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Interesting Questions Losing the Arms Race to Dull Answers

Some days I am reminded that I am not a reporter.

This happens whenever I lose the arms race.

My weapon of choice is interesting questions.

With certain people, my questions repeatedly fail — entirely insufficient to overcome dull answers.

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I can lose on the various battlefields.

Interviews for articles.

Public interchanges about people’s research, new jobs, startups.

It bothers me a lot when I absolutely know that there is something interesting there and I just can’t extract it. It bothers me a little when the article doesn’t get written.

It bothers me a lot more when the public thread fails. This was a possibility for a person’s community to join in the excitement and perhaps collaborate. But they won’t know. In some cases, the person’s family and friends won’t even know because they don’t know how to talk about it.

On those days rather than simply not being a reporter, I am failing as a storyteller.

Wishing I knew how to ask better questions.


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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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