You’ve reached the talktank - the official podcast of the LSE Entrepreneurs Society. We delve into the minds of those who think, live, and breathe outside the box, by interviewing thought-leaders about their work, experiences and stories they've collected along the way. Through our four series called "Beyond Profit", "Artistpreneurs", "Unwrapped" and "Bits and Bytes" we explore diverse areas including social entrepreneurship, the creative arts and technology. Our aim is to expose our audience to diverse perspectives and inspire the next generation of change-makers.
Simona Xu - the importance of sexual wellness
The Bits & Bytes Series - Simona Xu
Hosted by Sia Sha
The Oh Collective is a sexual wellness startup launched in 2021. It has been featured in several media outlets, including the Economist and Elle magazine. Simona Xu, one of four co-founders, has previously worked for companies such as Zalando and Nike across cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, and Shanghai. Tune in now to hear all about it!
Check it out:
1:05-What is Oh Collective?
1:57- Discussion of sexual wellness
4:00-Why is sexual wellness important?
11:20-Discussion of Simona's mom's opinion on sexual wellness.
16:10-Discussion of what it is like to operate Oh Collective in an environment like China compared to the West.
25:00-PWC studies on sexual wellness, and the biggest market in Asia.
32:58-discussion of stigma surrounding sex toys.
49:15-What makes Oh Collective different and unique?
54:48-Discussion of raising money for Oh Collective and how it progressed in the sexual wellness industry.
1 hour 10 minutes-What is the worst and best advice Simmons has ever received?
1 hour 15 minutes: Outro
Mirijam Trunk - from journalism to media management
The Artistpreneurs Series - Mirijam Trunk
Hosted by Udbela Escanero
Today, we are speaking to Mirijam Trunk: after working as a journalist for Bayerischer Rundfunk and reporter for ARD, Mirijam decided to make her journey from the writer’s room to top-level business management.
In 2019, she became CEO of the Bertelsmann Audio Alliance and built the company's podcast business. She has grown the production company Audio Alliance into the largest private-sector provider of podcasts, launching around 150 formats that reach over 7 million unique users per month.
She has been part of the first management level of RTL Deutschland since 2022 and, as Chief Crossmedia Officer, is responsible for brand, content and talent development. She also heads the Sustainability and DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) departments.
Mirijam is a passionate supporter of equality and diversity initiatives and works as an author and speaker to raise awareness of structural inequality in Germany. Don’t miss out on this exciting episode!
1:28 Introducing Mirijam
2:42 Overview of Bertelsmann
3:00 Miriam’s trajectory - classical singing to journalism to business management?
4:24 Structural issues noticed within journalism
6:57 The current media and business landscape and its fast changes
7:27 About Bertelsmann’s podcast company (Audio Alliance)
10:33 Power of storytelling - podcasting as as medium?
11:57 People as the amazing experience or component of her career
17:05 Networking - gender differences!
21:11 Sustainability, diversity, equity, inclusion challenges
25:20 How did Mirijam end up at RTL Germany?
27:58 How much did Miriam’s journalism education help her get into creative management?
30:52 Tips on starting out - learning to understand yourself! “Who are you?”
35:35 If you could change one thing about society, what would it be?
36:29 Chaos as Miriam’s unconventional truth to success
38:13 If you could invite anyone in the world for a podcast interview, who would you invite?
Joe Cross - investing and scaling big ideas
The Bits & Bytes Series - Joe Cross
Hosted by Olivia Coletti
Today we have the pleasure of talking with the insightful Joe Cross. Joe is now an angel investor who invests and advises in early-big stage ideas. As previous VP of brand marketing and communication and member of the senior leadership team at Wise money services, he has lots of experience and expertise on marketing and startups. Joe is a Digital masters award winner who is interested in growth marketing, go to market moves, communication and workplace culture. His market segment and philanthropic interests reflect that. 📈🤩
Angel Investor: Advising and investing in early-stage big ideas.
Award Winning: 2020 Digital Masters Winner - Excellence in Marketing.
Interests: Growth. Marketing. Go-to-market. Comms. Culture.
Joined TransferWise (WISE) as employee #12 in 2012. Stepped off the rocketship 8 years later, waving g'bye to an awesome team of 2,300 people. Member of senior leadership team throughout, as Head of Marketing (Start-up stage) >> US General Manager >> Head of (VP) Brand Marketing & Comms (Scale-up stage).
2008 Masters in media and comm. at LSE.
Check Joe Cross out:
1:40 What does the company do and why do you find it inspiring?
5:25 Are there any specific sectors that you are interested in?
10:10 How do you assess founders?
15:45 What does sustainable investing mean to you?
20:30 What are your thoughts on the ESG industry?
27:15 What are you involved in in your free time?
Shout out to Humzah Rahman for producing this episode! 👏
Virginia Stagni - how to dream & innovate in the media business
The Unwrapped Series - Virginia Stagni
Hosted by Anastasia Baklushina ⭐
Ever wondered how you can bring your ideas to life within the already established corporations? 🤔
Our today’s guest, Virginia Stagni, Head of Business Development at the Financial Times, proves by her own example that it is indeed possible to become an intrapreneur at the one of the world’s leading global business newspapers, and even more - shows that these companies are actually willing to offer space to young creative and entrepreneurial minds. 🙌🏻🪄
Alongside her main role, Virginia is the Founder and Director of FT Talent Challenge programme, which she launched back in 2018 to invite youth with diverse experiences to change the future of media. 📰 She was previously named as the youngest Business Development Manager in the 135-years history of the FT, and is in Forbes Italia 30 under 30 list (2021) & Fortune 40 under 40 list (2021).
Virginia’s entrepreneurial path has started long before her current role at the FT. As Bocconi university student, she had an experience of founding digital editorial platform Revolart and Bolognadasballo tour guides project. One of her most recent ventures was GoodSaints, a fairtrade sustainable start-up. 💫
Virginia graduated from MSc in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics (2016) and BSc in Economics and Management for Art, Culture and Communications from Bocconi University (2015). 🎓
Become the next digital news revolutioniser: ⚡
1:36 - Who is Viriginia Stagni?
1:54 - Virginia’s start at LSE
2:19 - Landing in front of the Financial Times office
5:06 - Entrepreneurship vs. intrapreneurship
9:33 - Shifting your mindset from employee to entrepreneur
10:59 - Virginia’s ethical mental health startup
13:43 - How did Viriginia’s LSE masters help her journalism career?
17:40 - The power of good journalism
18:26 - How a newspaper led to a full merit scholarship
20:58 - Carving your niche
21:25 - Creating a new role at the FT
22:20 - A typical day in Virginia’s life
26:35 - Reading through thousands of CVs
29:03 - Why the younger generation is the future of journalism
32:20 - The inspiration behind Virigina’s book: COVID?
34:12 - A higher-level look: why specialists have to help each other
38:04 - Virginia’s advice for LSE students
Shoutout to Jessica Ge for producing this episode! 🕺
Antoni & Alison - fashion, but not fashion?
The Artistpreneurs Series - Antoni and Alison
Hosted by Olivia Coletti
Today we have the pleasure of talking with the wonderful Antoni Burakowski. Antoni, with his best friend Alison Roberts co-created the fashionable “Yin Yang” clothing brand “Antoni & Alison”. The brand radiates the individualistic art that they pioneer to the world through joy, love, and positivity.
Continuously working together for 32 years, Antoni and Alison aim to create their work by changing the way we view fashion. They have never followed trends, an ongoing motto of theirs is “just because fashion is the way it is, doesnt mean to say it has to be the way it is.” Their brand represents consistency, happiness and art. 🖼
They currently have a store and many stockists worldwide, the first 10 years of their wardrobe has been acquired by the Victoria Albot Musiem & the second installment is being prepared.
Their pieces are worn by celebrities and artists that include: Bella Hadid, Nicole Kidman, Katy Perry, Clare Danes, Chloe Sevigny, Beth Ditto, Lilly Allen, Kiki Smith, and more. 😎✨
Check out Antoni and Alison's store (from the coolest website ever):
2:00 - How did you meet Allison?
12:50 - How do you build your brand?
24:20 - What was your pricing strategy?
26:40 - Do you advertise your clothes on runways?
35:20 - Who are the craziest people that walk through your door?
37:50 - What are the things that you are most inspired by?
Thank to Humzah Rahman for producing this ep! 👏
Sebastian Mallaby - what you should know about venture capital
The Unwrapped Series - Sebastian Mallaby
Hosted by Sia Sha
Sebastian Mallaby is the Paul A Volcker Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He spent thirteen years at the Economist and has contributed to various outlets such as the New York Times, FT, and Washington Post. 📝
His book, The Man Who Knew, won the 2016 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. He has recently published The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Art of Disruption. 📚🤩
0:45 - Introduction of Sebastian.
01:39 - What is venture capital?
04:11 - Discussion of Mark Zuckerberg and his unique approach to getting venture capitalists to invest in the company.
10:50 - VCs from a geopolitical perspective.
20:16 - Why is everyone not following Sequoia's practices?
30:00 - Discussion of Sebastian's published book.
36:55 - Discussion of Sebastian's literary diet, including his review of the Economist.
46:57 - Looking for a niche to excel in.
Special thanks to Valli Vikram for producing this episode! 🎧