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Leaving her job at Accenture for the uncertainty of a startup, Alex and her friend Jules started Hassle.com. The pair got through the challenges, the mistakes, and the lack of investment to build a company that sold for over £20million. They’re repeated the process with Resi, a disruptive architecture and planning business. Alex looks at the lessons for other startups and those wanting to emulate them, as well as how the tech sector is performing, the sharing and gig economies, and what the future holds for brands and consumers.

Having run a range of digital and internet businesses in the US, Margaret has turned to analysing where leadership in organisations so often goes wrong. Ignoring potential problems, failing to encourage or develop talent, building a culture of isolation and internal competition; all are commonplace issues that could easily be addressed. As in her bestseller Wilful Blindness and her acclaimed TED speeches, Margaret simply and effectively considers what makes a great leader.

After heading the CBI, Digby entered government and circled the globe, lobbying on behalf of British business. As ambassador for UK Trade & Investment he still flies the flag. Digby argues we need to adapt to Asia’s century and build the skills and confidence to sell to the developing world. Opportunity is there for those who widen the base and invest in training. Meanwhile we need to re-think the role of business in society, based on a socially inclusive ‘covenant.’

The founders of Skype had a simple idea that went on to revolutionise the entire telecoms sector. Since the company was sold Jonas has taught at Stanford, launched an early stage fund to back scaleable new business models, and co-authored books on growth strategy and ways to test the enterprise’s durability. He speaks about spearheading an idea, standing out from the crowd, creating a winning sales culture and bringing the whole organisation together.

After giving up a career in law to pursue a dream of running her own business, Priya built and sold a successful food brand. She then established a social enterprise before starting a tech company that brings together AI and education in order to understand how students learn and provide educators with an insight into how to create personalised education.

Joining Netflix in its very early days, Mitch was responsible for the company’s business development strategy and witnessed the startling growth of one of the internet’s first industry disruptors. He considers how consumers react to being offered a vast array of choices and the opportunities for businesses that this presents. He also urges those seeking to innovate or differentiate themselves to simplify and focus on their core aims.

As Chief Executive of Dyson, Martin transformed it from a niche manufacturer to a £1bn global brand, moving production to Asia. Even after the onset of recession, he doubled turnover and trebled profits - increasing sales in 70 markets. Now in private equity Martin argues we must use our inventiveness rather than try to compete with China on their terms. But with 40,000 unfilled skilled jobs, UK industry needs to work much more closely with educators.

When Marc’s marketing company was taken over, he met Reed Hasting in the new company. The pair car-pooled and chatted over new business ideas. At the same time, the DVD was coming to market and they realised the potential for a mail-order business. Netflix grew rapidly, and with the advent of broadband and the move to streaming changed into one of the most admired, pioneering businesses in the world. Marc, Nexflix’s first CEO, recounts the story.

CEO of Virgin Atlantic for over a decade, Steve oversaw the huge expansion of what has become one of the world’s biggest and most respected airlines. Widely admired for their service culture, marketing and innovation, Steve offers an insight into the Virgin brand and strategy. After dinner, Steve reveals the boardroom secrets of Richard Branson and what it was like taking charge of the Virgin Challenger Blue Riband yacht team.

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