The Markoff file Featured

7:00pm EDT January 31, 2007

Age: 63

Born: Los Angeles

Education: Associate’s degree, Los Angeles City College

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

You never know what the future will bring. Be as nice to everybody as you can, because the relationships you might not value much today might be important tomorrow.

In short, don’t burn bridges.

Whom do you admire most in business?

I admire particular talents. For example, Steve Jobs from a marketing standpoint. Warren Buffett from a long-term view and an ability to be very strategic. I have an old friend in New York by the name of Dr. Henry Jarecki who looks at issues as thoroughly and deeply as anybody I’ve ever met.

What are some universal truths you’ve learned about leading a business?

You can’t be popular all the time. In any leadership position, you are forced to make unpopular decisions. Consensus is very valuable 98 to 99 percent of the time, but there is that 1 to 2 percent of the time you are going to have to go with your own gut.

How do you define success in business?

Different people define it in different ways. Some people in the film industry define it by the number of films they produce. Others by the number of awards they receive.

Myself, I’m only interested in making money off films, to see if I can take a half-century of general business knowledge and convert it to the film industry.