From skiing and bussing tables in Telluride to leading some of the largest internet companies of the early 21st century, Greg Blatt has had an unconventional career trajectory to say the least. His path can be viewed as a lesson in approaching opportunities with boldness and humility, and below we explore that in further depth.
Like many young people before him, Blatt entered his professional career unsure of how he wanted it to end. According to him, he attended university because it was what was expected of him, and he majored in English at Colgate University for no reason other than he enjoyed reading, writing and analyzing. He also minored in economics which provided him with a practical perspective on the world, but after graduating he found he was no closer to discovering what he wanted to use his education for.
There is often pressure for young professionals to hit the ground running out of college and immediately enter a chosen career path, but Blatt determined that for him it would be wasted time and energy. Instead, he chose to take some time away from studies and professional life in order to further reflect what he wanted out of a career and life. For two years, he took odd jobs such as painting houses and tending bars in order to support himself while living in Telluride, Colorado and traveling to cities in Europe and the United States.
This time turned out to be crucial to Blatt’s overall journey, as it was during this time that he perceived a career in law would be a practical application to what he was naturally interested in. After attending Columbia Law School and passing the bar exam, he was hired at one of the most well-known M&A law firms in the country where he spent a grueling 18 months working as an associate. Although identifying it as one of the most challenging periods of his life, Blatt has cited this time as instrumental in the development of his work ethic and business acumen.
Transitioning to entertainment law, Blatt formed a close working relationship with his new firm’s celebrity client Martha Stewart. She asked him to join her company as general counsel in anticipation of its IPO, and Blatt spent five years serving as a central part of the company’s executive team. It was this role that he has said put him on track for an executive career.
Blatt began his tenure at IAC as general counsel, but over the next eight years would move on to hold executive positions across the internet media conglomerate’s many subsidiaries. His first CEO position at Match.com lifted the company out of a period of stagnation, and he subsequently held the position for IAC itself, its dating website subsidiary Match Group, and its fast-growing startup Tinder.
Blatt has recognized that without passion a person cannot excel in a position, and so chose to pursue what interested him rather than what was expected. This is a lesson others should take and apply to their own career should they want to find fulfillment and success in it.