Quest: Africa is full of important stories to Africans, international audiences
Richard Quest is a renowned CNN International anchor and reporter. He anchors the popular Quest Means Business show. Recently, CNN International launched a new daily business show – Quest Express – from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. In this interview, Quest speaks on the new show and his everyday life.
You have been described as “one of the most recognizable members of the CNN team,” can you please share what a typical work day is like for you at CNN?
I get up at five in the morning, read for an hour or so then go to the gym from 6:30am to about 7:45am. Then it’s really preparation for Quest Express followed by Quest Means Business. Those two programmes dominate the day in every possible way. It’s nonstop from the moment I begin to the moment I end and then in the evening I catch up on everything else.
Your popular show, ‘Quest Means Business’ reflects on the biggest stories moving the global economy. Can you share some insights on what you have come to recognise as some of the greatest determinant for the success or failure of a business?
Besides the element of luck, which is always significant, it’s really about whether you’ve got a good idea and is it something that people want? We saw this with Snap and people noticed it got a lot of users – young kids especially. Warren Buffett always said invest in those things that you use yourself, and that’s it. Fundamentally, if an idea sounds complicated, convoluted or tricky to operate, it probably is.
You currently present the new business show: Quest Express, “from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,” is there an expected leverage in covering a daily business show live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange?
It’s the heart of capitalism. There is no better place if you’re going to be in New York. Yes, it may have less than 10 per cent of N.Y.S.E. stock trading and it’s certainly more of a television studio than perhaps what it ever used to be, but the reality is when you’re at the stock exchange there’s a feeling, there’s a gravitas, there’s significance – it’s the place.
What significant role and impact do you think the show would have on your African audience?
These shows are about taking the biggest stories from everywhere in the world, wherever that may be, and both simply get on with that job. If it’s a good story from Europe, America or Asia, we cover it. If it’s in Africa, we cover it. I think that the moment you start saying ‘we must do this because it’s an Africa story’ you’ve sunk – I don’t think African audiences would want that from our shows. That said, there’s no doubt that Africa is full of important stories that are interesting not only to Africans, but to international audiences too.
You have had a steady career so far, including being awarded the 2013 UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement, what are those things that drive you to excellence in your career?
If somebody is going to give me the courtesy and privilege and honour of watching my show, I’m going to do the best I can for them. We are nothing more than a light in a box in the corner of the room that someone can switch off.
What metaphors come to mind, to describe what you do?
It’s very simple. It’s a bit like two people standing over the garden fence. One says, ‘have you heard this has happened?’ and the other says, ‘really? I wonder what that means’. That’s basically what we do. It’s a big garden fence. You can complicate it to the nth degree with policies and philosophies and theories, but the further you get away from the two basic principles of being a light in a box that people can switch off and telling people what’s happening or to happen today and why it matters the better.
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