Social Confoes 017 – A Conversation with Chief Philosophy Officer: Anil Sadhoeram
Diego and Jean-luc are joined by Anil Sadhoeram to explore what it means to be a Chief Philosophy Officer and how he went from working at the big corporations like Oracle to working apart together from a tiny island in the Caribbean. We even explore some aspect of the startup world and the role technology plays.
You can also connect with Anil van Maretraite:
- 0:00 – Introduction: The Origins of Maretraite
- 7:18 – The Process of Working at Big Corporations
- 16:32 – How was the internet in the nineties compared to all the social networks we have now?
- 21:51 – Government Organizations and the Corporate World
- 30:15 – What do big companies do not have many big international training programs anymore compared to 20 years ago?
- 39:17 – Chief Philosophy Officer
- 51:20 – The role of the CPO at different stages of a business
- 57:43 – Ethics and Smart Cities
- 1:18:12 – Capitalizing on Working Apart Together Tribes
- 1:26:21 – Closing off
Video Version of the Episode
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Social Confoes 017 with Chief Philosophy Officer: Anil Sadhoeram
Jean-luc: [00:00:00] Welcome. Welcome to a brand new Social Confoes I’m here with Diego. My name is Jean-luc and he goes, it feels like it’s been longer than a week. Yeah, it’s for some reason, for me, it feels a little bit longer than a week, but, but before we introduce our guests, because we have a very, very interesting episode happening today, tomorrow is five, five.
Yea may the 4th be with you. So everybody was a big star Wars fan congrats, but tomorrow’s five, five, and I’m actually a big Gary Vaynerchuk fan, but I don’t have one Ethereum stashed up in my Metamask or somewhere else. So I am kind of, kind of curious what’s what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Diego: [00:01:14] I am as well. You might’ve seen the post I shared today on Facebook, on Gary V’s live with he’s launching something tomorrow. So I joined this discord channel. See how it’s going. I’ve been following the post for awhile and yeah, I’m just, you know, casually following it. I’m not sure what’s going to happen yet.
Not sure how I’m going to respond yet, but. Yeah,
Jean-luc: [00:01:38] it’s not a clear cut. You you’re you’re there just in case it’s like, I want this, but it’s not necessarily that you’re gonna end up with a Gary NFT.
Diego: [00:01:48] It’s just a feeling thing and see how it develops.
Jean-luc: [00:01:53] Okay. I looked at what you have to have stashed up. I’m like, I’m all it I’ve put every every bit of Ethereum I have is either on hold or I’ve put it for NBA top shot.
And I’m actually becoming a very big NBA Topshot collector and in two days. So not tomorrow, but actually on Thursday, I’m going to get my first ever minted never to would be sold in packs at the moment. So that’s, I’m a little bit excited about that as well, but maybe next week we’ll get a little bit more into it because Gregory’s asking, can you explain a little bit more it’s basically NFTs
yeah, it would be,
Diego: [00:02:29] we don’t know much yet. So we were just following along as you are kind of lost. So build a, trying to figure it out as we go, but yeah, let’s not keep everybody waiting in this episode. Yeah. Welcome back everybody to Social Confoes episode 17 and tonight we might go a bit philosophical, a bit big picture view, a bit technological venture capitalist.
With none, other than also someone from Suriname, his roots you all know this story, previous guests we had on that classic story grown, raised, sincere, born and raised in Suriname traveled abroad to do your study, usually in the Netherlands work for a big corporation or whatnot, and then decide to move to a small Island and start your own thing.
And this is the second person we will have from the Island of Curacao The first person was Gyanno van Kanten conversation with him on marketing in particular, check that out. By this time, we’re going a bit deeper and I first met Anil our guests from, for tonight. I think it was two years ago. Yeah, right before I left at a, I guess business partner, professional contact of ours and.
We decided to meet up at Torarica. And I just you know, drove in, walked by, walked back to the pier and you see this guy casually chilling in his shorts, drinking from his coconut like the real Curacao vibe. And you say, Oh are you on your hand? And we just sit down and started talking. Cause we were still waiting on somebody and we just hit it off.
And the second I encountered chance encounter I had with them was you meet people at conferences. I meet people at parties. I was at the birthday party from a friend of mine. So, and that’s when we hit it off again and he was like, Oh, do you know Anil? Yeah, I have met him before. And so we got reunited there again, and this brings us to our, I guess, third encounter with you Social Confoes.
So without further ado, we would like to bring up Anil Sadhoeram but you’ll see him as Anil van Maretraite onscreen. So Anil welcome to Social. Confoes glad to have you here.
Anil: [00:04:47] Glad to be here. What an introduction.
Jean-luc: [00:04:51] would never let us, wow. We have some people joining and saying, bring it on the philosophy also Stephanie, say we are ready for it.
So I guess, I guess people are excited, but I don’t know if it’s a philosophical topic as well but I know people want to know, or at least I want to know the story behind Anil van Maretraite because the first time I saw was like, that’s a pretty cool name.
And then I realized, wait a minute. That’s that’s to, to actually accentuate someway some history where you’re from. So can you tell us a little bit about how this came about?
Anil: [00:05:29] Sure. Yeah, so my name is Anil. I call myself Anil van Maretraite. Yes, of course. There’s a reason why I do that back in the days when you could get internet and internet email address, that is how it started.
In my case, it was in 1996 on top of my head. I thought, okay. I was in the Netherlands. I was studying and I was thinking, okay, you have to take an address. What is an address? My address is a street name and a number, right. At least this is how we know it, but then I thought it’s still internet. It’s still Greenfield.
Why should I take a street? I’ll take the whole neighborhood. Basically. It started like that. And so I, you know, I had my email registered like Maretraite at the ed. Now I have, you know, et cetera, et cetera. So this is how it started actually. So Anil van Maretraite. And so it’s kind of show straight away, what’s in a name.
Right. But it also shows where it’s not just my name, but also where I’m from and for people from Suriname, I’m sure they would, they would get it straight away. You know, in other, when I’m abroad, people are a little bit confused. Yes. But it’s okay. We are living online also partially. And you could see this as my, my digital name, my alias or avatar name, whatever you want to call it.
Jean-luc: [00:06:39] that’s pretty cool. Yeah. I tried to claim the whole country. That’s why I put Sr effort after everything. But how long have you did you actually live in Maretraite?
Anil: [00:06:50] I was born and raised in Suriname, so when I was, but I was not born I was born in a hospital St. Vincentius. And then when I was five, we moved to the house where I grew up basically in my
So that’s like yeah, 13, 14 years I’ve lived there because when I was 18, I moved to the Netherlands to Delft to, to study. So that was a time that I lived there. But you know, I’ve left, but I never left. It’s a little bit weird, but we’ll dive maybe later into it.
Diego: [00:07:18] Yeah. So you’ve spent like after you left after 18, the majority of your time are quite a long time in the Netherlands that study at Twente Delft have a lot of friends there.So I I’ve seen the campus has really great stuff. And then you ended up, I think working for Oracle to another Island big corporation. So before we get to how you got that title, I and trademark chief philosophy officer, what was the process going through those big corporations and eventually ending in the position you are right now, I guess.
Anil: [00:07:54] Yeah. Okay. So answer that great question, actually, to answer that question, we have to go back to Suriname. When I was studying at the, you know, at the middle bar school, the secondary, how do you call it high school? So we had to make a choice. What are you going to do? And in Suriname, you don’t have a lot of choice.
Now you have more choices, but back then you didn’t have that much choice. And so somehow I, you know, my father was working at Ernst and young. So he won, he told me he can become an accountant. And I was like, I’m not going to do that. You know, you don’t want to do what you’re in, in my case, I didn’t want to do the same.
So I want, I, I, this, I want it to become many things, but ultimately I decided I want to become an engineer, an engineer. So that’s the Surinamese thing also, right? You, you guys had a, I watched one of your previous podcasts and then the choice that you had in the past was you have to study medical or law and engineering.
Those three things actually were like the main things you could do. And for me, it was like okay, so I’m in Suriname now. What am I going to study and why am I going to study what I’m going to study? I thought if I’m going to study after graduation, I want to find a job. So going to the corporate world, actually.
So that was the reason why you go to study. Also. It’s not just for the intellectual, you know environment and learning, but also we had to go, right? You come from Suriname, you go to you go abroad. There was a logic behind my thinking. Obviously many of the logic later on, you know, I learned it doesn’t work like that, but I don’t, I don’t know if I’m answering your question properly, but. Actually in Suriname, I already have made my mind up that, you know, I will, I will study and then I will go for a great job in somewhere in the corporate world.
Diego: [00:09:38] Yeah. So you realize that that logic didn’t make sense and. How do you apply that logic or how to bend that logic and end up in working for like this international corporation? Like Oracle in Dublin. Yeah.
Anil: [00:09:56] Yeah. It’s actually an interesting story because you know, how many Surinamese people are there in Ireland? Right? So actually, Oracle was not my first corporate job. So when I, when I graduated one year before graduation, actually you start to think where you’re going to work. And I, I was studying physics and I was also studying philosophy. And with philosophy, you had to spell out specialization in communication, communication about science and technology.
So I thought I’m going to do that because, you know, I didn’t want it to stay in a university. I was, you know, I was not done with it also, by the way, after a few years you’re done with that environment. But so I applied for a job at Anderson consulting, which is Accenture now. And so this was very interesting because they were like the first paperless office.
They were promoting themselves like that. So one, so I already graduated with physics. I still had to write my thesis for philosophy. So I applied for that job one year before graduation and I got that job. So that was very interesting also but also very bad also because once you have a job, you’re not going to look further.
Right. But this is only when I look back, I can say this, but at that time I was so excited. I’m going to work for one of the top companies. I just have to graduate. And then I started working for them. But I remember still clearly it was in Amsterdam at the next to the Hilton, in the Apollo land. There had their office there.
And I remember going there fresh with my suit and everything by train to the first day to the office paperless office. So I got my car keys. I was one of the first with the car in those days. A company car. I got a Panasonic, a mobile phone and I got, I think it was a, an IBM laptop. Super cool.
And I had those three things in my hand and suddenly a thought came in my hand, depressing thought like, Jesus, do I have to do this for 30 years? so, so, so I don’t know why that thought came, but you know it came in my head and I apparently it was assigned and for me, because I didn’t stay that long in that company.
I mean, I did the whole foundation training. I went to Chicago, everything they did a lot of, you know, back in the days they would invest a lot in, in, in people. I guess still now they do it, but it’s, it’s different back in the days. So, so I was working for them, but then I quit my job. And then I went to a trip in the Caribbean.
So I bought a ticket actually. I went to Barbados. Because I’m an uncle of mine was always talking about Barbie there’s bounty Island. So I told them, yeah, come with me. He said, no, I have obligations and this and that. So I said, okay, I’m not going to wait for you. I went to work, but on my on my list, I had Trinidad Port of Spain.
And the reason for that was that, that I wanted, you know, we didn’t have internet really back then, but I already learned the three that was the richest country back then in the Caribbean and Suriname was not doing so well. So I was thinking, you know what, instead of going to Suriname, I’m going to check it out in port of Spain.
So I, I bought the tickets so I had one week of holiday in Barbados and then I went to Trinidad. And then I started to network. I printed my CVs. I went to companies like KPMG to price, Waterhouse, Coopers et cetera, et cetera. But, you know, I didn’t have working experience in that I could apply straight away.
I mean, these, these, these, these islands, as I learned later, also, they don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to hire new graduates, so to speak, and then, you know, give them the full training. They expect you, once you come on board that you already know to do the job, right. So they don’t have that investment proposition.
So I didn’t make it back then. So I went back to to the Netherlands. And then in my apartment, there was like, I still had you know, back in the days we had a voicemail, but that was a box, was an external box that you could attach to your to your phone line. So when I came back from my holidays for my trip, it’s like a two months trip.
I also visited Suriname by the way, because I called my mom from Trinidad to say hello. And she said, you cannot be in Trinidad and not come home. Oh, long story short. I went to Suriname and FIA Guyana and back, and now I was in my apartment. So I saw this, this, this is like a small box and the red light was flashing.
So there was like a message. So I played the message. Thank God I had that thing. You know, if I didn’t record it, I wouldn’t know. But there was this hiring manager from Oracle I had conversations with him before, but they were taking the time to make a decision. So, he left a message to tell me if I still wanted a job in Dublin.
So I called him and that’s how I ended up in Dublin actually to make a long story short.
Jean-luc: [00:14:23] And
Anil: [00:14:26] yeah, actually it was a, it was a F I mean I remember even going into negotiations with these guys because now that they wanted me, I was okay. I wanted you guys. I want it to work for you guys. You didn’t call me back.
I did my trip, you know, and now I’m back and you want me to go to Dublin of all places. So I was like, okay I’m not gonna, I’m not going to say yes or no. I want to go to Dublin first. I’ll pay 50% of the ticket. And, but if you guys pay the other 50%, I’ll come to Dublin and I’ll check it out and then I’ll come back and then I’ll make up my mind.
Diego: [00:15:00] You talk about, negotiation how is it as I guess, semi fresh graduate? How intimidating was it or how did you experience that negotiating with someone from like that corporate world and, you know, just seeing it upfront, like, I want this, this, this, and. How did they receive that? What was your experience with that?
Anil: [00:15:23] Yeah, it’s a good one. Actually. You don’t do that, just like that. Right. But it was the climate in those days was you could do that. Right. And I felt I could do that also because actually I had another job waiting for me at a headhunter office. So I canceled that one to go to Oracle you know, so I was in a position that I could negotiate, so to speak.
You’re not always going to negotiate, but when you’re in a position to negotiate, you’re going to go for the better deal. Right. This is, this was my thinking. And I was going into corporate world. Everybody in the corporate world is thinking like that. If you don’t think like that, you don’t survive, they won’t even hire you. Actually, the guy liked it, that I was negotiating. So, you know,
Jean-luc: [00:15:59] it is, is really, I mean, there, there’s so many things that you just, I don’t know if I want to start with the IBM computer or the, or the paperless company, but also like w we’re we’re talking about the nineties here.
Anil: [00:16:11] This is nineties. Yes.
Jean-luc: [00:16:13] So
Anil: [00:16:14] the millennial is that December, 1999, I went to Dublin.
Jean-luc: [00:16:19] the biggest question is like, just, just to put it into perspective, because you mentioned a voice mailbox. That’s also something that we don’t, I mean, if it,
Anil: [00:16:30] he doesn’t know what that is. Right. So,
Jean-luc: [00:16:32] and we know what it is. We know what it is.
Luckily we know what it is, but it’s not like we ever use it as adults. We know what it looked like when we were kids. Yeah. So I’m really wondering, like also the, the the idea that your mom said, like, listen, you’re in 300 that you should come to Suriname. That’s also something that, but, but just, just to understand, like how revolutionary was the paperless company at the time, because.
I think at the time it’s, I mean, we still use paper in Suriname. There was no Slack for digital transactions. We actually for digital transactions still get approved on paper. So, so it’s so just for people to understand, like, what was the internet like in the nineties compared to all those social networks that we have here now?
Anil: [00:17:19] Yeah, well, in the nineties, the internet was mainly for for the universities. Right. Before that, before the internet went mainstream, It was just for the military. It was called the ARPANET and then it came to the university. So when I was studying, we already had bits of pieces of the internet, but it was not really like it is right now.
It was just a collection of a lot of computers, but select computers. So, but when I started to work, you already would have like browsers, you had Alta Vista, yahoo.com. Those kinds of companies were coming up. This was pre Google before Google BG, I should say. so Anderson was a very, you know, innovative company actually.
They, they were one of the first that started to use technology, the computer into the enterprise. So the idea of the paperless offers was also a little bit of a hype or a marketing term because there was no such thing as a paperless office. Let me tell you that, you know but the idea was that we would use more, we didn’t use the word digital, or we use the word electronic communication.
So like electronic music. Right? So this is, so let’s say you would join a company like that. I have to go a little bit back in time, but for instance, you, you will not allow to go to the office because it was like a global office with and the Dutch office. There was an Amsterdam where I was based.
we had like a thousand employees at those in those days. but there were like only 200 working spots in the building. So the idea is that you do not come to the office. The idea is that you go to the client, right. And do all the communication electronically. If you need to check something, let’s say you are doing a project for a energy company electricity company, for instance, and you have a new challenge there that what you would do, you would go in the database of the company.
Then we had a knowledge management network. It was in Lotus notes. I remember that still is really old school and get super, super, super on practical to use, but okay. It was what we had, but it was, it was, it was extensive in the sense that you would find all the cases internationally for all the energy companies.
So if you would come on board and you had to do a project, you didn’t, you didn’t have to start completely from scratch. So you would have the repository, the knowledge repository, what we have now, like the internet, right. Where you could go and find your material. To build your case. so we will be working like that.
And like I said, you will not allow to go to the office. So you have to make an appointment. First, we have to schedule a desk. You couldn’t leave pictures on your desk either right? So it was like a very innovative for those days.
Jean-luc: [00:19:57] It must very flex working. Like it’s now flex work. Flex spaces are very popular at this time, actually.
Anil: [00:20:06] So when people say we have to work now from home or a location independent, I’m like, yes, sure. You should do that. You should have done that 20 years ago also, Well, it was, you know, I mean a lot of companies have adopted their, their, their, their way of working and, and, but, but now we are even, you know, now with the COVID pandemic you know, people are used to work not go to the office necessarily to do their job.
Diego: [00:20:30] Right. Yeah. It sounds like you were describing what people are like finally migrating to now in the sense of, I’m not going to the office now you got to make appointments to go to the office.
Most of the places.
Anil: [00:20:46] Yeah, we were ahead of the curve, but it’s like with everything, right? If you, you guys are marketing also, at least Jean-luc what I’ve understood. So you have the 5% early, you know, the innovators, the early adopters and now the rest is following. You could see it like that. I’ve always been in digital and digital transformation also at Arco and later on.
And, you know, we could see that we were, we were like evangelists, right? We would go to the company, the enterprise, our clients, and we would tell them, you know, that this would be a beneficial route for them to go to go more digital, et cetera.
Diego: [00:21:17] Let’s briefly talk about the, the experience in Oracle cause you you’ve had this, you know, that the magic three IBM laptop the equipment basically the, the, the, the dream and you got his dream corporate job.
And then that depressing thought hits you. And this is in like before you went to Oracle right. Was there something at Oracle that like, you know, really pushed through like a, the drop that let the bucket fall that you decided, okay. Enough of this corporate world and you know, what does that experience at Oracle?
Anil: [00:21:51] I was just starting actually, and I was getting the, you know, there was nothing wrong with the corporate world. If you fit in it there is a problem when you don’t fit in it, then it becomes a problem. And but I think the corporate world is also like, if you’ve never been in it, it sounds like a scary thing, but it’s, it’s not that scary, you know, it’s, it’s like a, just a, it’s a big brand with international offices, but there’s people like you and me also working there.
Right? So of course there is this bureaucracy because it’s a bigger, it’s a corporation, a corporation is most of the time, a huge, but I would say the, the issues that you get in a corporate world is, are the same issues you get. If you are in a, in a large government organization, I would say, but maybe you want to go somewhere with, I don’t
Jean-luc: [00:22:39] know, you know, that’s scary if you’re going to compare it to a Big, like a government organization, because here’s, here’s the thing that always separated the government side from the corporate side, or actually the private sector was that the government kind of, it.
It’s it moves in, in, I wouldn’t call it seasons, but in periods of prayer shelf of commands. So for, if you have a new governor, if you have a new precedent, kind of the, the efficient and everything what to an adult it’s really hard when, when we talk about urban regime theory is often that we try to find a way that when, when government changes, the, the partnership doesn’t change, for instance, whereas where the private sector is, it’s more continuous.
then what I find interesting, and you’re saying like, it’s, it’s similar, I’m worried. And, and the reason I’m worried that is, is because. Big corporations. They grow bigger, grow bigger, grow bigger, grow bigger RD, completely fall off. And especially now. So my biggest worry is like telecom communication.
Let’s, let’s keep it to something. That’s, that’s a little bit on the similar topic, a telephone telecommunication company, when you have thousands of people that learned how to lay down wire for a home phones and all of a sudden everything moves to mobile, and all those people have to get laid off because you can’t train them anymore.
From laying the landlines to going to mobile, then all of a sudden you just lay off people right now in Suriname, we have the issue that one of our state companies. They are offering them to be laid off. And of course, you get a layoff package, but it’s still there. There’s still a move towards laying off a lot of people because the company, the corporate company, didn’t go a long way to changes of time.
And of course, something like a pandemic really hits because if the pandemic doesn’t come, it can go slowly for maybe 10 years until there’s really problem. But now all of a sudden the pandemic comes and you lose like 60%, 80% of your income and all of a sudden you have to cut straight away. so how, how have you noticed, like, because companies like Oracle still are still around have you noticed a difference in approach from companies like big corporate companies that immediately shifted or shifted when they realized So are all these that just went on we’ll deal with the old style of management until they were just completely broken up and they went bankrupt.
Anil: [00:25:08] The, the last drop was the last piece was gone. What, what, what was the last sentence that you said? Can you repeat that?
Jean-luc: [00:25:15] So, so the difference between companies like corporate companies that they adjust during time and companies that just keep doing the old management style until everything breaks off and they just go bankrupt.
Anil: [00:25:28] Okay. So it’s a complicated question. I realized that to answer. So let me, let me, let me say this. There is corporates and corporates, right? Not all corporations are the same. In my case, I’ve worked for the high-tech corporations. And what you see with the high-tech corporations is they are growing more and more.
Right. This is their world. And with the COVID, this was also you know, has they have benefited from the COVID also? So I guess there is there’s two types of corporates, the ones that are like modern, innovative high tech. And there is this classical bureaucracy corporation that are maybe doing other surfaces, but nothing to do with technology.
So they use technology for their own job also, but they’re not in the business of technology. those are the companies in general that are the ones that are at risk. So they are the wants because innovation technology is related to innovation. So it’s more in our DNA.
I would say our, because I’ve, I’ve come from that industry. It’s more in our DNA to keep changing. You know, for me, if I hear the issue that, you know, you’re being laid off, because we’re going from copper to fiber or to wireless. For me, that’s normal. You should. We know this, this happens all the time. And a company is there to make profit, right?
While the government should also somehow be profitable, but they have a different, big, they don’t have a business model. So the corporate world has a business model and they have to be profitable otherwise. So this, this, this, this, this change that is coming constantly means that also the humans will have to change.
You lay them off. If you can’t retrain them, I would say, you know, lay them off because you have no other choice to be profitable. You do that. So there’s no judgment call there, but those are rational decisions that you have to take. But, but yeah, it’s a valid one. I mean, if you look at the, if you go 10 years in time and you look at the top 10 corporations of the world, and then you could check now which companies are now still there.
Right? This is also a way of looking at it. And then you could see the trends, what happened. And you could, you could say, okay, this happened in the market. That’s why these companies made that shift. I mean, 10 years ago, they wouldn’t be Amazon, Apple, et cetera. They wouldn’t be that high. There will be more oil companies, probably in the top three list, billion-dollar companies.
And now these technology companies are, you know, pushing those companies away because they like what they say, you know, the new law. yeah. So it really depends. Yeah. I mean, your question is a good question, but it’s not something that I would be able to you know, address easily, but I, the way I see it, it’s like you have, you know, you have the innovative companies and they and you have the non, you know, non-ineffective companies.
Diego: [00:28:13] Yeah. Then the top companies in the chart in the past 20 years have all shifted from, I think the only one still non-tech Saudi Aramco, but it’s just because there’s use huge files of oil in that area. But the rest of them are like majority tech companies.
Anil: [00:28:29] What happens with the corporations?
Actually, what we say, this is the Silicon Valley thing that we say that the big companies, they get fat and lazy. Actually, this is what Sean maybe is. You know, referring. Yeah. Why? Because they have so much money and they feel this happened also to Nokia by the way, missile
Jean-luc: [00:28:48] comes in quite easily. I think that’s also no problem, because when you have the legacy, when you have the brand already, that you’re a top-level brand, then it, the, the, the clients come in quite easily. They don’t, they don’t judge whether or not the products and the services that you’re providing, and the deals are valid or not. It’s just like, Oh, we’ve done this before. So this is quality. We’re paying for it. And that’s it. Exactly. And that just all of a sudden, there’s this big shift, a big change comes and then they’re not prepared for it. Well, part of them, of course,
Anil: [00:29:19] this is the, the, the whole the whole thing about the technology companies is that they are disrupting the market. Right. So they’re taken over in the market. I mean, you guys were talking about the NFT, right. And cryptos, et cetera. That’s, there’s like, there’s also technology, but it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s like in a new dimension even, you know?
So it’s, it’s super abstract even for, for people, even that people that are digital savvy or already in that world that is already like a specialization. can you imagine people that are not in the technology industry, how they keep up? They can’t, they can’t. So that’s why this is the opportunity for the startups.
So I wouldn’t go to a corporate end necessarily anymore. If I would be graduating right now, what my story is a different story. I grew up in another time, you know and back in our days, we had these management traineeships that you want to apply for. And if you would get a management trainee ship, you are one of the few, you were a lucky one. It was a hard grade, right.
Jean-luc: [00:30:15] But quickly on that quickly on that is, it is what is, what is the problem? Because we have the discussion, sorry to interrupt you. But we have this discussion also with companies like . The Suriname where when like 20, 30 years ago, when you came into those companies as like a rookie, you just graduated university and you came in, they would, the training level that the training that you would get and they would provide was high end.
She would get like all these international level, top of the line training sessions, either it would be flown out or you would find a way to actually get those top-level trainings. And I’m trying to figure out is that, that there’s no more budget for it, which I would find near is it because the people that supposed to train there, there’s no training curriculum for the new tech just yet.
What’s, what’s the reason that 20 years ago, 30 years ago, if you came into the big corporate organizations, especially when I was in Suriname, you would have all these international training programs and now a really select. Group of companies still does that.
Anil: [00:31:21] Very good. I don’t know. What’s the reason I say, I think, you know, people stopped investing in people. We go more for technology and, and profit. I think that’s maybe one part of it, but there are still companies that do a lot of, you know, invest a lot in human capital building. Your, your, your, your point is valid. So for me, it was more interesting to work for a corporation because the first two, three years, they invest so much in training at Anderson.
I got a lot of training I mean, I was flown completely to Chicago. Right. I think what they spend on me was like maybe $50,000 on a training not, not just for that training. And then when I moved to Oracle, I did the calculation. I mean, Of course, if you would buy it yourself, probably you get a cheaper, but everything was corporate rate.
So I think Oracle invested maybe like another 50-100 thousand dollars in me, just in one person. Right? It’s it sounds ridiculous, but they did that. And the, but the model in the past was also different. Think about this. You, you mentioned Biliton and Suralco, the, the paradigm in the past was the assumption was you would graduate.
You would work for a company and you would work there 30 years. That’s why I got depressed because I was also thinking, do I have to do this this 30 years? But it turns out that’s not no longer the case. Nobody that I know works 30 years, 40 years in until they go with pension, you know? So that was a different time.
It was also a different paradigm. So I guess those companies would also expect you to stay longer with them. That’s why they would invest. I wouldn’t invest. You wouldn’t invest in someone leader, you know, if they leave within two months after the training, right. That you invest or pay for them. So I think the assumptions and the world has changed.
Diego: [00:33:04] Yeah. Did he package that? He took the words right out of my mouth. The assumption is that yeah, people don’t, people are really like trying many things. It’s not more about security and there is no management.
Anil: [00:33:18] There is no job security. This is the illusion that we all. Adored, but it’s, it is no, there is no
Diego: [00:33:24] safety change management change that perspective on how people interact with it. So I think that makes a valid sense. And to quickly go through the comments from what we just discussed two highlights I’m Greg, if you can’t keep adding value, you’ll lose the game and adds to that. When companies are too big to fail, companies should feel as they become lazy and shouldn’t be saved from failure by the government.
And this is something we see a lot like a lot of the airlines, especially around the world have been built out by the governments. And just how the past 10, 15 years has been with this in ever increasing bull market cycle with the economy going, these companies don’t keep reserved for emergency situations.
So like when, when. Something like this happens with a full lockdown, full those travel stop. They don’t have money to survive a year and you can reflect this to personal finance, but this is on a mega ultra-scale.
Anil: [00:34:23] That’s a big problem. You’re addressing absolutely. To comment on, on the comment that was mentioned. Yeah. If you’re, if you’re it’s Silicon Valley also has the mantra, so fail and fail fast. So, but this is for the startup culture right? Because the other companies are too big to fail. So you have two parts of the spectrum, so to speak. So when you are a startup, it’s good. If, if your idea is not good, your business is not good.
It’s better that you feel as soon as possible. That, this is how, and then you go to the next venture, the serial entrepreneurship that’s, you know, in America at worst like that. But
Jean-luc: [00:34:57] it’s funny that it puts Serial entrepreneurship in a totally different light because like it’s like on social media. Yeah. On social media at Serial entrepreneurship is like, I’ve built all these amazing companies, but the way you’re saying it’s like serial entrepreneurship is you move on from the first to the next and you just keep on iterating.
So it’s more than a company is an iteration then that we’re talking about many successful companies. And I think that’s a very different difficult perspective to understand if you’re not aware where the terms. So I think
Anil: [00:35:32] this is, I mean, we only have one hour, right? It’s like Silicon Valley is like a special place. Right. A lot of innovation that we use now also during this call comes from that area. Right. So and it has a history. There’s a reason why that is that is there. And it’s not easy to replicate the culture of Silicon Valley because everybody is wanting to replicate the Silicon Valley in their own country.
And so on. It’s not just, it’s not like that. It doesn’t work like that, but there are elements that you could adopt, of course, but over there you have this community of venture capital. So the, so it’s, it’s an ecosystem, right? An ecosystem. It’s not just the entrepreneurs that are having a great idea and they want to go to market.
There is also a mentoring system, right? University is also close by right. Stanford university. Is there also Caltech and other universities are there. So there is a lot of and there is also capital available. So there are a couple of elements that you need to have in the equation. For it, for something, for an environment, innovative environment to work and the venture capitals.
They also want to know if they put their money. Of course they want the company to be successful, but they are used to the fact that not all their investments are going to make it. They’re used to the idea. Right? So it’s, it’s fun for, for us in certain. And it’s very hard to understand this. I can imagine because you want to maybe save every dollar.
But they are gambling. It is a gamble in a way it’s again, but they are, they are just going, Silicon Valley is going for the unicorns. So you have to become a billion dollar company. Otherwise, actually, you’re not interesting. You are loser. I find that too extreme, to be honest, right? I’m not like that.
I’m just saying, you know, they can be a little bit like that. But, and I, and I don’t think Silicon Valley has alley all the answers for us because we already live in a world with a big corporation. As you mentioned already before, like the banks, the airlines the cruise ships, you know all these all-refinery plants, et cetera, those, those, those are big CapEx, you know, capital intensive you know, industries.
And if there is a change in the market, they are like the Titanic that cannot make the turn that easy. So they are too big to fail as we call it. If they fail, the reason why we call it like that is if they fail, they will drag everybody in their falling. Right. And that’s why the government is putting money into it.
This could be one of the reasons by the way, for, because otherwise the whole economy could collapse. Yes. What’s the case with the banks where the airlines, where the airlines is a different thing. I know for instance, in Suriname, now there is because I follow the news obviously, and I know that people are asked now if they want to leave voluntarily.
So there is like, you know downsizing, right? The company is going through a transition change and they are looking to downsize the operation that is a logical reaction, right. But it’s not, it’s not necessarily going to help the company because we are in a global pandemic. So it’s not a local problem.
SLM is just one of those airlines that have. A lot of problems, of course, SLM has their specifics, right. And their own history, et cetera, et cetera, but being added on top of each other, it’s being added on top of it. Right. And it is easy to say that, you know, if a company doesn’t make money, you should let it go.
I agree in principle, but there could be reasons why you won’t do that because you still have to have airlines in your countries to leave the country. Like for instance, I live on an Island, I could say, yeah, if these companies don’t make profit, they should go bankrupt, but then we never can leave the Island. So, you know, it’s, it’s not just, it’s, it’s a complicated.
Diego: [00:39:17] There are two questions on this. So one from YouTube. How does the title of chief philosophy officer fit in this story? And I guess what is the chief products of the opposite? How does this fit in your daily life?
Anil: [00:39:30] Yes. No, very good question. Thank you for that. So for that to answer that, I have to also go a little bit back in time. So when I was working for these companies, like Oracle later, I worked for force research and my last corporate job was at Gardner. I was dealing with CEOs, so or business leaders.
So let’s say the C-suite right, the executive boardroom. And one thing that I noticed is that you know, everybody is looking at the business from their own angle, from their own perspective. Which is why they are hired. Right. I mean, they are like the finance person is focusing on the finance and marketing on the market, the CMO on the marketing and the CIO on the information, the, the technology and the CEO is kind of responsible for everything.
And so you could also have the chief operating officer as well. But one thing that I noticed is that And this is where the chief philosophy officer comes into play the way I see it, it’s somebody that has, you know that is able to look at an issue as a challenge, as a problem at the problem, the challenge business challenge from multiple angles.
So like a multidisciplinary approach kind of, and to be honest, a lot of business decisions are biased decisions, right. And, and I think that’s when I started to think about, you know, the role of a chief philosophy officer is to not having the answers necessarily, but asking the right question in the boardroom with the other C level people to kind of make them, you know, understand bigger picture of why they are doing what they are doing.
So not just the how question, how we have to address a specific market, but why, because philosophy is about the why, right? The why question And why I call it a chief philosophy officer and not just corporate philosopher is because, you know, I want it to let it fall in the realm of the chief, you know, in, in, in, because everybody’s like a chief sprinter printer, right. Chief CX, we would call it. So, so that’s, that’s how I came up with it. I think the, the, the question may
Diego: [00:41:32] be market question was there, was there not something else like that because you also got the chief philosopher, a philosopher dot com. So
Anil: [00:41:43] I’m surprised that
Diego: [00:41:44] nobody else did that. So.
Anil: [00:41:46] Yeah.
So somebody has to be the first, right? So most probably I’m like you Carlsberg the Beer brand. It said probably the best bear in the word probably is the right word in this, in this sentence. Right. Because they’re not sure and it’s marketing, but in my case, probably, you know, I’m the first chief philosophy officer or somebody that started the call himself or herself like that.
And the reason why I know that is because when I came up with a term, I think it was in 2005, I Googled it. It was no hits on it and the dot com was available. So you know that’s why I decided I’m going to trademark that and use it as a differentiator also for myself going to the market. So because it’s also, it’s a, it’s a conversation starter, right? Chief I if I have a presentation somewhere and I get my or I meet somebody and I get my business card and I see Chief philosophy officer, of course they, they will also want to know what that is.
Jean-luc: [00:42:41] I have to ask you this. They should read more creative Explorer.
Diego: [00:42:45] no. Oh yeah. Sorry.
Jean-luc: [00:42:50] It’s a few people. I think, I think I know three people in Suriname who have used creative Explorer as, as their title and it’s, it’s kind of selling something similar, but we never, and that’s, I think also the painted thing and a, and a, and copyrighting I think that’s something you have to come up with because of course I have been other
Anil: [00:43:08] NFT. NFT is the same thing. It’s all about non tangibles. Right? So it’s funny, but the value is there and the same thing. So philosophy is also like that. I mean, also when I was working at Oracle, when I go back, I remember I had to sell like databases.
And I never heard about the database before. Right. So I, so my mentor was explaining me, this is something like a software thing. You put something in it. And I was thinking, okay, but when does it get full? It would never know get full. They said, no, you can keep putting stuff in it. And I was like, and remember, I didn’t study business anything.
So I studied philosophy and physics. So I’m there in that environment and I’m thinking, okay, so you put something in the, in the box, in the database and yeah. Never gets full. It keeps expanding. I was thinking, all right, it’s like the expanding universe, right. Had Diane hail out as we would say in Dutch.
Right. So it’s yesterday. So this is like, this was my first kind of thinking like, okay, how can I use like physics or philosophy into the business world for a better understanding first for myself. And later to translate the complex information and try to present it, you know, for a bigger audience that they can also kind of grasp the bigger picture ideas.
Diego: [00:44:24] I really believe that that’s where magic happens when you get someone from a totally opposite field quote, unquote, opposite field and throw them in that and how they interpret that. Like you said, with the database thing, it’s, it’s really interesting to see how that developed and shaped you in the way you’re thinking and came up with the chief philosophies officer idea in this corporate world where nobody was asking these questions, looking at it at these perspectives. And I can see now how that shaped you into going into that direction.
Anil: [00:44:58] Yeah. I mean, some of my colleagues thought I was going too far with it. Right. But I just wanted to understand what I was doing. I couldn’t sell it, the data, I couldn’t sell the Oracle products if I wouldn’t understand it. Right. and mind you back then I was one of the most successful sales. I have to say. Not to brag, but it’s because I took the time to understand also what I was doing. Right. I didn’t just want to, to sell a product just like that. I really want to understand something that is, yeah, I can’t help it. You know, if I’m interested in something, I want to know all the ins and outs of it
Jean-luc: [00:45:29] no people underestimated. Let, let, let me, let me give this to, from a marketing perspective. People underestimate just when it comes to outsourcing. Like for instance, when you outsource part of your company to another company and the other company that you outsource it to is really good at their craft, but they don’t have a grasp of what your company is about and why the products are important.
You can proper, properly outsource it because they don’t understand the culture. They don’t understand the whole philosophy behind a company. So they might be great at marketing your company, but they don’t understand your why for your company. And then it feels, and this is something we really struggle with because people outsource to us and we really have to find a project manager that fits that company to be sure that if we try to communicate.
As part of the company that we have somebody in our company that actually understands the, the fishing and the philosophy behind our clients and what they want to achieve. And I, and, and, and, and I’m talking about our outsourcing, that’s even a step further, but the company as well,
Anil: [00:46:32] this is why outsourcing didn’t work in many cases because of the cultural gaps. And also the, the, I don’t know the English word, but the truck ahead, maybe you guys can translate for me. You have to be involved deeply into what you are doing. Right. And you have to have passion for what you’re doing also. Right. We would say but yeah, I guess some people just, you know, other people just were thinking about, you know, I can sell something, and I can make money with it, but I’m just saying this was my this, this is how I was looking at it, but it’s a, it’s a great point.
I mean, you can’t, but by the way, you also have B2B, so business to business versus B to C, which is also different, right? In a B2B, you want to invest a little bit more time, both into your own product, but obviously more time in understanding your customer, your business customer. And, and so you need to invest in the relationship.
It’s not a transactional sale, you know, it’s not just in one goal, you have, you have a deal there, right? So there are certain steps that you have to go through before you can come up with the signature of the client, you know, with the buying of the client.
Diego: [00:47:36] I, I see this again at it boils down to relationship and philosophy, understanding people, but also organization to an extent is core to this part. You don’t need the greatest, the best technically to get yourselves, to get buy in. You just need that involvement, that understanding. Yeah. Yeah.
Anil: [00:47:55] You have to be able to ask the right questions. This is where philosophy comes in, actually, but it’s not that only philosophers do this. Right? I mean, psychologist psychology actually. It’s about curiosity. The, the, the right word for that is curiosity. You know, you have to be curious about stuff. You have to be curious about your customer. You have to be curious about their problem, really interested in it, and really curious to find a solution for them. And if your company doesn’t offer a solution for that, okay, then you have no added value for that customer, right? So you have to draw that conclusion also. It’s not that you can, it’s not that you can deliver.
Diego: [00:48:33] There’s no cookie cutter solution. There’s no cookie cutter
Anil: [00:48:36] in software. You could promise a customer everything, because if you would build it from scratch in theory, in principle, you could make it completely as the customer wants it. But it’s not a sustainable business model because no.
Diego: [00:48:51] And speaking of curiosity right before the call I thought I’d throw this out there. You asked on naming, we, we talked about naming and we talked about chief philosophy officer trademarking that Jean-luc just ask me creative Explorer, but I did, take Confoes the moment I started as available.
I did take that immediately and, you know claim that I took it, like after the first, second episode of the fire guys, like, okay, this can go somewhere and it just flowed in the mouth. And through York, your curiosity Anil on the naming convention, it’s basically a made up word,
but a made up word with the fundamentals of conversation, casual conversation, but bringing in the controversy, the confidence and challenging, like the foes in the big, bigger systems, interesting yeah. Foundational wording, in forming Confoes basically. I was
Anil: [00:49:49] thinking about kung fu..
Jean-luc: [00:49:52] Yeah. That’s later that’s actually,
Anil: [00:49:55] I was thinking more on the lines, like you know, like Social Confoes like, like Kung Fu Panda, but now, now, now I get where you are. Wow.
Diego: [00:50:03] Okay. Wow. Deep. Yeah. We’ll, we’ll probably cover this in another episode, but if you’re talking about the logo as well, I believe that multiple, multiple levels as well, but we’ll, we’ll go into that another time
Anil: [00:50:17] commenting on that. I can see that you have put a lot of thought in it. It’s a thoughtful process you went to. So you can see that in the details, how you know, as
Diego: [00:50:28] quickly everyone who is listening, if you’ve seen the logo or the name. What does it say to you where we’re curious on that as well? Put it in a comment. What does compost say or what, what do you, how do you interpret it? And I mean Anil already shared his stake. So I’m curious the, you also Shanda, cause I never asked you this just before we go to the,
Jean-luc: [00:50:49] I, I put it in the middle grill under, under popularized for you that, that people can look at the local a little bit. I mean, for lending a blink, like it’s actually going to a feature, but it’s not,
Diego: [00:50:59] Yeah. So any thoughts on that? Put it in chat real over, check it out. Who you’re really curious on that, but yeah, that was just a short sights rack on the, the to, to get us more on the fun side. Cause we went really a bit deeper.
Jean-luc: [00:51:15] I do have a follow-up question on philosophy.
Anil: [00:51:19] surface.
Jean-luc: [00:51:20] Right. Okay. So, and so chief, chief philosopher officer. Okay. So here’s, here’s my. On uneducated, just learning about these, this title take on this. So you have generations of, of, of, of a company for instance, of an organization. I feel like when people phone a company, when you have the startup.
The aspect of the, why comes up a lot. It’s when you start thinking about why are we actually starting on business? Why are we naming this business a certain way? Why do we want to go into a certain niche or a specific field? So I feel like at that point, so I’m really curious that, let me kind of introduce the question already.
I’m really curious how the role of the chief philosophy officer kind of philosophy officer changes over the trajectory of where a company is compared to a startup where basically everybody thinks about why a, why the, why a lot to where it’s a company that has matured and has been around for 10 years to accompany that has gone on for generations.
So do you already, from your experience, see a difference in the need for a chief philosophy officer? When they’re a startup versus one year a known business, versus when they’ve already been there for generations.
Anil: [00:52:41] I think it’s a great question. Because it, it will depend and the value add will also depend, but I think a chief philosophy officer operates best in crisis. Maybe that’s, you know, so what is a crisis? A crisis is when you don’t know what you want to do, or you’re not certain what you need to do, right? So you go back to the question board, right? Why am I doing this? Do we really want to do this? What is the strategy? All those things. Right. So I think so both when you are in a startup company, you have a lot of questions, but maybe then a chief philosophy officer wouldn’t add too much in that space.
And it also depends a little bit. I have to be honest, when you Google on chief philosophy officer, like I said, in the past, you wouldn’t find any hits. Now you will find many. So the, the, the title is becoming like popular, right? So, I mean, I can trademark it, but I don’t mind if other people use it as long as you have the credentials.
I don’t want to be the only one, but what I wanted to say is like what you would find, if you would Google, you would see mostly that people are talking about like ethics so that the philosopher comes at you know, at a table. And there’s these questions about you know ethics, like for instance, we have this AI artificial intelligence coming up, what kind of ethical questions do we need to address, you know, moving forward?
I find that a limited way of looking at it, because like I said before, the way I see you know chief philosophy officer operating is somebody that is also going for the bigger picture. Right? So you have to build a vision of where you want to go. For instance, if I can take the topic of smart cities.
For instance, that’s like, you know it’s, it’s, it’s something that we are talking about for 10 years. Like the big corporations came with that, with that concept. And obviously the world has changed now. So, you know, things that were envisioned as a smart city are not necessarily the things that we’re going to implement moving forward.
But, but with the smart city also, before you go to a smart city, what is a smart city, right? So those, those would be, that would be a question that I would have for, for people that are in that in that, in that in that space. So again, it’s, it’s about the bigger picture asking the why question, but also helping to craft the fishing, right?
Because you have to be able to see where you are going in the future. Right. So the, so I don’t want to say you need to know the trends, all the trends, but you have to know where you’re heading, right? Because this is the purpose, the direction, your strategy, your, you know, the, the course of your company that you’re heading.
So yeah, I see the chief philosophy officer as somebody that is really, you know, helping the organization or if it’s a government body or a country, you know, to, to see the things from a vision point of view, the bigger picture and not necessarily the details. I mean, the devil is in the details. I know that, and of course, philosopher also can go into the details, but I think in a corporate world, and that’s why I call it chief philosophy office.
I’m not just a philosopher in a company is somebody that will be a strategic person that will help craft efficient. But you know, of the organization moving forward and also helping you with, you know, the softer things like the purpose, the right way to communicate it with not just the ethics, because this is, I find it, you know, that is like putting the philosopher in the box of the ethics.
I think that that is maybe some people are great in that, but I think that is a limited scope, I think with artificial intelligence, with smart series, but not just with technology, like digital technology, but also in the biological medical sphere. Right. There’s so many innovations going on. We can even, you know, you have CRISPR, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. That is like programming, reprogramming a human body if you had the DNA.
Diego: [00:56:33] So since you brought up smart cities and we talked about ethics, bigger picture, especially in the corporate world, I want to challenge this from a philosophy perspective on smart cities. As in, if you’re talking about ethics cities are getting smarter, or let me say the way I see smart cities is no, everything is interconnected.
A lot of things are automated. Like you see in the movies, you order something, and it gets delivered by drone nowadays. So that’s the pictures that be being painted in media a lot now. But if, if you look at, from an ethics perspective, how would that differ? For like, from like a perspective, like the, you know, the one person or one organization that controls, or it could be a corporation.
We talked about corporations taking over the role of government because governments don’t run like a business, but say this corporation does a smart city. I think Toyota started one in Japan. Yeah. I saw.
Anil: [00:57:41] on LinkedIn that they are building a new smart city.
Diego: [00:57:43] Yeah. So from an ethics perspective, how does that clash with, I guess human freedom, human rights philosophy in that ability to live in such a city. And how much does it detract from.
Anil: [00:57:59] Yes. So that’s a very good question. I mean, there, there is a danger, not just a smart city, but to the whole you know, digitalization, right. Also with social media, we already know that there, there is this issue of fake news. There is this issue of even fake videos where you could, you know, have the president of whatever country is showing up himself or herself on TV.
And, you know, it’s all a computer, right? It’s a, so there are so many dangers, so it’s, we don’t even have to go to a school to experience the dangerous already. George Orwell well, when he wrote his book, he wrote many books about this dystopian society. He also wrote animal farm. I don’t know if you know that book everybody’s talking about 1984, but actually animal farm is far more interesting because it’s, it’s talking about how humans are actually, you know, in a, in an animal story.
I think, you know, the Germans already had the Stazis you know, and I mean, people that were listening in already to all the conversations, we can go in history to see that at it already happened. So it’s not a fear that we have to have for the future only, right. It is a risk, but and we have Snowden, right?
So we have Snowden that came up with the Wiki leaks or no that was before, but you know, all the information that’s out there that everybody, you know, all your data is out there. We don’t have privacy, they can control you, et cetera, et cetera. It is all a scenario. But I think the benefits, if you do it right, you have to, you have to take these things into consideration.
I’m not saying they’re not important, but I guess once you start consciously crafting, you know, your smart city plan or your smart nation plan. You, you know, you will come up with the pros and the cons and you will not implement everything. So I think you should look at the things that are really smart.
You know, not, not, not just from a technology point of view because the paradigm is technology, but ultimately the, this is also what I say. Smart city starts with smart citizens and we build a smart city, not for the buildings, we build it for the citizens, right? So my philosophy of a smart city is not a technocratic top down vision of how people have it in their mind, right there, these high rise skyscrapers and et cetera, et cetera, for a smart city, the way I see it, we already live in a smart city.
Think about it. I mean, 50% or 80% of Surinamese people are using Android. Is that correct?
Diego: [01:00:23] I’d say it’s
Jean-luc: [01:00:24] a really high percentage.
Anil: [01:00:27] Okay. So, so, so when you start thinking let’s, let’s go deeper, right? So who’s the owner of Android. That’s Google, right? So Google basically already can plot draw a map of Suriname so to speak, you know, virtually, so you have Suriname and they can see all the phones, you know, you have the GPS, et cetera, and
Jean-luc: [01:00:48] google maps creepy, accurate, like really creepy, accurate how accurate Google maps is.
Yeah. Yeah. So
Anil: [01:00:56] Suriname doesn’t have a smart city because the Surinamese people are thinking we still have to have the Singapore lifestyle before we get there, but I’m like, no, no, no, no. That’s the wrong assumption. Google already has a smart city efficient of, you know, of every country because they don’t need to have the buildings.
They want the data. and, and what people are doing with their phones. That’s already, you know, in the servers, in the cloud. So being analyzed or not. So we already live in a smarter, it’s just that the government doesn’t control it, but Google already knows more than you. And they also know more than the president about what’s going on in the conversation of the people, right.
And whatever documents are in emails or whatever. So it is an idea just wrong. The thing that because I have this conversation, not just with people in Suriname that they say, yeah, but we are not that far. You know, we still have to go through this level of investment before we can become a smart city.
I say, no, that’s the wrong assumption. My assumption is different. Like I said already, one of the reasons that I gave is that the corporations already have actually information about us that could be interpret, interpreted as the first phase of a smart city. But what I also see as another assumption. Is that the citizens already have the smartphone?
And we forget that. So if you look at the requirements, the, you know, the, the, the requirements that you would need, all those requirement that you would need to have a smart city, there is an element that the government should do that the corporation should do, but ultimately we already have the smartphone.
I, the way I see it, it’s actually 50% of the equation. but the, but where we need to bridge the gap is also on the digital literacy side. Because if you have a smartphone, that doesn’t mean that you are a smart user.
Jean-luc: [01:02:45] Let’s jump into that. Because that, that question was on the top of my lips. So looking at the future, looking at solutions, what are the main skills that. And not just young professionals, because one of the things that I was thinking about is also we have, and that’s everywhere in the world. And there’s a story. When I was studying sociology, there was a story of companies in Japan, like factories in Japan that people who are actually retired in the middle of the night because they couldn’t sleep.
There are a lot of people that have that issue, and they would go to the factory and he would clock in and they would start working. And I was baffled by it. I was like, okay. So what if we have a lot of Surinamese people like elderly people, retired people, they have a lot of traditional tsunamis knowledge.
They know about our culture, which is being lost. They know about natural medicine. They know about the history of our country. What is we made those people digitally literate? And allowed them as well to work in the night when they can’t sleep and actually update the Wikipedia pages or update websites, because that’s something that we’re really lacking, but as just a specific example.
So what I would like to know is what, what would be skills that if you want to accelerate this process to make like Parramatta, we would like other cities in, in tsunami smart as well. What are the skills that you look at that you say, these are the skills that we should really are the basics that we should master to, to, to improve, to make that improvement.
Diego: [01:04:24] To repackage that, instead of smart cities, how do you get smart citizens?
Anil: [01:04:29] Yes, exactly. So maybe we should talk about smart citizens. I agree with you because smart cities might, you know, maybe people think like that is too farfetched in the future. So how do you, how do we all become smarter smart citizens?
So, first of all, we have to understand that what we have in our hands is a very powerful tool. Right. We paid a lot of money for it. Some people more than others, but it’s a very expensive too. And mind you, they send people to the moon. If it, you know, with a computer, with less capabilities than your smartphone.
Actually, your smartphone has more capabilities than the IBM mainframes back in the days. So it’s very powerful. And we, the only, the most features that we use are just WhatsApping and Facebook and social media, so that there is that’s good. But I think we could do much more. I think that’s the first awareness.
Right? And to your point, Jean-luc, I think it’s a great point when I talk about digital literacy, I’m not talking about, we have to start because everybody said we have to start with education. Yes, that’s correct. But not, not just in the, in the schools. When I talk about digital literacy, it’s for everyone, because this is the new dimension where entering the digital dimension.
If we go philosophical, that’s where we’re entering, right. We live in his physical world, but we have created as a human being. We have created ourselves collectively a new dimension and like it, or not 50% or more of your time, you’re spending, you’re living in that space, whatever it is. Right in that universe, digital universe.
So I would say you have to you have to, you know, you have to segment the market, you have to the age groups, I think because everybody’s learning different. so I think you should bring up some programs for different segments of the market, but also for different fields, for instance, because in healthcare you want to go a little bit deeper on certain aspects of, of digital literacy, like e-Health et cetera.
Right. So what you would have to have is like what we had in the fifties and the sixties, this there’s this I don’t know the English word, but at an alphabet series, program combating an alphabet, right. Governments were putting a lot of money into that. We should do the same, but now with digital literacy.
So basically we have to understand what artificial intelligence is. We have to understand what the sea from the cloud, the different data, you know, like the new alphabet. And of course I can say it easily like this, but you have to have it in a structured way. You have to have a structured program, a nationwide campaign nationwide program to roll this out because this is how we’re gonna educate ourselves adopting a new mindset, a smart mindset, you know, for, for, to enter it.
Jean-luc: [01:07:11] I’m a little bit, not that worried about this, but I think I’m, I’m more of a organic kind of growth for this and then a structured growth, because why, where I’m really worried is, and I think it, it might connect somewhat to the training processes we were discussing for, for the big corporations. You have to find the right. The lecturers, the right people to teach, but also figure out what are the right skills. Because what I see a lot is I meet in my field a lot of 50, 60 year olds who really, they fully grasp the technological change, but they can grasp the tech, the practical side of it.
Anil: [01:07:58] So, so I, my mom, my mom, I gave her a tablet a few years ago. She couldn’t work with the laptop of my dad because he was using no, but I’m really talking
Jean-luc: [01:08:08] about I’m talking from an educational
Anil: [01:08:10] piece, but what I’m wanting to say. So yeah, so it’s not that the older people in general have more difficulties with the technology. This is an assumption. Many people make it depends on the user interface. So if the user interface is like a smartphone or a tablet, it’s, you, can you see that all the people and young kids. They are, you know, working with it, like it’s natural
Jean-luc: [01:08:31] more and more multi-disciplinary I think that’s the biggest issue that I have. It it’s more multidisciplinary because for instance, it, in a, I mean, of course we grow, of course everything develops. We’ve we’ve discussed. I think in a, in a pre, in a pre discussion, we talked about over information. Yeah. So what has happening is there’s so much over information that we, we cannot sometimes not distinguish within what’s relevant and what’s not relevant. And the same issue is what you’re going to have when you’re going to create the educational structure to actually restructure the digital education meet people need digital literate is that we might end up focusing on the wrong skills for digital literacy, because the people that actually have to create the educational package data themselves consider themselves fully digital literate.
Anil: [01:09:22] you’re, I guess I see your point.
Jean-luc: [01:09:25] biggest issue that we have is that like we discussed with cryptocurrency, like even somebody who’s headed into cryptocurrency who kind of understands the fundamentals of blockchain technology can sometimes. They sometimes I can’t understand a lot of the things developers are doing on different blockchains.
I have like no technical knowledge of how they do it. So for me to tell people how and what they should learn is already difficult, but then you have other people who from their perspective are already fairly knowledgeable about it. And, and the best example that I can give is when, when we start talking about things like one coin, for instance, like the amount of people who were into one coin and Suriname that were trying to convince me how the system worked and how blockchain works from their experience from a multi-level marketing para pyramid scheme. It’s beveling because they couldn’t. Understand the difference between the two and that’s where I worried about the over information. And that’s why I’m also looking more at organic, but also where the more decentralized approach. Yeah.
Anil: [01:10:34] I agree. Now I see where you’re coming now. I see where you’re coming. When I talk about digital literacy for the masses. So without classes, I meant indeed like, you know, nationwide for the basic literacy, right. And the reason why I bring it up, actually what it, what it means in my case, what I’m trying to say is that it’s just that we have to be aware that you can, that there is a new world, right?
And there are new opportunities because people are not fully aware that these. These things are available to them. But I agree with you and it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s not something that you can push because what is digital literate to know what is relevant for now? Maybe obsolete tomorrow. I agree with you, but this is for all types of education.
This is a universal truth. So what I would say, and I agree with you, you won’t be able to get everybody on board and you will have different flavors, right? It’s not it’s, it could be organic. It doesn’t have to be that the government is organizing. If we wait for the government, it’s probably not going to happen.
They have other issues, right. So I think you’re right. It could go organically or non-distributed. As you say, many people could take this initiative. I already started a few on my own also when it comes to this. Right. So I agree with you. And also what will play a role is that we have these different generations.
So not everybody is going to adopt certain things at the same speed. I agree with you, but I’m talking about an ideal world also, where I hope that people are going to spend more, make themselves more knowledgeable about the digital dimension, you know, this digital universe, because it will allow you to work location independent and to be able to connect with people outside your country.
And then you can do you can learn from them. You can teach them, or you can learn from them. Like I said already, or you could do business with them, e-commerce et cetera. So I think people in the classical environment are, are, are more bound to their, you know, their geographical boundaries, et cetera.
But I think the promise of the internet and mobile and digital is that you can become a little bit more independent. So because it’s a liberating technology also, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, actually, that’s why I agree with you also, if you have internet. You don’t need you don’t need anyone to tell you what you should do, because you could go online and create kind of your own preference world, like a personalized world.
Right? So I agree with you, but that’s, when you are ahead of the curve, then you, then you will be able to use the liberal world as a, as a play garden for you, right? You don’t want mommy telling you something or government telling you, or that that’s the ideal world for me also, that I can create.
Jean-luc: [01:13:15] the difficulty that, that I’m coming with a difficult devil’s advocate kind of approach, and that was getting really philosophical. But then you end up with smart ecosystems instead of smart cities. Yes. Yeah. We’re, we’re already seeing it. I mean, and, and then I’m not gonna promote certain blockchains, but, but we’re already seeing that at a certain point, you’re gonna let go of your location. And, and I think, and of course you have a lot more experience with that, but I think that’s still scarce people a lot because your location is your only, when it comes from a social science perspective, your location is kind of your strongest identity.
Yeah. That isn’t even with us or for Meadows, you have, behind your name. So, and, and, and I think the scariest thing for me, if I, if I just jump in it is like, I lose part of my identity because I’m letting go of the physical location. So I think that’s sales something that for me, for taking that next step is still something I struggle with.
Anil: [01:14:22] I agree with you. I mean but it’s, you know, where you’re from, where you were born, your family is part of your identity, but identity is also a big question right now globally, right? People are having this question. What, what is it to be human? When we have these advanced computers, advanced AI that surpass human intelligence, like Ray Kurzweil, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him.
But he, he works for Google now, but he is an inventor, et cetera. So he already wrote books like spiritual machines, et cetera, et cetera. So there is a point where, where, where there is a belief system, right? I am not saying that this is my belief system, but there’s a belief system that there is that we have created something that will surpass our human intelligence.
And then that will impact also what it means to be a human. Right. So when you talk about identity, You, you, you also have an issue there, right? Because if you work more with a computer or you are more honest, what is your identity? I mean for me, for me, it’s a good question because but if I go back also to one of the things that we discussed about the corporate world, when I left the corporate world, like for instance, last corporate job I had was at Gartner and that’s like a gorilla in the industry.
So when I left that company for six months, I already also felt a little bit like, who am I? Because I was attached to the company that I was working. So it became also part of my identity. But if you go really philosophical, the question is who are, what is your identity, right? Is it where you live or is it, it just, you know, I mean, probably we don’t have time to go into that, but I understand where you’re coming from, but I think we should flex.
Our minds a little bit more, be a little bit more open-minded and open ourselves to the idea that you can be physical in Suriname, but online or with your mind, you can be anywhere and that doesn’t have to conflict with your identity. You can, you know, so
Jean-luc: [01:16:20] it’s an opportunity.
Anil: [01:16:22] It’s an opportunity. Absolutely. It is. This is, this is the main message. I’m not saying you should listen to me because, you know, I know better or whatever. I’m just saying, this is an opportunity for people. Crypto is a opportunity for some people, not for everybody, but for sure, the internet, the digital space is an opportunity for everyone because you have a smartphone. So the barriers to set up your own company to enter the internet are much lower than let’s say 10 years ago, when you wanted to start a company.
Diego: [01:16:54] Definitely agree on that part with the internet opening things up, and yet there are still many challenges with new opportunities brings new challenges.
And I think this brings us to,
Anil: [01:17:05] I never said it was going to
Diego: [01:17:06] be easy. The challenges are required actually to grow, to shape you, just like how you grew, your journey has shaped you to where you now are. And you even used the phrase working apart together from the Island and kind of borderless collaboration across the board.
So to bring it into a final question, so that individuals, you talk about smart citizens, individuals who obviously not everybody is there yet, but who are scratching the surface of, you know, the internet off exploring this world. What would you say from your approach, from your experience working remotely, working in a borderless world, be the first are the thing they should do to know like mining in a mind picking the acts to, to, to break through how, how could they break through that surface level tension?
Anil: [01:18:09] I’m not sure if I understood your question fully.
Diego: [01:18:12] Yeah. So how can people who are now exploring this borderless world people, especially people listening to this podcast, it’s something fairly new. So we assume we’re making assumptions about you guys right now. So please don’t feel offended. We assume these are people that, you know, know their way around the internet, but how can they get the step further to, you know, capitalize on this to make connections on this?
Anil: [01:18:38] Yeah. Okay. So to talk about the working apart together, tribe as an organizational philosophy, because that’s how it started. So actually, this was in 2005. I was brainstorming with an ex-colleague of mine from Oracle. And we were thinking about like in the future, everybody, this is what I was thinking would have internet right.
On their mobile also. So they would need to go to an office anymore. I mean what we are doing right now, right? 2021 but I’m talking about 2005. So we were thinking like, okay we don’t need to go to the office. And also there was also one thing people that have experienced they have a strong opinion.
They don’t want to comply to the world of corporate anymore. What you, to your point, actually, Jean-luc, after a while you want to, you want to break free because it’s great to be there, but you can only do what they say and you can only sell what they sell. Right. I mean, that’s, that’s the restriction.
So the creativity is less available there. And so when we, when we started to think about this new world in 2005, I was thinking the people that are working in the corporate world. So the, the, the business professionals, they will be fed up of listening to orders of management. So they will, they will find themselves to be an expert themselves on a specific domain.
So they could go to market, but once they would go to market, they would realize, Hmm, I may be good in marketing, but all the other aspects, like I used to have when I was working still in a corporate, I will have a team, you know, and the manager. So the team would be having this many disciplines in one team.
So this, you don’t have a one person, obviously. I mean, there’s so much you can do, you can do a lot, but there’s so much you can do. So you would still have to find other people like other colleagues that you would bring together and then work on the project. Right. so we started to brainstorm and that’s how the name working apart together came.
It was like, what is a business equivalent of a led relationship? So living apart together, Right. People know this, right. So I was thinking, okay, that is like a relationship like working apart together, but then you don’t have the, you don’t have the words doesn’t sound. So I put an a T so it became like what, like James Watt right.
The unit for power. And so that’s how we came up with the idea of working apart, together tribes. So in corporations, you have teams and in smaller worlds, you have tribes, right? And you can create your own tribe. So this is your, this is the answer to you Diego. So let’s say you are somebody in Suriname and you’re, you know, looking for ways to work apart together, right.
Or you ought to work together. If you, if you are geographically bound, traditionally, you’re going to look for friends or people that you network with locally and then start your company. Right? So you are not working apart together. You’re working together. Now you have the internet, you can network online via LinkedIn and you know what?
You have your own, maybe social media, where you make connections. And then you, you find like-minded people somewhere else on the planet, right? And then you realize that YouTube or you three, four, five, whatever are also a tribe. And you could also in that work together, build a value proposition and pitch it to a client and deliver it to the client.
And then once it’s done, you go your own way again. So you have much more flexibility, much more freedom, and you don’t have the fixed costs that you would have in a traditional business model. If you are, let’s say you are a company, you have your workers or your employees, and you know, all the specialists.
And, but there’s no projects like now, maybe, and then you still have to pay them. Right? So in a working apart together tribe model, everybody is independent. As their own company, but they realized that on their own they’re, they’re on their own and they cannot fix a job. So they need to find them, you know, the complimentary skills to make it like they would be in a big corporate, but they are not, they’re more flexible, more agile, more internationally spread and more technology savvy so they can deliver, you know, faster more competitive than the traditional corporation.
So I think it is an opportunity for people that think, like, I cannot find anybody in my country or in my regional space, but I can find them online. This is an opportunity I would say already that you could become part of a tribe that is international and not geographically bound. And I think there is a, there is a way to explore.
This is how I’ve been working. Also since I came from the Netherlands. The Curacao. I could also have moved to Suriname, but I felt I don’t need to be in Suriname. I can be on an Island because this is why I want, I wanted to test what it is to live on an Island with a laptop, just like that, like in the groceries.
Right. And it is possible. I can tell you it’s not easy, but it is possible. And I have networked with people all over the world. I have worked with companies from all over the world and we have done a project also in Suriname where we, when we had to come together, we all took a plane and we were together, but we don’t always have to be together.
We don’t always have to be in the same place. And 2021, 20, 20, 20, 21 and 2022, we will see that the experience that I had and all the people that already had this experience will become kind of the new practices, you know, for most people. So we will have to experiment a little bit with it. You know, we will fail also there, and some people will be successful, but I think this is one way of moving forward and it will give you, it will broaden your horizon because you mentioned your identity.
Of course, I feel Surinamese, but I live in Curacao that didn’t break me from feeling Surinamese right. I mean, I love Curacao as much as I love Suriname, but Suriname will always be special because I was born that, that is, that is something you will have. But if I would think like, no, no, I have to go straight away after graduation to serve him and, you know, like pure nationalists and so on and so on.
I would have missed also many other opportunities for my personal life, but also opportunities to connect with other people that had skills and knowledge that I didn’t have. And that I could also bring that to Suriname because it was not available in school.
Diego: [01:24:49] yeah, it’s short, it’s a connecting, finding, building a tribe and it’s funny, Jean-luc we talked about philosophy here. And in previous episode, it all came down. A lot of the conversations and the three tribes are going to tribes in one sense of another.
Jean-luc: [01:25:08] it’s my last three years of keynotes on the social media conference. Suriname ended up with tribes.
Anil: [01:25:16] I was not there, but yeah, but if you, if you are in a tribe, you are better off. So and look, you have to think about the tribes is this, if this closer to our our human being, right? Because when you are in a corporation, you, they de humanize you a little bit. That is true. You can be less, you, you have to leave a little bit of yourself at home when you enter the corporate world.
And when you are in a tribe, the reason why you are in Travis, because you are valued for who you are because of, you know, your specific skills. So you can be wherever you are. Right. And that. Because you are complimentary people know your, your expertise and they value you for that. And that is a much better feeling, a rewarding feeling than when you would give your talents, you know, to a more, let’s say an environment where you don’t have a tribe, but you have a team.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with teams, but I think a tribe, I’m also a little bit like, you know, like the warriors, right. With the tribe of the warrior. So not, you know, it’s like, you’re, you’re, you’re going after something. That’s also the meaning of a tribe, right?
Diego: [01:26:21] Yeah. No. Awesome. I think that is a great place to end the episode, but I guess final, final, final things. What can people expect from you? How can people connect with you and Theo asks . When are we grabbing a parbo again?
Anil: [01:26:41] That’s a good one. As soon as we can fly again. So that’s why we need airlines you know, to keep the air lift and the lines open, then I’m absolutely happy to have a beer or you should come over here, then we have a polar if you want.
Diego: [01:26:55] And yeah. So final thoughts. What can people expect from you and how can they, you can find you.
Anil: [01:27:04] Via Anil van Maretraite on Facebook or Anil Sadhoeram on LinkedIn. So feel free to connect with me. Let’s open the conversation. I’m sure if you have questions, I’m a very approachable person.
people that already know me. So feel free to shoot me an email or connect with me. I mean, and then we take the conversation from there. I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of things that we didn’t cover in the conversation, but like I said, you know, once you connect, you have specific questions for your organization or just, you want to talk. Yes. Yes. Shoot me an invite. Happy to connect.
Diego: [01:27:36] Awesome. We’ll put all those connecting information for Anil in the description in the show notes. Also check out chiefphilosophyofficer.com. Not com really cool that you got at a trademark . Really awesome. Checking that out to find out more about Anil
and with that being said, this episode will be released on Saturday on all the podcasting platforms, audio versions. If you guys see any glitches on the website in the next week or two, we’re experimenting with a few things to bear in mind, and we appreciate any feedback. If you see anything that’s wrong, so should shoot us a message as well on that.
But with that being said, Jean-luc last word, and then you can roll us out.
Jean-luc: [01:28:16] Yeah, of course. I wanted to say it so many times. So I’m so happy that Joel put in the Hive plug. There are so many things that were discussed here, which relate directly to the hive ecosystem. I’m not gonna plug it fully, but this Saturday we will have a hive digital meetup.
So if you’re interested in learning decentralization and decentralized social media and decentralized ecosystems definitely hit us up and we’ll have more on it. And guys, this was a fun, fun episode, Neil. Thank you so much, everybody in the comments and everybody that watched live or is listening to it to us.
Thank you so much for listening. This was Anil this was Diego. This was Jean-luc. This was Social. Confoes see you next Tuesday at 9:00 PM. Surinamese time. Bye-bye