Barry Diller: Curiosity As Business Plan

This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
Portfolio dishes up yet another in-depth, not-so-deep look at IAC (NSDQ: IACI) chairman and CEO Barry Diller, the man, the myth ... you know the drill. Read the article for the history and current events lessons, although it pre-dates Liberty Media's (NSDQ: LINTA) appeal of the recent Delaware Chancery Court ruling in Diller's favor. Some of the bits that jump out above and beyond the alternating snarky (Diller has seemed less a visionary and more a spastic dealmaker.) and awestruck lines (when Diller walked into the room, it seemed for an instant that no one could look away):

-- Diller shrugs off being called a Web 1.0 relic: "That's true of some of our businesses," he says. "But thank God for that, because they produce the revenue that lets us innovate and create brand-new businesses." He points to his firm's initiatives in the online gaming space as an example. is a site for developers of online games, and is where those games will live. "That's $50 million we've laid on the table on an idea," Diller says."

-- "FiLifewhich hired Dave Kansas, a former editor for (NSDQ: TSCM) and the Wall Street Journal, to great fanfareseems like it may be a dead man walking. Staffers are bailing, and word is that the site may never enjoy an official launch."

-- Even so, expect the experiments to continue before, during and after the planned spinoffs. Michael Jackson, IAC's president of programming tells Portfolio: "Barry says, 'We all know there's something going on here. We don't quite know what we're going to do, but we will start, put one foot in front of the other, and find our way. Not everything is going to succeed. Unless you're out punting, though, you can't really know what the audience will engage in.'"

Disclosure: Our parent company ContentNext Media is holding a mixer June 4 at IAC's Gehry building; IAC is a sponsor of the mixer and EconAds, June 3.

By Staci D. Kramer