Big Questions, Brief Replies

We asked 17 CEOs, professors, and investors probing questions—and made them answer in 10 words*.
Jeffrey Katzenberg
CEO, DreamWorks Animation
How do you balance storytelling and marketability when making movies?
It starts with story. Great ideas are, by definition, marketable.
John Podesta
Chairman, Center for American Progress
How has technology changed politics?
It’s given Rupert Murdoch a new weapon—a Twitter account.
Esther Dyson
Investor and Entrepreneur
What is the next big thing VCs should invest in?
Quantified community. Applying citizen-led big-data analysis and oversight to cities.
Christina Hull Paxson
President, Brown University
What is the value of a liberal arts education in this economy?
Essential. Liberal arts educations produce innovative, creative, and adaptable leaders.
Marc Cenedella
CEO, TheLadders
Is the job market suffering from a skills gap?
Not a skills gap; it’s suffering from a learning gap.
Douglas Brinkley
Author and Professor of History, Rice University
What does the Supreme Court’s health-care decision mean for Obama’s legacy?
Obamacare may someday be a laurel instead of an epithet.
David Cote
CEO, Honeywell
What role will energy production play in the U.S. economy and the recovery?
In the energy generation vs. energy efficiency debate … do both.
Susan Wojcicki
Senior Vice President for Ads, Google
How do you and Google balance the interests of consumers and advertisers?
We respect the ecosystem: Advertisers go where the consumers go.
Wilbur Ross
What is the next industry ripe for acquisition?
Marine transport, due to the excessive new building of ships.
Cynthia Carroll
CEO, Anglo American
How do you hire good employees?
I’m good at listening. I know what good looks like.
Dan Ariely
Author, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty
In what industries is dishonesty most rampant?
Everywhere where the rules are not well defined—banking, lobbying.
Joanna Barsh
Director, McKinsey
How can we develop more women as leaders?
Open the door to opportunity and push them through it.
Carla Hills
CEO, Hills & Co., and former U.S. Trade Representative
What is the biggest obstacle to increased trade with emerging markets?
Insufficient U.S. understanding of the benefits we derive from trade.
Eric Migicovsky
Founder, Pebble Technology
How are you dealing with the very public and very high expectations that crowdfunding brings?
Constant, thorough communication with our backers, with updates and pictures!
Frits van Paasschen
President and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Are China and India ready for luxury travel?
Ready? They’re driving a new “Golden Age” in luxury travel.
Ben Milne
CEO and Co-Founder, Dwolla
How are mobile payments changing the banking system?
Midair, I bought Bejeweled in 10 seconds. That changes a consumer.
Warren Buffett
Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
What’s the key thing you look for when investing in a company?
I look for management. Somebody’s going to have to run it, and it isn’t going to be me.
*the Buffett Exception

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