Billionaires, world leaders, top entrepreneurs in luxury and blockchain, and the BetProtocol team were in Paris for this year’s edition of the Private Wealth Institute Summit. The speakers were all excellent, and they shared their tips for success, concerns for the future, and the latest trends effecting us all. Special thanks to our incredible advisor and organizer for this event, Fakhri Ahmadov!
The Private Wealth Institute summit was who’s who of family offices, business leaders, and entrepreneurs in the field of private wealth and luxury. Included in this year’s edition was a blockchain track, with the likes of Ledger CEO Eric Larcheveque giving a talk on cyber security, and Blockchain.com Co- founder Nicolas Cary talking on the future of blockchain and their $125M worth of Stellar (XLM) Giveaway.
BetProtocol was there to study the trends in the investment industry, and to meet these leaders. We also had the opportunity to check out Station F, one of the world’s premier startup and blockchain accelerators in the world (subject of a future post, stay tuned!).
The talks were very valuable as we heard from billionaire entrepreneurs as they shared their success strategies and mindsets. We’ll break down their talks via themes, such as entrepreneurship, sustainability, luxury, blockchain, and others. We hope that you’ll get value out of this.
Hary Tanoesoedibjo, Founder & Chairman of MNC GROUP, Indonesia:
There’s a big difference between entrepreneurs and gamblers. Entrepreneurs limit and measure and plan for the downside. Winter is coming, and successful entrepreneurs accept that it is coming, and prepare for it. Gamblers, on the other hand, have no safety net. They have either win or lose. And if they win, then so be it. But if they lose then they lose everything and it is very difficult or impossible to come back.
So to be a successful entrepreneur, one of the things you must do is aggressively limit and measure downside risk and make it so that even in the worst case scenarios you can still go on, standup, and fight back.
In addition, never give a personal guarantee. Limit everything by doing it through a limited liability company.
Wiktor Schmidt, Co-Founder and CEO of Netguru, Poland:
Success as an entrepreneur for your startup involves a lot of continuous and incremental improvement. You need to look into every area in which your business operates. Then, strive to improve by small percentage points in all these areas, be they customer service, product innovation, pricing, marketing, advertising, whatever it is. Cumulatively these small gains will add up to big gains overall, and that’s how you beat your competition.
This strategy applies just as much to the entrepreneur himself as his company. You should try to strive to be a better version of yourself everyday. If you do that, it will reflect in your company.
Sheikha Alanoud H. Al-Thani, Managing Director of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, Qatar:
The Qatar Financial Center is open for business and offers unique benefits for local and foreign entrepreneurs. Benefits include the world’s easiest tax payment system with only 10% corporate tax rate on locally sourced profit, and no personal income or wealth tax. Qatari businesses run by foreigners can be 100% foreign owned, unlike some other gulf states where they must be at least 51% owned by a local. Setting up a business is fairly straightforward, and can involve dealing with the QFC directly, who will help you.
Frank Otto, Hamburg media entrepreneur and visionary, Germany:
Sometimes you just gotta raise the price
When we were trying to get differentiation in my newspaper, we figured that one way we could do it is to simply put the price up. But of course, you can’t just do that and give nothing in return. So we started adding little “extras” in the paper. These things were stuff that the customers were not expecting, but added something that they liked and gave them value. By doing this we were able to raise the price of our paper, get seen as a sort of “premium paper”, and of course we could back it up because the paper was full of these extra things that people really liked.
Gold vs. Wooden chopsticks. (This was personally one of my favourite anecdotes of the day).
This is essentially the great symbol for long-term thinking with high up-front investment, vs. short term thinking and a pay-as-you-go model…which of course ends up being more expensive in the long run.
When you are born, your parents could invest in golden chopsticks for you, with of course your name engraved on them so everyone knows they are yours. Since they are made out of gold, they don’t tarnish or deteriorate, and basically they can last your entire lifetime, and maybe you can pass them down to your children. They are expensive, of course, but think of all the money you save down the line by not having to buy endless pairs of wooden chopsticks that you have to replace often because the wood rots. Think also of the negative externalities on greater society that has a disposable chopstick culture, and not a reusable and sustainable golden chopstick culture.
At the end of one’s life, the amount spent on the one pair of golden chopsticks is far less than the thousands of pairs of wooden ones. And as a society, the costs savings are immense. Think of all the trees, and the gallons of water and soap scrubbing and cleaning those wooden chopsticks versus golden ones that just need a quick rinse. Big difference here. And it is this type of mindset, that if widely adopted, could lead to greater levels of sustainability.
Kunal Kapoor, Founder & CEO of The Luxury Closet, UAE:
The luxury industry has a lot of backlog. There is currently around a $200M global buyback on luxury watches, for example. And these products are meant to last a lifetime. So how can you reconcile that with a greater society and economy that depends on constant purchasing and spending? You can only wear one watch at a time, carry one luxury bag at a time. And on top of that, many people buy luxury bags and hold on to them for a very long time. I remember this woman who came into one of my shops with a very vintage luxury bag, and it was still in excellent condition despite being over 40 years old. The only thing that was broken was the zipper. And we fixed the zipper and she kept on using it. This woman could afford to have bought the whole store full of brand new, luxury bags, but instead she opted to have her old bag repaired. The luxury goods world are full of these people, and even in the Middle East, where you have the highest per-capita spend on luxury goods.
Closets are exploding.
Eric Larcheveque, Founder & CEO of Ledger, France:
Cryptocurrencies can be thought of as a “digital bearer bond”, so whoever happens to hold the private key to a wallet is functionally “the owner” since they can dispose of it however they want. We needed to be able to give a higher level of security to not only consumers and retail customers, but also to institutional players and people with a lot of crypto. The team behind Ledger had a lot of experience prior to crypto in the Smart Card business here in France. That is why we were able to transfer our expertise in secure hardware systems to the crypto world, and now offer a product to the community that has sold millions of units.
(Ledger was one of the sponsoring partners of this event, and they were giving out Nano S’s to the speakers, now available in several cool colors!)
Cryptocurrencies are all about trust. Why does Bitcoin or Gold have value? What is gold backed by? Well, it has unique properties: it is scarce, hard to counterfeit, traditional medium of exchange of value, and it has some industrial and aesthetic use as well. Bitcoin is trying to be digital gold in a global decentralized way. The value of Bitcoin comes from the fact that it works as a payment network, and you can exchange value between users directly without permission or an intermediary. All of this is done globally, without barriers. That is why Bitcoin has value.
Dr. Christopher Buttigieg, Chair of the EMSA Data Standing Committee:
The Government of Malta has decided to add a 4th pillar to the economy in Malta. After an extensive and thorough investigation by a task force appointed for this aim, we have found that blockchain is the ideal candidate for this 4th pillar. The government and the Malta Financial Services Authority found that there needs to be a legal framework for ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges in order to protect consumer interests. Regarding ICOs, there is a license, and Malta will vet whitepapers looking for three primary things: Roadmap objectives, transparency, and governance. ICO projects should strive to be as forthcoming with potential investors as possible in these areas.
We already have over 1000 notifications to the MFSA for ICO applicants that want a license.
Alba Medina Flores, Director of Grupo Fame:
If you want something you have to earn it. The second that you give your son or daughter a lot of money for nothing they enter into their comfort zone. Then they are not hungry to achieve things. Being a woman, I was pushed and forced to prove myself over and over again, maybe even more than my brothers. Now I have my own companies, and also the family business. So I can be my own boss.
Gaurav Dalmia, Chairman of Dalmia Group Holdings, India:
How do we keep our young people hungry? The big issue in family business, and indeed all business, is not the level of competency; it is the level of complacency. So we need to find ways to keep our young people hungry and not complacent so they actually create something and do something with their lives. Basically you cannot let them live the rich kid lifestyle, even if you are rich. Or maybe especially if you are rich. Complacent people don’t take risks, and that is the biggest problem. It’s not whether or not they went to MIT or have the best skills or whatever. The person who works hard and hustles and takes risks will almost always earn more and create more than the smartest academic.
The world rewards courage more than intellect.
So you should give your kids enough to do something, but not so much that they do nothing. We pay them market salaries in our companies in order to keep them hungry. But if you don’t want to go into the family business that is fine. If you want to be a musician and be really serious about being a musician that is fine. If you want to be an entrepreneur that is great. Basically being anything other than a beach bum is fine. Where we are at right now, we have an obligation to future generations to teach them this.
You can do anything, just not nothing.
Stay hungry and focused on achieving the next great thing.
Blockchain is here to stay and key players such as Malta are positioning themselves to win.
Continual, incremental improvements to yourself and your businesses are the keys to success.
Sustainability and a longer-term vision are critical to the future.
for reading this latest blog post from BetProtocol. We hope you have been enjoying our entrepreneurship and startup series. If you’d like to get into contact please let us know. We are always looking to work with innovative brands and talented developers.