As part of the series of shortish interviews of big shots by Atlantic staffers at the Aspen Ideas Festival, our they-never-sleep web team has posted this Q-and-A between me and Eric Schmidt of Google:
I'll confess that the most surprising aspect of this brief discussion is all the whitish stuff that is flying around the screen while it goes on. That's not some technical video-quality glitch. The city was just full of fluff, or seeds, or whatever (maybe "cotton") from cottonwood trees in the last week of June. Nonetheless we bravely went ahead. The same stuff had been in the air in Beijing two or three weeks earlier, giving me the rare opportunity to find an environmental similarity between bustling big-city China and pristine Aspen.
For the record: I've known Eric Schmidt since the early 1990s, in his pre-Novell and pre-Google days. He and his wife were (and are) Atlantic readers, and I met them at a book event on the west coast; our families have been friends since then. I'm reluctant to say this, both for infringing on their privacy and because it will seem like bragging about now-famous friends. But in the spirit of "transparency" that Schmidt mentions often, including in this brief talk, and to avoid anyone wondering whether I am "concealing" a connection with someone I'm interacting with journalistically here and other times, I note it FWIW.