Greg Blatt

Founder of Pelican Cat Capital

Greg Blatt is an executive who has led some of the largest internet and technology companies of the 21st century. Over the past two decades, he has held positions such as general counsel for Martha Stewart Omnimedia and InterActivCorp (IAC), as well as CEO positions for, IAC, Match Group and Tinder.

Unsure of what path he wanted to follow out of university, Blatt spent his first few years after college in Telluride, Colorado. Although he has said bartending in the ski town was one of the highlights of his life, after a few years he decided to return to the east coast and attend law school.

After working in mergers and acquisitions and entertainment law, Blatt accepted the general counsel position for Martha Stewart Omnimedia, where he facilitated the company’s initial public offering. He went on to become general counsel for IAC, where he became a central part of the executive team and learned the ropes from CEO Barry Diller.

When the IAC subsidiary became in need of a new CEO, Blatt was tasked with growing the internet dating website. When Barry Diller decided to step down as IAC, he and the board selected Blatt as his replacement, who remained in the CEO position of the company until he moved on to help the company’s newly formed dating website conglomerate Match Group make its stock market debut.

One of Match Group’s fastest growing brands was the dating app Tinder, and Blatt’s expertise were once again diverted to help facilitate the company’s rapid expansion. He was made executive chairman and chief executive officer, and he remained in charge of both companies until he made the decision to leave the business in January of 2018.

Following Mr. Blatt’s departure from Match Group, he has invested through his family office, Pelican Cat Capital, developed certain media projects, and served as the lead director for the Dallas-based biotechnology company, Vaxxinity Inc. In his spare time he likes to take fishing trips with his brother, try to keep up with his two young daughters, and cheer on Boston sports teams.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I like to work out first thing in the morning. Then breakfast. Then meetings in the morning and solo work (reading and writing) in the afternoon. Though obviously it is not always possible to schedule and manage your day accordingly.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Always with the help of others. I’ve never seen an idea burst forth from a single person in its finest form. The journey from inspiration to operation is iterative and reactive, and generally requires multiple contributors. So I like to talk things through at every stage.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Advances in hydrogen energy.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I like to get things done. My inclination is always toward action.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Borrow money and have more fun.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?

Very few of the most important questions have “right answers”.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Ask why something is done the way it’s done, or done at all.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

If possible, I work out. Clear the head and start over.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Decoupling compensation from specific performance targets, as opposed to generalized notions of performance. The landscape is constantly changing. Conditions on the ground are evolving. The metric you think is most important at the beginning of the year, and the target you think you should hit, can change four times over the course of a year. Leave flexibility so that people aren’t torn between the best thing for the company and the best thing for their bonus.

What is one failure in your career,  how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

Hiring. You’re going to hire the wrong people. Let them go. Hire again.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Hotel style “turn down service” in apartment buildings. Independent contractor to the properties.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I use Transcribe Recorder as a voice notes app. It’s old school but the transcription is great and it lets me record my ideas when they present themselves, and then transcribe and organize them later.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?

Advisory Opinions. I’m a legal geek and like getting the updates on important developments. Very thoughtful and entertaining.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

Top Gun: Maverick. I never liked the original much, but this one really felt like a return to a Hollywood that made big, fun movies.

Key learnings

  • Big problems are usually really a collection of smaller problems. Break them down. Solve them individually. Then put them back together again.
  • Keep some distance. If you’re at a moment where it all seems too much, take a step back (if you can), do something else, and then come back to it.
  • Be surrounded by the right people. If they’re the wrong people, get away from them. Knowledge can be acquired during one’s work life. But character can’t be. It’s the most important thing. Don’t be around people who don’t have it.