Title: Vice Chairman/CEO, Insight
Last Year: #28
Ed: Boston U, BS, Communications
Why Him? Insight was cut in half when Comcast took over systems serving some 690K subs in IL and IN. But despite his company falling to #10 in the rankings of operators by size, Willner continues to have big pull within the industry. And you can’t ignore Insight’s growth. It even added basic subs (3.8K in 2Q was its best ever). Free cash flow for ’07 totaled $82.5mln after being negative in ’06.
Tech-No-Cat: Willner’s appeal goes beyond numbers. He’s got a blog (www.michaelsinsight.com/) and frequents techie message boards. It seems he’s everywhere, and almost never says no to requests — he’s chairing The Cable Show, co-chaired Kaitz and got suckered into a 2nd term as NCTA chair a few years ago.
Proud Moment: Willner was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame this year and received Cable Positive’s Leadership Award.
It’s not time for a For Sale sign, and probably not great timing for acquisitions. Expect Willner to keep minding the store and growing organically.
Favorite Food: Anything from Italy
Unnecessary Luxury I Like Most Is: My view of Times Sq from my desk
Fave Show: Dexter…so watch out!
Favorite Part of My Job: Blogging
Worst Part: Watching Wall St
Cable’s Biggest Challenge: Improving customer service standards
I Wish My Kids Would: Get jobs
The Trait You Most Admire In People: Telling it as they see it, no matter what.
Hero: My wife, for putting up with me
Best Business Advice Received: “Be nimble and clever” Sid Knafel 2007
My Philosophy Of Life Is: Always learn new things
Favorite Sports Team: 1) New York Giants 2) New York Giants 3) New York Giants
Favorite Restaurant: Ouest, NY, NY
Drink of Choice: Grey Goose, Rocks, No Fruit
Last Book Read: The Post American World