A privately held company that invests in, acquires, incubates, and operates media and entertainment companies.
In their search for a better source of daily vitamins, Activate’s founders made a discovery that demanded attention. At first, it seemed like nothing more than an intriguing gimmick – a cap that featured a moisture-resistant compartment inside where ingredients could be stored and released before drinking. But as they began to research the benefits of keeping the active ingredients separate from the water, they realized the key was hidden inside this innovative cap.
According to research conducted in partnership with an independent analytical laboratory, vitamins and other ingredients lose their potency sitting in water. By storing the active ingredients inside the unique cap, separate from the water, the ingredients stay powerful, fresh and offer a convenient, all-in-one delivery method.
And thus Activate was born – naturally sweetened with Stevia, with only 5 calories per bottle, no preservatives, surprising flavor and fresh ingredients delivered with a twist.
Founded in 1938, Topps is a leading creator and marketer of trading cards, distinctive confectionery, and entertainment products. Topps card products cover sports such as Major League Baseball, NFL, Premiere League, Bundesliga, and the Indian Premiere League as well as entertainment properties such as Disney, WWE, and Star Wars. The Company's confectionery brands include Bazooka bubble gum, Ring Pop, Push Pop, Baby Bottle Pop and Juicy Drop Pop lollipops.
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Tornante Animation is a production company based in Beverly Hills, California. In association with Cuppa Coffee Studios, Tornante Animation has produced two seasons of the stop-motion-animated family comedy Glenn Martin, DDS. The show stars the voice talents of Kevin Nealon, Catherine O'Hara, Judy Greer, Jackie Clarke, and Peter Oldring. Glenn Martin, DDS premiered August 17, 2009, on Nick at Nite in the U.S. and has since gained international distribution in Canada, the United Kingdom, Latin America, Australia, and Africa. Tornante Animation is developing other projects that have not yet been announced.
Vuguru is an independent studio that develops and finances scripted, story-driven content for digital and international platforms. Founded by Tornante and recently backed by Canada’s Rogers Media, the studio is focused on bringing premium content to advertisers and distribution partners, enabling them to connect with target audiences.
Vuguru acts as a traditional studio, developing and self-financing long-form projects that can be viewed episodically. Vuguru works closely with content creators, providing access to capital and development resources. The company’s revenue model is comprised of advertising and sponsorship along with license fees from domestic and international distributors across multiple platforms including online, TV, VOD and mobile.
Vuguru’s inaugural series Prom Queen pioneered the online serial space with its unique format and distribution. Follow-up series have included Prom Queen: Summer Heat, Sam Has 7 Friends, The All-For-Nots, Foreign Body and two seasons of the Emmy-nominated Back on Topps. Vuguru programming has been distributed in over 40 countries worldwide.
Founded in 1996 by Michael and Jane Eisner and their family, the Eisner Foundation exists to provide access and opportunity for children and the aging in Los Angeles County. The Foundation gives philanthropic support and counsel to exceptionally-run non-profit organizations working to create lasting positive changes in the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged seniors and children in the Los Angeles community. The Foundation’s goal is simply to help Los Angeles be a place that protects and nurtures its most vulnerable citizens.
In business there are always unique individual achievers, but pull down the veil and you’ll often find someone alongside them. Working Together does just that. Using his own successful collaboration with Frank Wells at Disney as a launching point for examining other famously successful and rewarding partnerships, Eisner takes an inside look at some of the most successful business partnerships and what makes them tick, offering unconventional wisdom and unexpected insights about the true nature of leadership and success.
“The highs and the lows, the successes and the failures, the feeling of being with someone you know is smarter than you are, all the while confident they think the same way. Working together is much better than working alone.”
- Michael D. Eisner
“One plus one with Charlie and me certainly adds up to more than two.”
- Warren Buffett, on his fifty-year partnership with Charlie Munger
“I’ve never done anything solo. Except take tests. But with the exception of that, I would always seek someone out.”
- Bill Gates, on the power of partnerships in his life
For those who have been there, there is no forgetting the sounds and smells of summer camp: of dusty playing fields, platform tents, and wood cabins; of mist rising off the water at dawn and the sparks of a Sunday night campfire sailing up into a cold night sky. Now Michael D. Eisner shares a deeply personal memoir of his own experiences at one remarkable Vermont summer camp, of the life lessons he learned there and how they helped turn him into the man he is today.
Camp is Eisner’s ode to Keewaydin, a summer camp that was already a family tradition when he was a boy and that continues as a tradition today. As he recounts his experiences at Keewaydin, from his own first night away from home to his years as a counselor to dramatic return visits back as the father of a new generation of Keewaydin campers, Camp becomes a guide to growing up: learning to rely on yourself as you work in a team, developing the tools of leadership, competing to win but finding pride and growth in defeat, discovering the wonder of nature as well as the nature of the men and women who have gone before you. Eisner talks about his family’s commitment to helping less advantaged young people experience Keewaydin, the lifelong friendships he forged there, and how moments from those summers return when he is hard at work in Hollywood or alone with his wife or children.
A rare glimpse into the inner life of an American corporate executive, Camp is an important personal chronicle of success: the kind of success that a child can find in a remote corner of the Vermont woods – and never ever leave behind.
Scores of books have been published about business, but rarely has a figure as prominent as Michael Eisner written so intimately about his life and work. In Work in Progress, Eisner describes the daily challenge of a rapidly changing marketplace, countless creative choices, painful set-backs, and dramatic triumphs.
Having spent his life helping other people to tell stories, Eisner now tells his own – with humor, insight, and unstinting honesty. He recounts such significant events as the extraordinary revival of Disney’s animation business and the negotiations for one of the largest acquisitions in corporate history – Cap Cities/ABC – which began in an Idaho parking lot. Blending the personal and the professional, he tells the stories of the tragic death of his partner and closest confidant, Frank Wells; his own emergency quadruple bypass surgery; the high-level personnel changes that followed; and the emergence of a new generation of young leaders at Disney.
Throughout Work in Progress, Eisner grapples with the often paradoxical choices that he faces each day in managing a creative company. What is the proper balance between art and commerce…tradition and innovation…short-term profit and long-term growth…pragmatism and excellence…the company’s good and the greater good? Like no other business memoir, Work in Progress is a riveting tale of high-pressure life at the top – an ongoing drama about risking failure and surviving success.
For four decades, Michael Eisner has been a leader in the American entertainment industry. He began his career at ABC, where he helped take the network from number three to number one in primetime, daytime and children’s television with such landmark shows as Happy Days; Barney Miller; Rich Man, Poor Man; and Roots. In 1976, he became president of Paramount Pictures, turning out hit films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Terms of Endearment. This string of critically acclaimed and blockbuster films led the studio to become number one in box office and profitability in both theatrical movies and network television production.
In 1984 Michael assumed the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company and, in the ensuing 21 years, transformed it from a film and theme park company with $1.8 billion in enterprise value into a global media empire valued at $80 billion. For almost thirty years, companies that Eisner managed were either number one or number two at the motion picture box office.
In 2005, Michael began the “next act” of his career by founding The Tornante Company, a privately held company that invests in, acquires, incubates, and operates media and entertainment companies.
In October 2007, Tornante and Madison Dearborn Partners acquired The Topps Company, a leading creator and marketer of sports cards, distinctive confectionery, and other entertaining products for well over 50 years. Under Michael’s vision and leadership as Chairman, through filmed entertainment, Internet and television, the iconic Topps brand is being transformed into a full-fledged sports media brand. Topps’ confection division, Bazooka Candy Brands, is also being retooled to become the world’s most innovative kids confection company.
Through Tornante, Michael also created Vuguru, an independent studio that develops and finances world-class content for digital and international platforms. Vuguru’s first production, Prom Queen, quickly became an Internet sensation. In 2009, Michael secured a partnership with and investment from Rogers Media of Canada that enabled Vuguru to be spun off from Tornante. Vuguru is expanding rapidly with the company significantly increasing the number of annual productions. Michael now serves as the Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, with Tornante as Vuguru’s majority owner.
In July 2008, Viacom’s Nick at Nite licensed the US distribution rights to Glenn Martin, DDS, Tornante’s first television series which Michael developed via a newly formed division – Tornante Animation. The stop-motion comedy series, which debuted in August 2009, was renewed for a second season of 20 episodes and is also being licensed by CityTV (Canada), Sky (UK), Foxtel (Australia), LAPTV (Latin America), Sky Uno (Italy), and numerous other distributors around the world.
Diversion, Inc., a company formed in early 2010 to develop social games, is funded by Tornante and has Mr. Eisner serving as a key advisor. In November 2010 the company launched FameTown, a new social game for Facebook that brings a fictionalized version of Hollywood to life.
Tornante is also a lead investor in Rising Beverage Company, LLC’s Activate™, a performance beverage and bottled water company. Activate™, which was co-founded by Michael’s son Anders Eisner, produces an innovative beverage which utilizes the company’s patented cap technology to maximize the freshness of vitamins by keeping them dry until the product is ready to be consumed.
Michael is the author of Work in Progress, about his involvement in the entertainment industry, as well as Camp, about the life lessons learned during his formative years at Keewaydin summer camp in Vermont. Michael’s third book, WORKING TOGETHER: Why Great Partnerships Succeed, profiles several successful partnerships in the business world and beyond, including Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, Bill and Melinda Gates, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti, Joe Torre and Don Zimmer, and others. The book was published by Harper Studio in September 2010.
The Eisner Foundation, founded in 1996 by Michael and Jane Eisner and their family, exists to provide access and opportunity for children and the aging in Los Angeles County. The Foundation gives philanthropic support and counsel to exceptionally-run non-profit organizations working to create lasting positive changes in the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged seniors and children in the Los Angeles community.
Born March 7, 1942, in New York, Michael graduated from Lawrenceville School in 1960 and Denison University in 1964 with a B.A. in English literature and theater. He serves on the boards of the California Institute of the Arts, Denison University, American Hospital of Paris Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Yale School of Architecture Dean's Council, the Michael D. Eisner School of Education, the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center, and The Eisner Foundation, a philanthropic organization that he founded and funded, headed by his wife Jane.
He and Jane have three sons (Breck, Eric, and Anders) three daughters-in-law (Georgia, Stacey, and Terena), and three grandchildren (Noah, Eloise, and Grace).