Ryan Kavanaugh

Ryan Kavanaugh
Ryan Kavanaugh

Photo Credit: Alex Berliner

Ryan Kavanaugh is a man who is well versed in the art of success. The Relativity CEO and founder has completely revolutionized the way films earn money by creating a “Monte Carlo” system designed to predict the odds of a film’s success. Through Relativity, he has financed more than 200 films that collectively earned over $17 billion in revenue and 60 Oscar nominations. Under his careful watch, Relativity isn’t known for simply financing, but for its content production and distribution, including movies, television, fashion, sports, digital and music. Even more shockingly, he has built a company known for its fearless innovation in just over ten years—and at the very young age of 39, no less. Kavanaugh is an inspiration, and when we had the opportunity, we simply had to ask his advice on how to be successful.


  1.  Never give up.
  2.  Never give up.
  3. Don’t get stuck on a business plan just because it was your business plan. One of the things that allows us to be as successful is that we may sit there thinking, ‘We’re going left, we’re going left, we’re going left and this is the way we should go…and then an opportunity presents itself. No matter how many times you’ve sat there and said, ‘This is our model and we’re going left,’ if you see an opportunity—because this business, particularly entertainment, moves so fast and nobody really knows where it’s going—if there’s an opportunity and it’s to go right, the mistake a lot of people make is that they think, ‘Well, I’ve been saying let’s go left for so long, I’m not going to break that.’ You have to be willing to break it. Nobody has a crystal ball, and part of evolving a business plan is to say, ‘I might have said we’re going left, but I see the opportunity and we’re going right.’
  4. Be flexible.
  5. Never make too good of a deal. It sounds a little counterintuitive, but the deals that are too good of a deal for you in the long run will end up hurting you. A lot of people in our business don’t realize that. They think their job is to go in a room and negotiate the highest price.