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jerryking : michael_ovitz   4

Michael Ovitz, Hollywood super-agent, on ‘winning at all costs’
SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 | Financial Times | by Matthew Garrahan.

In Ovtiz's 20 years at CAA, it assembled hit after hit, including Jurassic Park, Tootsie, Goodfellas and Dances with Wolves. He talks about the agency as though describing a military campaign (he is a keen student of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War). “When I was at CAA, I had a singular mission, which was to win at all costs,” he says. “We were ultra-competitive and we were in a service business but my thesis was that we weren’t selling a product. We were selling and putting together people’s dreams . . . if we showed a weak link then we would be vulnerable. Vulnerability was a sin.”....Ovitz explains that the memoir evolved from an earlier idea about a book on deals. He played a leading role in the arrival of Japanese companies in Hollywood three decades ago, advising Sony on its 1989 purchase of Columbia Pictures and the sale a year later of Lew Wasserman’s MCA (later renamed Universal, and now part of Sky’s new owner Comcast) to Matsushita. Advising Japanese buyers was a strategic move, he explains. “If the studios are in trouble and going to go out of business, we lose leverage and our clients lose jobs. But if we can bring people in to buy the studios, not only do clients continue to get jobs but we’re the people talking to the owners.”...Ron Meyer and Ovitz
slowly built an empire, starting in television and moving into films, with the aim of representing every significant writer, director and star in town: “no conflict, no interest” was his mantra. It was a radically different model to what had come before. “Agents traditionally fielded orders, so if I was your agent and someone had a job, they’d call me and ask for you,” he says. “Or they’d tell me they had an assignment and, if you happened to be available, I’d pitch you.” Agencies were like “clearing-houses”.....that was archaic. You’re a writer, you’re loaded with ideas . . . why don’t we take those ideas and add elements to them and then sell the whole thing and let you control it? Why would we just wait to answer the phone?”.....Agents took on a more central role in Hollywood after CAA’s rise to power, assembling the composite parts of a film or television project before taking the “package” of script, star and director to the studios....."[Endeavour's] thesis is very similar to the thesis we had [at CAA], which is to expand into new areas that can service clients.”
actors  books  CAA  creating_valuable_content  dealmakers  deal-making  Hollywood  memoirs  Michael_Ovitz  professional_service_firms  Sun_Tzu  talent_management  talent_representation  vindictiveness  Lew_Wasserman 
october 2018 by jerryking
Why Andreessen Horowitz Models Itself After A Hollywood Talent Agency - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ
By DEBORAH GAGE
Jan 21, 2011

Andreessen Horowitz’s investors, including university endowments, foundations and funds of funds, are also betting big money on the firm’s story, Horowitz says. The firm aims to flip the venture industry on its head by acting more like a talent agency – specifically Creative Artists Agency, which became so prominent in Hollywood that it was hard to do deals without them being involved.

CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, who served on Opsware’s board from 2000 until H-P’s acquisition in 2007, shared his secrets with the two partners, Horowitz said — even talking to Andreessen Horowitz’s employees when the firm started so that everybody could be on the same page.

Horowitz says he and Andreessen looked hard at everything Ovitz did, “and a lot of little things, we copied,” including even how Ovitz ran staff meetings.

Like CAA – and unlike more traditional venture capital firms – Andreessen Horowitz employs over 20 well-paid partners whose job is to help clients, i.e. the entrepreneurs, much in the same way CAA agents serve the talent.

Instead of book and movie and TV deals, the partners, each specialists in their fields, find engineers, designers, and product managers; the best marketing and public relations; and relationships with key customers – not just top management, but the guys who run the network and the database. They check references, and research companies and markets.

“When we were at Netscape, John Doerr introduced us to the CEO of AT&T,” Horowitz said. “That’s great, but he’s not buying a Web server. If you have no relationship at that level, it’s not as powerful, so we invest a lot in that.”...Like his firm, Horowitz believes every company should have a great story, too, because it motivates employees and helps explain the company to the outside world. “In a company, hundreds of decisions get made, but objectives and goals are thin,” he says. “I emphasize to CEOs, you have to have a story in the minds of the employees. It’s hard to memorize objectives, but it’s easy to remember a story.”
Andreessen_Horowitz  Marc_Andreessen  Ben_Horowitz  creating_valuable_content  Michael_Ovitz  CAA  partnerships  insights  professional_service_firms  talent_representation  storytelling  reference-checking 
march 2017 by jerryking
The Mind of Marc Andreessen - The New Yorker
MAY 18, 2015 | New Yorker | BY TAD FRIEND.

Doug Leone, one of the leaders of Sequoia Capital, by consensus Silicon Valley’s top firm, said, “The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”* A great V.C. keeps his ears pricked for a disturbing story with the elements of a fairy tale. This tale begins in another age (which happens to be the future), and features a lowborn hero who knows a secret from his hardscrabble experience. The hero encounters royalty (the V.C.s) who test him, and he harnesses magic (technology) to prevail. The tale ends in heaping treasure chests for all, borne home on the unicorn’s back....Marc Andreessen is tomorrow’s advance man, routinely laying out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” as if he were glancing at his Google calendar. He views his acuity as a matter of careful observation and extrapolation, and often invokes William Gibson’s observation “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”....Andreessen applies a maxim from his friend and intellectual sparring partner Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in LinkedIn and Yelp. When a reputable venture firm leads two consecutive rounds of investment in a company, Andreessen told me, Thiel believes that that is “a screaming buy signal, and the bigger the markup on the last round the more undervalued the company is.” Thiel’s point, which takes a moment to digest, is that, when a company grows extremely rapidly, even its bullish V.C.s, having recently set a relatively low value on the previous round, will be slightly stuck in the past. The faster the growth, the farther behind they’ll be....When a16z began, it didn’t have even an ersatz track record to promote. So Andreessen and Horowitz consulted on tactics with their friend Michael Ovitz, who co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in 1974. Ovitz told me that he’d advised them to distinguish themselves by treating the entrepreneur as a client: “Take the long view of your platform, rather than a transactional one. Call everyone a partner, offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients. Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.”
Marc_Andreessen  Andreessen_Horowitz  Silicon_Valley  transactional_relationships  venture_capital  vc  Peter_Thiel  long-term  far-sightedness  Sequoia  mindsets  observations  partnerships  listening  insights  Doug_Leone  talent_representation  CAA  mental_models  warning_signs  signals  beforemath  unevenly_distributed  low_value  extrapolations  acuity  professional_service_firms  Michael_Ovitz  execution  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value
MAY 31, 2014 | NYTimes.com |By QUENTIN HARDY.

Founded in 2004, in part with $2 million from the CIA’s venture capital arm, Palantir makes software that has illuminated terror networks and figured out safe driving routes through a war-torn Baghdad. It has also tracked car thieves, helped in disaster recovery and traced salmonella outbreaks. United States attorneys deployed its technology against the hedge fund SAC Capital, which was also an early investor in the company....Palantir’s software has been used at JPMorgan Chase to spot cyberfraud and to sell foreclosed homes; at Bridgewater Associates to help figure out investments for its $157 billion under management, and at Hershey to increase chocolate profits. The technology is complex, but the premise is simple: The software consumes huge amounts of data — from local rainfall totals to bank transactions — mashes it together and makes conclusions based on those unlikely combinations. Where is a terrorist attack likely to occur? What is a bad financial bet?...As Palantir expands into offering services to the private sector — now perhaps 70 percent of its business — Mr. Karp’s worry is losing control of what happens with its software....“The thing Alex worries about the most is they have a culture that’s hard to sustain as it grows,” said Mr. Carville, the Democratic consultant. “I take walks around Stanford with him, and he talks about it: ‘If we become something besides Palantir, what are we?’ ”...Palantir’s founders started with an idea from PayPal. At one point, PayPal was losing the equivalent of 150 percent of its revenue to stolen credit card numbers. It figured out how computers could spot activity — like a flurry of payments to a brand new account — at a global scale. ...“The idea was to pick one bank, and the rest would follow,” Mr. Ovitz said. JPMorgan was the first. Much as Palantir figured out navigating Baghdad by analyzing recent roadside attacks, satellite images and moon phases, it derived home-sale prices by looking at school enrollments, employment trends and retail sales. Data that JPMorgan thought would take two years to integrate was put into action in eight days.

JPMorgan still uses Palantir for cybersecurity, fraud detection and other work, loading half a terabyte of data onto a Palantir system each day, according to a Palantir video. ...Government clients also struggle with a data explosion. “Everything becomes more difficult, the more crime becomes global, the more state actors are involved, the more trades there are around the globe,” said Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. “It’s malpractice to have records and not search them.” He has used Palantir for several cases, including the SAC investigation....Palantir is now Palo Alto’s biggest tenant after Stanford, occupying about 250,000 square feet in downtown buildings, which hold many of Palantir’s 1,500 employees. Contracts around the world have surged as everyone’s data increases in size and diversity.
Palantir  Silicon_Valley  CIA  security_&_intelligence  software  Michael_Ovitz  organizational_culture  massive_data_sets  Peter_Thiel  data  information_overload  cyber_security  fraud_detection  platforms  actionable_information  JPMorgan_Chase 
june 2014 by jerryking

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