James Breiding is the author of Swiss Made, a book on why Switzerland – a tiny country with few natural advantages – has become so successful in the world of banking, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and more.
James discusses innovation in Switzerland and makes the point that when an entrepreneur comes up with a new and innovative method or product, there will be resistance from those who have accepted the status quo. Entrepreneurs as well as intrapreneurs need to have thick skin if they wish to disrupt the market.
What Is Covered
- [03:55] – Why did James write the book, Swiss Made?
- [05:30] – This book is now used by Swiss diplomats, although it was not originally intended to be that way.
- [07:20] – What are some of the factors that have contributed to Switzerland’s economic strength?
- [09:55] – Switzerland and other small countries tend to be more modest. James explains further.
- [11:25] – The average age of an S&P 500 company is 15 years.
- [14:10] – As James investigated further into the longevity of Swiss companies, was there a particular story that surprised him?
- [15:10] – About 11% of Swiss citizens live overseas.
- [19:30] – James discusses Swatch’s story.
- [20:40] – Nobody has been able to replicate the Swatch.
- [24:40] – Apple isn’t the only company who was able to create absolute raving fans over their products.
- [24:55] – Nestle’s senior management was completely against the idea of Espresso.
- [26:35] – People underestimate how costly innovation is. You need to have a high tolerance for failure.
- [27:05] – We see the successes, but we very rarely see the failed attempts that don’t make the history books.
- [29:15] – Successful founders like Steve Jobs tend not to be people you want to have a beer with.
- [29:45] – Innovators will get resistance from people who are used to doing things the tried and true way.
- [31:10] – Why do multinationals love Switzerland?
- [34:50] – Is there a connection between the success of small companies being located in countries with conscription?
- [38:05] – How does James think about innovation and does he adapt his investment approach when dealing with an innovative company?
- [42:50] – What are James’s morning rituals?
- [44:00] – What has James changed his mind about recently?
- [45:30] – What advice does James have for his 25-year-old self?
- [50:55] – Look out for James’s new book, Too Small to Fail, set to be released in 2017.