The Sunday Times describes it as the worlds fastest interview. 15 questions and answers with a maximum of 140 characters. I have taken up the challenge to interview Ben Ringo, previously investment banker in New York and now entrepreneur in Tanzania. Ben is known amongst his friends for detailed, diplomatic and long winded conversations.
BUT here it is: Ben in 140 characters about dinner with Michelle Obama, superpowers and his new life.
Witter: What’s happening in 2013?
I will turn over a new leaf, run my own business and get new experiences and will have a very different view on life.
Last year in July you moved from New York to Tanzania, the country of your parents. When did you decide to move?
After my job was cut at JP Morgan Chase I had a few interviews with other banks and was getting pathetic offers. I was trying to figure out the trajectory of my career and suddenly saw how much more is happening in Tanzania.
So the move was mainly for professional reasons?
If it was only for the job I could have looked elsewhere in the U.S. My parents played a big role. They were not pushing me, but are very happy now that I am in Dar es Salaam.
How is your emotional self feeling about this?
I had to reconnect with friends I had not seen since high school. But my social life has not suffered. It’s quite the same to be honest.
Whats the best thing about Tanzania.
You want me to be brief? That is difficult as there is so much to say about a place that others consider obscure. The best thing for me: It is home.
You are not born in Tanzania but would still think of it as home?
Born in Queens and still feel like a New Yorker, but you wanted a one word answer.
What’s the worst?
You can really not expect me to be short on this one. I’d say infrastructure.
Are you a man full of contradictions?
Anybody who does not admit this to themselves is lying. You don’t have to define yourself as contradictory, but you have to accept the reality of it being so.
You were an active campaigner for Obama in 2012. What would you have done if he had lost?
I would have seriously questioned the direction of the world.
Who would you rather go to dinner with: Michelle Obama or Beyonce?
Beyonce is very famous and would be nice to look at across the table, but I have much more questions for Michelle. Dinner with the first lady: Incredible!
You are quite diplomatic. Why?
If you are too opinionated you become polarizing. Being diplomatic is the most sensible way of projecting one’s image.
What was the last book you read?
That was so boring I can’t even remember the title. It was Greenspan’s book on the US economy under Bush. I remember thinking that Greenspan was a visionary.
What superpower would you like to have?
I would eliminate the obvious ones like being invisible or flying. You have to be too strategic in using them. I would go for super intelligence or telepathy.
Money or passion?
That I didn’t do more. The younger you are the bigger the risk you should take. You can fail as many times as you want. People don’t take enough risks.