gladwell dot com – talent grab
In the mid-nineteen-seventies, private-equity managers like Teddy Forstmann and Henry Kravis pioneered the practice of charging the now common sum of “two and twenty” for managing their clients’ money—that is, an annual service fee of one and a half or two per cent of assets under management, in addition to a twenty-per-cent share of any profits. Two and twenty was the basis on which the modern high-end money-management world was built: it is what has created billionaires where there were once only millionaires. Why did Forstmann do it? Because, he says now, “I wanted to be a principal and not an agent.” He was no longer satisfied with a social order that placed him below his investors. He wanted an order that placed him on the same plane with his investors.
Why did the Hollywood agent Tom Pollock demand, in 1975, that Twentieth Century Fox grant his client George Lucas full ownership of any potential sequels to “Star Wars”? Because Lucas didn’t want to work for the studio. In his apprenticeship with Francis Ford Coppola, he’d seen the frustrations that could lead to. He wanted to work with the studio. “That way, the project could never be buried in studio hell,” Pollock said. “The whole deal came from a fear that the studio wouldn’t agree to make the movie and wouldn’t let it go. What he was looking for was control.”
At that same moment, the world of modelling was transformed, when Lauren Hutton decided that she would no longer do piecework, the way every model had always done, and instead demanded that her biggest client, Revlon, sign her to a proper contract. Here is Hutton in an interview with her fellow-model Paulina Porizkova, in Vogue last year: