Interview: Robert Greene

How did you find Dubai?

I haven't really been around the city, but so far whatver I have seen, I love it. I am enjoying it, loving the atmosphere.

What are your thoughts on the economic crash around the world?

Economic crash is not really what you think it is. Its not aftermath, its evolution, its a change, the world has not caught up with it. Power is changing. Business and politics have not caught up with the times. Its creative destruction, destructions of cycles of capitalism.

The old world model is disappearing. Before, it was all about attracting large businesses, products and celebrities. Old business model was based on creating some sort of products and marketing it to hell, about domination and bullying.

But its evolving. For example look at the competition between Microsoft an Google. Its like the war between Napoleon and Russians. Napoleon introduced new organisational methods, new tactics. Google is like that.

Existing business models are not perfect and are showing faults. Hierarchy and bureaucracy have made businesses slow and inefficient.

Do you think any country has a edge on other in the current economic situation?

The concept of nation or state is dieing. Barriers and boundaries are disappearing.

There is no country that holds a definite edge.

For example China has a definite advantage over United States but China is 'socially and politically backward', so I don't see China dominating.

India on the other side has a high number of educated and ambitious youth who are very concerned about future and technology. India is also socially vibrant. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

'United States is in a state of decline.' Instead of attracting talent from countries like China and India there is a reverse drain. But the Universities in United States are still the best and its socially forward, multi-cultural.

So there is pretty much a mixed picture in the world. Nation concept is dieing.

What do you think is the way ahead for Dubai?

Dubai can become a centre of attracting new technology firms, best of engineers. It can become the Silicon Valley of Middle East.

10 years ago, Dubai had a definite edge as compared to places in the Middle East. It was something different.

It could again be exciting and different. There is so much history and so much of Arabic learning here.

Do you think the recession or economic slowdown which keeps emerging every few decades can be avoided?

Recession which appeared in 2008 is like  Tsunami. The changes around the world and the financial bubble sort of combined and an unusually large wave swept the world.

With capitalism, avoiding recession is not possible. There are cycles of capitalism and they are destroyed, both large and small. In fact I think we shouldn't avoid this. There are constant dynamic forces and there should always be room for something new to emerge.

The worst is system is a stable system where there is no change.

I personally think recession is inevitable.

Business models are drastically changing. The information age started in 1990 but it took it a long time to be a success but it has finally arrived.

Speed and adaptability are the keywords. Existing businesses should add value chains, like Amazon and Apple (itunes). Businesses should be fast, fluid and adaptable, they should allow room for change.

For example, Google: Its light, un bureaucratic, no marketing or sales or editorial team, very few managers and business people. Its fast and fluid. Its about crushing the distance between your sales/marketing team and your customers. Its about getting closer to your audience. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are lessening the distance.

Another example is Zara. It sells its stuff online. Their speed of response is very fast, its a light company, no advertisements. They come up with 100s of new products very quickly, gets instant feedback and therefore, is very close to it's customers. They rely on word to mouth publicity.

Strategy and structure are the soul of business.

What are your thoughts on Emirates Airline Festival of Literature?

Its very interesting and exciting. The audience is very nice and open. I talked for 50 minutes and usually I see people yawning and texting on their cellphones, but the audience last night was very responsive. I am massively impressed, the festival is very well run.

About the author:

Bestselling author and public speaker, Robert Greene was born in Los Angeles and has lived in London, Paris and Barcelona. His first book, The 48 Laws of Power was published in 1998 and quickly became an international bestseller. Next came The Art of seduction, a handbook on how to wield the ultimate form of power and a detailed look at the greatest seducers in history. The third in the series, The 33 strategies of War, was published in 2006 and offers a strategic and very topical look at the impact of war on everyday life. Now his latest book The 50th Law, co-written with rapper 50 Cent, takes as its central theme, fearlessness.