LFP147 – Going Global – Culture and Business Around The World w/Aneesh Varma CEO Aire

In this Brexiting Age the UK must turn its thoughts once again worldwide – how does one do business around the world? How important is localisation vs globalisation? What role does culture play? Aneesh Varma is the founder of Aire, one of Fintechs longest-standing credit-rating firms who have scored over $10bn of VAR to date. Having lived in 11 countries and had businesses in 4, Aneesh knows more than most on this topic. 

Aneesh was awarded the British Council’s 2009 Young Entrepreneur.and was nominated for the  European Commission’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.

Having lived in so many places and self-described as a “3rd culture citizen” he is well placed (ha! see what I did there :-D) to give us some perspective on important 21stC issues of identity, culture and migration and in particular how they affect business and Fintech.

Topics discussed on the show include:

  • Aneesh’s connection to Charlie Delingpole, last episode’s guest
  • what is a 3rd culture citizen?
  • Aneesh’s moves round the world ending up with now 14yrs in the UK
  • why immigration is such a hot potato – super-rapid, huge increase in population and lack of this being evenly spread
  • how badly it has been managed – despite 6.5m new immigrants in recent 15-20yrs there is a developer shortage :-O
  • immigrant means someone from 99% of humanity – un-generalisable
  • “Aire’s aim is to show that a global company can be built out of the UK”
  • Aneesh’ US experiences in seeing how globalisation can have a negative effect on some communities (eg Steel in Pennsylvania)
  • Aneesh’ 11 countries
  • fitting in versus standing out – sheep, goats – entrepreneurs as goats
  • being a nomad as a child – what’s that like?
  • Aneesh’ first business in Japan when he was 16
  • His interest in branding and what it means – culture, values
  • his book on Aire’s culture, branding and values – the importance of establishing these
  • Aristotle and ethics
  • Aneesh’ second business building a browser – lessons learned
  • Why strategy is important. What is it?
  • Culture and strategy – how do they relate?
  • The postmodern/multicultural dilemma – culture is the glue – you need a common glue to create a society at large – or a business at the smallest scale
  • Bankruptcy and culture as an example – US vs UK attitudes
  • Multiculturalism as ever-present – Disraeli’s two nations as an example, and hence his approach of binding them together with the glue or patriotism; ditto businesses – salesmen and traders have always had different cultures
  • Aneesh’s third business (ecommerce) split between UK and China – the cultural challenges of that and differences of attitude
  • China and business culture and the challenges of UK companies succeeding
  • US and business culture and the challenges of UK companies succeeding
  • Aire needs to succeed in the US
  • Aneesh’ prima facies for succeeding in the US
  • localisation and globalisation – highly-localising businesses versus highly one-size-fits-all tech globalising
  • “in Fintech the Fin part is much stronger and therefore lots of localisation is required”
  • Toyota’s Genchi Genbutsu principle – get to he factory floor, get into the countryside of the US – don’t just fly in and out of hotels and meetings rooms
  • more reflections on US success recipes
  • explanation of Aire’s raison d’etre and goals as a modern credit bureau – meeting between people and companies
  • Aire giving control of credit back to people – this being good for the people as well as leading to a better rating
  • Aire’s global plans and interaction with consumers

And much much more 🙂

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