Category Archives: Business

Reading List: April 2018

Dear Readers,

My reading challenge is going quite well and I have finished 14 books in 2018 so far. I must say I am really enjoying each of the book very much.

During the month of March, I have decided to make a major change in my life and it had a little impact on my reading speed, but I am still ahead of the schedule.

I will be sharing more details about this exciting change of my life in the coming months with you!

Reading List: April 2018 

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
    Genre: Personal Development, Leadership
    In his book, Steven Covey shares seven habits of highly successful individuals in the spectrum of life such as being politician, businessmen, and philanthropists. This book is an invaluable source of information who would like to achieve more in every single day! I would not take this book as a book to read and leave in your library for the rest of your life. It is a book which has to be revisited several times during our lives. Steven believes private victory in our lives leads us to be independent, but not sufficient by itself and prepares us for the next and the real victory: public victory which is interdependence.
  2. No Room for Small Dreams by Shimon Peres
    Genre: Autobiography, History
    Shimon Peres, 9th Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1994, passed away in September 2016. Just before he passed away, he finished his last book which gives a lot of insights about Israel’s foundation, relationships with Western countries and his personal life. Recommended by Shimon’s son, Chemi Peres, I would like to thank him for bringing this book into my attention.
  3. Powerful by Patty McCord
    Genre: Business, Leadership 
    Patty McCord, ex-Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, shares a lot of insights about talent management in her book. Given she has worked in Netflix, Pure Atria and Sun Microsystems for many years, she compares conventional HR applications versus innovative ways of recruiting new staff as well as building a culture of freedom and responsibility. In her book, Patty McCord argues why abolishing conventional corporate policies such as expense and travel and giving freedom and responsibility to employees enhances performance.
  4. The Next 100 Years by George Friedman
    Genre: Politics, History 
    George Friedman is a writer, not a fortune teller, but he tries to be provocative us by forecasting what could happen in the rest of the 21st century in this book. Imagine China fragments in 2020, a global war between the new great power of the world – US, Turkey, Poland and Japan in 2050, and Space based Energy powers earth in 2080.
  5. Becoming your Best by Steven Shallenberger
    Genre: Personal Development, Leadership
    During YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation) event held this year in Singapore in March 2018, I came across Steven’s booth and I was introduced to his books. In his book, Steven Shallenberger discusses about 12 principles of Highly Successful Leaders as opposed to seven habits discussed by Steven Covey. There would be some overlaps between Steven Covey’s and Steven Shallenberger’s book, but I think they would be complementary to each other.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Book Review: Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

Dear All,

One of the January reading list book, Fourth Industrial Revolution, was recommended by a bright young gentleman, Ogul Havayir. He was so kind to agree to write a book review on this book to share with all the followers.

Thank you dear Ogul!

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Klaus Schwab starts with a very simple and visionary thesis: human beings are now facing with an unprecedented transformation of their lives from various aspects including work, relations, and institutions. Schwab defines this transformation as a fourth industrial revolution and singles out this industrial revolution from previous ones in terms of its breadth, speed, and scope. Schwab’s intention is to shed light on how this revolution will impact us and how human beings can leverage this revolution for the common good. Most of the arguments advocated by Schwab are supported by the relevant data which cements his views and illustrated through practical examples.

In my opinion, Schwab defines a great and condensed framework in outlining the backbone and the potential outcomes of this revolution not only from humankind’s perspective but also governmental, business and global perspectives through accompanying these stakeholders’ relations with very key drivers, ideas, and technologies. What I particularly like about this book is that it enables everyone to be aware of what kind of a transformation that we are currently witnessing and allows us to grasp how we can contribute it and position our lives to fully cope with it.

The book prioritizes some new developments and trends as key factors of fourth industrial revolution in 3 main fields such as physical, digital and biological. Schwab gives unique and explanatory examples to underline how deep the impact of megatrends will be. One of the most vivid examples was related to physical technological megatrends. Schwab gives an example of developments of new materials, especially a material called graphene, which is roughly 200 times stronger than steel and a million times thinner than a human hair, and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity. This material is expected to be a superior substitute of steel which numerous economies relied on. Thus, Schwab implies that when graphene becomes price competitive, it will have an enormous impact on steel-based economies such as China, Japan, and the US, and reshuffle the cards in the global economic competitiveness in that field. Several other key trends are discussed with practical examples by Schwab including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, robotics. Schwab also pays heed to how to direct key biological developments toward the best possible outcomes by recapping the importance of the meaning of human, which data and information should be shared with others and what rights and responsibilities we have when it comes to changing the biological genetic code of future generations.

Next key topic according to Schwab is that the fourth industrial revolution will have a profound impact on economies, businesses, societies and the individuals. As a techno-optimist, Schwab thinks that humankind has just started to be influenced by the fourth industrial revolution and his thoughts are backed by 3 main sources in which I totally accepted. Firstly, Schwab advocates that this revolution will unearth the latent demand from undeveloped part of the world through making existing products and services available for them. Secondly, the fourth industrial revolution will be facilitating us to deal with negative externalities like carbon emissions and fuel economic growth further. Lastly, businesses, governments, and civil societies will able to grasp the merits of this revolution for the purpose of fully utilizing these merits. In my view, the most important impact of the fourth industrial revolution on the economy will be related to employment. Schwab argues that through the deployment of newly-emerging technologies including AI, robotics and machine learning, various jobs and skills are expected to be automated, indicating a risk associated with the labor substitution. However, his discussion also encapsulates that acceptance and prevalence of these newly-emerging technologies will create new jobs and skills. The counter arguments give rise to the question of which effect will supersede other. Another key impact of the revolution on the economy is the potential deterioration of income inequalities across the world. Schwab argues that whether this revolution will be a winner takes all phenomenon or allow undeveloped parts of the world to catch up developed economies.

I was mostly influenced by the impacts of this transformation on the way we work, the way we operate businesses and the way we allocate our resources to create value. Schwab advocates that creation and harnessing of cutting-edge technologies will lower the entry barriers for various industries and will lead to disruption coming from startups and vanishing market shares of well-established large incumbents. These disruptions may result in fundamental changes in the value chains for various industries. According to Schwab, the fourth industrial revolution will have four main effects on business including major shifts in customer expectation, enhancement of products via data utilization and increasing collaboration among companies as well as digitalization of operating models. In my opinion, digitalization of operating models is the most vital effect among all. In order for companies to fully adopt their organizations to fourth industrial revolution, their strategic planning should be able to design the required frameworks and roadmaps to operate companies more agile and faster. Schwab stresses the importance of “platform” strategy and sees it as a disruptive and profitable. Schwab further explains the effects of platforms and underlines how the ownership is redefined with increasing scope and size of platforms. Customers become more willing to pay for services such as access to an online service such as Amazon Kindle or delivery instead of ownership of physical products.

Schwab also discussed the impact of fourth industrial revolution on governments and countries, societies and the individuals. Schwab points out that government has a very key role to nurture innovation and incentivize learning and adaptation of any developments that can contribute community. Lastly, potential impacts of this revolution on the individual were discussed by Schwab and concluded that rapid adoption of the technology could weaken basic human capacities such as self-reflection, empathy, and compassion.

Thank you again dear Ogul Havayir!

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: March 2018

Dear All,

We are almost in the last month of first quarter and my reading challenge has been going really good so far.

During the first two months, I really enjoyed reading each of the books.

If I need to highlight the best books of the month, I would choose “The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli” from January list and “Shoe Dog by Phil Knight” from February list.

I am publishing the reading list for March 2018 below. Enjoy!

Reading List: March 2018 

  1. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton
    Genre: Spirituality, Philosophy 
    Douglas Carlton captures the visit of Desmond Tutu to Dalai Lama’s hometown and their couple of days together. Even though they believe in different religions, they show the world that they can be really good friends and they talk about happiness as well as having fun through journey of life.
  2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr Carol Dweck
    Genre: Business, Leadership
    Dr. Carol Dweck talks about the differences between the fixed and growth mindset in her book and she gives a lot of great insights from business life, parenting, and personal relationships. Such a great book to understand the difference between a boss and a leader.
  3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
    Genre: Economics, Personal Help 
    It is a book of small stories about how the richest man in Babylon has become the richest man in that era. There are quite a lot of practical information in this book which is easily applicable to our modern lives.
  4. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
    Genre: Business, Biography 
    Elon Musk is attracting a lot of attention nowadays, but there are not many biographies about his childhood and his  journey through Paypal, SpaceX and the other ventures.  This book enlightens us about how a great entrepreneur such as Elon Musk becomes as he is today.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: February 2018

Dear All,

As usual, time always flies. We are almost in the second month of 2018!

I hope that you have enjoyed the reading list of January 2018. Please give feedback by emailing me on sukru_haskan@yahoo.co.uk!

I am publishing reading list February 2018 below.

Enjoy!

 

Reading List: February 2018 

  1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
    Genre:Business, Biography 
    Founder of Nike, Phil Knight, talks about his journey with Nike. An inspiring true story of a giant brand which started with USD 50 loan from the founder’s father.
  2. Capital Without Borders by Brooke Harrington
    Genre:Business, Economics
    Brooke Harrington got into the world of wealth managers to figure out private banking world and share her invaluable insights about the industry.
  3. Empire by Niall Ferguson
    Genres: History
    Great book about British Empire on which sun never set at one point! Reading the book will enhance one’s vision to understand current conflicts in Asia, Africa and Middle East.
  4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
    Genres: Business, Leadership
    Author argues that any initiative should start with a good reason rather than a materialistic short term target. Not only good reasoning helps companies and individuals to succeed, but more importantly to sustain for long term. Readers will find plenty of real-life examples from Apple and Google.
  5. Who moved my cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson
    Genres: Business, Psychology
    A book to read in an hour, but to stay with you for a life time. It is a story of two mice and two men in a maze who are after their cheese. Their attitude towards change is highly affected by their backgrounds. It is a good guide on how to deal with change.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Lecturing in Hong Kong

I was honoured to co-lecture with Eric Sim, an investment banker and an adjacent professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology last week.

Hong Kong Univesity of Science and Technology has a great campus located at Clear Water Bay Road which is half an hour drive from Central Hong Kong Island. It has a great view of couple of islands.

Not only its campus makes it great, but also HKUST ranks quite highly between its peer among the globe. It had been previously ranked Asia’s No.1 by the independent regional QS University Rankings: Asia for three consecutive years between 2011 and 2013. It’s one of the fastest growing institutions as ranked #2 and #3 by QS world’s under-50 universities and Times 150 under 50 universities respectively in 2015 and 2016.

Financial Times ranks its Global MBA programme as the 15th best in the world in 2017.

My lecture topic was banking and it was an enjoyable almost an hour chat with the students about the current trends including Fintech that are affecting the financial industry as well as job description and challenges/opportunities ahead of the financial industry.

The most encouraging part for me was the Q&A session which turned out to be quite active and interesting.

This has been my third lecture after SMU in Singapore in 2014 and Renmin University in Beijing in December 2016. I hope to continue lecturing since it is a great way of giving back to society whilst improving my skills for public speaking and having a great fun!

Thank you Eric Sim for inviting!

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Fintech Jurisdiction Shopping

Hardware, software, capital and regulations are the key challenges for most of the fintech startups and regulation remains the most important external factor that could potentially lead the whole idea to be stillborn if not correctly assessed and addressed.

When the regulators are not very cooperative and do not want to take any risk, then it is almost impossible for the fintech startups such as SmartDeposit to operate and acquire clients.

The selection of the right jurisdiction for your startup will affect the performance of your company tremendously, especially at the beginning.

Imagine a regulatory environment that bans you from operating without a licence and treats you as a proper financial institution. As soon as you are treated as a financial institution rather than a fintech company, capital requirements and red tape will kick in, which will not only increase the cost of your doing business tremendously, but also disadvantage you in the competition from the very start since you must now act like a proper bank whilst you do not have millions of customers and you don’t have any capital nowhere near as any bank.

In this respect, Singapore is a great place to set up the venture since the regulator is willing to help innovative companies and they are willing to regulate only when they reach a critical mass for the industry. In addition, regulators in Singapore are communicative and have specific employees assigned to the fintech industry. I would think the only and very important disadvantage is the size of the market since it is a small city state country. Regardless, it is a great and the best option for SmartDeposit to take off due to its regulatory environment.

Since Singapore is a gateway to South-East and South Asia, a good reputable take-off could enable the company to benefit from accessing other mass markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand from Singapore. Moreover, access to capital and VCs in Singapore is relatively easy and the region is booming not only economically, but also in many other aspects.

London is a good alternative with an established ecosystem. In contrast, New York would be difficult in terms of licensing issues and other regulatory hurdles.

The regulator in the UK, FCA, is also supportive of the fintech industry and the establishment of Level 39 in the financial hub of London, Canary Wharf, is an advantage.

When you acquire the critical mass in terms of clients and deposits, you will need to leave your home country (e.g. Singapore) to find new customers to exponentially grow and this will ensure you cooperate with more than one regulator. But since you now have a critical mass from your home country, it would be much easier to go out and try to look for new markets, and most importantly, you have more negotiation power now than at the start.

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Lecturing in China

I was honoured to give a short lecture on wealth management last week in Beijing at Renmin University. It was my first time in Beijing and I wish I could have spent more time discovering the city, but giving a short lecture was definitely more accommodating.

This has been my second teaching experience; my first one was in late 2014 at Singapore Management University.

Public speaking skill is a virtue which I really want to develop further, as it is always good to give back to society and meeting younger people to connect with different generations is always a great opportunity.

My session took about 45 minutes and I spoke about various aspects of wealth management such as its challenges and the opportunities ahead, along with its advantages and disadvantages compared to other departments in an ordinary bank.

What I am amazed by was the quality of the questions and the level of spoken English in the class.

It was such a good experience and I hope to avail of similar opportunities more regularly.

Thank you Eric Sim for the invitation!

All the best from Sri Lanka.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Fintech & KYC (Know Your Customer)

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Each thematic area of the fintech ecosystem is important, but I believe that infrastructure will determine the fintech industry’s future.

Data is becoming more important every day, as is privacy. In addition, it is not possible to build a system and expect people to use it without proper security measures in place. Enhanced encryption and speed of execution is key for infrastructure.

The most challenging part of the job is getting through the ‘know your customer’ (KYC) process.

According to a recent Thomas Reuter survey, the average bank spends GBP 40 million a year on KYC compliance and customer due diligence 

Requests for an excessive number of documents and a lack of understanding of the client background from the KYC team gives out the wrong messages to new clients and means they are frustrated in their business relationship with the bank from the very start.

Fintech, with the help of blockchain technology, is a great opportunity for clients and financial institutions.

It currently takes a considerable amount of time and money to perform the necessary due diligence on people and companies.

An open source ledger, where data on HNW individuals and companies can be collected, verified and constantly updated will not only help financial institutions but also the client, as they will not have to give the same documents to each bank in which they want to have an account.

It will increase efficiency, reduce costs and make the client’s experience smoother. The idea is not particularly new and there are some companies which are already working in this space.

During the recent Singapore Fintech Festival in November 2016, IBM announced a blockchain project with Singapore fintech startup KYCK! to help enable financial institutions to have a more rapid on-boarding process

Another company, Slimpay, is also exploring opportunities in this space. It has broken down the process into steps, such as as ‘Paper KYC’ and ‘Internet KYC’ to help financial institutions.

In addition, a group of entrepreneurs have founded ComplyAdvantage in the United Kingdom with the aim of gathering better anti money laundering insights and helping banks to deal with the due diligence of customers.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Lattice80 – Largest Fintech Space

The world’s largest fintech hub opened in Singapore on 10 November and I was honoured to be at the launch.

Singapore’s deputy prime minister and chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony. His speech was full of insights regarding the stance of the Singaporean government and the regulator towards fintechs.

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The Singapore government fully supports the fintech industry and sees fintech as complementary to the banks in the financial industry, rather than a direct competitor.

Besides that, the Singapore government fully acknowledges that there will be a lot of fintech startups going bust, but it is vital to create the right ecosystem to create a fintech unicorn from Singapore.

Lattice80 is located at the centre of the central business district of Singapore and occupies two floors at the moment and plans to host 350 people in the coming week/months.

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Compared with its peers The Floor in Israel and Level 39 in the UK, it is now officially the largest fintech startup space.

Singapore Fintech Association and Finlab are already in the space, which shows the strong commitment to create the right ecosystem.

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It was established by the Marvelstone group founded by a Korean entrepreneur and hedge fund manager, Joe Cho.

It is a great step for Singapore to fully leverage its well established common law system with its highly skilled labour force. There is no doubt that Singapore will be playing a key role in fintech space.

Personally, I am thrilled to enrol on the MIT Fintech Course, which will take place during the next 12 weeks. It will kick off on 21 November.  It is not only a regular academic education, but importantly the course will need students to participate in business planning of a fintech idea to pitch to venture capitalists.

I look forward to sharing my experience about the course within the next weeks.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan

Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Can Singapore model be applied in Turkey?

Following from my last article, I would like to find some answers as to whether Turkey could replicate the success of Suzhou Industrial Park in Diyarbakir.

Actually, some work has already been carried out in this field.

A reputable businessman and philanthropist, Erdal Aksoy, aims to replicate the project in Diyarbakir in order to create an eco-system for 1 million people in the region, including Syrian migrants.

Turkey has a strategic role in natural gas transit because of its position between the world’s second largest natural gas market, continental Europe, and the substantial natural gas reserves of the Caspian Basin and the Middle East.

Since Turkey is well placed to serve as a transit hub for oil and natural gas supplies as they move from Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe and other Atlantic markets, the project is to develop an energy industrial park as the main platform to:

  • Create employment to improve lives in order to stabilise the region, particularly at the borders.
  • Leverage the energy resources and infrastructure in the region and target markets in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • End the refugee crisis in Turkey and Europe.
  • Eradicate terrorism and maintain stability in the region.

The project will involve social housing (HDB equivalent in Singapore or council housing in the UK), education centres such as nurseries, primary schools, and universities, as well as hospitals for the health services.

To ensure that it is built on strong foundations, the project is intended to be a public private partnership involving the Turkish government and possibly other governments.

Surbana Jurong, a Singapore company that also provided the expertise for Suzhou Industrial Park, has already drafted the project and the Turkish government has already been briefed and promised support for the project.

The next step is to find other sustainable and strong partners, especially from Asian countries such as China and Singapore, to support the project.

Mr Aksoy is quite open to sharing the project with anyone that would like to enhance and take ownership of this huge socio-economic innovation.

The realisation of a project of this scale could bring stability and prosperity to the region, and could potentially be replicated in other parts of the Middle East.

Personally, I believe that this is an exciting project and that everyone who wishes to contribute to peace of Middle East shall be involved in it.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

 

 

 

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