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Art of the Deal, Brodsky-Style

Julian Brodsky, the legendary Comcast co-founder and deal-maker, was strolling through CableNet, the Cable Show exhibit area that showcases emerging technology firms.

A familiar face (a retired executive from a top equipment vendor) flagged him down to take a look at a new Internet Protocol system in which the veteran vendor has invested.

The young company’s marketing executive stepped forward to start the pitch. Brodsky immediately cut to the deal.

“Are you fully funded?” Brodsky asked.

“Yes,” said the company’s enthusiastic marketing man, probably trained to assure potential customers that this is a solid enterprise with financial “legs.”

“Then I’m not interested,” said Brodsky, turning to leave.

The IP company’s president and the veteran vendor, standing on either side, instantly moved forward to assure Brodsky (and the money and relationships he represents) that, of course, the company could certainly find a way to bring Comcast financing into the fold.

Thus reassured, and with the marketing guy stepping away, Brodsky stuck around to ask about the business model, the underlying technology and system structure and other fundamental questions that a potential investor would want to know. The company’s CEO took over the conversation, leaving the marketing man to hustle new customers — presumably ones without the checkbook that Brodsky carries.

Gary Arlen is president of Arlen Communications LLC in Bethesda, MD, and a long-time interactive TV enthusiast. Reach him at