My guest today is IAC’s CEO, Joey Levin. IAC is a unique business in that it’s a holding company which builds world-class digital businesses. Since Barry Diller created IAC over two decades ago, it has produced 11 public companies, including Match Group, Expedia, and Live Nation. Today, the business is comprised of category-leaders like Angi, Dotdash Meredith, and Care.com.
Joey joined IAC in 2003 and became CEO in 2015. We talk about why he tries to avoid centralization between businesses, what he's learned from Barry Diller, how he approaches capital allocation, and so much more. This conversation serves as an excellent reminder that there’s no formula to company building. Everything is idiosyncratic and requires its own best decisions. Please enjoy this great discussion with Joey Levin.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
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[00:03:05] - [First question] - The unique nature of IAC; the business of building businesses
[00:05:27] - The first business spun out of IAC and its bottom-up philosophy
[00:06:41] - The differences of IAC and how they manifest
[00:09:39] - Agility and history of respecting the core functions of the internet
[00:12:36] - Simplified, faster, and larger choice digital experiences
[00:15:57] - His thoughts on the shared characteristics amongst their winners
[00:18:26] - Lessons from building competitive products in online dating simultaneously
[00:21:37] - Navigating customer acquisition cost and embracing change
[00:24:04] - What makes someone great at customer acquisition
[00:26:26] - Fostering a unique approach compared to typical customer funnels
[00:27:48] - What most explains his move from a pip-squeak to CEO
[00:29:44] - The process he uses to get to know the critical aspects of a new business
[00:31:59] - Indications that a leader may no longer be suited to run a business
[00:33:13] - Characteristics of vertical markets that he finds attractive to get involved in
[00:34:08] - The early stages of incubating a new business and an overview of their process
[00:38:10] - Enabling new consumer experiences and infrastructure fading away
[00:40:17] - Distilling big ideas down to streamlined approachable consumer products
[00:42:22] - High-level internal conversations around capital allocation
[00:45:06] - Quantitative versus qualitative analysis in their decision-making process
[00:46:50] - What idea felt the most right but turned out to be a disaster
[00:51:26] - Brand rollup versus brand consolidation and when either strategy is appropriate
[00:54:03] - Having a good sense of identifying, defining, and positioning categories
[00:56:23] - Which aspects of his perspectives have shifted since becoming CEO
[00:57:59] - Thoughts on the toolkit available for sourcing and the cost of capital
[01:01:08] - What personally brings him the most joy in what he does
[01:02:37] - Working with Barry Diller and what it taught him
[01:06:39] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him