On Monday night at 8:00 pm EST, Bloomberg TV is launching a new show starring one of Wall Street’s most prominent figures, David Rubenstein, founder and co-CEO of private equity Carlyle Group.
The show’s called “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations,” and features Rubenstein doing one-on-one interviews with business leaders like Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Expect candid discussions about life lessons, formative experiences, and their paths to success.
A few things you should know before you start watching on Monday.
- American Express CEO Ken Chenault, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi will also be interviewed.
- The first episode, featuring Bill Gates, will air on Monday, but after that episodes will be on Wednesday at 8:00 pm.
- The show will run for 12 weeks.
Business Insider caught up with Rubenstein and the show’s creator at Bloomberg, Justin Smith, to talk about how and why they decided to work on this project. According to Smith, the initial idea came from the fact that Rubenstein has been known for his interviewing skills in business and political circles for some time now.
It all started when Rubenstein became president of the Economic Club of Washington DC. One of his official duties was to introduce the club’s quarterly speakers. But there was a problem.
“I realised that some business people are boring speakers,” Rubenstein told Business Insider over the phone.
So to spice things up, he turned the interviews into a Q&A session. Turned out he could be pretty funny.
“It sort of became a cultish thing in Washington because they [his interviews] were so different and so fresh,” said Smith.
Before Rubenstein knew it, he was doing speaking engagements here and there. Now he even hosts a private event with members of Congress in which he interviews an American historian. It’s a chance for legislators from both chambers and both parties to come together and learn something.
“If you knew me 30 years ago I was shy and retiring,” Rubenstein said in his calm cadence, “but when I started Carlyle I had to do presentations and start making speeches, and I got more comfortable… Now I’m making a speeches in front of 1,000 people.”
Rubenstein doesn’t claim to be a journalist, but he does think that his personal relationships with some of his guests will give them breathing room to be more candid.
For example, in Blankfein’s episode he discusses in great detail how he found out that he had cancer and how he dealt with his diagnosis. “I’m a fatalist,” he tells Rubenstein. But the relaxed, genial tone of the conversation conveys otherwise. Dare we say it, the CEO of Goldman Sachs seems incredibly normal.
Smith approached Rubenstein about doing the show around nine months ago.
“We viewed this as an experiment,” Smith said. “The name of game in media and in any business is to do things that are really different and innovative.”
Of course, for Rubenstein the show represents much more than media, it’s a way to frame how he sees success. Over and over in our interview he associated true accomplishment with humility, and an understanding that a lot of what great business leaders have is thanks to luck and the support of their communities.
“Some of the least accomplished people talk about how great they are,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ll let you read into that.”
To prepare for interviews Rubenstein reads a lot — he generally reads two books a week anyway. He does not take notes into interviews because he doesn’t like to break eye contact with his subjects, so he writes his questions down and lets them guide the conversation from his memory. All of this while running a multinational private equity firm.
“Sleep is overrated,” he said.
As for his hopes for the success of the show, Rubenstein is fairly modest.
“I know at least one person will watch it and that’s my mother,” he joked.
Check out the show’s intro below:
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