Structural Shifts | aperture podcast
A podcast discussing the structural shifts in Technology, Strategy, the nature of Work and the dynamics of the Platform Economy.
Banking-as-a-Service 2.0: Every company is a finance company, w/ Hasan NAWAZ
Today we speak with Hasan Nawaz, co-founder and CEO at HUBUC — a banking as a service (BaaS) platform that enables brands to open up new revenue lines by seamlessly embedding financial products into their customer journeys. HUBUC takes care of all the regulatory requirements and manages compliance risk. This allows their customers to get their services to market in less time with fewer resources. In this episode, you are going to learn what banking as a service or BaaS actually is, why it’s not the same as embedded finance. What’s happening right now in the BaaS landscape, the difference between BaaS 1.0 and 2.0, and more. Before we get to the show, we want to flag that on May 1st we say happy birthday to aperture. We’re two years old! In case you are brand new to us, we design build, fund, and scale digital age companies. Now on with the episode.
April 29, 2021
Against The Tide: Embedding Engagement Into Banking
Today we host Neri Tollardo, Tinkoff’s Vice President of Strategy. In this episode, we discuss about Tinkoff’s entrepreneurial spirit (which has no hierarchy or bureaucracy, and this is something that they plan on maintaining as they scale), about the difference between creating an ecosystem as opposed to a conglomerate of different goods and services, how Tinkoff has managed to create insane customer engagement compared to most banks by combining their content with their technology, and more. Before joining Tinkoff, Neri was a top ranked sell-side research analyst at Morgan Stanley. Enjoy the episode!
April 15, 2021
Is Bitcoin an Investable Asset for Every Portfolio?, w/ I. KAMINSKA, P. BYRNE, N. CARTER, S. DONOGHUE
Today, we have a special podcast episode, which is all about Bitcoin, discussing topics like: should every investor have some exposure to Bitcoin or is it still too volatile? What’s its intrinsic value anyway? And is Bitcoin a sustainable investment when it consumes more electricity than Argentina? We hosted four excellent guests: Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville editor at the Financial Times; Preston Byrne, partner at Anderson Kill; Nic Carter, partner at Castle Island Ventures; and Seamus Donoghue, VP Strategic Alliances at METACO.
April 1, 2021
Real-estate rebound post-COVID, w/ Zsolt KOHALMI (#40)
What is the future of our cities? During the pandemic, places like London have seen an exodus of people who can work from anywhere. What is the future of office space? Is co-working going to continue? We dive into these questions with guest Zsolt Kohalmi, global head of real estate and co-CEO of Pictet Alternative Advisors. We also cover the future of retail and whether the pandemic plus Amazon has permanently closed a lot of our favorite shops and what’s going to become of these spaces. We discuss real estate: is it going to become more environmentally friendly? Will technology become more embedded into our urban infrastructure? Zsolt earned his MBA at INSEAD and he speaks nine languages. This is such an interesting conversation and if you like the interview that we have here on this show, then you will likely enjoy Pictet’s podcast “Found in Conversation” where they interview leading experts on how we can improve the modern world.
March 26, 2021
Marrying Capitalism with a Zero Carbon Economy, w/ Chris GOODALL
Climate change expert Chris Goodall says that fighting climate change isn’t as challenging or as expensive as we think it is and can actually benefit our economy. In today’s episode, we discuss how the climate change movement can advance social change, whether we can save our planet without some structural shifts to capitalism, nuclear energy, the politics behind tackling the climate crisis, and more. Chris has written several books, of which What We Need To Do Now For A Zero Carbon Future and How To Live A Low Carbon Life.
March 4, 2021
Making Wealth Management Available to Everyone (#38)
This week’s podcast is the recording of an actual live event — a 4x4 Virtual Salon — we hosted in anticipation of the launch of our Digital Age Wealth Management Report (which is now out! 🎉). Our guests were Sid Sahgal (Product Manager at Hydrogen), Nikolai Hack (Head of Strategy & Partnerships at Nucoro), Qiaojia Li (CEO at Rosecut) and Michael O’Sullivan (author “The Levelling”, ex-CIO Credit Suisse). We discuss: changing consumer trends; changing technology; new business models and new fitness landscape for wealth managers. We hope you enjoy and, if you listen carefully, you will get access to some unfair advantage! 🤷
February 18, 2021
Capitalism without Capital and after COVID w/ Stian WESTLAKE
Our guest is Stian Westlake, co-author of ‘Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy’ and we discuss the implications of an economy built increasingly on intangible assets, even more so in the post-pandemic world. In this podcast, we discuss the four S’s that explain how intangible assets behave differently than tangible ones, why we’re not seeing more economic growth or higher productivity right now, even though intangible assets are more scalable, what governments need to do to mitigate the increased income inequality that’s occurring in part due to the rise of intangible investments, and more. Stian serves as the Chief Executive of the Royal Statistical Society. Previously, he served as an advisor to three British ministers for science, innovation, research, and higher education. He also led the policy and research team at Nesta — UK’s National Foundation for Innovation.
February 3, 2021
Taking A Long View Of Banking Industry Disruption w/ Marc RUBINSTEIN
We sit down with Marc Rubinstein, a former analyst and hedge fund manager who currently authors Net Interest — a weekly insight and analysis newsletter on the world of finance. Each note of his newsletter explores a theme currently trending in the sector, whether it’s FinTech or economics, or investment cycles — and today, you are going to hear about a little bit of everything. Marc and Ben Robinson discuss the history of equity research and where it’s at now, whether current regulation is tilted too far against banks, the twofold challenge facing challenger banks, the past and future of embedded banking, the four key differences between investing in private companies versus public and more.
January 20, 2021
Sequencing the World's Regulatory Information, w/ Manos SCHIZAS
Our guest is Manos Schizas — Lead in Regulation and RegTech at Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge. We discuss how regulatory change is accelerating so fast that people alone can’t deal with it and how does the technological solution addressing the problem looks like. Can technology solve this problem at scale? How much innovation are we seeing thanks to machine learning? And we also discuss about the Regulatory Genome Project, a recently launched long-term project that aims to sequence the world’s (financial) regulation, allowing developers and firms to build own applications on top of the platform. Before joining the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Manos also served as a regulator with the UK’s FCA.
December 21, 2020
Digital Assets are Coming of Age, w/ Adrien TRECCANI
Bitcoin is the best performing asset in 2020. There is growing institutional interest in crypto and broader digital assets. Tokenization is poised to be a huge market opportunity. In light of all this, we’re inviting you to a masterclass on all things crypto. We’re sitting down with Adrien Treccani, CEO and co-founder of METACO — a provider of security critical infrastructure for financial institutions that enables them to safely enter the digital asset ecosystem. Adrien is a leading software engineer specialized in high-performance computing and financial engineering and an advisor to banks, hedge funds and associations on distributed ledger technology. So today, you are going to learn about the difference between cryptocurrency, digital currencies, stable coins, you’ll hear about the evolution of blockchains, what will happen to commercial banks if we start seeing Central Bank-issued Digital Currencies, and more.
December 3, 2020
Creating the Wikipedia of Impact Investing, w/ Bertrand GACON and Sylvain MASSOT
Today’s guests are reinventing the way the world measures how sustainable companies really are. Yes, we do have ESG data and CSR reporting, but those measure practices rather than impact, and describe policies rather than outcomes. In this episode, the co-founders of Impaakt — Bertrand Gacon and Sylvain Massot — are sitting down with host, Ben Robinson, to talk about how they are creating the Wikipedia of impact investing. Leveraging the collective intelligence of a large community of analysts to assess the social and environmental impact of large listed companies, they offer investors and the financial institutions the data they need to allocate capital to the companies who are having the most positive impact, and also to give everyday citizens the information they need to decide who they want to work for, who to buy from, who to advocate for.
November 19, 2020
Hard Truths About Digital Banking, w/ Leda GLYPTIS
We’re discussing with Leda Glyptis, a self-described recovering banker and lapsed academic, who’s worked in technology implementations for the last 20 years. Leda is one of the leading voices in banking and FinTech today, she has served as Chief Innovation Officer at QNB group, she was Director of EMEA Innovation at BNY Mellon, and most recently she was Chief of Staff at 11:FS. In this episode, Leda and Ben discuss what a Chief Innovation Officer actually does, whether innovation can come out of innovation departments, what most companies miss when they talk about culture, why emotions are holding back traditional and challenger banks from making money, why selling banking services like supermarket offers doesn’t work and what banks should be doing instead. For more information on Leda, look up the hashtag #LedaWrites on Twitter. She publishes an article every Thursday.
November 5, 2020
Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, w/ Ian HATHAWAY
We discuss with Ian Hathaway — Senior Executive Director at Techstars, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, and a Co-founder and Board Member of the Center for American Entrepreneurship and book author (latest book co-authored is called ‘The Startup Community Way’ ). In this episode, Ben and Ian discuss entrepreneurial ecosystems, what governments are getting wrong when they try to foster entrepreneurship and how they can create better outcomes; why entrepreneurship can lead to bigger and better outcomes than direct engagement in politics; why entrepreneurs are going to have more opportunities than ever during the pandemic and after it — and more.
October 21, 2020
Transitioning to a Multi-polar World, w/ Michael O'SULLIVAN
Your host, Ben Robinson, is joined by Michael O’Sullivan, author of ‘The Levelling: What’s Next After Globalization’ and former CIO of the International Wealth Management Division at Credit Suisse. Michael currently serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Economy. In this episode, Ben and Michael discuss what is the role central banks will play in the transition period to a post-globalization, multi-polar world; what international organizations should be completely reshaped to meet the needs of this new world, what new institutions should be created, and more.
October 8, 2020
When Software Has Eaten The World, w/ Belén ROMANA
There is a lot of anguish over what’s happening online these days from the rise of hate groups to media manipulation, the propaganda to interference with elections — are the positives of our digital world even worth it? Well, today, your host, Ben Robinson, digs into this question with Belén Romana García — Spain’s former head of Treasury, and an economist who has worked in both the public and private sectors. Belén is also a board member for several public companies and foundations. She says that people are primarily driven by three things: power, money, and knowledge — and she is especially driven by knowledge and curiosity and a desire to understand the world and its possible future. Today, she and Ben discuss, should our elected officials have to learn how to code to better understand the world that we’re living in? Should we scrap GDP as a metric since it’s not accurately reflecting our service economy? Does democracy mean equal voting? And how does the information and infrastructure of our online world affect our freedom or a sense of freedom in real life? And more.
September 24, 2020
Igniting Entrepreneurial Sparks, w/ Michel JORDI
When it comes to business, are you all about market research or do you go with your gut? For Michel Jordi it’s the latter — and following his intuition led him to start five groundbreaking watch companies. Michel is known for shaking things up in a traditional industry through innovative design and enviable marketing. Andy Warhol came to his New York launch party, People Magazine featured Michel on its cover and the event marketing strategies that Michel used for his launch publicity are still being used today by the best marketers. Today, your host, Ben Robinson, sits down with Michel to talk about his book, “Ignite That Spark: 10 Commandments of Entrepreneurship”. You will hear all about Michel’s fascinating personal story, as well as his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, including his ‘lucky clover’ framework that will tell you whether your business idea will sink or swim.
August 13, 2020
Brand Conversations and Creativity at Scale, w/ Youri SAWERSCHEL
We’re discussing with Youri Sawerschel, CEO of Creative Supply and Visiting Lecturer at EPFL EMBA and ESSEC Business School. Youri founded the Creative Supply agency in Zurich in 2015 to be the next generation of branding companies. We talk about the problems with the traditional branding agencies and how his switching things up through a distributed, networked workforce. In addition, we discuss why branding is the cause and the solution to so many of the world’s biggest crises, how brand storytelling differs from other kinds of storytelling and why it’s kind of like murder. If you’re intrigued, hit play.
July 30, 2020
Debunking Innovation Myths, w/ Gary PISANO
Today, your host, Ben Robinson, is sitting down with Gary Pisano, professor at Harvard Business School and author of “Creative Construction: The DNA of Sustained Innovation” — a book about how large companies can construct a strategy, system, and a culture of innovation that creates sustained growth. We discuss how organizations learn, innovate, and compete — and these are fundamental questions that Gary has been exploring throughout his career. Today, you will learn the four archetypes of innovation, Gary’s definition of a business model, who in the company should own a business model innovation and more.
July 15, 2020
Mimetic Theory And The Future Of E-commerce, w/ Julian LEHR
Today, your host, Ben Robinson, is virtually sitting down with Julian Lehr, an ex-Googler, startup founder, and current startup partnerships lead at Stripe. Julian and Ben get into all sorts of interesting behavioral psychology related to buying and how digital companies can use physical elements to take advantage of signaling. You will also learn Julian's tactics for staying productive, why advertising budgets are shifting from celebrities to micro-influencers, why the Berlin startup scene hasn't quite lived up to the hype - and much more!
July 1, 2020
Aligning the Stock Market with the Planet, w/ Luciano DIANA
Your host Ben Robinson, is speaking with Luciano Diana, Senior Investment Manager at Pictet Asset Management—one of the leading independent wealth and asset managers — where he is running the Pictet Global Environmental Opportunities Fund. In this episode we cover: should government stimulus packages be conditional on companies investing in energy efficiency? Why plant-based products are a space that you need to be paying attention to? Why we should be bullish about the ability for market forces to solve climate change? And more!
June 18, 2020
The Craft Movement: Swiss Maker Edition w/ Marc MAURER (On) and Arthur VIAUD (La Nébuleuse)
This episode focuses on two Swiss companies rising in the maker movement. First we interview Marc Maurer, COO, and co-owner of the sports shoemaker, On. On is a brand preferred by Roger Federer which taking on Nike and Adidas with a high-end, high-tech trainer — also known as sneaker — that is so lightweight that ‘it feels like you are walking on clouds’. After Marc, you will hear from Arthur Viaud, co-founder and CEO of La Nebuleuse — a craft brewery that is taking on the giants in Switzerland, and it’s starting to expand internationally. This beer-maker prides itself on being part of an industry with a heart and a smile, brewing beer with love, passion, and Swiss quality standards.
June 10, 2020
From Scalable Efficiency to Scalable Learning, w/ John HAGEL
We are speaking with John Hagel, who has been working with the most successful companies in Silicon Valley for 40 years (also a startup founder of his own). John is the author of several books — including The Power of Pull he co-chairs Deloitte Center for the Edge, which is a Silicon Valley research center. In this episode, John joins Ben Robinson for a very comprehensive discussion on the zoom in — zoom out approach to strategy; why the advertise-based business model is unsustainable and the alternative; how customers’ reluctance to accept mass-market products will drive the fragmentation of product and service-based businesses; why learning in the form of sharing existing knowledge is not where the greatest value is; why John is optimistic about the gig economy — and more.
June 3, 2020
Hitting Internet Escape Velocity, w/ Brett BIVENS
Our guest today is Brett Bivens— a venture investor at TechNexus Venture Collaborative, an early-stage venture capital firm — and he is going to talk about why he is so optimistic about Spotify and how the future of audio will be a social experience with different network effects. One of the core investment areas for TechNexus is audio and media. And so, in this episode, you’ll hear Brett talking about that, with your host, Ben Robinson, as well as talk about the various concepts that Brett has coined, including ‘escape velocity’ and ‘clampetition’. Opinions expressed in this podcast are not investment advice
May 27, 2020
Post-pandemic Wealth Management, w/ Anna ZAKRZEWSKI, Christine SCHMID, Laurence MANDRILE-AGUIRRE
Your host, Ben Robinson, sits down with Anna Zakrzewski who leads Wealth Management globally, for Boston Consulting Group; Christine Schmid who heads up Strategy at additiv, and Laurence Mandrile-Aguirre — who heads up Switzerland & Monaco for Citi Private Bank. We cover the opportunities around Digital Wealth Management and what that truly means, how ready are wealth managers to take advantage of the shift to Assets under Intelligence, where new entrants fit into the market and what the future of wealth management will be.
May 20, 2020
Seeing Around Corners, w/ Rita Gunther McGRATH
On this week’s Structural Shifts podcast, we talk to the brilliant Rita Gunther McGrath, author of "The End of Competitive Advantage". In this bestseller, she talks about how the world is moving from one dominated by organizational systems and hierarchies to one of individual superstars where a stable career means a series of gigs. Hosted by Ben Robinson, they discuss strategy, the benefits / limitations of network effects, Facebook’s failures, and more.
May 6, 2020
Previewing post-Pandemic Finance, w/ David GALBRAITH, Martin McCANN, Thierry ZOIS
For this episode we are discussing the structural shifts created or accelerated by Covid-19 with regards to finance, its relationship with technology and venture capital and the nature of globalisation. We are together with David GALBRAITH - partner at Anthemis; Martin McCANN - CEO of Trade Ledger; Thierry ZOIS - VC at Finch Capital
April 28, 2020
Previewing The post-Pandemic World, w/ Nicolas COLIN, Laetitia VITAUD, Ian Charles STEWART
Today, we have a special episode for you on how the post-pandemic world would look like. We are bringing back three of our favorite guests: Nicolas Colin — Co-founder and Director of The Family, which is a platform for European entrepreneurs; Laetitia Vitaud— renowned writer and speaker on The Future of Work; and Ian Stewart — Executive in Residence at IMD Business School (an co-founder of WIRED).
April 15, 2020
Jumping S-Curves and Inventing the Future, w/ Bill FISCHER and Ian STEWART
How reliable will strategy be in the future? What if tactics were more important than strategy? Are firms obsolete? What about nation states? Can the future of companies be a model for the future of countries? How is the nature of competitive advantage changing? How are we redefining quality to meet the needs of consumers and the marketplace? In this episode, Ben Robinson is in conversation with Bill Fischer and Ian Stewart from the International Institute for Management Development — IMD. Bill is Professor of Innovation Management and Ian — who you may remember from a previous episode of this podcast — he co-founded WiReD and he is Executive in Residence at IMD.
April 8, 2020
Smart Focus Or Pivot Later? w/ Marc GRUBER
According to our guest, Dr. Marc Gruber, Vice President for Innovation at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology — EPFL — you can’t win if you don’t know where to play. Instead of a just-do-it mentality and pivot later if it doesn’t work, Marc speaks with our host, Ben Robinson, about how true entrepreneurs and innovators are reflective and flexible and how they think about what they’re doing and in what market to play in. By the end of this episode, you are also going to understand what’s a good market to be in and you will learn about the Attractiveness Matrix and the Social Identity Theory of three kinds of entrepreneurs.
March 26, 2020
Putting Marketing Strategy Above Tactics, w/ Paul MELLOR
How often does advertising motivate you to buy? According to our guest, ad and branding expert, Paul Mellor, advertising fails 89% of the time. Hosted by Ben Robinson, this episode unpacks what has gone wrong with advertising and what companies must do to turn things around. Don’t be a bland advertising wallpaper! If you like swearing, then you’re in for a treat. Fair warning.
March 11, 2020
Europe is a Developing Economy. But so is the U.S., w/ Nicolas COLIN
For this episode, Ben Robinson is joined into the conversation by Nicolas Colin — Co-founder of The Family — and we argue that developed economies are defined by two major characteristics: they are able to create and accumulate wealth via large, global tech companies and they are able to re-distribute that wealth to benefit their entire society. Through this lens, neither Europe, nor the U.S. are developed economies in the current techno-economic paradigm — and we assess whether the current politicians campaigning for or holding power are in the right flow to inspire the radical imagination that is required.
February 26, 2020
Changing the Business Model of the Internet, w/ Andy YEN
This podcast was recorded at Fongit — Switzerland’s premier innovation incubator. Ben Robinson is joined into the conversation by Andy Yen — Founder and CEO of ProtonMail — and we discuss the inherent trade-offs that the current Internet presents to the users, the importance of privacy and security but also how to compete against Google head-on via business model innovation.
February 12, 2020
Future of Work: From GRAFT to CRAFT, w/ Laetitia VITAUD
This podcast is part of our Future of Work series, brought to you in collaboration with Trezeo. Ben Robinson is joined into the conversation by Laetitia Vitaud — renowned author and researcher on the topic — and we explore the role of platforms, individuals, policymakers and startups in enabling a future of work that works for everyone. We also discuss the changing nature of the firm in a world where inside/outside boundaries get blurred by the rise of freelancing and self-employment.
January 30, 2020
Future of Work: Building a safety net for the self-employed, w/ Jonathan KEY, Garrett CASSIDY, Gareth MCNAB
This podcast was recorded in London and is part of our Future of Work series, brought to you in collaboration with Trezeo. Ben Robinson is joined into the conversation by: Garrett CASSIDY (Co-founder and CEO of Trezeo : the financial safety net for the self-employed); Jonathan KEY (Co-founder and CEO of Labour Xchange) and Gareth McNAB (Co-lead of OB4G - Open Banking for Good and Money Advice Liaison Manager at Nationwide Building Society).
January 16, 2020
The Ethics of Technological Change, w/ Jim LARUS, Philippe GONZALEZ, David GALBRAITH
This podcast was recorded at EPFL Lausanne and in it we're exploring the ethics of computer science and broader technological change. Ben ROBINSON is joined into the conversation by: Jim LARUS (Professor and Dean of Computer and Communications Sciences at EPFL); Philippe GONZALEZ (Senior Lecturer in Sociology at University of Lausanne) and David GALBRAITH (Partner at Anthemis VC).
December 5, 2019
Network effects in financial services, w/ Evgenia PLOTNIKOVA, Martin McCANN, Oliver PRILL
This podcast was recorded at FinTECHTalents'19 Festival and in it we're exploring the potential of unleashing network effects in financial services. Ben Robinson is joined into the conversation by: Evgenia Plotnikova (Partner @ Dawn Capital); Martin McCann (CEO at Trade Ledger); Oliver Prill (CEO at Tide Business Banking).
November 27, 2019
The case for Techno-Optimism, w/ Ian STEWART
Our guest is Ian Stewart, known for being, among many other roles, the co-founder of WiReD Magazine. Together we discuss WiReD’s journey from zero-to-one(-to-two), the state and future of (centrist) media, China and the geopolitical consequences of its technological progress and also how the younger generation is applying entrepreneurial methods and business models to solving social problems.
November 4, 2019
Nurturing brands, companies, families and funds, w/ Adrienne PERRAMOND
Together with Adrienne Perramond, President of Business Angels Switzerland (BAS), we discuss the landscape of angel investing in Switzerland, lessons for entrepreneurs, the changing nature of branding and marketing in the D2C age and more.
October 17, 2019
Strategy is dead. Long live strategy!, w/ Markus MENZ
Together with Markus Menz, Professor of Strategic Management at the Geneva School of Economics and Management, we explore the role of corporate strategy in the networked age.
October 1, 2019
Startup Success Recipes, w/ James MINERS
Together with James Miners of Fongit Incubator we explore what it takes to transform scientific discoveries into mass-market products.
August 20, 2019
In Pursuit of Happiness, w/ Mike NOLET
Together with Mike Nolet, Co-founder of LiveBetter, we're discussing the limits of what society can achieve through startups, the health risks of founders and the importance of wellbeing.
July 9, 2019
Switzerland, Wake Up! w/ Martin NAVILLE
We discuss with Martin Naville, CEO of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce, whether Switzerland is losing competitiveness in attracting and retaining Multinational Corporations
June 10, 2019
Playing Devil's Advocate, w/ David GALBRAITH
Together with David Galbraith from Anthemis, we talk about fintech, internet business models, economics, politics, but we do so by playing the role of Devil's Advocate.
May 1, 2019