DT 500 ZINE: – Steff, do you remember your first philosophic question?
” Why? Why do we need to learn this in school? Why should I listen to and obey your rules? Why do you believe there is truth or justice? Why do people think life has a purpose? From the start, I always ask myself and others that question.”
DT 500 ZINE: – How did the “cultural nerve” get kicked for you?
STEFAN: – I fell in love with photojournalism in the 80s, and it was more about travelling and experiencing things most people read about than about photography as art. I started by shooting sporting events in my hometown. That way, I learned to be fast with my camera equipment (no auto-focus or auto-exposure in those days), and eventually, I managed to get published in local newspapers. When I was 18, I was experienced enough to get an internship at Expressen, Sweden’s largest daily at the time, and from there on, it became my profession for 12 years.
“One of the most important things I learned is to believe in myself and my ability to handle every situation. This is probably why it is much safer to freelance than to have a boss.
DT 500 ZINE: – Tell us more about your vision how the technological progress in the World vs Scandinavia/Sweden.
STEFAN: – The interest in and understanding new technology differs between developed and developing countries. Scandinavia and other advanced areas focus on tech from the efficiency perspective and are often afraid of disrupting old business models, leaders, and ideas. People in developing countries have less to lose.
“so I believe a lot of interesting technology trends will start among people who are new to connectivity.”
DT 500 ZINE: – Right vs Wrong today?
“It is wrong to believe that people must work to create value. It is wrong to compete in a network society. It is wrong to think you accomplished anything on your own. It is right that technology can create abundance. It is right that everyone and everything in this universe is interconnected. It is right that time is all we have.”
STEFAN: – It used to be essential to be big – the bigger, the better. But the speed of change is increasing, and big is slow. Today big corporations need a growing disconnect with customers, constant reorganization and an inability to innovate, while small companies with extensive networks are fast and close to all stakeholders.
“Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are always there as an option, so the important difference between the one-man band and big corporations is flexibility. No one is alone, so fast is the new big.”
DT 500 ZINE: – can You define the quality of courage?
STEFAN: – Courage is as courageous does (to paraphrase Forrest Gump’s mother)
DT 500 ZINE: – Witty man, anyway, what about self-esteem?
STEFAN: – You have to love yourself. As human beings, we are aware of and can think about our own existence.
“But what are you? Is it your body? It changes constantly, or did you actually mourn the last time you had a haircut and part of you died? When you think about your existence, you realize that you are the creation of your own thoughts, that you are possessed about yourself. You think about you all the time.”
STEFAN: – Every human being is like this. Why do you think selfie sticks are so popular? So if you have low self-esteem and are mean to yourself, you will create a bad you. Your body will die, so the risk you take is not loving life while you have a chance. Being alive is being a risk-taker.
DT 500 ZINE: – Stefan, you won the grand prize” Speaker Of The Year” in 2014. You discussed how innovation, disruptive technologies, and behavioural change affect business and social issues. Please brief me shortly.
STEFAN: – The speed of change increases when more people have access to technology (new opportunities) and are affected by a dysfunctional economy (new problems). So old business models and empires are dying faster than before, not because leaders are bad at what they do but because they are good at providing the wrong solution. This sounds scary, but it is excellent news since we have enormous problems with limited resources and a growing population. We need new solutions fast. Then I will provide up-to-date examples of how new opportunities are changing our world and what successful companies are doing.
DT 500 ZINE: – you apparently have a fascination for change and the future. How do you see it?
“I think of the future of an island. Crystal clear waters, blue sky, and sunshine, the future is paradise! No food, drinking water, or friends, the future is hell! Utopia vs dystopia, cyclic vs disruptive…The future will be all of these, and the important question is not about predictions but why you do what you do. Will your actions take us to paradise or to hell? What is the point of being pessimistic? If everyone joins the Preppers – people who invest in guns and store food to prepare for Armageddon – then that’s what the future will be like. I think connectivity will ultimately lead to the end of the hierarchy, and that’s the revolution.”
DT 500 ZINE: – Do you have a theory about metaphysics?
STEFAN: – As humans, we gradually change how we think about the world. Standard today was unbelievable 100 years ago, and people alive then would freak out entirely if you could get them here instantly. The same goes for us.
“We think it is normal to have a hearing device but scary to talk about cyborgs. The singularity will come, and it will be impossible to define an actual human being. We will be able to download our minds and thereby be able to share and move memories and experiences between hosts (bodies).
DT 500 ZINE: – Who is your mentor?
STEFAN: – Nature is my source of inspiration and my mentor. I don’t follow the news and try to keep the information private. Of course, I dig for information when I do research.
“but the most important pieces always come from thinking and reflecting. We all like to think that we are unique and especially so in business, but there is no difference in all the titles and labels; they are all the same, and there is nothing new.”
DT 500 ZINE: – Is there any political system in the future?
STEFAN: – I believe democracy will become liquid. With everyone networked, we can delegate voting power on a micro level to the ones we think are most competent, and with blockchain technology, we can verify every power transaction.
DT 500 ZINE: – What are your plans?
STEFAN: – My focus now is to lecture more outside the Nordics to meet with a global audience. This spring, I am taking on my first assignments outside Europe.
DT 500 ZINE: – takkar Stefan!
INTERVIEW BY © Arthur Sopin n Andreas Rod