‘Best Advice I Ever Got’ Series 10 - Dick Parsons, CEO of Time Warner

January 31, 2024

Dick Parsons

“The best business advice I ever received was from Steve Ross, who used to run this company. Steve was a friend. It was 1991 or 1992, and I was on the Time Warner board. I was going to be coming over to the company from the banking industry, and we were talking about how to get things done. Steve said to me, ‘Dick, always remember this is a small business and a long life. You are going to see all these guys come around and around again, so how you treat them on each individual transaction is going to make an impression in the long haul. When you do deals, leave a little something to make everyone happy instead of trying to grab every nickel off the table.’

“When you negotiate, leave a little something on the table.” - Dick Parsons, 56, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner

“I’ve used that advice a thousand times since, literally. When I got to this company, for the first seven or eight years I was here I was the principal dealmaker, and I always took that advice with me into a negotiation. Most people in business do not follow that, though. Maybe there was a time when they did, but I don’t think most people do now. I think people get hung up with their advisors, investment bankers, lawyers, and others, and every instance becomes a tug of war to see who can outduel the other to get the slightest little advantage on a transaction. But people don’t keep in mind that the advisors are going to move on to the next deal, while you and I are going to have to see each other again.”


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