Last week I crowd-sourced question on LinkedIn. The premise was quite simple: if you could have dinner with any business icon, living or dead, who would it be and what is the one question you would absolutely have to ask them. The post received over 50,000 views and I received hundreds of responses but some of the choices may well surprise you.
To be honest, I had already anticipated that the likes of Jobs and Zuckerberg would be high on the list of potential dinner guests but I really hadn’t expected Ivanka Trump to be on the list. Possibly her father, but not her. Her role in the entire election process, no matter what your political stance may be, was impressive. She exudes an air of quiet confidence and evidently has an astute business brain.
Debbie Yong’s proposed question to Ivanka is intriguing:
“Do you really agree with your father’s business ideals or do you wish to try to forge your own personal path and move away from the Trump branding?”
I wonder how she might answer? I’m guessing that she would always support her father but I’d speculate that she doesn’t always agree with the way in which he handles certain situations.
The sadly deceased icon of the Apple organization was the most popular choice of all the business leaders selected by those who responded to the LinkedIn request. There were plenty of questions about how he came up with the idea for the iPhone but as Jobs was my own personal choice I’m going to take the liberty of asking my question (my prerogative if it’s my article I suppose). My question?
“if it were possible that you were back running Apple what new product would you wish to develop?”
My guess would be that it would be some kind of autonomous vehicle but with that said I’m sure he would have something even more exciting up his sleeve.
Another fascinating choice and one that I definitely hadn’t expected to be in the list. That said, Michaela Macintyre makes a very strong case for her inclusion:
“Whatever you think of her, she has to be one of the best businesswomen, brand builders and reputation managers we have ever seen. I’d like to ask her what the future of social media is, what the next big thing in brand building is and top tips for brands working with influencers”
Given the huge following KK has on social media and the millions she has earned through her TV work and endorsements, you cannot fault Michaela’s thought process or the fact that Kardashian has built an incredibly powerful personal brand.
“a very driven individual, you surround yourself with talent and support but how do you take care of you so that you stay on your track?”
I met Gary a few years ago and would never be so presumptuous as to answer on his behalf but I’m guessing that a glass of decent wine might be part of his response.
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Jerome Syed wanted to ask the legendary American industrialist:
“What would you do differently to Elon Musk in pioneering electric and autonomous vehicles or would you concede defeat and look for other opportunities?
Well we will clearly never get to know the answer but I pretty confident that Ford certainly wouldn’t have conceded defeat.
Nicolas Visiers Wurth had a very simple question of to the founder of Facebook:
“what would you like to do 10 years from now?”
I’m certain that he won’t have retired within the next decade and no doubt he will have either launched or bought a new business to complement his existing collection of social platforms.
To conclude I thought I’d share some of the more amusing suggestions proffered by some of the professionals on LinkedIn. For example, one user wanted to ask Al Capone where he had hidden the loot and another intriguingly wanted to ask Bill Gates how he came up with the idea for Google? Hmmm I think Larry Page and Sergey Brin might be very interested to know his answer to that one…
So which business leader would you select and what question would you ask them?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.