On the heels of IAC’s impressive year-end financials—showing revenues up 26 percent to $2.1 billion and profits up 75 percent to $174 million—the Financial Times decided to profile CEO Greg Blatt.
Mr. Blatt, if you recall, was put in place as Barry Diller’s successor in December, 2010. A former lawyer at Watchell Lipton, he helped take Martha Stewart Omnimedia public in 1994 and helped IAC spin off online properties like Expedia and Ticketmaster during the company’s “disaggregation period.”
1. He’s a yeller.
Greg Blatt is talking fast and loud. So loud that, after a while, your ears begin to hurt. It is as if he’s at a sports match and is shouting to be heard above the roar of the crowd. . . .
Mr Blatt is also shouting because, well, that’s the kind of guy he is. “It’s been this incredible combination of execution and innovation,” he says in his amplified voice. (“That wasn’t loud for him,” an assistant later explains.)
2. He does not have any ant farms, in case you were wondering.
On his desk, next to unopened bottles of bourbon and a flask engraved with “Match.com”, is a picture of him with friends at the 2002 Super Bowl, which his home town New England Patriots won. “I’m just a guy,” he says. “I go to the beach in the summer and ski in winter. I don’t have any ant farms. I don’t collect stamps.”
3. He does not need Match.com, the IAC subsidiary he once headed, to get a date.
He is unmarried – and has even cancelled his subscription to Match.com. “I’m a single guy,” he says. “I have a bunch of friends in the city. I date ladies from time to time.”
4. He used to not know where to put his olive pit.
Before one critical meeting, Ms. Stewart took Mr Blatt out for hors d’oeuvres to talk over the deal. “We’re sitting there and I suddenly realise the olive in my mouth had a pit,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what the proper etiquette was. I considered swallowing it. She said, ‘Greg, you know what you do with the pit?’ Then she put her fingers in her mouth and put it on the table. She has a good sense of humour.”
5. There was also a point where he was not familiar with the Internet:
“I went to law school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he says, throwing his hands up in the air. “If someone had asked me if I would be working in the internet after law school I would have said: ‘What’s the internet?’”
BONUS: One thing we learned about IAC chairman Barry Diller: he picks out his own carpet.