Friday, November 16, 2007

Meeting Francis Ford Coppola

As you know I spent last week in Latin America. I was in Sao Paulo and Mexico City and both cities were throbbing with vitality, increased confidence and self belief. The highlight of my visit to Mexico City was meeting Francis Ford Coppola. He gave a very interesting session to 600 Mexican executives where he focused on the crossover between art and business. Coppola outlined the need for artists, rather than what he calls “the engineers”, to have a greater say in business, and to bring to it persistence, belief and a refusal to give in to “the struggle”. He told many great anecdotes around Marlon Brando and The Godfather, as well as about his interesting times in the Philippine jungles shooting Apocalypse Now. What struck me about the guy, in the one-on-one we had after his presentation and before mine, was his sheer love and passion for the cinema and food. These are the two passions of his life and he’s lived both of them to the hilt. His movie making is legendary; his wine making and food business are now a $150m enterprise. And the kicker? Coppola told me he personally approved all the products against the single criteria - “Will people love it or not?” It doesn’t get much better than that.

Later, when I asked him who his mentors were, I was expecting a list of the great directors. His simple response was his mother, father and siblings. One of the good guys.


Kempton said...

Seems like a wonderful guy. Did Danis get to meet Coppola? I am sure that would be quite a thrill for Danis.

Susan Plunkett said...

Perhaps Cuppola has never considered the work of someone like Theo Jensen and the overlap there between engineering and art.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

What better proof that passion and perseverance is the optimal combination?

Coppola's passion for cinema and food have been proven in his films, and in his business as well.

If only all businessmen had such a simple outlook on their business.

Sharon said...

I'd love to see art and business fused in the schools. As an art major, it became clear that I wasn't expected to be the "business type." I also thought I wasn't a business type because I'm an intuitive, emotion-oriented person. I've since learned to my delight that I AM a business person and I love it.

I think that Francis Ford Coppola's experience as a director would help him in his food industry. Director 's are so involved with the entire movie and have so much control. I have a hard imagining a movie director doing anything but personally approving every product. In many ways a lovemark CEO is very similar to a movie director.