Does someone know the following people personally? This my personal wish list of people, who I would like to meet once in my lifetime. I know, I know, I am dreaming. Since these meetings are unlikely to happen, I also present you some questions, I would like to ask them.
On Public Relations
“Sir Richard Branson, on the latest picture of you I’ve seen you wakeboarding with a naked model on your back. Have you always followed the advice of PR people or did they adopt your style? When did someone recommend for the first time that you should change your company name? To what extend should someone listen to PR people?”
On Governmental Policies
“Mr Vijay Mallya, your airline is still restricted to the domestic market, but you must order planes long ahead of time. I guess the ordered A380 are not to fly from Mumbai to Delhi. You’ve created a prestigious airline in India, elected to be one of the 6 best airlines in the world. Can the Indian government deny you international expansion at all? What would you do, if they did?”
On Global Expansion
“Sir Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong has been exposed to the global economy for much longer than most countries. At what point of your career did you start to think globally? If you have thought in a global context right from the start, how did you focus on domestic business without losing the global context?”
On Economic Downturns
“Mr Stelios Haji-Ioannou, flying on an airplane was a luxurious good decades ago. Nowadays competition is mainly played out by price (with some exceptions) and at very small margins. How do you strategically prepare for the next economic downturn, which will arrive around 2014?”
On Sleepless Nights
“William Henry Gates III, working for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I suppose you are as busy as you were at Microsoft. Do you wake up happier in the morning or do you have sleepless night due to the pain and poverty you now see every day?”
On Family Businesses
Mr Lakshmi Mittal, at which point of your long career did your family business turn into a global company? Was it the right decision to own your own steel company before returning to your family’s business?
On Being the Backbone
Miroslava Vavrinec-Federer, you’ve been handling the business related issues for Roger for several years and his success on court has turned into a large business with many counterparts. When you decided to organize Roger’s business off court, what were your major reasons? Giving Roger the time to focus on the game? Not giving away control to an external management? Or any other? How do you feel about your decision? What are your reasons now?
Dietrich Mateschitz, when I drink RedBull in South-East Asia, I usually try the original recipe Krating Daeng. I prefer RedBull, though. If your PR people wouldn’t be listening: which factor was the most important for RedBull’s success? Changes in the formula, rumours about health issues, great marketing, or crazy people jumping down hills with your logo on their back? Supposing you will say ‘a combination of all’, do you think Krating Daeng would still be sold in SEA only, if you didn’t buy the international licensing rights?
Ingvar Kamprad, reading your biography, I learn that you’ve been diligent and cost-conscious; everyday you were the first person in the office. Being a billionaire, you still live a normal life in Switzerland. You own a small house and an old car. Will you leave it at changing the furniture industry or also change the world with your Stichting INGKA Foundation? What are you going to do with all this money? Are you a modern Robin Hood?
And so forth…
- Muhammad Yunus – on emerging countries
- Kofi Annan – on friendship
- Al Gore – on the environment
- Thomas L. Friedman – on world economy
- Jeremy Rifkin – on renewable energies
- Samih Sawiris – on tourism and the rich
- Hans Küng – on world religions
- Ananda Krishnan – on trade
- Robert Kuok – on Asia
- Mikhail Fridman – on the energy business
- Warren Buffet – on emerging countries
- Stephen Hawking – on the universe