Joe Wargo, Partner at Wargo French

Interviewed by Courtney Madson

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Name: Joe Wargo

Where do you currently work? Wargo French LLP 

What’s your role? Partner

Where are you currently located? Atlanta, GA

What are three interesting personal facts you’d like to share with readers?

  • I grew up in a bilingual household speaking both English and Spanish. I grew up in part in the Dominican Republic, where my mom is from.
  • My dad worked for a company that transferred him to different offices, so I moved around a lot as a kid. Meeting new people all the time was a great way to get comfortable meeting people and networking as an adult.
  • I am a student pilot and will be getting my pilot license this fall!

What are the best and worst piece of career advice you’ve received?

Best advice:  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Do your best to take things in stride, recognizing and embracing the long term.  Don’t focus too much on the short term.

Worst advice: Have a long memory.  I have seen people hurt their careers trying to exact revenge on someone for something done years earlier.  Move on.

Can you give me a brief overview of what role is and in what ways you engage with media companies?

We provide full-service counseling to cable and media companies, including, providing strategic legal advice and assessing legal issues regarding new initiatives and product lines.  More particularly, we provide day to day advice regarding general corporate matters including mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions and corporate governance, intellectual property issues including licensing and acquisition of technology assets, employment questions and bankruptcy concerns.  Additionally, our litigation team handles litigations of all sorts – from class actions to employment disputes as well as pre-litigation strategy and dispute resolution.

What kind of big ideas are you now seeing and why is it important to the cable industry?

Right now the industry is changing – there are a lot of new ideas and technology.  Being a catalyst plays into that because new ideas are important to the industry and set yourself apart.  Telecommunications and media companies are re-defining themselves.  Media/content companies are making content available online (different than traditional cable) and monetizing revenue differently (online advertising) and telecom companies are expanding into home security, solar plates, and new technology.  All those ideas come from catalysts, and that is what is needed to survive and grow in these challenging times.

What advice would you give someone in the cable industry looking to start-up an accelerator program?

Don’t re-invent the wheel.  There are so many resources out there today as compared to a few years ago.  And there is money too. You have to ask around and be diligent, but that time could save you dollars/effort and could be the difference between success and failure because your competition is plugging into those resources.  So you better take advantage of those resources too.

Why are organizations, like WICT, so valuable to the success of your employees and your company?

WICT is valuable because it provides an open forum for networking and the exchange of ideas.  This should not be taken for granted.   Networking and exchanging ideas are at the top of the list for becoming successful.  And WICT is one of the best organizations I have seen as far as providing a supportive an open forum for the exchange of ideas.  People are very open to networking in WICT.

WICT’s theme this year is to “Be A Catalyst.” In what ways do you find that “Being a Catalyst” has helped you in your career or helped your clients?

Being a catalyst is a great phrase to define how we approach counseling our clients.  So often organizations and sometimes people hold onto the status quo to their detriment.  We try to be the steady hand on the wheel, but at all times moving the ship in a direction as opposed to standing still.  That sounds simple, but many organizations are anchored and unwilling to seize an opportunity.  Sometimes it is best to be anchored, but when there is a storm coming, or if changing your direction a few degrees could put you on the leading edge of a technology, or industry, you need to move forward.  Our firm aggressively engages its clients in that type of discussion – from both business and legal perspectives.

If you are a WICT executive member in Atlanta on Wednesday, September 5th, don’t miss Robin Sangston moderating the “Mergers and Acquisitions Fireside Chat” for WICT SE. The event takes place from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Wargo French’s office at 999 Peachtree Street NE, 26th Floor, Atlanta GA, 30309. For more information about the event, go here.

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