I recently had the opportunity to help arrange a presentation with the Swedish Minister of Migration and Asylum Policy, Tobias Billström, at Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in London’s Marylebone.

Minister Billström, a Cambridge educated political who has been a member of the Swedish cabinet since 2006, spoke about Sweden’s experiences from being a liberal immigration country. He also addressed current changes in immigration patterns and how this development impacts immigration policy not only in Sweden but also across Europe.

I have posted one of the pictures I took from the event below:

Tobias Billström - May 2012 - London, UK

More pictures from my political adventures can be found here:

  • 1 September 2010: Gustaf Douglas (businessman, politician & Harvard alumni) with friends
  • 14 June 2010: Sten Tolgfors (Swedish Minister of Defence at the time)
  • 14 April 2010: Carl Bildt (Swedish Foreign Minister & former Prime Minister) & Per Schlingmann (Head of Strategy for the Swedish Moderate Party & former State Secretary at the Swedish Prime Minister’s Office)

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In case you missed it, the high-profile eG8 Forum took place in Paris last week. The two-day forum was arranged by the French President Sarkozy and attended by some of today’s leading digital entrepreneurs and executives (Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Google’s Schmidt and News Corp’s Murdoch to name a few).

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the aim of the gathering was essentially to advise and inform policy makers such the US Commander-In-Chief Obama and the French President on how to regulate our dear Internet going forward. Industry leaders responded and advised against an over-regulated Web. For example, Google’s Schmidt stated that “technology will move faster than governments, so don’t legislate before you understand the consequences”. O’Reilly Media used the following headline to summarise the event: “At the eG8, 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy – The eG8 shows online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders”.

Another article by O’Reilly Media quotes the American author Tapscott on what he thinks about eG8 and policy makers trying to regulate the Web as we know it:

“Predictably, old style political leaders comfortable with the industrial age are dazed and confused, and many feel threatened. A new communications medium is causing disruption, dislocation and uncertainty. And leaders of old paradigms with vested interests fear what they do not understand, and react with coolness or even hostility. Rather than innovating and opening up they often hunker down, trying to strengthen old outdated rules and approaches.”.

There are definitely interesting times ahead. Will policy makers tighten online regulation? If so, what impact will this have on innovation and growth in the digital space? What’s your thoughts on online regulation? Leave a comment below and let us know.

If you were not invited to attend eG8 – don’t worry. Many of the briefings, interviews and presentations from last week were recorded and are available for the general public to consume on-demand. I have embedded one below featuring my favourite Swedish digital entrepreneur Niklas Zennström on everything from innovation to Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype:

More videos are available on the eG8 Forum’s official Web site.

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I recently wrote about today’s Internet usage from a financial perspective. McKinsey Quarterly (the world renowned consultancy’s business journal) reported our interactions with the Web to be worth an astounding €150 billion euro a year. The business journal has now published an article on new research by McKinsey Global Institute looking at the Web’s impact on economic growth, employment and productivity.

The study, which addresses the Web economies of thirteen countries (the G8 nations and five other nations including my home country Sweden), found that the Web today accounts for a significant portion of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more and more plays an important role in economic growth.

Here’s a summary of some of the most interesting findings highlighted by McKinsey Quarterly:

  • The Web accounts for 3.4% of overall GDP in these thirteen countries. More than 50% of this relates to private usage (mainly advertising and online purchases). The Web economy now exceeds sectors such as agriculture and energy.
  • In the mature countries studied (the G8 countries plus South Korea and Sweden), McKinsey found the Web to have accounted for as much as 21% of GDP growth between 2004 and 2009.
  • McKinsey found most of the economic value of the Web to fall outside the technology sector with 75% of the benefits captured by the more traditional industry sectors.
  • In Sweden (the country where the Web economy has had the biggest contribution to GDP growth), the Web economy contributed to as much as 15% of GDP growth between 1995 and 2009 and 33% between 2004 and 2009. Germany comes second with 14% between ’95 and ’09 and 24% between ’04 and ’09.

Overall, a very interesting read this bank holiday weekend for academics and professionals alike. If you’re not spending tomorrow (Sunday) at Wentworth like me watching Manassero do a McIlroy and Edfors shoot a 64 to beat Donald for the €750,000 pay check, you have no real excuse for not digging into the full report of the study (which was recently presented at the high-profile e-G8 Forum in Paris) during your morning coffee.

NB: The Internet/Web economy is defined by McKinsey Global Institute as the “sum of Internet consumption (services, access, e-commerce, etc.), private investment, public expenditure, and the trade balance in Internet-related goods and services”.

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After spending the last few years mainly reading academic prose, I’m now trying to get my hands on as much business, marketing and management literature as possible based on ‘in-the-trenches’ experience. My latest find is a book written by entrepreneur Robert Jordan entitled ‘How They Did It – $41 Billion Worth of Inspiration‘.

The book, which can be bought here in the UK through Amazon, aggregates the success stories of 45 company founders from the heart of the motherland of entrepreneurship. The founders interviewed to make this book happen are not exactly the people behind your average corner shop. Each founder featured has either launched, grew and sold a company for at least $100 million USD, or alternatively, IPO’d a company with a market value of at least $300 million USD.

The stories are mainly presented in Q&A format and it’s easy to extract and understand the underlying insights and lessons without much effort. In order words, the perfect bed time read for the soon-to-be burned-out investment banker looking to start breaking free. ‘How They Did It’ is a great book which tells the stories of very creative and successful entrepreneurs in their own words (Dick Costolo (FeedBurner), Joel Ronning (Digital River) and Viresh Bhatia (InstallShield) to name a few). The founders’ advice, experiences, lessons, insights and perspectives on everything business provides excellent food for thought for professionals in all walks of business life, not just for investment bankers looking to go solo and leave the rat race behind.

One of the reasons for why I subscribe to entrepreneurial periodicals such as Inc. magazine is because of their ‘How I Did It / The Way I Work’ columns. ‘How They Did It’ is essentially a book that is entirely dedicated to this type of educational and inspiring content. All in all, highly recommended reading for aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate managers alike.

I have included one of my favourite insights from the book below:

Mahendra Vora (serial entreprenuer) on hiring:

” …A-players hire A-players, B-players hire C-players, and C-players hire F-players.”

To put the above quote into context: Vora reckons Pioneer Systems, Intelliseek and Ascendum (some of his start-up ventures) were successful because of the companies’ top 5/6 employees. They helped ensure that there were X employees of the same caliber reporting into them. Vora states that these X individuals then ensured that there were Y subordinates underneath them like that, etc.

I think this is not only relevant to entrepreneurs but also to anyone looking for a different perspective in evaluating and understanding a company’s human capital, whether it’s a start-up/SME or a larger organisation.

NB: Vora doesn’t define an ‘A-player’ as an Ivy League / Oxbridge graduate with a top 10 MBA. He believes one should look at “attitude, effort and values” in people before addressing their expertise, experiences and skills.

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Inc. Magazine on Rebranding Online

by Fredrik Savin 6 February 2011

Tweet One of my favourite business magazines Inc. published an article in their February ’10 edition on rebranding online. The article illustrates some of the issues around rebranding a business online today using two case studies: Company (a) recently acquired their ideal domain name (envelope.com). However, as much of the business for its current site [...]

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Today’s Internet Usage in Financial Terms

by Fredrik Savin 28 January 2011

Tweet McKinsey Quarterly recently published a very intriguing piece on the consumer surplus created on the Internet today. The online journal found that we, perhaps not very surprisingly, today obtain considerable value from our interactions with the Web, whether it’s from using sites like LinkedIn for professional networking or services like YouTube for streaming videos. [...]

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Gustaf Douglas and Friends – 1 September 2010

by Fredrik Savin 7 September 2010

Tweet A few days ago, I helped organise a presentation with Gustaf Douglas, a Swedish businessman, politician and Harvard alumni, as well as a few other Swedish politicians. The presentation was held at Credit Suisse’s offices in Pall Mall, London, and was covered by Swedish media including Dagens Industri, Sweden’s equivalent to the Financial Times. [...]

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Swedish Minister of Defence – Sten Tolgfors – 14 June 2010

by Fredrik Savin 21 June 2010

Tweet I recently helped organise and coordinate a presentation with Sten Tolgfors, Swedish Minister of Defence, at Credit Suisse’s offices in Pall Mall, London. Minister Tolgfors presented a new direction for Sweden’s security and defence policy and outlined how new threats in the region requires the country to act both individually and together with other [...]

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Minister Carl Bildt and Per Schlingmann – 14 April 2010

by Fredrik Savin 15 April 2010

Tweet Yesterday, I helped organise a press briefing with Minister Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister (former Prime Minster from ’91 – ’94), and Per Schlingmann, Secretary General of the Moderate party, at the Harcourt Arms, a Swedish pub situated in London’s Marylebone. Here’s a few pictures I took during the briefing: Carl Bildt Carl Bildt [...]

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Future Enterprise Collaboration to Rely on Enterprise 2.0

by Fredrik Savin 30 December 2009

Tweet I just came across an interesting article published by Indian Business Standard on the future of enterprise collaboration. According to the article, Gartner reckons that 80% of enterprise collaboration platforms will primarily be based on browser-based Web 2.0 techniques by 2013. These new platforms will also have secondary support for documents. The research and [...]

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