Understanding China With Digital China's Jacob Lovén

Jacob Lovén – Cover Art.jpg

Jacob Lovén is the co-founder and producer of not one, but two podcasts covering the digitalization of China (check out http://www.digitaladraken.com). He has also become one of the few go-to experts on the subject and is heavily booked by company executives and politicians alike to advise and lecture on business, entrepreneurship, and development of this intriguing giant of a Country.

We cover entrepreneurship, business practices, culture, and many other aspects of China. Given his expert status, Jacob is just an amazingly humble and nice guy – plus he has a little bit of a Chris Martin-aura, doesn't he? Anyway, don't miss this episode. We tried to edit it down to an hour, but we just couldn't bear throwing away more of the fantastic original 2-hour conversation in the edit. Sorry, but it's worth it. Promise.

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Transcript

Note: This is an auto-generated transcript that will butcher words and names sometimes (Our favorite is when our guest Johannes Cullberg became “Your Hummus Cool Bye”). The format is not optimized for reading, but for searching for specific segments. Hence the timestamps etc. Happy searching!

00:02

[Music]

00:06

and we're back we're live

00:08

yes we have a new episode out boom and

00:11

an amazing episode

00:13

it's about China we love talking about

00:16

China that was one of the most exciting

00:18

episodes ever we had Jacob Lovén is it

00:22

lovin or levan no I I'm changing his

00:25

name his name is Jacob

00:28

of course he want to change his name

00:30

what do you want to change his name go

00:31

on because I love love that's basically

00:36

it

00:37

yeah anyway we have Jacob lovin or

00:40

laveyan in Swedish it is love Ian anyway

00:42

we have him here and he's one of

00:44

Sweden's finest experts on China

00:46

specifically digitalization of china and

00:49

tech in china and entrepreneurship in

00:51

china and he has not one but two

00:54

podcasts about china one in swedish than

00:57

the guitar a drokken and one in english

01:00

digital china and they're both amazing

01:02

you need to check them out and we will

01:04

have links to that on the website

01:06

there's definitely a bunch of exciting

01:09

things in this episode I love how we

01:10

talked about how China moved from having

01:13

companies that copied Western companies

01:16

to leading the change and creating brand

01:18

new companies and innovating and and in

01:20

many ways being ahead of us when it

01:22

comes to AI for example and ahead of the

01:24

US so I thought that was super

01:26

interesting to hear and also

01:28

understanding how we have a lot of

01:30

prejudice about China and you know

01:32

somebody be true and some are not and

01:33

it's just really interesting to hear

01:36

somebody with that kind of deep

01:37

knowledge that Jacob has and I want to

01:40

thank you

01:41

all again because the support that we

01:45

have from our listeners and our the

01:48

people that follow the podcast and this

01:50

entrepreneurial initiative is amazing

01:53

everything is just bubbling and we're

01:56

super happy for that and we also at the

01:58

same time wanna remind you if you

02:00

haven't already please share with your

02:02

friends about this entire initiative

02:05

because this is important we need more

02:07

entrepreneurship in Scandinavia to keep

02:12

and increase the prosperity of our

02:14

nations yes it's very very important and

02:17

it's I'm super excited about all the

02:19

real-life engagement we get as well

02:21

people coming up and to us on the street

02:23

and stuff and that's just super exciting

02:25

and it feels like we're onto something

02:27

good here so thank you so much for that

02:30

also let's do it let's go to China

02:33

[Music]

02:38

[Applause]

02:38

[Music]

02:46

[Applause]

02:47

[Music]

02:55

so we're already started right we are

02:59

started yeah what do you want to start

03:03

this interview Johan so I want to I want

03:07

to start as always how to pronounce

03:09

Jacob because his name is love close to

03:13

love oh yeah in English but how do you

03:16

pronounce your name in English and so I

03:19

usually say it's lot love then Oh French

03:23

yeah yeah and it's because a few times

03:26

actually when I'm like in immigration

03:28

going to the state's going to New York

03:30

and so like they've actually said like

03:32

it actually happened it's a few times

03:33

that where they go like good last name I

03:36

love it that's how you should do it

03:41

loving yeah yeah I know yeah but it

03:43

sounds a little bit like mclovin

03:46

I guess you you can change your last

03:50

name just cut off the end just become

03:54

Jacob love oh yeah yeah love is a

03:57

Swedish first name though yeah good work

04:00

you know what yeah Jake love sounds like

04:02

a like a pie yeah eighties guy like Jake

04:07

love love I love it oh my god it's like

04:10

a porn star Jacob yeah how would you

04:19

describe your occupation today Wow

04:22

I would I wouldn't actually say that I'm

04:25

an entrepreneur doing a podcast so

04:28

you're a podcaster yeah yeah I would say

04:30

that - I

04:30

I think like it's it's difficult

04:33

nowadays to have like one title I think

04:36

you guys would say the same for sure so

04:37

what but that is your main occupation

04:39

the podcast done right everything that

04:41

surrounds that hmm

04:42

yeah so we do two podcasts at the moment

04:45

we we started doing a Swedish podcast

04:48

about about tech in China about three

04:51

years ago called done detailed rockin

04:53

which is like translated to the digital

04:56

dragon and then about six months ago we

04:59

started doing a English version of that

05:02

cast that is called digitally China and

05:06

I'm doing that with we're kind of

05:10

network of people actually I'm the only

05:12

non Chinese we're doing that with the

05:16

Tom Shan who is a Swedish Chinese a guy

05:18

living in Shanghai and Eva Chou who is

05:22

living in Beijing and she's a tech

05:24

journalist so how's your Chinese now oh

05:27

it's still really bad because I I'm

05:30

spoiled because most of my friends and

05:33

contacts in Shanghai and in Beijing and

05:37

so on are really good at English which

05:40

kind of ruins my chances to learn so

05:44

it's still it's still pretty bad

05:45

actually and it's also been in in China

05:47

in general a big transformation of the

05:50

English English language I remember I

05:53

went to China a few years before the

05:56

Olympics and we were told to even have

06:00

the address of the hotel written down to

06:03

give to the taxi driver and always give

06:05

it upside down because there were back

06:08

then a lot of taxi drivers that couldn't

06:10

read but they didn't want to lose the

06:14

income so that was a test to see if the

06:17

yeah so we actually had that happen a

06:19

few times where we gave the taxi driver

06:21

the note and he said yes and just wanted

06:25

to start driving but he had it upside

06:27

down and yes he could've read it yeah

06:30

somebody told me a story about that

06:32

somebody went to Moscow and they had the

06:34

name they wrote down painstakingly the

06:37

name of the hotel because they have

06:38

these weird letters right and so they

06:41

brought that just so they could get back

06:42

to the hotel so they went out and

06:44

started you know partying whatever and

06:46

then they wanted to go back and they

06:47

gave the note to the driver and the

06:48

driver took them to the wrong hotel and

06:50

then oh no wrong hotel and got back in

06:53

the cab took them to another wrong hotel

06:55

and then another wrong hotel then you

06:57

need to ask somebody turns out that

06:59

written hotel for him he was making a

07:07

lot of money that night so when was the

07:10

first time you were in China six seven

07:12

years ago

07:14

yeah around that time yeah so not that

07:17

long ago actually but I think like a lot

07:18

of things has happened just in the last

07:20

five years well you see like a obviously

07:23

like a huge transformation like both in

07:26

tier 1 cities and but outside as well

07:29

but but to be honest like the first 3

07:32

years visiting China I'm more or less

07:34

spent inside of a like we work or like

07:38

an office somewhere just doing the

07:40

podcast interviewing people like talking

07:42

to people to like doing my research so

07:44

it took me a long time to kind of start

07:47

enjoying Shanghai as a city and not just

07:50

like the people that I met did you ever

07:52

get shanghaied no I I'm not sure what

07:55

that is actually what is that yeah no

07:57

it's it's getting kidnapped

08:00

oh yeah like taking overseas or

08:02

something yes so my my colleague and my

08:07

other business next date is her husband

08:10

was in Shanghai on on business and he

08:14

was just he was kidnapped for four or

08:16

five hours oh really they took yeah they

08:18

they just they just grabbed it on the

08:20

street and and just pulled him inside of

08:24

like a warehouse or something and held

08:28

him there for a few hours and took

08:30

everything off him and then let him go

08:32

to get all this Bitcoin yeah I I don't

08:35

think he had any bitcoins and so they

08:38

let him go

08:39

I think that's difficult nowadays

08:42

because they're like CCT camera and

08:44

cameras everywhere so like covering

08:45

every single square foot of Shanghai so

08:49

um yeah you told me when we spoke about

08:51

that before that Shanghai feels really

08:53

safe yeah yeah it does you're there like

08:56

I think like you could get in trouble in

08:58

any major city but like walking home 3

09:02

a.m. for 45 minutes it's not a problem

09:06

right so but the I mean more or less the

09:11

entire city is covered by by

09:13

surveillance cameras and why is that

09:17

well I think they you know it's it's

09:19

about monitoring the society at whole

09:24

like but obviously a of one

09:27

one effect of that is that it just kind

09:31

of becomes really hard to commit crimes

09:33

like especially like violent crimes

09:35

against people where you can be caught

09:36

on a camera okay the way yeah like there

09:39

are very few black spots right so if a

09:41

black spot sort of like exists you still

09:44

have to get to and from that black spot

09:46

that's when you get like caught so so

09:50

and I think that's that's a you can talk

09:54

about you know privacy and so on that's

09:57

at least like if you disregard part of

10:01

the privacy issue that's actually a good

10:02

thing with having a lot of surveillance

10:05

that becomes very hard to commit crimes

10:07

so and how long ago did you start the

10:10

first podcast more or less three years

10:12

ago and we started doing the Swedish

10:16

episodes I think we didn't be like five

10:19

versions of the first episode and that's

10:22

what we all do yeah

10:23

that takes a while to to kind of

10:27

understand because I hadn't done

10:30

anything like this before but I'm a very

10:32

like I'm a huge podcast fan I'm addicted

10:37

to the podcasts and I would go as far to

10:41

say that like Radiolab the NPR pod it

10:46

changed my life

10:47

like completely because it's kind of

10:49

changed how I prioritize how to kind of

10:54

gain information get information it's

10:56

I'm very much more listener nowadays

11:00

that I'm and reading and also I think

11:05

the idea of going into doing this

11:07

podcast was we were both very fascinated

11:11

about the Chinese technology scene and

11:13

we also felt that a lot of the stories

11:16

that you can find in China they don't

11:19

really get translated like locally into

11:21

Europe and especially not into Sweden

11:23

right because we're very small markets

11:26

so that's in terms of having a goldmine

11:29

in terms of like stories and and you

11:31

know talk about innovation and so on

11:32

that combined to what we hoped initially

11:36

would be like the production value of a

11:38

radial have like very ambitious I guess

11:41

that was the goal going into this so and

11:45

we still have a very kind of high

11:47

ambition when it comes to kind of

11:48

producing and so on around topics

11:51

how many podcasts you actually listen to

11:54

oh I I have like maybe 10 15 that I'm

11:58

I'm regularly listening to that I could

12:00

like more or less say that I'd I'm

12:03

already that I keep up with those and

12:06

then you have like a friend that can

12:08

recommend you a certain episode about

12:09

something and then you kind of listen to

12:11

that as well and sometimes that sticks

12:13

and sometimes you know you don't feel

12:16

that some certain podcasts are relevant

12:19

anymore so you kind of drop them off but

12:23

now I'm very high up on on that is

12:27

obviously it's radio lab and this

12:30

American life that was in the water

12:31

obviously what's in the water nowadays

12:34

you're on my top 10 this guys did you

12:39

hear that John we're on the top three

12:40

yes so he starts five minutes in we

12:47

start lying that's a good thing untrue

12:51

stuff starting now yeah so you have one

12:54

podcast in Swedish and one in English

12:56

and what's the difference I would say

12:59

like the Swedish one is very documentary

13:02

kind of that shaped in the way we we do

13:06

a lot of like it's like a repertory of

13:08

different stuff in on each episode and

13:11

it can be like a very broad area like we

13:13

did this episode it's about two years

13:16

back but it's about ride sharing and

13:18

ride sharing kind of when you talk about

13:20

that especially two years ago it wasn't

13:22

kind of a thing that everyone could

13:24

define easily and so on what it actually

13:26

was so we obviously we dug into stuff

13:29

like the valuations of Burr and DD and

13:32

so on but also talking about kind of

13:37

pollution from traffic traffic

13:40

congestion how big of a problem is that

13:42

like how much it costs people like going

13:46

into autonomous vehicles like it just

13:49

but grew and grew and grew that entire

13:51

episode I think like when we

13:54

are finished we had like two hours of

13:56

contents that we had to cut down to 45

13:59

minutes so that's the Swedish podcast

14:01

that's like a like fairly like ambitious

14:04

when we do that and then like I think

14:06

the English version is very its

14:08

ambitious in a different way I think

14:10

we're much dirtier and more like pointy

14:12

when it comes to the topics that we talk

14:15

about but I would say that content wise

14:20

the English podcast is is closer to the

14:24

Chinese markets and to like stuff

14:27

happening on a weekly basis rather than

14:29

like the major major trends obviously

14:32

you talk about those as well but you

14:33

have to comment on the on the recent

14:35

stuff so that's that's the main

14:37

reference and I mean Sweden you cannot

14:39

make sense Swedish it's a smaller market

14:41

yeah their language and market and then

14:43

you have to be a little bit broader

14:45

maybe yeah and you can be more niche in

14:47

English yeah specially if you're talking

14:49

to like either Silicon Valley people or

14:51

you talk to you know anyone in the US or

14:54

especially we talk to people in China in

14:57

English and that's why it's so important

14:59

that most of the people like that are

15:02

involved in this actually live in China

15:03

and I'm I'm actually only producing the

15:06

English version so I'm not like the host

15:08

of that one and that's because we wanted

15:11

to be as close as possible to that

15:13

market so all of the people that are in

15:17

the podcast or the hosts are Chinese

15:19

yeah we're like you know so like ABC

15:23

American born Chinese or Swedish born

15:25

Chinese or or Chinese Chinese that's

15:27

kind of sometimes actually we actually

15:30

have guests that don't speak English at

15:33

all or at least not comfortable enough

15:36

to do that in in a podcast so then we

15:42

kind of roughly translate it as we go

15:43

and kind of comment on on the content to

15:46

make it available at least for an

15:48

english-speaking or like non Chinese

15:49

speaking audience and there's and the

15:52

market for the target audience for the

15:56

English podcast is then is it global or

16:00

more Chinese or I I think that I'm not

16:03

sure yet I think like it's interesting

16:06

to do it for it

16:08

his audience but obviously if you do it

16:09

solely for a Chinese audience it needs

16:12

to be in Chinese right like but so so we

16:17

want to be as broad as possible when it

16:19

comes to reaching people and then that's

16:21

where English comes in but the the

16:24

topics that we choose it's fairly like

16:28

zoomed in on stuff so that would

16:30

obviously I went when one of the ladies

16:35

episodes that we did was about 996 which

16:38

which is kind of this gruesome work the

16:41

working conditions for people in the

16:43

tech industry in China which has been

16:46

very it has almost been like celebrated

16:49

for a long time and people have a kind

16:51

of you know they celebrated the the

16:54

worth work ethics of the Chinese tech

16:57

industry and now in the recent month or

17:02

two there's been a lot of talk from

17:04

specially like people in the in the tech

17:07

community like developers they've come

17:09

out and say like you know how horrible

17:11

it actually is did not have a life

17:13

outside of work so nine nine six is nine

17:15

to nine six days a week yeah exactly

17:16

yeah right so so it is like in that

17:21

sense like in that sense it's really

17:27

interesting to talk about one of those

17:28

like that topic because it's so close to

17:33

the market and to what's happening right

17:35

now and it's also interesting to have

17:39

people talk about it maybe not using

17:43

their like you know their real names

17:44

because you know they might get in

17:47

trouble from their employer and so on

17:49

but it's like going behind stuff rather

17:53

than just analyzing the macro

17:54

perspective so

18:00

so the you started the digital or you

18:04

started

18:04

did you know digital dragon and China

18:09

right

18:10

you started the digital dragon and

18:12

digital China and that has become your

18:16

your your occupation now yeah and you

18:19

also started advising businesses and

18:22

politicians and I can think on China

18:24

right yeah so that's I think the

18:28

strength of content right of like

18:30

engaging content is that kind of it

18:32

draws attention and people get very kind

18:36

of interested in what you have to say so

18:39

more or less what happened when we when

18:41

we launched the podcast is both me and

18:43

Tom we have a like a background working

18:47

for Swedish tech companies more or less

18:50

and and he was working in New York for

18:54

fugitive for a few years and then in

18:56

Shanghai for a few years before we

18:57

started this but what happened when we

19:02

launched the first podcast was that we

19:04

got you know people getting home type

19:07

contact with us saying like hey do you

19:09

want to do a keynote or do you want to

19:10

kind of talk about like insight from the

19:12

podcast and obviously if your content

19:14

person that's a lot of fun because you

19:16

have so much stuff that doesn't go into

19:18

a podcast episode as you know like

19:19

sometimes you have three hours of

19:21

content and then you have to boil that

19:23

down to 45 minutes so so that was a lot

19:27

of like a good outlet for both of us

19:28

coming out doing like keynotes and run

19:30

presentations mostly to companies and

19:33

then that kind of briefly or like

19:36

quickly turned into being like more of

19:37

an advisory like doing workshops for

19:40

companies I'm kind of and and since a

19:43

while back we've been actually you know

19:47

we've been actually doing that advise

19:49

you under like a bigger scale for a few

19:51

companies because I think China works in

19:54

two ways for Western companies either as

19:58

a base of operation where you have you

20:04

know you want to go into that market or

20:05

you're already in that market but you

20:07

want to have enough insights to to kind

20:10

of or you know the right strategy to the

20:13

game

20:13

market share but it can also work as a

20:16

as a base of inspiration for Western

20:20

companies because what we've seen in

20:23

China being like so far ahead in certain

20:26

areas like FinTech or social or

20:29

e-commerce for that matter like you can

20:32

actually use a lot of the insights on

20:34

how that ecosystem has evolved or or

20:37

like the the user adoption of certain

20:39

trends and so on you're gonna use that

20:41

to at least gain enough insights to give

20:45

you the right direction as a Western

20:46

company when you're going into this

20:48

because there are no templates out there

20:49

right when going into tech or like new

20:53

new next-gen stuff so in that sense we

20:57

yeah that's our business model today

21:00

obviously Jacob is an interesting guy

21:03

but now that we have him here for free

21:04

we really need to get everything about

21:06

China that we can get right yeah time is

21:09

money

21:11

what are they I'm very interested in

21:14

like the basics of the things that you

21:19

need that all entrepreneurs need to know

21:21

about China because it's like going

21:25

there I went there for three weeks way

21:28

way back and I couldn't imagine that I

21:31

was in Beijing one day and it was

21:33

snowing and I was down south a couple of

21:38

hours some hours later and I had my

21:40

swimsuit and it was like being in

21:42

Thailand it's more of it it's a

21:46

continent it's not a country but it's

21:48

the country and I think a lot of people

21:50

don't can't grasp the how big it is yeah

21:56

yeah no I I think that's that's a good

21:59

point in both in terms of like geography

22:01

and stuff but also basically like the

22:05

culture the way cities are different or

22:09

regions are different from each other

22:10

the way different especially if you're

22:13

in tech like obviously hardware is in

22:16

the Schengen and kind of South China and

22:18

then you have like it's not like

22:21

everything is around one Silicon Valley

22:23

in China and so on so it kind of becomes

22:25

more and more clear

22:28

kind of where stuff happens but to your

22:32

question about what you need to know as

22:35

an entrepreneur entrepreneur well I

22:38

think you know there is no market in the

22:41

world other than the u.s. that will have

22:47

as much impacts in terms of the sheer

22:51

size of the tech scene so if you usually

22:56

like talked about this quite a lot like

22:57

and even if you remove the word China

23:00

out of the equation like you don't even

23:02

mention the word China you still have

23:04

the world's largest online population

23:07

which is almost a billion people that

23:09

are online you have an online behavior

23:11

that is like five to ten years ahead of

23:13

us and then you have the second largest

23:15

venture capital market on earth when it

23:17

comes to tech wait wait wait you're ten

23:19

how many years ahead like five to ten

23:22

years ahead of the West definitely like

23:25

in certain areas such as thin tech and

23:27

so on and also like practical

23:29

implementation of certain like AI and so

23:32

on you can easily see like China being

23:35

at least five years ahead of the Europe

23:38

I would say most people don't know that

23:40

yeah no no I opinion yeah no I think

23:42

that's like one of the like most I think

23:45

that's the three most important things

23:47

you need to know about China and also

23:50

like if you look at where the world's

23:54

like consumption like the the consumers

23:58

will come from if you are if you've read

24:04

the you know Hans Hans Rosling's the

24:06

facts fulness and so on you know that

24:08

the pin-code were pincode of the world

24:10

is it's 1 billion in in the americas and

24:13

then 1 billion in europe and then 1

24:16

billion africa and then 4 billion in in

24:19

asia right and if you look going like

24:21

even further according to most like the

24:25

World Bank and so on the pinko will

24:26

change so actually even more people

24:29

being outside of what we call the West

24:31

right and that's really interesting

24:34

because if you look at the majority of

24:37

middle class consumers that has kind of

24:41

increased in the last 10 years there's

24:44

one market on earth that just stands out

24:47

more than anyone anywhere else

24:48

and that's China so you have just the

24:52

young people born in the 80s or 90s like

24:55

their 300 400 million people there are

24:58

now going out to decide which car they

25:00

want to ride which TV they want to buy

25:02

where the vacates where to live where to

25:05

study or to raise their kids like that

25:10

will affect us so much more than we can

25:12

possibly understand that all of a sudden

25:16

you have like the size of Europe in one

25:19

target group mobilizing so I think you

25:24

know we're gonna see like a completely

25:25

different approach from specially like

25:28

Western brands if they want to stay

25:29

ahead to kind of understand that new

25:32

Chinese mainstream consumer and that's

25:35

also like if you look at these big big

25:38

companies that have emerged out of China

25:40

like Alibaba or 10 cent or so on I think

25:44

you know their main a lot of like

25:47

factors obviously going into the

25:48

valuation of these companies but just if

25:51

you're a company and you are top of mind

25:55

around that target group that is

25:59

probably going to be one of the most

26:00

like consumption heavy target groups in

26:03

the entire world like that is a pretty

26:06

good position to be in

26:08

and I think that's the second thing that

26:10

like entrepreneurs in general need to

26:13

understand like if you want to

26:17

you cannot kind of be a global company

26:19

without having a China strategy and at

26:22

the same time China is the most

26:24

difficult market to enter because it's a

26:27

completely different ecosystem it kind

26:30

of require more more fun funding than

26:34

any other market on earth maybe the u.s.

26:36

is kind of similar in terms of how much

26:39

money you have to go in there like so so

26:42

I think that it's also an old truth

26:45

would be that you have an Asia strategy

26:50

I call on that completely

26:53

because

26:55

you don't know that you cannot like say

26:57

that yeah and then we have one strategy

26:58

for 60% of the world population

27:00

let's just not make sense right like we

27:04

think that Norwegian people are

27:05

different from us exactly yeah and like

27:07

they are you know most most most of my

27:09

Chinese friends didn't know that you

27:11

know Norway existed or like either even

27:14

Sweden more or less assisted right so

27:16

and and so that's the second thing right

27:21

the old truth is that you could have a

27:23

an Asia strategy the new truth is that

27:26

there's no such thing that's like

27:28

because that's the same thing of going

27:30

like I hate you know if if you know I'm

27:33

going on a rant now but like I hate when

27:35

I hear people going yeah we need a

27:37

Amazon strategy here in the West or like

27:40

no you need a sales strategy come on

27:42

like just don't don't narrow it down to

27:44

one single sales channel only like

27:47

obviously in that sales strategy you

27:50

need to do stuff on Amazon and you have

27:52

to have this like really skilled people

27:54

doing it and you have to have a solid

27:56

strategy but I I think that's just like

28:00

simplifying it a little bit too much

28:02

saying that you know you can kind of

28:04

bundle everything together if you look

28:06

at China and their business principles

28:09

and philosophies what are the main

28:11

differences compared to Western

28:14

societies and what can we learn from

28:16

that and by Western societies like

28:23

Silicon Valley and stays Scandinavia as

28:27

well okay cool

28:29

I think obviously there are a lot of

28:31

differences but I think one if you look

28:35

at the macro perspective they're very

28:38

driven by cause like here in the West or

28:41

like at least story wise we are very

28:45

like driven by we want to change the

28:47

world and so on while this in China I

28:50

laugh I find it a little bit liberating

28:53

because people like you know we want to

28:54

make money we want to be like you know

28:56

that's it's more about that obviously

28:58

there are some mission driven companies

29:00

in China like Alibaba is one of them but

29:03

it's also a very story about like you

29:07

know that they need to have

29:08

because their IP owed on in New York

29:11

right so so I think that's that's being

29:14

mission-driven

29:15

is not as focused in China yeah for

29:18

companies oh yeah yeah that could be

29:20

also kind of a could be different in

29:24

culture or how that market of all but it

29:26

could also be like you know something

29:28

that they will kind of grow into not

29:29

sure hard to say I mean I I don't I

29:31

don't mean it yet as in they are you

29:33

know lagging behind us but I mean it as

29:36

if you look at our history here we

29:38

didn't have that either a while back and

29:41

then everybody started like wanting to

29:44

show off to their friends that they are

29:45

saving the world in different ways which

29:48

is good I mean it's like I think it's a

29:51

it's an evolutionary thing that we want

29:54

to you know show that we are good

29:56

citizens of the group and and on the

30:00

scale of today that means showing it on

30:02

the on the world scale or you're good

30:06

citizens of the world yeah so I think

30:09

that's its natural and but it's it's

30:12

like the next step after I knew Joe on I

30:15

know you are gonna talk later probably

30:17

about this this hierarchy where you

30:20

start out with like you know food and

30:21

shelter and then you move on to more

30:24

advanced products and luxuries and then

30:27

you move on to meaning and and

30:30

spirituality and you know in the end now

30:33

an identity I completely agree it could

30:35

be like a different like it could be

30:37

something that more and more Chinese

30:40

company companies need to start talking

30:43

about because it kind of becomes

30:44

important for investors or consumers and

30:47

so on right so I think that's that's a

30:49

good point in terms of other differences

30:52

I'm you know a lot of the companies and

30:56

I find this is really like fascinating

30:58

because a lot of the companies that I'm

31:01

like you see coming out of China they've

31:04

been on a market that has never been

31:06

matured like you've never had the

31:09

organic growth of a few percent and then

31:12

you high-five yourself and go home by

31:14

lunch like because you like you just

31:16

beat the index right it's not been like

31:18

that it's been like a complete chaos a

31:21

very chaotic and why

31:22

and for these companies everyone's

31:24

trying to steal your business every day

31:27

of the week every week of the year

31:29

that's like that's the reality people

31:30

live in and that is kind of fostered

31:32

companies and company mentality very

31:35

different from the West

31:37

one thing is like if you copy someone

31:40

else's products you know that's not

31:44

stigmatized whatsoever to do that's just

31:47

starting point there's like hey why

31:49

would I start playing music and not do

31:51

covers first like why wouldn't I just

31:53

like copy of you u2 songs and then start

31:56

writing my own stuff I don't like you

31:57

know get the band together so I that's

32:00

that's that's one thing that is very

32:01

different so I if you see like how

32:05

innovation has been kind of evolving in

32:09

China it's very much come from that

32:13

environment where everyone is so hungry

32:17

to steal everyone's business which makes

32:21

them extremely extremely aggressive and

32:25

opportunistic

32:26

there's a story about a company called

32:29

mate one jumping that they started at

32:32

the same time Groupon entered China and

32:36

at that time do you know the Groupon

32:38

concept right now so and at that time

32:41

there were four thousand Groupon copies

32:45

in China one company emerged as the

32:49

victorious company that was made on

32:52

jumping like consider if you have four

32:56

thousand competitors and you come out on

32:58

top like what kind of company do you

33:00

build by that it's almost like the race

33:05

when you before you're born

33:07

yeah exactly it's more or less that

33:11

right it's just like more or less by

33:13

chance or you need to be lucky you need

33:15

two other right people uhit's like

33:16

everything just needs to be in order

33:18

there's a stream competition extreme

33:20

extreme competition yeah and also like

33:22

because of this extreme competition and

33:26

in this kind of in a way closed off

33:29

markets because we haven't seen like

33:31

it's it's a market that has gone grown

33:36

huge without the presence of Google and

33:39

Facebook and you know the companies that

33:42

we usually see like being on top or

33:44

Amazon for that matter it kind of I

33:48

don't wanna go too far from thick but

33:51

you know there's there's this really

33:53

really poisonous frog somewhere in the

33:55

Amazon that has become that poison can

33:58

kill like a few elephants like just by

34:02

like the poison from its skin it's

34:04

become like that because there's been an

34:06

arm race because it has one enemy yeah

34:09

which is a snake that is like just well

34:13

it tolerates that poison and then like

34:15

in that venom and then you know more

34:17

snakes are born that are a little bit

34:19

more tolerant and then more frogs that

34:20

produces a little bit more like your

34:22

poison and so on and that kind of what

34:24

has happened also when it comes to

34:25

competition like they're extremely

34:28

extremely aggressive and both good and

34:30

bad ways what are the good base ways

34:33

well I think you know the in terms of as

34:38

you if you're a company and you start

34:41

let's say you go into like trying to

34:44

evolve as a company as anyone do and

34:46

then you start start a number of

34:48

projects and so on like to fail is not

34:50

like stigmatized in that sense it is

34:53

still stigmatized a lot when it comes to

34:56

organizations like people in the

34:58

organizations it's very still a

34:59

hierarchy if I'm generalizing I you know

35:04

a lot of people I talked to they feel

35:05

like that it's very you know you don't

35:09

go to your nearest boss to say like hey

35:10

I up but in terms of like

35:15

companies starting stuff and then you

35:18

know a few months later they just like

35:20

close that down and they start more

35:22

small stuff and so on well as we and I'm

35:25

talking more from a Swedish perspective

35:27

I think you know it's still fairly

35:30

stigmatized to fail to be honest if

35:33

you're not like candy crush and and

35:37

that's your business model to try out 90

35:40

things and then fail on 80 89 of them

35:43

but in general companies that have been

35:47

kind of fostered in an environment

35:50

it's where it's like risk-taking isn't

35:54

as important then you know a lot of CEOs

35:59

and in Sweden specially they've they've

36:02

made a career and not failing while as I

36:06

think a lot of the CEOs in China they've

36:08

made a career from from failing so if

36:10

you come from this super competitive

36:11

environment and you enter in another

36:14

market like Sweden or the US or France

36:17

whatever what happens then I think you

36:22

know in on paper they would you know I

36:25

think they what they would like eat us

36:27

for breakfast like at least eat our

36:30

breakfast so and that's it's an

36:34

interesting thought problem is we

36:39

haven't seen that happen fully yet but

36:43

if you kind of look at the overview

36:45

obviously a company that has if you are

36:49

top-three in China you're by definite

36:52

like you're automatically top ten in the

36:55

world so you have a pretty big war chest

36:58

to start conquering company or

37:00

conquering countries outside of your

37:02

home market and with like a very

37:05

aggressive expansion strategy and so on

37:08

that could be very lethal but to be

37:12

honest we haven't really seen that in

37:13

the in Europe yet were you I mean Amazon

37:16

is coming to Sweden now and everybody in

37:19

ecommerce is it's just you know there's

37:23

they're pretty scared yeah they probably

37:27

should be so and I mean what if Alibaba

37:30

would just to do a complete rollout and

37:33

Sweden you know I mean even buy things

37:35

for there now but but if they would you

37:37

know totally just launch and make a huge

37:40

Swedish launch what would happen that

37:42

anything I think you know I think

37:45

Alibaba would still they would they

37:47

would approach things very differently

37:48

because I think Amazon their business is

37:53

different in terms of their creating

37:55

like availability of products they're

37:58

like creating competition within their

37:59

ecosystem and so on

38:00

I think Alabama's strategy

38:03

if we talk about their e-commerce

38:04

business that would be more about

38:09

getting the Western companies into China

38:13

and being that bridge because there's

38:14

still like a few hundred million people

38:17

in China that are like becoming

38:19

middle-class or starting to consume

38:21

stuff so that's like that's a big win

38:26

for them rather than focusing on you

38:31

know let's have 10 million people in

38:33

Sweden start buying stuff well it's you

38:35

know that might happen as well but I

38:38

don't think that as prioritized

38:40

because that's one third of Shanghai's

38:42

population there's an interesting

38:44

dynamic now that we have this ultra

38:47

economy of scale you know in in

38:51

businesses all over the world that a

38:53

country like Sweden that is so small

38:55

it's not even like it's not even

38:58

interesting basically to go here it is

39:00

for other reasons I know you want to try

39:03

stuff out here and that kind of thing

39:04

yeah it's it's not that interesting as a

39:07

market but we're producing things for

39:09

other markets and we can do it at scale

39:11

yeah so in a way would be it would be

39:14

interesting to see like how will this

39:15

play out for small countries like ours

39:17

hmm that can it have a because if it

39:20

affects the trade balance if you do that

39:21

right of course definitely yeah I think

39:24

like also that's the cool thing about

39:27

Sweden right because we've been

39:29

successful in building like companies

39:31

that are far bigger than there were the

39:33

small dog that doesn't know it's small

39:34

yeah exactly yeah so but but there's a

39:38

risk also and I'm sure there are more

39:42

people more qualified to talk about like

39:44

this but there's a risk obviously when

39:48

companies such as

39:49

Amazon where they don't feel that it

39:52

like they're not prioritizing Sweden US

39:54

market because it's so small they rather

39:56

focus on Germany and therefore a good

40:01

example of what that what that does to a

40:04

market is like if you look at Alexa like

40:07

if you look at smart devices or IOT and

40:10

so on like it's very difficult for a

40:14

Swedish company to get into the

40:17

ecosystem to start implementing or

40:19

integrating their brand or anything

40:21

because like they're not present here

40:23

yet right

40:24

they're not prioritizing and so on so

40:26

like imagine what would happen if Google

40:29

had said like no we're gonna wait five

40:31

years to go into Sweden we're just gonna

40:32

have like like a an international

40:36

version of like what would happen to all

40:39

the Swedish businesses that try and find

40:44

you know and try and find their new

40:46

consumers yeah through Google all right

40:48

that would be I think a very devastating

40:50

thing yeah because the spin-off of that

40:53

is obviously a lot of cool like

40:55

innovation happening and and so on so is

40:58

that there's a risk being a small market

41:00

in terms of not getting the attention

41:02

but there's also a cool thing about

41:05

being a small market because you're not

41:06

getting the attention right is that you

41:07

can start like you know you can fly

41:09

under the radar and you can build

41:11

companies such as clarinha or you can

41:13

build companies such as Spotify that

41:17

kind of come out of nowhere yeah and

41:19

become huge what will you say if you

41:23

look at the Chinese companies and how

41:26

they are run and the like the

41:28

differences in management style you

41:34

talked about high rack hierarchy was one

41:37

and you also talked a little bit about

41:41

aggressiveness are there other things

41:44

around management style that are

41:47

interesting for us to talk about yeah I

41:50

think I think this is interesting in

41:52

terms of like there are certain benefits

41:56

right right of having a top-down

41:59

approach to stuff like even though it's

42:02

frowned upon

42:03

especially in Sweden where we're very

42:04

humane in the sense that we'll how we

42:06

manage people and and so on and we're

42:09

very mission driven and value driven but

42:11

there are certain benefits and moving

42:13

fast and taking responsibility centrally

42:15

and not having people you know cry about

42:18

you know failing and so on so that's

42:19

that's a good thing still I think the

42:23

management style if you generalize and

42:27

it's very different in different

42:27

countries other companies in China you

42:30

still

42:31

a very clear hierarchy it's more about

42:36

instructing people what to do rather

42:38

than getting them to understand and take

42:39

their own initiative and also you have

42:42

in certain companies you have this I

42:45

would say a very devastating effect

42:48

where people don't go to their nearest

42:50

manager to tell them that you know hey I

42:53

don't I can't do this or I fail doing

42:55

this so and that can create environment

42:58

obviously where you where you find out

43:00

stuff - absolutely too late so I think

43:03

but I think also that's that kind of is

43:06

changing in a way because the talent is

43:10

still very sought-after China has been

43:13

proven leader Sherry's yeah exactly and

43:15

it's sort of after while top talent will

43:17

not go to companies that have crappy

43:20

leadership so it's kind of Darwinistic

43:22

in that sense yeah yeah which is nice so

43:25

how important is international talent to

43:28

China or are they trying to attract

43:32

talent from mud from like the US or

43:34

Sweden or place other places I think

43:36

that's a really that's a fascinating

43:38

topic because there's this thing called

43:41

highway in in China which means sea

43:45

turtle and that more or less describes

43:48

like people in China that go overseas to

43:51

study or to gain you know experience and

43:55

then come back so to the motherland so

43:59

it's actually like to crush those things

44:01

yeah to kind of crush it but so and and

44:03

we spoke into a lot of people in when

44:06

doing these episodes and doing research

44:08

about it and it's the top absolute top

44:11

talents I think a lot of people are

44:13

witnessing that the top top talent in

44:15

like AI and stuff they kind of just go

44:18

back and forth from Silicon Valley to

44:20

China and and so it's kind of the same

44:24

talent in terms of sometimes it's on a

44:27

founder level sometimes it's just like

44:29

you know engineer level sometimes it's

44:32

investor level and so on

44:33

but they are coming back there's not

44:35

that they're going to Silicon Valley and

44:36

staying

44:37

I think people some people are staying

44:39

some people find it very interesting

44:41

what's happening right now in China and

44:43

I spoke into other people also

44:45

you know considering what's happening

44:46

with the trumpet I'd political kind of

44:51

environment and in the u.s. right now

44:53

actually a few people that I've talked

44:55

to like quite a few people that I talked

44:57

to have said that you know this is

44:59

something that we you know I'm gonna

45:01

take for years and try out China and

45:03

then like if Trump is I'm not sure what

45:06

to do so I think and and I think that's

45:11

that's the cool thing with the world

45:12

that we live in right is that like

45:13

really talented

45:15

super super intelligent people are going

45:18

to find you know they're gonna create

45:20

value somewhere in the ecosystem

45:22

yeah and in the world yeah so we have

45:24

that problems in Sweden I mean we are

45:27

exporting a ton of talent

45:28

yeah to other places and we are we

45:30

really need talent from other countries

45:32

here to come here as well and we we are

45:36

gonna talk we need to talk about how we

45:38

can do that better in Sweden but I can't

45:40

want to know how they do it in China

45:42

what are their strategies to to attract

45:44

and retain talent in China I think

45:48

there's been this obviously different in

45:51

different areas like I think there's

45:52

over like from a macro perspective it's

45:55

been this perfect storm of capital of

45:58

new consumers coming into the ecosystems

46:00

about like this open ocean of or the

46:03

blue ocean of opportunities and also the

46:06

stories about Alibaba and the stories

46:08

about 10 cents and you know 500 billion

46:12

dollar value companies that has

46:14

attracted a lot of people but also when

46:17

we talk more about like if specialized

46:19

in specialist specialized areas we've

46:22

talked to like AI people like AI talent

46:26

and a lot of people say like China in

46:29

terms of implementing practically like

46:31

implementing functions when it comes

46:34

comes to AI is a bit further ahead than

46:37

the US

46:38

so therefore attracts talent because

46:40

like if you're really good at what you

46:43

do you want to see it work and you want

46:44

to kind of get it in yeah exactly you

46:47

want to learn right you want to stay on

46:48

top so that's attracted a lot of people

46:51

as well and and I know like people

46:54

actually from Sweden that you know have

46:57

tried their wings that they

46:58

Tech in China and like you know and they

47:01

come back as you know extremely

47:03

extremely not knowledgeable about this

47:05

topic or about this area I think more

47:08

than they would gain in staying or most

47:12

of them would gain and staying in Sweden

47:14

so so that also kind of attracts because

47:17

and that's that's what's cool right

47:18

because people kind of flow to where

47:22

stuff is happening yeah and I my this is

47:28

I guess prejudice but my image of what's

47:32

going on in China is that if you are as

47:33

specialists coming to China you are

47:35

gonna be really well off I couldn't in

47:39

terms of the life quality and and now

47:42

terms for your economical terms and you

47:45

know all that is that true or is that

47:47

just my now I I think like it depends

47:52

obviously if you're working for a for a

47:53

Western company or a Chinese company or

47:56

what your specialty is but I would say

47:59

like Silicon Valley in terms of being

48:01

well off in terms of like life quality

48:03

and and how much you get paid

48:07

especially in a is much higher than

48:09

China still okay so it's kind of a

48:12

trade-off between the two then a

48:13

sandwich costs like five thousand

48:15

dollars it's there you can talk about

48:22

life quality rights that when you say

48:24

you you're talking about a lot about the

48:26

middle class as well in in China and

48:29

what's what's the life standard compared

48:32

to to Scandinavia in the the middle

48:35

class so I would say a very important

48:40

thing to add here is that you need to

48:42

look at which tiers city are we when we

48:46

when we talk about middle class right

48:48

I'm explaining that what's that so

48:50

different tiers so the different tiers

48:52

in China like that you have the top tier

48:54

like Tier one Shanghai Beijing Shenzhen

48:58

and so on right they're very high up in

49:00

terms of number of universities B and P

49:03

or that sorry the the GNP the GDP and

49:09

kind of the overall States

49:12

of that city yeah medicine core is it

49:15

like the size of the city that

49:17

determines the the tear there are a

49:20

number of factors like size is I think

49:22

one factor but also it's about like how

49:25

much value that creates in terms of the

49:28

ecosystem so and obviously the level of

49:34

education and specialty is on like the

49:38

people living in an entire city and so

49:40

on and China doesn't have like it's it's

49:42

not you cannot like you can move to city

49:45

without permits but then you're kind of

49:48

outside of the social net like social

49:51

system so if you want have kids and they

49:53

want to go to school then hey if you're

49:55

not permitted to be there then it's

49:57

gonna be very difficult for you

49:58

right there's almost like a country in

50:01

that sense yes Venice City yes so so I

50:06

think like the standards it's less

50:10

homogeneous then you would see in a

50:13

country such as you know Sweden where

50:15

even though I'm sure that some gaps have

50:19

increased in Sweden as well in the last

50:21

years it's nothing compared to China No

50:24

exactly and that's the thing so like you

50:27

you can literally have a lunch for you

50:30

know you can either lunch for two

50:32

dollars or you can have a lunch for two

50:34

thousand dollars your choice so have you

50:36

ever had lunch

50:39

no I know I think like so so it's very

50:48

difficult to say that there's a standard

50:50

of living but if you look at just a

50:54

sheer number of people that have been

50:56

moved out of poverty it's around 700

50:59

million people yeah that in a very short

51:01

time has been moved out of poverty and

51:03

then you know again there are people

51:05

much more like competent than talking

51:08

about like that kind of those political

51:11

climates than I am but just it's very

51:15

difficult to say like those 700 million

51:17

people have like one way of life

51:20

standard or anything but it's

51:22

interesting it's that is so divided I

51:24

mean because that's

51:26

true in the cities but I mean it's even

51:28

more true I would imagine if you look at

51:29

the entire country yeah and I read a

51:32

book is a few years ago now it was

51:35

called next the next 100 years it was a

51:38

book like about you know they made us

51:40

some kind of projection or what's gonna

51:42

happen in the next 100 years and one of

51:45

the things they talked about is that

51:46

China is gonna be having having a hard

51:48

time holding it together because there

51:50

is it used to be provinces and and now

51:54

it's so divided in like how the how

51:58

affluent like this some of this Shenzhen

52:00

versa did I say that right she's and Jen

52:02

Jen Jen Jen

52:03

I mean hey close enough and how affluent

52:09

that is compared to maybe you know some

52:11

place in the countryside in in the

52:13

country I don't know I don't know the

52:15

specifics but the the theory was that

52:17

it's gonna be hard to keep that together

52:19

over time do you think that's true or

52:22

now yeah right I think right now it is

52:27

very like as we kind of talked about

52:30

earlier as well it's very difficult to

52:32

see it as one country in terms of you

52:36

know you have over 30 provinces you have

52:39

over 50,000 cities you have local

52:43

politicians or you know local in the

52:45

provinces that are you know very very

52:47

powerful and so unlike so so it's yeah

52:50

it's it's it's an interesting thought

52:53

that they would not be able to keep it

52:55

together right now obviously they're

52:58

going for that they're going to keep it

52:59

together yeah and they have a power

53:01

structure which makes that ya know

53:03

easier than if it was I mean if you have

53:07

a situation where people some people

53:08

getting really really really rich and

53:10

some people are just lagging behind in

53:12

you know a huge way it creates

53:14

incentives you know which are can be

53:16

good for the entire country but it can

53:18

also pull it if you don't have that way

53:21

of keeping it together through power or

53:23

you know that can be problematic as

53:26

history would show you know definitely

53:28

and I think like I heard someone talk

53:32

about talk about kind of the political

53:34

kind of climate and and and the model

53:36

obviously in China that has been very

53:38

successful Xin

53:40

even though you know it's it's not that

53:43

their model was the best like not being

53:47

a democracy and so on maybe it's about

53:49

like and he was a u.s. professor and

53:52

said you know maybe it's our model of

53:54

democracy that doesn't work right so it

53:56

looked that way for sure

53:58

I think that's something very kind of

54:00

difficult for most people to talk about

54:02

when it comes to the political like

54:04

climates and and and in in China and how

54:08

it's run because we associate so much

54:11

stuff with dictatorships right but I

54:16

think it was a really interesting to

54:18

understand what very important to

54:20

understand that even in a non democracy

54:23

there are different very different

54:26

models like a very stereotypical version

54:29

of a dictator would be you know someone

54:32

who drives a golden Mercedes right and

54:34

then you know with golden ak-47s or

54:38

attached to it and having our Kelly

54:41

singing at their wedding like just

54:42

because they can and then the rest of

54:44

the of the society is just starving yeah

54:47

sitting on this you know mountain of

54:50

diamonds you can get my point but and

54:52

then there's China which is a one-party

54:56

system there's still some liability in

54:59

that system and there's not the same way

55:03

of having one supreme ruler even though

55:07

si Jinping is you know is the the one

55:12

man in charge the one person in charge

55:14

but it's still not run in the same way

55:17

and you still have mechanisms to beat

55:21

down on corruption or listen to when

55:24

people get fed up with let's say air

55:28

pollution and you have mechanisms to

55:30

sort that out that wouldn't happen like

55:33

in the other version of the dictatorship

55:35

or a non democracy so I think that and

55:38

that's very kind of for most Westerners

55:40

and specially Swedish people where

55:42

democracy is so close to where we are or

55:45

who we are and how we see ourselves I

55:49

think that's a very difficult thing to

55:50

talk about yeah

55:52

but I think it's also it's it must be

55:55

talked about because we need to

55:57

understand and not kind of just bunch

55:59

one kind of model that isn't our own

56:02

together yeah and we need to study all

56:04

the different models out there and for

56:06

China in terms if you look at the macro

56:08

perspective that's actually market that

56:11

has gained a lot from their model yeah

56:14

in the last year's yeah which we should

56:16

do it if you have a like some kind of

56:18

very fast-moving situation where you

56:21

need to be very like you know distinct

56:24

in your actions yeah like you know it's

56:27

the same thing with if you have in

56:29

Sweden if there would be a war we would

56:31

have our army and that they would not be

56:33

ruled by consensus I guess it's too so

56:36

yeah so so I mean that's benefited them

56:39

of obviously when we're moving this

56:41

incredibly this incredible speed yeah

56:43

but then you will it'll be interesting

56:46

to see what happens when it becomes more

56:48

mature and more in balance and and and

56:50

you know creativity maybe because

56:52

they've had the benefit for a while now

56:54

of being able to copy technologies and

56:56

that kind of thing but now they're

56:57

moving into like $0.10 or any those guys

57:00

are any new stuff you know you taught me

57:03

that actually in your podcast and when

57:07

you're moving from copying and becoming

57:09

more efficient to actually trading new

57:11

things that kind of management calls for

57:13

another type of culture yeah yeah and I

57:16

that's that's a another really great

57:19

like point because if you look at the

57:23

centralized or the overview of kind of

57:27

the grasp on surveillance or kind of the

57:31

censorship or how they control data and

57:33

so on like we've heard the you know the

57:37

the stories about the social scoring and

57:40

so on right there's there's a part of

57:43

that where the more they kind of the

57:47

harder they take a grip around people

57:50

the less innovation they're gonna get

57:53

out of it because innovation doesn't

57:54

happen and when you say I order you to

57:57

be innovative and I order you to create

58:00

you know it doesn't work like that right

58:03

and what we see historically

58:06

is you know the the harder and a

58:08

government kind of starts controlling

58:09

stuff the first people to leave who are

58:12

those right the smart people right or

58:14

they're like the most talented people

58:15

that can find like living elsewhere or

58:18

like they can they can use their talents

58:20

elsewhere and we saw that you know

58:21

happening in other parts of the world so

58:23

so I think that's a kind of paradox

58:26

right now yeah so not only those I would

58:28

say also the like free thinkers the

58:31

rebels the playful people the people

58:33

that are prone to break rules those are

58:37

the people that will trade the

58:41

groundbreaking innovations I think often

58:43

times yeah as you've seen I mean if in

58:45

in history you know regardless if it's

58:49

Steve Jobs or Copernicus or you know

58:51

they are breaking rules rules and they

58:54

oftentimes also they can seem mad and

58:58

crazy because they come up with

59:00

something that is obviously wrong and

59:01

then that leads a second thought that is

59:03

obviously also wrong but that in turn

59:06

leads to something that is truly

59:08

groundbreaking that nobody would ever

59:09

thought of yeah you know and and that's

59:12

how we figured out that the earth was

59:13

round and you know that the Sun didn't

59:17

revolve around us and all those things

59:18

you know so so that type of person will

59:22

not thrive in a natural way I think

59:26

anyways in in a in a control to control

59:29

yeah because you need to kind of

59:31

celebrate there the rebels and and the

59:34

troublemakers as Apple put it in their

59:37

ad from the 90s yeah all right yeah and

59:40

yeah I think yeah there's I think

59:42

there's this I just read this the other

59:45

day so I'm not gonna take credit for it

59:47

but you know someone kind of expressing

59:50

it like there's this there's this

59:52

misconception out there especially in

59:54

the West where you think that the the

59:57

Chinese companies have they've become

59:59

kind of the mouth of the government

60:01

right where they're kind of ambassadors

60:03

for the for the Chinese dictatorship so

60:06

I'm like but it's more and what she

60:09

wrote was kind of fascinating she said

60:10

like it's more like a a parent-child

60:13

relationship yeah where you know that

60:15

the kids the companies are kind of

60:17

running around doing mischief breaking

60:19

stuff

60:20

you know like bending rules and so on

60:22

and then the parent comes in and telling

60:23

them like hey okay we just saw what you

60:25

did and you know you cannot do that but

60:28

you continue doing that because

60:29

obviously that's it for you because you

60:31

know yeah yeah and and you know it's

60:34

more about that and and for some reason

60:38

that's been a difficult also kind of

60:40

picture for most Western to have when it

60:44

comes to China yeah like it's very

60:46

natural that you say that no I don't

60:48

think Google runs the errands of Trump

60:52

but obviously there's a relationship

60:55

there right and I mean even if the power

60:58

center is not Trump but Google may be

61:02

the power center and they are not even

61:04

elected so you know but I think and I

61:09

think that kind of at least on a certain

61:13

level we need to kind of disconnect the

61:15

to like what is like the company's

61:17

what's happening there and then what is

61:20

kind of the states and the governments

61:21

and so on and and I think that that's

61:25

been very difficult for a lot of people

61:27

and that's been also kind of an obstacle

61:29

for us to kind of look objectively at

61:31

innovation happening in China for a long

61:33

time yeah because a lot of people kind

61:37

of they they came with a lot of their

61:39

values that have been built for the last

61:42

thirty years on you know what what they

61:45

feel a dictatorship and that model is

61:47

yeah and you know propaganda and all

61:49

that stuff so we haven't objectively

61:51

looked at the different like business

61:54

cases or how technology is implemented

61:56

to create this really really fascinating

61:59

environment an ecosystem they are the

62:01

managed to prove some amazing stuff

62:02

obviously I mean yeah and and they are

62:05

ahead of us apparently and you know but

62:08

the I think that's something that is

62:09

easy to forget as well that I've studied

62:12

creative creative organizations as

62:14

creative leadership since I went to

62:16

school you know 15 years ago and it

62:20

keeps coming back to how how we can have

62:22

a company like Boeing or something

62:24

that's not a very free environment I

62:27

wouldn't think at least not at the time

62:29

and they can they can decide to set up

62:32

the skunkworks

62:33

where everybody's can roam free and do

62:35

crazy and invents invent stuff they

62:37

can decide to do and obviously China can

62:40

do that as well set up like hey you guys

62:41

are the mad mad people do it you know

62:44

it's not necessarily that you know they

62:46

can decide it's not necessarily that you

62:49

can't have freedom and rebels and

62:51

troublemakers you can decide to have

62:53

that if you have that kind of system

62:54

yeah so that's something that I mean

62:56

that's really interesting again sorry

62:59

one gone no no I go on I I have a

63:04

question for you afterwards okay so if

63:08

we look at one one side to that if we

63:13

look at kind of the financial sector in

63:16

China I think it's really interesting or

63:18

like good case to study because for a

63:24

long time you had about half a billion

63:27

people that were either

63:28

under banked or unbanked like more or

63:31

less completely outside of the financial

63:33

system or you know on the on the brink

63:35

of so they don't use the bank well yeah

63:39

because historically the the

63:41

government-owned banks which is more or

63:43

less all the banks they focused on

63:46

manufacturing they focused on like huge

63:49

companies and so on rather than focusing

63:51

on especially small businesses they

63:54

haven't focused on consumer much so like

63:56

because there were no there was no money

63:59

in it

63:59

initially and then boom people started

64:03

to you know consume this happening the

64:07

exactly same time as Internet's that

64:10

people got a smartphone in their hand

64:12

the only way to scale that or to meet

64:15

that demand was through Internet

64:17

companies there was no state-owned bank

64:20

that could ever meet that demand so in

64:25

this case one big hurdle to get people

64:29

into the financial system was there were

64:31

no credit scoring models like there were

64:34

no or at least were very few documented

64:37

like the FICO score or what we have in

64:40

the West where you have a documented

64:42

income and all that stuff and what you

64:44

paid in taxes last year and so on and

64:46

that kind of

64:47

decides whether you get a loan or not

64:50

that infrastructure was not in place in

64:52

China so Alibaba the dominant player in

64:57

e-commerce at the time that also had a

65:01

ali pay which is own kind of paypal of

65:04

china they had massive amounts of data

65:08

and they also like the equivalent of

65:11

youtube and so on and so on so they had

65:13

so much data about consumers so they

65:15

actually like Wow the government

65:18

actually said like hey we're gonna allow

65:19

you on a other eight other companies to

65:22

start creating credit scoring models for

65:26

consumers to try and get them into a

65:29

financial system where they can start

65:30

getting loans or you know for studying

65:32

or for their like buying an apartment or

65:34

just starting a company so and that has

65:39

led to that has led to Alibaba their

65:44

credit scoring model is the leading one

65:46

and sesame credits called in China with

65:49

like 700 million people or don't quote

65:52

me on that number but it is around there

65:54

yeah and what it also led to is that

65:59

their way of creating credit scoring

66:03

models is far superior what we see in

66:07

the West like much more dynamic because

66:11

if you think of it like especially in

66:12

the Swedish model like what I made last

66:14

year decides whether I get a loan today

66:16

yeah there's a big lag right it could

66:21

have been you know a lot of like a long

66:24

time in between right yeah but what if

66:28

we started instead of looking at my

66:30

income let's see we start looking at

66:32

what I've bought how much I consume yeah

66:36

because that kind of says something

66:37

about me right and then let's look at

66:40

who I hang out with well yeah it could

66:42

be right pretty cool I but it could be

66:44

like because we talked to one fin tech

66:46

company and they were like no we have a

66:47

cookie and then if we see them going

66:49

into a gambling site obviously their

66:51

credit scoring goes down yeah which

66:52

makes sense it makes a lot of sense yeah

66:55

why don't we have a like a cookie on all

66:58

the betting sites out there

66:59

like just

67:01

kind of and then feed that data into

67:03

banks because that's like financial yeah

67:05

responsibility I can tell you why we

67:07

don't do that because people will freak

67:09

the out yeah that could I mean

67:14

discussion but that would at least like

67:16

create some sort of incentive to like

67:21

you know spend your money on gambling ya

67:24

know I mean that is I think that's more

67:26

the Chinese way I would think I mean

67:30

yeah of having that type of knowledge

67:33

about your people yeah and in our

67:35

society if we are if we're self-critical

67:38

that knowledge is with Google and

67:41

Facebook instead yeah yeah definitely

67:43

and GDP are can you know it can they can

67:46

kind of it can create some obstacles on

67:51

the way very strong ones young problem

67:54

is that creating more obstacles for

67:56

European companies than the US companies

67:58

at the moment you know the Chinese ones

68:00

so yeah and also the covers only like 1%

68:02

of the data

68:03

yeah like seriously if you're one and

68:07

you know fill me and what you think

68:09

about this but if I if I was your

68:14

insurance company and you had like a

68:17

health insurance with us and I said hey

68:20

you know on do you want to share your

68:23

Fitbit data with us and if you share it

68:27

we can give you half off on the price of

68:32

this insurance well I think I think

68:36

we're gonna say yes yeah I would

68:38

definitely say yes because it would work

68:40

at some work as something else as well

68:43

and it would work as an accountability

68:47

so that you know what you should do and

68:51

what you shouldn't do and if you know

68:55

that you are measured on this the just

68:58

the fact that you're measured will

69:01

change your behavior yeah so III will

69:06

you know the only part where I think I

69:09

wouldn't do it is I wouldn't want to

69:12

have my insurance company

69:14

log every single way I drove my car -

69:26

I'm driving like an Audi so I'm not a

69:29

rebel and a hybrid hybrid okay next

69:35

thing so let's say you're a student and

69:39

you don't have an income but to get you

69:45

alone they want to know how much you

69:48

gamble how much you spend on alcohol how

69:51

much you you know how your what are you

69:54

good habits and what are your bad habits

69:55

or do you have a social network in terms

69:58

of would anyone bail you out if you were

70:00

in a financial trouble like and who

70:02

would that be based on your social

70:04

network rather than people going like

70:06

being your and this is how it actually

70:08

works right now yeah yeah well in China

70:12

yes that's more or less than the model

70:15

it's very you know most companies are

70:18

not Alibaba in the FinTech industry so

70:21

they have to have like they don't have

70:22

maybe the same rich data sets so they

70:25

use opt-in as a method of saying like

70:27

hey yeah sure we can probably give you a

70:29

loan but for that we need to have your

70:32

we need to see your phone book that's a

70:35

little scary

70:35

well yeah it could be right because if

70:38

there's a drug dealer in there then you

70:39

know I don't have a problem I do have

70:43

very old numbers though to do people I

70:45

met at a bar yeah you can totally wonder

70:47

years ago your phonebook maybe maybe

70:51

you're who you called that's like maybe

70:54

you're like you're you know from your

70:56

telecom operator um your operator date

70:59

oh yeah and how long time you spend on

71:00

the phone because if you spent too long

71:02

you're obviously not working very

71:03

efficiently oh yeah wow that would be

71:06

not work for me because I'm or let's

71:07

work on my phone side but like this is

71:09

very Orwellian I would say also I mean

71:12

people are afraid of this it is yeah

71:14

yeah

71:16

again that's the fascinating part right

71:20

because you have one market that is on

71:23

the completely other side of that

71:24

spectrum and that is the market that

71:27

we're in Sweden yeah

71:28

where privacy is an integrity and all

71:33

that stuff is so high up on our priority

71:36

lists that it in some ways it can limit

71:40

our abilities to be innovative because

71:43

let's just say a company in Sweden would

71:46

do that try that model like can you

71:49

imagine what the media would do to that

71:51

company oh yeah it would be it would be

71:53

such a backlash yes I saw this now

71:55

they're like there's a there's a company

71:58

doing and this GDP are safe so it's not

72:01

it's like they're doing facial

72:03

recognition for retail stores which is a

72:05

awesome thing because all of a sudden

72:08

you know that's gonna give them tools to

72:11

give me a better retail experience at

72:13

the end of the day right and it's as I

72:17

said it's it's approved by GDP are all

72:20

that like European standards and so on

72:22

and still the media is like in an uproar

72:25

right now about like oh man we're being

72:28

monitored in stores and whatnot as

72:30

always I mean it's it's depending on

72:32

what you do with it

72:33

yeah and what your intentions are but I

72:35

mean apples philosophy of the for this

72:38

is to keep your privacy as private as

72:41

possible yeah pretty much

72:42

and but yeah but and there's two sides

72:45

to that yeah which is one am I giving it

72:48

to third-party Apple said absolutely not

72:52

they've shut down all sorts of cookies

72:54

all right you know we talked about this

72:56

earlier but in terms of using that data

73:02

to make their services for me more

73:05

personalized I'm pretty sure they're

73:08

doing that to a Barry's like yeah all

73:11

right so so they're about like what's

73:15

good though yeah

73:16

exactly so what do I get out of it is

73:18

what it comes in Jacob do you think that

73:22

this this way because it's a very

73:25

different way of doing things where you

73:27

have where there is no democracy and

73:30

there is a lot of more open information

73:33

that is captured from all the

73:37

individuals do you think

73:40

what system do you actually prefer I I

73:45

don't think it's it's not in my role to

73:49

prefer either or I'm sorry to say that

73:51

because it's very like politician kind

73:53

of working in two countries you need to

73:55

be from no but very very very clear

74:01

opinion as myself as an individual

74:05

obviously I value my privacy and I will

74:09

not choose to live in anything other

74:11

than a democracy because I believe in

74:13

that system even though it's had its

74:17

flaws so yes in terms of creating value

74:25

in a short time or let's say this does

74:30

that mean that the other model is you

74:34

know cannot create value where it's

74:35

completely wrong no that's the thing

74:38

like it's not black and white that's

74:40

it's a very big grayish area about

74:44

different models creating different

74:46

kinds of values and then it's more about

74:47

you know who if we would in the future

74:51

have a very like free market where

74:53

people kind of choose where to operate

74:57

yeah and I would I would still choose a

75:00

democracy because that's how I was

75:03

raised and and that's what I value as a

75:05

person and I value my privacy as well

75:07

but I can definitely give away a big

75:11

chunk of it if it means some sort of

75:14

benefit for me as a consumers and

75:16

individual as to safety aspect we talked

75:18

about for example you know but yeah and

75:21

that's the thing like I would trade I

75:23

live in Saruman which is a very center

75:26

of central parts of Stockholm which is

75:28

you know very safe unless you are drunk

75:31

on a Saturday night when people just got

75:33

paid and you you know you run into the

75:36

wrong people yeah but you know in

75:38

general very safe but would I would I

75:43

accept cameras in my neighborhood to

75:46

make sure that when there are football

75:49

derbies and soccer derbies and so on

75:51

like that you know people are

75:53

not setting fire to stuff or you know

75:57

abusing each other yeah definitely yeah

76:00

I would too out here actually yeah no

76:02

and I think and I think that the time is

76:06

gone when you think that you can be an

76:09

asshole and get away with it for a long

76:14

period of time yeah unless you're Trump

76:17

yeah that's my one that's I love that

76:21

idea you on but Trump is kind of proved

76:23

that model to be wrong well well

76:25

actually we talked about that in the

76:27

last episode that it's either or you can

76:29

be either like 100% lie and deny oh yeah

76:32

or 100 percent like transparent and

76:35

authentic and and everything in between

76:37

there it's gonna be very difficult to

76:38

pull off yeah yeah I I think I think

76:41

there is also a saying if you if you if

76:44

you say a lie large enough long enough

76:47

and to enough people it becomes the

76:51

truth yeah and that was Adolf Hitler

76:56

that said that I think I think that's

76:58

kind of the quote there are a lot of

77:01

proof for that in in the world in

77:03

history so I just worrisome that we're

77:07

quoting Adolf Hitler I don't gonna be

77:10

associated with that no this is gonna be

77:13

we need to cut this out otherwise we'll

77:15

index on it off it oh yeah maybe maybe

77:19

not to trotters episodes the companies

77:22

are actually indexing everything that

77:23

we're saying in the podcasts if you look

77:26

at how young people born in the 80s or

77:30

90s how they their view of the world and

77:33

their understanding of like the world

77:36

and so on is obviously far far far like

77:42

more advanced than maybe their parents

77:44

generation because what took us like

77:47

five six decades in terms of evolving

77:51

like everything has happened like in the

77:53

West or let's say Sweden since the 50s

77:55

or 60s that is quite a lot right that

77:58

single journey happened in like 10-15

78:01

years in China so and a very interesting

78:07

kind of like a very interesting result

78:09

of this is if you talk to young people

78:12

the disconnect between them and their

78:14

parents on you know what they value in

78:18

life or you know their life choices and

78:20

so on is really really big it's huge

78:23

um so I'm not sure if you you've had

78:27

this experience but I've had it like

78:28

many times when I tried to explain to my

78:30

grandfather who was born 22 he's not

78:33

around anymore but he's born in 1922 and

78:36

I tried to explain to him you know what

78:38

I'm doing and he kind of came down feel

78:47

like did you get your driver's license

78:49

yet yeah well have you studied you know

78:51

be an engineer yet so so like imagine my

78:58

grandfather's dad like going back even

79:01

further trying to explain to that person

79:07

that is almost kind of this disconnect

79:10

that you see between very close

79:12

generations in China so if you're a

79:14

young person and I'm not saying this

79:15

does not apply to everyone obviously

79:18

because there's a huge country with

79:19

different people but if you if you

79:23

wouldn't go and tell your parents and

79:25

your parents they've you know they've

79:28

grown up with starvation at least maybe

79:31

not them by themselves but they know

79:33

someone who has actually starved and

79:35

some sometimes to death and they've

79:37

experienced now and kind of what that

79:39

did to their educational system and so

79:41

on and all of a sudden they're saying

79:43

like yeah we want you to study to hunt

79:45

at Harvard or you know somewhere like

79:48

very high profile and you go and say no

79:50

I'm gonna take just one year in between

79:52

to kind of find myself like they would

79:57

probably you know disown you in an

80:00

instance so I think that's that's an

80:03

interesting also different kind of

80:06

different dynamic when it comes to China

80:09

is you have a young consumer or a young

80:15

kind of individual or a very large group

80:18

of that

80:19

have you know living in first tier

80:23

cities have study at an Ivy League or

80:26

something you know and then traveling

80:30

caught a lot so and then you have the

80:34

parents generations or you have the

80:36

grandparents generations now I mean I

80:39

think it's important to say when you're

80:40

talking about China and it's so easy to

80:43

I mean if you set aside for a minute I

80:46

think a lot of people have opinions

80:47

about China and and Chinese politics and

80:50

all that but if you set that aside and

80:51

just think about like what are we

80:53

actually talking about we're talking

80:54

about a huge continent basically with a

80:58

very old rich cultural history and

81:02

there's so much to China and it's so

81:04

easy to when you talk about it like okay

81:06

so this has happened very quickly for

81:08

them and it's you know you know seems so

81:11

simple and it's extremely complex the

81:14

entire situation like you know with the

81:17

just a cultural legacy and all that they

81:21

have so and I think it's important to

81:24

say that because it's so it can be a

81:26

little bit too simplified when you talk

81:27

about these things just just as a as a

81:30

thing to say to cover this entire

81:32

episode I think that's just one point

81:34

you have for a million people it has to

81:37

be humble when you talk about this stuff

81:39

but obviously it's not this easy now and

81:41

I think like and I think I love that you

81:44

know that approach because that that

81:46

applies to both China and more less

81:48

anywhere right of course that's not

81:50

generalized

81:50

at all so it's not as China it's not a

81:53

China strategy anymore

81:55

it's we we started with in Asia strategy

81:58

we went to a China strategy and now we

82:00

have a Beijing twenty thirty eight year

82:06

old strategy and I mean you have this

82:11

this is also true on the other knee on

82:14

the other end of what we just said that

82:16

sometimes when people say that this

82:18

that's prejudice or whatever

82:20

I mean prejudice that's the basis for

82:23

all knowledge

82:24

if you don't judge based on little

82:28

knowledge you don't previous experience

82:29

yeah exactly and a limited experience

82:32

you can't have any knowledge because all

82:34

knowledge is simplification and modeling

82:36

in some sense you know you know the map

82:39

is different from reality so I think you

82:42

can look at it from both ends but just

82:44

if you I think it's important just have

82:45

the perspective it's so easy to talk

82:48

about things where people feel that they

82:49

were judged unfairly or whatever yeah

82:51

yeah but it's also about I think that is

82:54

a really good point like you know making

82:56

assumptions based on previous experience

82:58

and all about like the little knowledge

82:59

you have yeah but I think the older I

83:02

get at least I feel like pure

83:06

intelligence is people being open for

83:09

new stuff right and and you know and

83:12

also kind of humble in that sense and

83:13

understand like you know that you don't

83:17

understand the entire picture yourself

83:19

like I think that's that's a really it's

83:23

a good approach right that's great so

83:25

and what's your next move you you are in

83:28

this great spot now you have two

83:30

fantastic podcasts about China and you

83:33

have I imagine a ton of plans for the

83:36

future what what are you what's your

83:38

next move I think for the podcast it's

83:41

actually a little bit like business as

83:43

usual I'm dedicating a little bit more

83:46

resources to it to be able to produce

83:49

more often and and you know get better

83:52

content out of it but I think you know

83:54

for us a lot like what we're passionate

83:56

about right now is also kind of building

83:58

the business around the podcast we're

84:00

not financed by any sponsors we're not

84:02

you know we don't we don't do that

84:04

models so we're financed by companies

84:07

finding us feeling like you know hey

84:10

these these people have you know they

84:12

they generate a lot of like insights and

84:15

how can they benefit to my organization

84:16

so the advisory part of what we do has

84:22

grown and it's kind of almost took us a

84:24

little bit by storm or off-guard at

84:27

least so we are we're restructuring that

84:31

and and that is so much fun because you

84:34

get to meet so many cool people in that

84:38

actually are in the ecosystem creating

84:41

value every day rather than just like

84:43

you know doing your research and talking

84:45

about it you actually

84:45

to like be nerdy about it yeah for reals

84:47

wow that's amazing and we're so happy

84:51

you decided to come on the podcast with

84:53

us I mean it's been my pleasure thank

84:58

you for listening to what's in the water

85:00

our ultimate goal with this podcast is

85:03

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85:05

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85:08

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85:11

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85:48

fm you can also email us at hello at

85:52

what's in the water

85:53

FM again thanks for listening and we

85:57

will see you again next week for a new

85:59

episode of what's in the water

86:02

[Music]

86:15

you