Quora Digest #1

Over the last few months, I’ve answered a number of questions on Quora. The topics I’ve responded to range from my professional experience (talk shows and television producing) to my personal interests (coffee history, running, and foreign languages). I enjoy the back-and-forth on Quora, and I’ve found that answering questions about topics I *think* I know about forces me to understand them more deeply and write more clearly to express that understanding. To encourage this learning process, I’ll share a post each month that includes excerpts from 10 of my favorite answers here. Click through to see the full response.


Q: What is it like to have a diet of just Soylent?
A: “I’ve been drinking Soylent on a near-daily basis for a full year now, and I love it.”

Q: Should I learn Spanish or Italian first?
A: “While there are no shortage of incredible Italian authors and literature (Umberto Eco,Niccolò Machiavelli, and Dante, to name a few), knowing Spanish not only gives you access to the fantastic authors from Spain (Miguel de Cervantes, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Antonio Mochado), but the majority of Latin American literature (Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Marquez, Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, Octavio Paz, and many, many more) is at your fingertips, too.”

Q: Is the future of television on the web?
A: “…Now, with Facebook Live, the whole conversation is changing. Within 5 years, Facebook will become the new television.”

Q: Does coffee make you less hungry?
A: “… If you were thinking of just taking caffeine pills for the same effect, though, you might not have much luck.”

Q: Are American late-night TV show interviews all fake?
A: “When you imagine a “real” or “genuine” interview, what are you picturing? A live on-the-street news interview? There’s a very high chance this is going to be terrible and uninformed.”

Q: As a producer, what do you do in your job?
A: “I take ownership of a segment idea from conception to execution.”

Q: What skills do top live TV producers have and use on a regular basis?
A: “Since you asked about live TV producing, I’ll answer from the perspective of what an actual producer does, and not the executive producer (who runs the show), and the skills she needs to succeed in the live format…”

Q: Are most runners lovers of self-help books?
A: “Runners are in tune with their bodies, they often keep detailed logs of their physical activities, and they seek to improve themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Q: Do talk show hosts shape popular opinion or simply air them?
A: “Talk shows aren’t a format for nuance or detail, so the hosts have to talk about issues in a general way in order to communicate their points to the audience during the ever-shrinking time allotted to televised segments.”

Q: Is nutmeg a must when baking apple pie?
A: “Not at all.”

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