Top 75 Taavet Hinrikus Quotes

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“A seed depends on a whole host of factors to grow – from the fertility of the soil to the right mix of rain and sun to not being eaten by a passing bird. The same goes for an idea. For an idea to really take hold, other factors come into play, from timing to the emerging technology that makes it possible.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“People need the financial sector to be safe; people also need the financial sector to go through a massive phase of innovation. That means delivering on the positive rhetoric, like around settlement accounts, not allowing Open Banking to be diluted, and leading the way on AML.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“No amount of PR works if you’ve got a bad product.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Most of my time at Skype was spent doing new things.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“There’s always been a lot of interest in the tech community about how to foster innovation and creativity – both within a company but also in the ecosystem of a tech cluster. In both cases, creating opportunities for people who don’t encounter each other normally to meet and talk is key.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“We’re living in a world where international governance is failing to overcome borders, but technology is succeeding in removing them.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Being a ‘global citizen’ is not something reserved for the global elite anymore. Thanks to the democratising power of technology, it’s not a trend determined by privilege or even age but by attitude.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The world is getting smaller thanks to technology.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Talent is the lifeblood of a fast-growing company.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Changing behaviour is a very slow process.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Competition and variety in financial services are always good things.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“There are lots of people building the next TransferWise, not in a sense of competing with us but in a sense of building large, successful companies that are doing something important. I just enjoy helping these founders navigate the journey.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Securing and attracting the best talent is an obsession in the tech industry for good reason. It’s your main asset; it’s your edge.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Historically, people have flocked to Silicon Valley because of the belief that that’s where the latest innovation is happening. It’s a snowball effect.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Talent is a complex subject: from the education our kids get in kindergarten and beyond to the re-skilling of some parts of the workforce; from the opportunities available for research to how we attract the best people to work in our companies.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The attitude to failure is one of the characteristics that’s often called out as the difference between the U.S. and Europe. And we do need to be less risk-averse, more embracing of failure. Having failed makes you look bad in Europe. But in the U.S., it makes you look experienced.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Scaling a business at speed can feel like an out of control roller-coaster.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I was in my early 20s when Estonia joined the E.U. For a kid who’d grown up in the Soviet Union, it seemed like my country had come of age. For a country that had been isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, it seemed like we were becoming part of the global community. It opened a whole new world of possibility.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“For Estonia, joining Europe meant our potential as a country increased – not decreased – because of that connectedness.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The technology is not an end in itself: it is a tool. It can make it easier for us to communicate or manage our finances. It can help us take care of our health or help policemen in their work. It can create jobs and boost growth. It can enhance transparency and accessibility to services.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The world is becoming more global. More than ever, people are proactively deciding where to live, where to study, where to work. Sometimes it’s out of necessity, sometimes it’s out of choice.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“At TransferWise, we started out as – and continue as – idealists. We start with what we can do to make things better and how we can solve problems, focusing on what people need. It turns out you can focus on building the best service and be successful as business.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Sometimes, companies are better placed than politicians and governments to make change happen. That doesn’t mean that they should not be held to account and follow international rules. But with the right motivation, they can be the force for change.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“To be a global business, you need access to the best talent from around the world – fix this, everything else falls into place. Whether it’s homegrown or imported, we don’t mind where it comes from – we just want the best.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“International money transfer is a massive consumer rip-off. Banks and companies like Western Union have gotten away with it for too long.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“While in two very different sectors, both Skype and TransferWise were born out of frustration.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“In 2011, when we launched TransferWise, it was our frustration with banks not giving us what we wanted or needed as customers. The motivation was a strong desire to solve a problem and not just fix something that was broken but create a better alternative and a new system for doing things.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“’Big’ problems are overwhelming, but when we distil them down to their simplest forms, then the solutions become simple, too.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I was pretty vocal about being anti-Brexit before the referendum vote.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Without immigration, nations would stagnate. It is key for innovation and for economic growth.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Climate change, migration… they transcend national borders and require an international response.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Creating a new country from scratch has given Estonia the license to imagine what a country could be.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“When a new hire is afraid to roll up their sleeves and get things done, it’s a clear sign it’s not going to work out.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“A preoccupation with job title is an immediate giveaway that someone’s priorities are not in line with the company’s.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Financial services have always been about trust. Perhaps the biggest barrier to entry has been getting new customers to trust an unknown brand or service, and that’s particularly true with digital disruptors who lack a physical presence on the local high street.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The financial crisis of 2008 created a seismic shift in the dynamics of trust in financial services. FinTech would have happened without the global financial crisis – but it would have taken much longer.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The growth of FinTech has been driven by adoption across age groups, but the demand from the millennial generation to innovate and think about financial services differently has been a catalyst for change.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“With a smartphone, we have a supercomputer in our pocket and are always connected. The way we bank is changing as part of this macro trend.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Celebrity-spotting is pretty standard at Davos. It’s one of the things that makes it easy to criticise.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“There’s most definitely a Davos bubble. You’re in a small Alpine town that, for just four days in January, sees its population tripled with world leaders, CEOs, media, police, the army… and a whole bunch of people who aren’t invited but just come to hang out.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“There’s the risk of a serious case of FOMO at a place like Davos.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Traditional consumer finance has been unfair for decades. Banks have had a monopoly on financial services and have been able to overcharge and underserve consumers.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“When we talk about technology changing the world, we often hear about how it makes our lives easier, more connected, safer, or even healthier. They’re all things we can easily identify with. The Internet makes our lives easier; services like Skype and WhatsApp allows us to be more connected – the examples are endless.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“We built TransferWise focused on customer innovation. That means we build our product based first and foremost on our customers.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“As technology progresses, I believe that fintech will fundamentally change finance.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Bitcoin, I think we can say, is dead.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“People bought bitcoin because they thought it would be worth more tomorrow. And a lot of people got lucky. But we’re not seeing real people use bitcoin. And we don’t know what problem it solves. Now, blockchain, I think, is a genius advancement in technology.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“You start a business being hungry, foolish, and a little bit naive. But more often than not, you end up being disrupted yourself. It happened to Skype.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Large incumbents become big and sometimes become lazy and set themselves up for failure in the future.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“As consumers in general, and with Millennials in particular, we’re getting used to everything being cheaper, faster, better – and banks aren’t keeping up.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Companies that are natively technology-focused I would trust more than a bank.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“As a consumer, I’m definitely waiting for what’s going to come after banks.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I did an MBA because when I left Skype, I didn’t have a clear idea of whether I wanted to create or join a company. But you don’t need an MBA to become an entrepreneur.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t believe it when people tell me they’ve been working 80-hour weeks for five years in a row. I just don’t think that’s possible.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Doing something that empowers people makes you realise how boring it would be to work for a place where the goal is just to make more money. It’s much easier to get out of bed and look forward to 12 hours of work if you’re making the world a better place.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Banks are really bad when it comes to building consumer-centred products.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“We believe that the future of money is digital.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“If you think about the influence it has had, it’s incredible. Think of all the relationships that have been saved because of Skype.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Bitcoin and the whole discussion around it shows how big a need there is for innovation about what money is and how it is stored.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“If the hard Brexit happens, I would assume that London wouldn’t be the centre of the tech world in Europe.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“If the U.K. leaves the E.U., we’ll have to consider whether it makes business sense to stay headquartered here.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Most banks tell their customers that they only pay a small upfront fee for international payments. But in reality, customers pay much more.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I spent my workdays at Skype creating a more connected world. We were shrinking the distances between people, making it easier to connect across countries. Then I’d go to my bank to transfer my euros to pounds, and it was like going back in time 50 years: expensive, inconvenient, and painfully slow. It was a nightmare.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The U.S.A. is a huge market which has a large immigrant population from Europe, India, from all around the world; lots of them have, still, strong ties to home, so move lots of money.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The banks never sent me one chequebook. I’m very happy not to have ever touched one.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I think that if Britain does decide to leave the E.U., that would be a disaster for the technology sector here and probably also for the broader economy.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“There are so many instances in banking where ‘free’ simply doesn’t mean free, whether it’s opaque overdraft charges or credit card providers that are quietly raising interest rates without customers noticing.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Costs should always be presented up front so that consumers can make informed choices and get a fairer deal.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“There’s one thing a CEO should always keep at the front of their mind, and that’s customer needs.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I get a kick out of helping the next generation of founders.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Maybe I think too highly of myself, but I think maybe sometimes I can give some good advice – sometimes bad advice, I’m sure – and I think that’s a way of giving back.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“Hiring new people, opening up in new markets, all of that takes money.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“I think that’s the beauty of being a private company: you get to choose when you disclose something. You can play it in a strategic way or in a tactical way.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“If we think about how long Google spent searching – I think they came around in ’98? And, OK, Gmail came in 2004, but it was literally built by one engineer as a 20%-time project. It was probably 10 years before Google started diversifying.”

― Taavet Hinrikus

“The fact that Skype was founded in Estonia, the fact that Skype had a successful exit, which meant that Estonia benefited in a major way, meant that entrepreneurship became legitimate. There were more than a thousand people who either worked or had worked at Skype who had seen what it takes to build a global business.”

― Taavet Hinrikus
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