke about over coffee when we caught up in Dubai. Despite populist claims that countries and individuals are better off alone, Professor Goldin believes that the modern age is inextricably connected and interdependent. And that’s a good thing - as just like the original Renaissance, we are about to live through a new age of innovation, transformation and reinvention.


CATEGORY: Global, Consulting

Global luxury, Chinese consumers and the future of travel retail

Posted by Mike Walsh

May 8, 2016 12:00:00 AM



This week, I had coffee in Hong Kong with Philippe Schaus, the CEO of the DFS Group. DFS, owned by LVMH, is one of the world’s leading travel retail brands and has been a key player in the globalization of luxury, driven initially by the rise of the Japanese middle class, followed by the rapid growth in mainland Chinese travellers. Formerly a President at Louis Vuitton in Europe, and also a current member of the LVMH Executive Committee - Philippe shared some fascinating insights in our discussion on the future of travel and the design of airport experiences, as well as new directions for global luxury brands as well.

CATEGORY: Luxury, Global