Barry Diller

*This will be the quotes section from my Barry Diller compilation. It’s not yet finished, but in the meantime, you can check out my other compilations here.

Best Practices

  • “The key to the success of this evolution, then, lies in managing that tradeoff—in keeping the pendulum from swinging too far one way or the other—and instead fixing it squarely at that optimal angle where entrepreneurial fervor, on the one hand, and the powers and benefits of scale and cooperation on the other, perfectly support each other.” (2005)
  • “Look to the establishment of cross-company groups who will work together to further best practice sharing across the businesses and the easy interchange of innovation and ideas. Look to increased communications across IAC so that everyone has a much clearer understanding about the challenges and achievements of our businesses” (2005)
  • “We manage the business to optimize a balance between short-term and long-term results” (2006)
  • “HSN has turned the corner and the customer is now reengaged and responding to improved product quality and variety, new brands, elevated presentation on air and online and improved quality of service with all call centers now back on US shores” (2007)


  • “With a strong financial base, disciplined focus, and a large appetite, there is a world of opportunity to challenge us. We’ve laid a solid foundation in both operations and management and that I and my colleagues are anxious and motivated to build thereupon. With you continued support, we will surely do so.” (1996)
  • “We are aggressively building local destinations hyper-focused on the where, what, and how required to get things done locally” (1999)
  • “Given our start in owning television stations, and my own history in entertainment, we certainly didn’t get to where we are by design… what we had was a real curiosity about interactivity and the great good luck to have it just prior to the development of the internet. We proceeded step by step, constantly re-evaluating our position, delving into the areas we found interesting, and jumping on opportunities with total focus, speed and aggression.” (2002)
  • “The media conglomerate was a charted course, executed dozens of times over. The interactive conglomerate was an idea, a notion, an inchoate vision. But I believed at that time that these assets, seemingly disparate yet all sharing the common thread of interactivity, would come together in some way that could not yet be mapped out, that we were on the verge of a new economic model that was ours for creating.” (2005)
  • “Throughout all this, we really were a holding company. Truly “operating” these assets was an ambition, not much of a reality. We felt our every hour job was to get the mix right, to assemble the necessary components of an interactive conglomerate, while doing our best to grow the businesses, but without clarity on the structure and responsibility of the entities or their relationship to each other” (2005)
  • “During 2006 we set this in motion, erecting a host of frameworks, with a vehemence against bureaucracy, that facilitate interaction between our businesses, that will share people, ideas, know-how, to create opportunities where none existed before, to leverage scale and centralize expertise. The results of this take shape in a variety of forms—from the intangible to the specific” (2006)
  • “We are optimistic but not foolhardy and have learned from past mistakes. We are aware that advances here will most likely only be made in small increments with many hands pulling the oars of multifaceted strategy designed to drive awareness, trial and repeat usage” (2008)
  • “First and foremost we improved… it is now 30% faster and more relevant and attempts to cut through the clutter of blue links to deliver the desired answer the first time around”
  • “Secondly, with the product improved, we are aggressively distributing… look for us to continue partnering when possible, acquiring when appropriate, and innovating around new ways to tap into properties, which combine natural sources of organic traffic with the ability to drive search traffic and revenue” (2008)
  • “Thirdly, we are identifying niche and underserved segments of audience online—significant both for their size and the passion of their constituents—and marrying product features, toolbars and in some cases marketing to best serve them” (2008)
  • “While consistently evolving and improving the product offering to match the ever changing needs and activities of the consumer, the business has demonstrated remarkable resiliency within the current economic environment and ended 2008 with its highest year-end subscriber base.” (2008)
  • “In toolbars… continued success, as in the past, will come from innovation, uniqueness of product, world-class online marketing and servicing the needs of our consumers and partners” (2009)­­­­
  • “In Local… advertisers increasingly want to see not only measurable results from their marketing efforts, but the ability to reach consumers at the precise moment when they want to shop, dine or transact” (2009)­­­­
  • “Vimeo… where we offer a subscription based video-sharing site, we’re seeing adoption increase from almost nothing to a solid and growing subscriber base—evidencing that consumers are willing to pay for an enhanced experience” (2009)

Capital Allocation and Opportunity

  • “With the tremendous flexibility afforded by our balance sheet… we have never been better positioned” (2000)
  • “Our primary motivation is to turn a relatively “passive” asset on our books into the equivalent of cash, which we can then use either to acquire new businesses, invest in our current ones, or shrink our capitalization.” (2002)
  • “We have no intention to settle for just following the tailwinds of the category’s online adoption; we are everywhere aggressively investing in new initiatives” (2003)
  • “The large cash flow generation of our businesses and our historical ability to put capital to work at attractive returns is what we everyday strive for.” (2003)
  • “Our 2006 operating agenda consisted of three primary strategies: growing our businesses, beginning to tie our businesses together with, and developing and leveraging our integrated conglomerate operating structure.” (2006)
  • “The decisions we made during and following the year in cutting costs wherever possible, in making ourselves leaner, more focused and efficient, in making strategic acquisitions… and in selling non-core assets… will soon make each of these independent companies far stronger as they begin their new lives” (2007)
  • “We have both the blessing and the burden of a greatly over-capitalized company. The blessing is obvious, but the burden is in determining how to spend our capital. I don’t think we’ll return to our history to guide us—making multiple acquisitions as the growth of the internet afforded. I do believe we will add companies in line with the strategy of our current operations” (2008)
  • “We are engaged in a sector-by-sector review of everything we do, out of which we will make decisions about whether to expand and invest in our current lines of business or seek alternatives to being part of us.” (2008)
  • “One way or the other, my colleagues and I do not want to sit with huge amounts of capital earning tiny money market returns. At the same time we’re not going to spend a dollar we don’t think will return value to shareholders.” (2008)

Core Principles

  • “All of our businesses have a unified mission: to harness the power of interactivity to make people’s lives easier… everyday and every way. These goals have never before been clearer and we are executing them with ever growing consistency.” (2003)
  • “The very best opportunities are never found in the obvious next step” (2003)
  • “We are impatiently patient and believe they will come so long as we keep our focus, energy and discipline act demandingly high levels” (2003)
  • “The future often begins in the past, and ours is grounded in traditional media” (2005)
  • “The real test of each business will not come in how it embraces the opportunities, but in how willingly it offers up the sacrifice… we expect you to embrace the sacrifices as well as the opportunities, but not blindly” (2005)
  • “Each of our businesses has clear objectives… IAC’s objective is to allow each of our businesses to realize their objectives more fully, more quickly, and more effectively than they could on their own”
  • “Our beliefs are strong. But we rely on each of you to be vigilant against politics, territoriality, and, worst of all, bureaucracy, for these are the cancers that can topple the enterprise. Fire your flares if you feel the balance is being compromised, for we are all guardians of this collective ambition.” (2005)
  • “And look for us to adopt a cohesive culture, with core principles and clear missions and trust that we do not want to collectivize the perfectly good and unique cultures that already exist in each of the businesses” (2005)
  • “It’s important to stress that this is evolution, not revolution, and while we hope and believe that this process will result in big, tangible, accomplishments, the justification is in the day-to-day benefits of better know-how, piggy-backing on the lessons learned by others, more efficient deployment across businesses of talented individuals, and leveraging scale and key areas of expertise” (2006)
  • “In early 2007, we relocated to this new facility; as designed by the architect I believe is the most talented alive, Frank Gehry—the building itself is fresh, original, iconic and creative, the perfect analogy to our aspiration for IAC” (2006)
  • “The one constant for us is change… I can assure our shareholders that we’ll continue to concentrate on consistently growing our assets, adding in new opportunities where we can, and never being unwilling to take the next steps in our evolution wherever they lead us in creating value for our stakeholders” (2009)

Employee Alignment

  • “The fact is that Home Shopping Network is now a solid group of both old and new employees with one clear direction, which is to dominate the future of Electronic Retailing in all its forms” (1996)
  • “We want our employee incentives aligned with this philosophy” (2002)
  • “We believe that stock options encourage aggressive behavior and a get rich quick mentality that unfortunately dominated much of the “bubble” economy.” (2002)
  • “We believe it of paramount importance to perfectly align our employee equity incentives with the interests of our shareholders and we can’t think of a better answer than restricted stock units. An equally important component of our equity plan is to extend the average vesting period of our grants—we believe USA equity is dear and we are only interested in people who want to be with us for the long term.” (2002)
  • “Look to increased human development programs intended to improve the way we develop and deploy the talented people on whom the future of this venture depends” (2005)


  • “This report is still being printed on the lowest cost paper obtainable.” (1996)
  • “While a year ago I said hoped those results would support a glossy, color-filled and expansive report about our future, I still can’t see any compelling reason to go through the time and expense that it takes to put one of them together. Maybe in the future, when there’s a clear marketing imperative it would make sense, but for now we’d rather just give you the facts and get on with the work” (1996)
  • “We simply can’t figure out any compelling reason to alter the policy of a non-glitzoid, factual dissertation of the past year… [performance has been good], and while luck doesn’t have all too much to do with it, why tempt the gods with change.” (1999)
  • “Those of you accustomed to receiving our threadbare annual materials will not be surprised that our philosophy hasn’t changed… if we generated even a single dollar of revenue per report, maybe we’d try to justify printing this on paper other than the cheapest possible” (2000)


  • We do try to practice what we preach to our managers on the ground: sell goods for more than you paid” (2000)
  • “All my experience in the entertainment business taught me very few people made the decisions that really counted, that were the determinants of success and failure… every single experience I have had in this new world of interactivity tells men the exact opposite… it is the expertise and the enterprise of a great many talented people working at every level of the organization that makes for success…” (2002)
  • “Even though we have leadership today, we want to expand on that lead and create a company in which the power of our brands allows us to create an “unwalled” garden where our customers can benefit through discounts, membership, dynamic pricing and all methods to link and unite our great goal audience of our combined users” (2002)
  • “The management of this Company has a significant amount of its net worth invested in IAC, and you can be certain we will always act with both shareholder value and the ambition to build a great and lasting enterprise as our chief motivator. We’ll only achieve this over years, not quarters, not months… and potential investors seeking instant gratification should look elsewhere” (2003)
  • “This evolution is critical and it is therefore important that each of you know exactly what this evolution means, why we’ve undertaken it, and the precise nature of the benefits and burdens we expect it to engender” (2005)
  • “If you feel any cross-company initiative we introduce will significantly injure your business or blunt your ability to be accountable for its results, shout loudly, While it is possible that we will still require the sacrifice, your cry will be heart. Honest, candid feedback is essential to getting this configuration right.” (2005)
  • “The enormity of their efforts will never be understood by anyone outside the Company” (2008)

Long Term View

  • “Our perspective is long term, and our focus is not on multiples but on creating real and lasting value for our shareholders. We’re happy to have our performance speak for itself and have our stock follow, rather than the reverse” (2002)
  • “After seven short years, we are firmly convinced that our distinct approach to this interactive world—that of multiple brands as opposed to one totalitarian brand—is a great way to create value.” (2002)
  • “While we are certain that the business arena we inhabit is at its earliest stage of development, and that there will be lots of twists and turns along the way, we are committed to making decisions with an absolute view of the value over the long term for our shareholders, and with a highly critical view of our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities” (2002)
  • “There are significant execution challenges ahead for what we’re trying to pull off, but if we do, we’ll have a large and differentiated chunk of the local space, with pretty high bars to entry for others. Those who have been frustrated but patient with our efforts in Local will get tried a little more this year” (2003)
  • “Some people say that this simply connotes mindless opportunism thought I don’t believe even our harshest critics evaluating our record could objectively hold to that theory. While we have no crystal ball, we do have very firm convictions about what interests us and we have shown consistent discipline throughout the 9 years we’ve brick by no aimless brick built up the business” (2003)
  • “Gradually and surely helping move the needle” (2004)
  • “We depend on, and in fact require, entrepreneurial vigor, enthusiasm, accountability and passion. These multiple objectives may occasionally erect some roadblocks. But the measure of our success will be whether those instances are overwhelmed by the opportunities. This will only be known over time.” (2005)

Matching and Marketplaces

  • “This experience of matching the right product with the right viewer, call it putting commerce in context, is at the core of our strategy” (1999)
  • “ECS’s ShortShopping direct marketing spots immediately following the final World Series game on Fox, and after the NFL Conference Championship games, generated merchandise sales of $450,000 and $320,000, respectively—evidence of how we can profitably match the right product with the right entertainment audience in some of the first real market experiences with contextual commerce” (2000)
  • “The beauty of our business model is that IAC Travel is an intermediary, and we don’t have to invest any capital in the planes, hotels, or cars needed to satisfy the consumer demand that we are generating. We view ourselves as an important marketing channel for our supply partners, and each month our travel sites bring them…  [more unique visitors] than any other online travel company in the world.” (2003)
  • “We grew Match with the idea that the power of the network would carry the day—the more subscribers, the better the chance to find that perfect Match, the stronger the network. Often, though, the sheer number of profiles that our customers have to browse through is daunting. As in the physical world, it might not make sense to go to the very largest amphitheater to have the best chance of meeting someone. However, if you have the opportunity to go to a little place that’s got a room only with people you will find interesting and attractive, and will find you interesting and attractive, that is unbeatable… we finally have the scale and the technology to create that type of experience for each individual user, which we believe can be a real competitive advantage” (2003)
  • “New IAC will focus on ferreting out niche and passionate engaged communities and developing products to excite and service them. What a compelling proposition for advertisers to be able to come to one place and have instant and highly targeted access to these communities” (2007)
  • In Search… the goal is simple—the connect people with the best possible answers to their questions. This requires going beyond the traditional methods, which extract and rank answers from reams of data that currently reside on the web, and eliciting people and creating communities to answer previously unpublished questions—especially those that are complex, time sensitive and subjective—all in an effort to create a differentiated experience” (2009)


  • “This is the year we are mandating the improvement of our customer service and package delivery timelines—our new home mantra is “Love the Customer.” It’s a great rallying cry we haven’t lived up to in the past as faithfully as we should have, but from now this new mantra of ours is going to increasingly resonate with our customers” (2003)
  • “2005 began with a new marketing campaign, “Love is complicated. Match is simple.” It’s a powerful message that leverages cultural icons of the past and present to connect the brand with singles across America” (2004)
  • “Ticketmaster’s strategy to “Sell More Tickets, Better” is working” (2004)
  • “HSN has created the strategic positioning of “lifestyle, editorial, programmed commerce”” (2007)


  • “We are now one company and making enormous efforts to act like one. Given the newness (four months) of the combination, this is an everyday struggle that should ebb within the year” (1996)
  • “This past year we made real progress in strategic and organizational clarity. All our assets are now neatly placed into three operating units—Entertainment, Electronic Retailing, and Information & Services and the interrelationships among these entities are becoming clearer with the emergence of their summed power. Similarly, how our parallel skills in programming, merchandising and interactivity relate and inform one another is just now coming into evidence” (2000)
  • “Everyone knows we had been intensely interested in interactivity long before the internet came along and changed everything, but we did follow several other paths over the last 9 years. It was about three years ago when it became clear there was this great opportunity and we had the early experience and energy to seize it… since then we have tried to streamline and organize our operations for the most focused pursuit of an agenda filled with so much promise” (2003)
  • “That we performed so well during a year with such structural change within our organization and uncertainty in the global economy validates both the strength of the business and the talent and hard work spread throughout our 25,000 employees” (2003)
  • “This can’t be done shorthand… I recognize that the terms “holding company” and “operating company” may not be as crisp and clear as necessary. When I say “holding company,” I mean a multi-business company that interacts with its businesses principally as an owner. It allocates capital and “supervises” management, but does not actively involve itself in the management of the business. An “operating company” acts as both an owner and a manager, actively participating with the dedicated management of the businesses and driving initiatives across its various parts that could not exist without some centralized direction” (2005)
  • “With our new management structure, we believe we can provide each business with a heightened level of opportunity, expertise, efficiency and endurance that they could not achieve on their own… this is what I mean when I call us an integrated conglomerate” (2005)
  • “Just as there is perpetual tension in the balance of power between the federal union and the states, which similarly surrendered some degree of independence for participation in a greater whole, so too will there be that tension between the businesses and the corporation” (2005)
  • “Making it up as you go is the fate and glory of any pioneer, and in the radical evolution that is the internet we are very much pioneers. But now, with a company of size and substance, we are pioneering anew, in organization and structure, to carry us through to becoming a great and enduring enterprise” (2005)
  • “Of course, the key to our conglomerate structure is that you’re investing not in any one of these businesses, but in all of them” (2006)
  • “We created four new public entities, raised billions of dollars to configure the new companies and the remaining IAC, and hardly with prescience aforethought, completed it all by the skin of our teeth… All five companies are now holding their own, each properly in their own business sector with their own management, profiles, and prospects” (2008)
  • “During the year, we decided that the category Emerging Businesses wasn’t a tight enough definition in function or practicality. We were too all over the place in our areas of investment. Accordingly, we shut down or sold 8 businesses that were either non-core or underperforming to better focus our energy and capital, and renamed the sector Media & Other to better define the areas of investment. Our new focus includes areas that are on the forefront of how entertainment is being consumed” (2009)


  • “We believe the company is in the perfect place to forge the convergence of entertainment, information and direct selling” (1999)
  • “Our programming is increasingly vertically integrated and multipurposed” (1999)
  • “This dual path ultimately brought us to a tipping point, with the entertainment conglomerate on one side and our new world interactive ventures on the other. Due to various factors—some strategic, some financial—and the growing environmental awkwardness of having two camps of the company utterly disinterested in each other—we decided we had better choose one route or another” (2005)
  • “As the convergence of audio, video and data grows with every step up in bandwidth, so do the possibilities for finally creating productive relationships between all our services… the natural alliances across IAC can be a real competitive advantage” (2005)
  • “In an increasingly interrelated landscape, we can only mine these opportunities effectively if we are a functionally interrelated operating company.” (2005)
  • “In ServiceMagic, we have a truly remarkable offering with scale on both the consumer and service provider side, a feat that will not easily be replicated.” (2008)
  • “The closed-loop process provides instant legitimacy for these service providers” (2008)
  • “We’re poised to capitalize on a market that remains actuarially under penetrated and, in so doing, we’ll chart the path to continued growth while generating cash as we go” (2009)


  • “Like most sectors, the travel business goes through cycles and our ability to succeed and grow faster than the competition depends on how we execute on driving meaningful value to our customers and supplier alike” (2004)
  • “Ticketmaster’s third consecutive year of double-digit growth—an indication of its ability to execute and deliver consistently and efficiently, regardless of the macro conditions (2004)
  • “Transformations aren’t easy, change never is, but I would not be overstating things in saying we have emerged from this period stronger, clearer, and more confident about the future” (2004)
  • “Its plan for expansion is to establish a travel and leisure membership club that will leverage the infrastructure, strong supplier relationships and utilize benefits from IAC and Expedia” (2004)
  • “Ticketmaster… has consistently demonstrated a shred ability to bend with, and shape the times and industry, while becoming more tightly related with its client base, which renewed at a 98% rate in 2007” (2007)
  • “The live events industry is rapidly changing and is no longer defined by the horizontal silos of the past. Success requires participation throughout the chain, from the act to the fan” (2007)
  • “Success in this industry requires a unique balance of agility and the ability to operate at scale across international waters” (2007)

Shareholder View

  • “Openness is a mantra to us—and we’re committed to talking to the investing community in a way that’s totally consistent with the way in which we discuss our company among ourselves. We want investors who take a long-term view and are not swayed by short-term results—whichever way they may fall” (2002)
  • “While anyone can own our stock for a minute or a decade, we’re only going to make decisions for the company with a long-term view” (2002)
  • “While we are sensitive to any dilution of our shareholders’ ownership of our business, we believe that the buy-ins were necessary and beneficial to long-term return.  (2003)


  • “With our stable of brands, each with such great growth ahead and their enormous potential to integrate and create new products and services, we believe we can sustain a competitive advantage far into the future (2002)
  • “We know that to remain competitive, we must have an always-on mentality towards improving the consumer experience and the value we add to our suppliers… 1) continually investing in and improving the user interface and customer service; 2) investing in our brands and marketing our channels to consumers; 3) developing back-end technologies, such as direct connectivity to hotel properties, which improve efficiency of our channels both for us and our suppliers” (2003)
  • “IAC will be a less complex and a more balanced operating company focused on creating, acquiring, and building businesses with leading positions in interactive markets… and with its core principles intact: to apply our expertise in building strong brands, providing customers with great experiences, launching innovative products and services, and making strategic acquisitions” (2004)
  • “Central to our operating strategy is a portfolio of brands that enables us to help everyone, everywhere, plan and purchase everything in travel” (2004)
  • “Our ambition is to encompass our diverse businesses in an organizational structure that allows us to mine common traits for efficiencies, opportunities and competitive advantages” (2006)
  • “Leverage as a galvanizing energizer for our company. As search has become the de facto organizing principle for much of what the Internet audience seeks to accomplish, opportunity is created through the synchronization of “search” with the deep reservoirs of content and transactional function we operate. This can’t be forced… but where natural, we can create experiences that transcend those of our competition” (2006)
  • “Of course, the first and mandatory priority of our operating strategy is to grow our businesses. This is what we’re here for, and the other strategies are mostly long-term servants to this master… this growth ambition will always, from business to business, meet with mixed success, but as a whole, over time, we believe our business mix and operating structure will give us a lasting competitive edge” (2006)
  • “New IAC’s strength will be its ability to build, buy and grow companies by leveraging the expertise in distribution and monetization we have developed over multiple years in multiple segments of the internet” (2007)
  • “But the future is not only about growing our global footprint, it’s also about enhancing our offerings, whether through site improvements of through mobile applications, and distributing them through an ever-expanding number of distribution channels” (2009)

Supply Relations

  • Expanding and improving relationships with our supply partners is vital in order to build upon our valuable offerings. We continue to increase our volume and variety of supply in order to suit all customer and trip types” (2004)
  • “We have also combined the sales forces for and Expedia into a centrally managed group that is helping suppliers manage their yields, more efficiently and effectively, ever single day of the year” (2004)

Trends and Markets

  • “We are still in the very early stages of this radical transformation of all we see, hear, and do through various phosphorescent and other electronic screens. And while the pace may change, now sober, soon maybe even somber, no one or no temporarily faltering economy is going to stop it.” (2000)
  • “With virtually no debt and multiple revenue streams… we believe our company has real fundamentals in withstanding a slowing general business environment. And giving shape to our uniqueness is the long, slow arc of advertising moving towards direct selling—fueled by the early convergence of the telephone, computer and television—our of which new products and services will be created. We already have a competitive edge as these mediums and consumer behaviors begin to evolve.” (2000)
  • “Looking in any direction where our world is headed—as the pipe of information and entertainment pumped onto all those various screens grows in capacity and scale… as the viewer interface becomes blazingly fast, remote control easy, point-and-click… as impulse purchasing becomes an integral part of our entertainment lives—every single aspect of what we do comes into play to create, enable and service all this coming commerce and convergence of entertainment, information, and direct selling” (2000)
  • “No one has to tell you there were challenges in all forms of advertising this past year, but it is also clear that the trend is moving online and that’s the only field we graze. It’s far better to be where the wind is at your back instead of other areas of media, where technological challenges are going to create great chaos in the years ahead” (2008)
  • “At Citysearch, the trend is clear. Advertisers are moving from fixed budgets to performance-based, rich media and video advertising; demands which play right into our strengths” (2008)
  • “After years of toiling in this space, we now sit poised to benefit from the flow of local ad dollars leaving print and other offline platforms and moving online. This is a reality which in truth took longer to develop than we had hoped—but one now being realized at a rapidly increasing pace.” (2008)
  • “The local market opportunity is immense and the timing exactly right—local advertisers spend $155 billion per year in this space and nobody has yet become the clear online local leader. There is ample potential here and it is all for the taking.” (2008)