The School of Life’s Business Wise conference in 16 quotes

On a gloriously sunny Thursday last week, I had the pleasure of attending The School of Life’s Business Wise conference. It was an afternoon of fascinating people, thought-provoking speakers, and some remarkably good Chocoalte Brownies from my Soho neighbours Gail’s.


Here were the main points that resonated with me, in handy cut-out-and-keep quote form…

Alain De Botton (@alaindebotton)

The assumption of sanity is a barrier. Try introducing yourself to people by sharing what makes you odd…

Meaning at work = increasing pleasure or decreasing suffering for people. You need to make people feel like they’re running the cake shop that they really want to run.

The consumer cannot recognise those things that are not yet present.

There’s so much yet to be invented. Think about an average day and consider everything that makes you unhappy.

Businesses are still aimed at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, not the top.

Rachel Botsman  (@rachelbotsman)

Why does the sharing economy work? The glow of being part of something that creates connection & belonging.

What is the future of business? Individuals not institutions. Communities not marketplaces. Brand trust replaced by individual reputation.

The currency of the new economy is trust between strangers. You have to trust the idea, the company, and then the other user.

Why would you leave towels on the floor in a hotel, but not in an @airbnb house?

David Baker (@?)

Nervousness is the greatest enemy of creativity.

Tazeen Ahmad (@tazeenahmad)

It’s good to remember what it feels like not to know.

Charles Leadbetter (@LeadbeaterCH)

We live in the ‘whirlpool economy’ – we get busier and busier but never achieve any more. Everything is urgent, but stagnant.

Rising constraints + rising aspirations x limitless collaboration = organisational upheaval.

Profit should be a means to sustain a way of life.

When you eat in a restaurant, the bill is for the price the food, not the relationship that’s been created whilst you were sat their talking with each other.

The basic unit of innovation is a creative community with a cause – and technology is enabling these communities to be created in new ways.



I really hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, I’d love you to subscribe to my blog at to get new thoughts sent to you on an infrequent basis, and find me on twitter @johnJsills.

3 Thoughts

  1. Interesting, thanks for sharing. Not rocket science but interesting to see what the business community is talking about, although feels more articulation that solution. But hey, that gives us room to create those solutions with creativity and intelligence and integrity. Yay 🙂

    I forwarded this to a couple of peeps and encouraged them to sign up for your newsletter which I really enjoy.


    1. You’re right, all fairly straightforward stuff, but sometimes it’s great to hear other people say it as a reminder! I really liked the point about Profit being there to sustain a way of life.

      And thanks for forwarding! I owe you a Soho Joe’s coffee!

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