Tom Freston: Who inspires you?

Tom Freston was one of MTV's founding executives and until recently served as CEO of Viacom. Freston is responsible for the generation-defining ad campaign "I Want My MTV." In 1987 he became the CEO of MTV Networks, using his position to advance the networks' position in new markets, as well as launching several ancillary product lines and tie-ins, including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Real World," "Beavis and Butthead," "South Park" and "SpongeBob Square Pants." From 2004, Freston led Viacom, overseeing all cable network properties (MTV Networks and Showtime Networks), the motion picture businesses of Paramount Pictures, and the publishing operations of Simon & Schuster. He resigned in September 2006. Freston was educated at New York University and is currently on the Board of Trustees for Emerson College in Boston. Ideas recorded on: 11/5/07
  • Transcript


Question: Who inspires you?

Tom Freston: Well there’s people that I admire. I don’t know as I never . . . You know I would say, you know, I look at people who just do such an amazing job on a consistent level and just turn them out. I mean they would be your superstar performers in our world. Steve Jobs at Apple to me has always been an inspiration because he is able to keep to sort of iconoclastic and unique culture at Apple outside of the mainstream, or at least appearing as such. And just to be able to continually innovate on such a deep level; on a design level; on a, you know, sort of functionality basis with the various products that they put out. And moving it, then again, into retail. The Apple story is a great story. You look at the giants of the creative world like, you know, the Steven Spielbergs who continually connect with whatever they produce, touch, direct. You know those are obvious, for me, idols of inspiration.

Recorded On: 7/6/07