Ten Money Questions for Kara Swisher
I rarely speak of my day job while posting at Queercents, but as some of you know I sell software. I also survived the dot-com boom and bust and although I didn’t profit financially, this experience put me in the midst of something historic. Kara Swisher was and continues to be the Wall Street Journal columnist and reporter covering all things digital. I would bet that she might even have Bill Gates’ private mobile number. If not, she certainly has access to anyone that matters in technology. She’s a digerati rock star in my opinion!
So my enthusiasm bubbled over when I noticed Kara writing about her lesbian family life in The Louie Chronicles at the Huffington Post. She was kind enough to participate and get personal in our Ten Money Questions series. For me, it’s moments like these that make my efforts with Queercents worthwhile. I hope you enjoy her words as much as I did.
1. What predictions can you make about the Internet in terms of technology and personal finance?
I think all finances will eventually be done digitally, and we will carry digital money cards that will allow us to buy just about anything instantly from gas to soda to wifi access.
While I like a wad of cash, I suspect we are headed for a cashless society, perhaps only in the richer countries.
2. What is your most significant memory about money?
Not having enough, as my mother is a spendthrift and was always out of cash, even though we grew up in affluent environs. Because of that, I am a real saver from the earliest time I can remember.
3. Although you are an accomplished author and journalist, a writer typically struggles with earning a living at some point during his or her career. Did you ever feel like a starving artist? How did you cope during this period?
No, I was left a lot of $$ after my Dad died when I was five years old, via an insurance policy. Also, my grandfather and grandmother on my Mom’s side were wealthy, though you would never know. I always had a lot of $$ and I managed it myself from early on.
4. What is your worst habit around finances?
Not paying my bills on time. I never think about what things cost, though I never spend that much either.
5. Does your take on forming attachments apply to material things?
No, I could care less about material things. They are ephemeral. Also, having a shopaholic mother makes you hate things (you can spend too long at the fair).
6. My partner and I are spending a vulgar amount of money trying to get pregnant. As a mother of two boys, what advice would you give to gay and lesbian couples managing expenses associated with the baby-making process?
Do your research. We did a lot and got pregnant quickly. We bought, for example, an ovulation predictor machine, which cost a few hundred dollars, rather than the cheaper pee sticks. It was much more accurate and we saved a lot in not having to inseminate a lot. We also did test to make sure we were actually ovulating (we each had one kid) as women don’t every month.
7. At the D: All Things Digital conference, you get to grill “rich and famous” tech celebrities. If you could ask Meg Whitman or Steve Jobs one question about money, what would it be?
What are you going to do with all that dough?
8. Which is more important: how much you make or how you spend it? Why?
How you spend it. Because you can make a lot and lead a miserable and selfish life. Money should be used to improve your life or help others.
9. I read about how you raced to the post office to file your partner’s taxes on April 15th, the same day she gave birth to your son. Were you mailing your tax return too?
I had mailed mine already. Megan is worse when it comes to money as she just does not care about it one way or another. You can never motivate her with money nor does she pay much attention to it. She is so bad about it that she did not turn in her taxes for years before I met her even though the government owed her a mint. I cleared that up.
10. What is the most important lesson you hope to teach your children about money?
That they have to earn it themselves. And that, though we have money, that many people do not and they should realize how lucky they are. Also, no, they cannot have that toy.
More about Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher works in The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau. For many years, she wrote the column, “Boom Town,” which appeared on the front page of the Marketplace section and also on The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com. Previously, Ms. Swisher covered breaking news about the Web’s major players and Internet policy issues and also wrote feature articles on technology for the paper. She has also written a weekly column for the Personal Journal on home issues called “Home Economics.”
She currently co-produces and co-hosts “D: All Things Digital,” a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering is considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries.
Previously, Ms. Swisher worked as a reporter at the Washington Post and as an editor at the City Paper of Washington, D.C. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her graduate degree at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
She is also the author of “aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web,” published by Times Business Books in July 1998. The sequel, “There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future,” was published in the fall of 2003 by Crown Business Books.
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.