From Law School to Tech CEO: Greg Blatt’s Journey

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On a cold day in February 2009, Greg Blatte boarded a plane in New York and flew back to Dallas, Texas. He was leaving the Big Apple for the Lone Star State to run Match.com, a small company tied to its huge parent company InterActivCorp (IAC) for which he had just spent the past five years as executive vice president and general counsel.

Acquired by IAC a decade earlier, Match.com had been one of the first modern dating websites to hit the internet, but in recent years it had stagnated both financially and in its subscriber base. . “That’s where I would say my ‘official’ business career began,” says Blatt. “But in reality, it had started ten years before.”

Corporate law and general advice

1999 wasn’t just the year Match.com was sold to IAC — it was also the year Blatt became general counsel at Martha Stewart Living. He was a pivot to corporate law after spending his first 18 months out of Columbia Law School working for Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York’s largest mergers and acquisitions firm. Calling his time as a partner for the firm “intense”, Blatt would sometimes stay in the office for days on end. “I remember my roommate at the time calling the office at one point to make sure I was okay, because he hadn’t seen me for several days,” Blatt says. “I’ve learned more in this year and a half about the work ethic, about perfectionism, about teamwork, about how to really digest and dissect a problem before trying to solve it. This was an amazing experience.”

At the time, he determined that corporate law was not for him in the long term and instead decided to make the transition into entertainment law, becoming a partner at Grubman Indursky Schindler PC. While he took the job with the idea that he could use it to find a path in the entertainment industry, he ended up working very heavily with Martha Stewart who was a client of the company.

Stewart was working to buy the rights to her magazine and other merchandise, which she didn’t own at the time. She had recently formed Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to serve as a holding company for all her related brands, and in 1999 decided she wanted to take the company public. Blatt joined her as the company’s general counsel in May of that year, and in November the company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, opening at $18 a share and nearly tripling the end of the day.

As General Counsel at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Greg Blatt spent the next four and a half years heavily involved in all aspects of the business. “I wasn’t put in a small office to do the legal work,” Blatt says. “I was a central part of the management team and became very important in business negotiations and business strategy. This tends to happen in companies where intellectual property and contractual rights are central assets of the company.” He hasn’t even left law school in four years, calling it an amazing opportunity that finally put him on the trajectory of his executive career.

Uncertain career beginnings

Born and raised in a Boston suburb, Blatt certainly didn’t grow up with ambitions of executive leadership, or even law. He went to college because “that’s exactly what you did” and admitted that his academic performance was far from excellent in his youth. A major in English and a minor in economics at Colgate University in upstate New York, he continued to find himself not career-oriented throughout college, taking literature classes. which he enjoyed but never thought about what he would do after graduation.

“When it was time to go, I was the proverbial college kid who said, ‘Wait a second. I have to go?’ No, I didn’t really have a big plan. I had done pretty well in school and figured out what I was good at and what I liked, but I hadn’t translated it all into a career yet,” Blatt says.

After graduating, a friend told him he was moving to Telluride, Colorado to “I guess you could say, be a ski bum.” On a whim, Blatt decided to join him. He spent the next two years serving tables and tending a bar among other odd jobs, in addition to traveling a bit in Europe and San Francisco.

However, he also spent that time thinking about what he wanted his career to look like. He wrote a novel and reflected on what he liked about his English lessons, eventually concluding that he enjoyed writing, reading, analyzing and discussing. The idea of ​​law school, which turned all of these hobbies into a more practical skill set, began to form in his mind, and he eventually took the LSAT and was accepted into Columbia Law School. “I fell in love with law, I fell in love with economics, corporate law, finance, all of that stuff,” Blatt says.

Executive Direction for IAC

After four and a half years at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Blatt moved on to IAC, a much bigger company with an even bigger reach. IAC owned a huge business conglomerate, focusing on early adopters of the Internet business models that have now become the norm, such as Ticketmaster, Expedia, Hotels.com, Home Shopping Network and, of course, Match.com. Again, in the position of General Counsel, Blatt had the privilege of working on the legal side of things while being heavily involved in executive affairs, giving him the knowledge and experience to become CEO of Match. com.

February 2009 marked the start of an eight-year tenure in various CEO roles for IAC. Blatt ran Match.com for two years, during which time he was able to show his strengths as an executive. However, when Barry Diller, longtime CEO and chairman of IAC, decided to step down, he called Blatt back to New York to take his place as CEO of IAC, the publicly traded parent company. After leading the entire operation for three years, he became chairman of the newly formed Match Group in 2014, which now housed Match.com and the many other dating and similar businesses acquired and launched since Blatt took over. falls under Match. Match Group was on the cusp of having its own IPO, and with Blatt’s previous experience IPOing a company at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, it was only natural for him to become President of Match Group for facilitate the move.

Tinder, a booming business at the time, was also part of the Match Group conglomerate. As it quickly became the fastest growing brand in the company, Blatt also held leadership positions to facilitate its growth, including Executive Chairman and CEO while remaining Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. the management of Match Group.

A whirlwind journey that’s not over yet, Blatt’s career trajectory from headless youngster to corporate lawyer to CEO certainly couldn’t be called “calculated”. It was more about staying open to the opportunities that presented themselves and knowing when to seize them. Asked what advice he would give young entrepreneurs, Blatt offered this:

“Be bold but be humble. Listen to others. One success does not guarantee you a second success or a third success. And no matter how easy or difficult a victory is, hard work, collaboration and judgment are of crucial importance to pursue the next one.

Jon J. Epps