The 5 minutes Dragonfly speed interview

One Dragonfly and three Damselflies in flight

June 5th update: I am keeping the tree question but changing how I will structure the interview. One main thing is that many my questions will likely have longer answers. Stay tune and find out how the interviews will turn out.
I have previous read various pieces of information (from Sean’s blog and the news media) about different members of the Dragons’ Den team. And I have enjoyed them all. Now, I want to try something different.

I am going to try to arrange some on camera interviews (5 minutes max) with each of the dragons and some of crews in a crazy meshed up style of George S., Charlie Rose, and Barbara Walters.

In honour of Barbara (see reference), I am naming the interview series the “If-you-were-a-tree speed interview” to make it irrelevant, fun and insightful all at the same time (remember, the secret mix has George S., Charlie Rose, and Barbara Walters in it (smile)).

I will always start the the interview with, “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” (big smile & see note 1). The dragons or the crews can come back with a snappy or witty answer if they like. Or they can just tell me “Thats a dumb question!” and I will move on to the next random question.

In this interview format, I will try to ask as many questions as I can and the interviewees can come back with as many short and witty answers as they wish. Because I can laugh at myself, the person who told me that my questions are dumb the most times will “win” this game. And I will feature that interview again. Obviously, this works as a cover for my questions simply being lame and stupid. I am currently blaming the idea of this “interview style” on altitude sickness as I did create it on my flight from Calgary to Toronto. Oops, I think I had to be in high altitude and outdoor in order to get sick. Oh, well.

I will of course interview some of the many crews that we come to know. On top of those we know already, and if Kirstine Layfield can spare 5 minutes, I would love to try to interview her as well. [K: Thanks to reader “Spellcheck” for kindly pointing out I spelled Kirstine’s name incorrectly.] I know she is extremely busy as executive director of programming of CBC but it will be fun as she greenlit the Dragons’ Den for (as far as I know). It may be a nice 5 minutes distraction from her busy schedule. Will see.

Kirstine Layfield

To be honest, I met Kirstine once in Calgary and she was very nice but also very serious at the same time. But for Dragons’ Den fans/lovers, I will try to interview Kirstine for you, as she is definitely one of the person that makes DD possible in Canada.

note 1: According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine), “Walters was widely lampooned in 1981 and often since, when during an interview with actress Katharine Hepburn [K: I love Katharine to pieces for her grace and nerves of steel.], Walters is incorrectly identified as having posed the question: “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” As she has often pointed out, and the video clips confirm, Hepburn initiated the comment by saying she would like to be a tree, and Walters merely followed up with, “What kind of a tree?”

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3 Responses to The 5 minutes Dragonfly speed interview

  1. S P Ellcheck says:

    Kempton- noble goal for sure… but why you think *what kind of tree* questions are compelling is beyond me. You might want to focus your line of questioning to why your readers read you.
    Also– you need to check your facts before you publish dude. It’s KIRSTINE Layfield not Kristine…
    not the way to get someone to agree to an interview– make multiple typos of their name…
    *******
    Dear Spellcheck,

    I have never thought that my lead-in question, “If you were a tree …” to be a compelling question, it is more like a fun and silly question to start the interview in a light tone. And I want to get some of the interviewees to practice the line “Thats a dumb question!” to me. After all, I know I will have some stupid questions and I might as well start with one.

    I want to jump around quite a lot in the 5 minutes so it is actually quite important for me to ask sharp questions and to get answers that are short and sweet. Letting the interviewees skip bad questions may be a way to save time. Now, please be assured that I will try to ask lots of business-like and insightful questions. At the same time, there has to be some fun in it. (big smile) So the “tree” question serves that purpose.

    Now, thank you very much for blog pointing out that I had misspelled Kirstine’s name. Sorry Kirstine. Please accept my deepest apologies.

    Next time I will be more careful and fact check Globe and Mail first. A mistake acceptable to Globe and Mail (see the caption under Kirstine’s photo) is not acceptable to me. Especially when I am trying my best to arrange an interview with Kirstine.

    Many thanks for your feedback,
    Kempton

    P.S. Finally, as a photographer and documentarian, I would love to capture a bit of the soul of the interviewees. Asking them a stupid question to start may reveal a bit of that. Don’t know. Ah, I never do things the easy way. Starting up the interview with the “tree question” may backfire on me real bad, but then I do believe I can only find my own path as I am not George S., Charlie Rose, or Ms. Walters. I can only be me.

  2. Jean says:

    I want to be a maple tree. Don’t ask me why. But I think this question is kinda fun for me as it reminded me of my childhood school play, that someone’s bounded to be trees while someone can make Snow White. :) And subconsciously may be because I have a sick maple tree in the backyard that makes me worry.

    Too much focus on the pitch and this is a “what? eh?” question that may potentially spark off some interesting conversation or unwind the brain a different way. And also to see how someone react to it may potentially reflect how people handle the “unexpected” scenerio – you always get some unexpected questions in the business world don’t you. Last but no least, the way the answer comes back gives you a hint of the person’s personality…

    Personally I like this question.
    *******
    Hello Jean,

    You are right on about “the way the answer comes back gives you a hint of the person’s personality…” I won’t say much more about this but I do have a theory and foundation behind my question and what I may see from the answer. Plus start an interview with a less routine question may bring out more insightful answers than those can be recited from memories without thought thus stale and boring.

    Thanks for your feedback and support. I hope you will keep reading this blog and get excited about season 2 of Dragons’ Den. Also wishing your sick maple tree will get well soon.

    Cheers,
    Kempton

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