CNBC
updated 6/30/2006 4:11:42 PM ET 2006-06-30T20:11:42

MICHAEL EISNER:
Martha, thank you very much for coming on the show. And I am particularly delighted because you believe in a lot of things that I believe in. Things like synergy and growing brands. And I have noticed in-- in not only preparing for this the amount of brand extension you have done is awesome. And obviously you are in as they said, as I-- tend to be the weeds… And that you smell one idea and it begets another. And is that part of your strategy or does it just happen?

MARTHA STEWART:
Well, I think-- it's not part of my strategy, it is-- my way. And it has become my strategy. I've always tried to maximize my efforts cause I put a lot of work into every single thing I do. And if you can maximize that effort-- like making a magazine and then, an extension of that is the television program. An extension of that is product. An extension of that is the Internet site. An extension of that are newspaper columns. An extension of that is the (LAUGHTER) radio-- channel. You know, is Sirius. All of that is, just to me, a maximization of an effort.

MICHAEL EISNER:
And I'm studying about-- about your company and whether it's, you know, DVDs or it's books or it's magazines or it's the Kmart deal or products or-- or flowers or-- or furniture or-- the entire world had felt like I was looking through a screened mirror. And while I was looking at the mirror I was always hearing in the background people accusing me of being a micro-manager. Now, I just gave a speech for 2,000 people on the art of micro management. Well, I obviously think it's the right thing to do. So, I have a sense that you are of-- a kin of a kind of a micro management.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, I am. I'm-- I'm an incredible micro manager. And-- I feel that I have to understand every part of the business-- to be able to maximize those businesses. I mean, it-- it all goes back-- it's all like very circular. And I think that-- that when-- when I used the work synergy in 19-- 89 when I first started my business-- in 1989 that was a weird word. Synergy. Everybody was shying away from it. And it was not-- it couldn't happen. You couldn't really synergize. And then, I used the word on the media when we went public. And people thought that was a little pretentious, a little strange. But, actually really does work. If it's planned, if it's-- promoted, if it is-- well done and trusted-- and all those things-- I-- I think that-- that you and I actually really do think alike that way.

MICHAEL EISNER:
A lot of people who will take a pejorative like micro manage, which is really a positive thing--

MARTHA STEWART:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
--they'll take a word like politics, which is really the greatest positive thing they turn negative… for instance, a Hillary Clinton, her 33 percent negative ratings? I think, she's gonna-- I think she's very-- clearly could be a candidate to be the next President. And who knows what happens after that. But, here is a 33 percent negativity from lots of women. It must--

MARTHA STEWART:
Surprisingly a large number of women, which really bothers me a lot.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But, isn't that out of envy and jealousy and--

MARTHA STEWART:
I think, it-- I think, with Hillary it's a lot of misunderstanding, really misunderstanding. I think, women-- in this time-- at this time in politics in America I think, women should really pay attention to what women are doing.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But, don't you …

MARTHA STEWART:
That's a-- that's-- I'm just going to say that out load.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But, your negatives, which is less than Hillary that I think comes out of, here's a woman who has done extremely well, has a reputation of striving for excellence, and some women are sitting home saying, some men too, ) why she? It could be me? I could make a cake.

MARTHA STEWART:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
they-- they don't realize--

MARTHA STEWART:
How much work goes into making a cake.

MICHAEL EISNER:
And everything around it.

MARTHA STEWART:
Right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
And the market.

MARTHA STEWART:
As I say it’s a misunderstanding. I really think they misunderstand Hillary and her good work. And her stability. Hillary has been a very stable factor in American politics. She could've just left Mr. President Clinton-- when all the trouble started. She stood by him. She helped keep the-- she helped keep the American government stable by her persistence and her-- and her stability. She was great. And-

MICHAEL EISNER:
Do you think if you were a man or she were a man that the-- the envy and the jealousy would be less? I mean, the obsession… the obsession with a woman CEO being so good would be less?

MARTHA STEWART:
Probably.

MICHAEL EISNER
Now, you've written a lot of books. One of the books you wrote is the Martha Rules. I want to ask you about the title. But, I also want to ask you about the book. I read the book. And I was interested in how you were mentoring— at the prison in-- near the Greenbriar. And you really took these people under your wing and you gave them very practical advice to do a hair salon--

MARTHA STEWART:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
--everything together. A hair salon. Things like--

MARTHA STEWART:
And that-- that was just one of many examples, by the way. And--I was interested in people's projects. There were some writers there that were very prolific published writers.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Is this part of your own… to-- deal with the-- with where you were or what your actual— or…

MARTHA STEWART:
Well, it's--

MICHAEL EISNER:
Hey, that's a good idea. Let's make that.

MARTHA STEWART:
That's-- that's my personality.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Let's put on a show.

MARTHA STEWART:
Yeah, that's right. We are-- I am very interested in entrepreneurial initiative. In-- wherever I find it, I'm always encouraging it and trying to-- help people with it. And try to give them good advice, sound advice.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Yeah, but you're giving sound advice to Connecticut or Westchester or Newark. They have a little privacy. They can go back and think it over. They're not--

MICHAEL EISNER:
They're not showing with 12 other people.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, no, no. But, there is privacy.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Oh, they do.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, sure. Sure. I mean, you're mind….Your mind is your mind. And you can do that anywhere. You can think anywhere. And--

MICHAEL EISNER:
I can't think when somebody else is in the… no-- no-- no divider, (LAUGHTER) I'm sorry.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, no, no. This is a very ladylike place.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Okay.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, yeah. This is ladylike--

MARTHA STEWART:
There were-- there were bathrooms.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So, any of the women … I know you haven’t been able to speak because of some sort of…

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, no, no. Never-- I'm never-- I'm not allowed for a long time to speak to anybody.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But, when-- when that time ends, which it will, would you then go back and check and see if—

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, there are a few people --

MICHAEL EISNER:
--The hairstylist place happened? The Barbershop is now-- the movie Barbershop has become real?

MARTHA STEWART:
You know, there are a few people-- that I met that I would certainly-- count as friends and would like to see again.

MICHAEL EISNER:
That's unbelievable. The--

MARTHA STEWART:
you make friends everywhere in-- in life.

MICHAEL EISNER:
You didn't want to withdraw and not talk to anybody?

MARTHA STEWART:
No. No. No. I-- and I thought, "Me, I'm a friendly (LAUGHTER) person."

MICHAEL EISNER:
I'm a friendly person, too. But, I-- I can remember being on a trip in-- in a rainstorm in a National Park and all I wanted was to be left alone until it went away.

MARTHA STEWART:
Well, oh-- but if you were in trouble, you'd certainly want somebody to help you.

MICHAEL EISNER:
That's true.

MARTHA STEWART:
You see? And I always look at it that way. If I'm-- if I'm helpful and friendly, somebody will be helpful and friendly to me. And in a-- in a place like—prison you certainly want to have people on your side. But, I didn't go in with that attitude either. I just went in as me. And I went in as-- as a friendly human being with-- a lot of knowledge. And-- and-- and I made their days brighter (LAUGHTER) because I-- I regaled them with-- with stories. I told them about the business. I told them about the business world. I told them about gardening.

MARTHA STEWART:
You know, all those things.

MICHAEL EISNER:
You come out and you're-- and-- and-- and you-- you rebuilt immediately your-- your-- your business, went it went public, it doubled in the first day. So, the-- you know, the-- the-- the Martha Stewart-- and I-- I can't call it a brand because it's much greater than that.

MARTHA STEWART:
Well, we-- we-- we started off-- the day I got out, which is-- just over a year ago-- and remember it was only five months.

MICHAEL EISNER:
To me that would be five years.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, see. I'm much more patient than you, I think.

MICHAEL EISNER:
I have no patience. (LAUGHTER) You're not a type A.

MARTHA STEWART:
I think, I am. But, I have patience. I learned patience. You know how?

MICHAEL EISNER:
No.

MARTHA STEWART:
I'm a gardener. I--

MICHAEL EISNER:
I can't handle gardening.

MARTHA STEWART:
See.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Too many weeds.

MARTHA STEWART:
You-- you--

MICHAEL EISNER:
You’ve got to keep pulling those weeds out.

MARTHA STEWART:
That's why you should take up gardening because that is--

MICHAEL EISNER:
Seriously, you have … I can’t do yoga either.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, I do yoga and gardening, see? And that-- those are--

MICHAEL EISNER:
And you're a type A?

MARTHA STEWART:
And I'm a-- oh, I--

MICHAEL EISNER:
No. I think, you're a make-believe type A.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, well.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Type A’s can not do gardening.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, yes you can. And it does teach you patience. Because those trees take a certain amount of time to grow. You can't force them to grow. You can't force plants to do what you would do in the same amount of time.

MICHAEL EISNER:
That's why, you know, I plant a-- a tree or plant, I don't want to come back for a year because at least in a year it's growing a little bit. I mean, it's like watching a pot--

MARTHA STEWART:
I

MICHAEL EISNER:
--boil.

MARTHA STEWART:
I buy things … I mean-- I-- I tried-- I-- I remember seeing some men in their 50s-- and when they were in their 40s they'd by a tree five feet tall. They get-- they hit 50 and get in-- starting their midlife crisis, they're only looking at large full size trees that cost $40,000 to dig and plant. And then, when they're like 55, 60 on-- almost on a verge of retirement, they're buying trees that cost $50,000. Instant gratification.

MICHAEL EISNER:
You can’t believe…my wife is around here somewhere as we talk…the size of the trees we just bought.

MARTHA STEWART:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
For just that reason.

MARTHA STEWART:
Of course.

MICHAEL EISNER:
I can't wait for a three to grow 30 years.

MARTHA STEWART:
Oh, but, it you had a little patience-

MICHAEL EISNER:
Me-- I-- I look at the-- idea and the-- some of the controversy around The Apprentice And as a TV executive I see what happened and you can tell me I'm very wrong. Donald Trump is not set for the next show. I'm putting myself as an executive and saying, "Oh my gosh, we need a backup."

MARTHA STEWART:
You're being m-- you're being Mark-- Mark Burnett.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Or the Network…I'm calling Mark and saying, "If he's not going to do it, who's going to do it? Bring me a list?" In comes the list. Goes through the list, "Martha Stewart. Oh, that's a good idea. Martha Stewart would be good as a backup." Call Martha Stewart and we say to Martha Stewart, "We don't think have Donald Trump next year. Will you do it?" And then, one thing leads to another and they do sign it. Now, they're sitting in the room at NBC—saying, "Oh my God, what are you going to do? Who do we tell? We never told Donald Trump that. We never told Martha Stewart this." And then, you get into, "Well, we got them both." And then, you have a controversy and there's too much of-- of a good thing. And then, this guy goes berserk. (LAUGHTER) He goes crazy -- he-- he--

MARTHA STEWART:
Excellent description. (LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL EISNER:
He says things that I could say--to anybody.

MARTHA STEWART:
Horrible. But-- but--

MICHAEL EISNER:
How did you get over that?

MARTHA STEWART:
--you were very intuitive. And since you were very involved in-- in ABC and all kinds of decisions-- with television, I think that's exactly what happened. I don't know how intensely involved NBC was, but they probably were more involved than I was led-- led to believe.

MICHAEL EISNER:
I guarantee that.

MARTHA STEWART:
And-- and Mark Burnett -- Mark Burnett was in the middle. And-- and the way it was positioned was that Donald was getting' board with it and wasn't going to come back and-- and do it anyway, and that I would be the replacement. But, I'm a creative person. I would not want to be the second apprentice to another apprentice on the same network at the time-- in the same week.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Of course.

MARTHA STEWART:
I mean, how crazy is that?

MICHAEL EISNER:
Of course. Of course.

MARTHA STEWART:
I didn't want that. But-- but other things-- but, I accepted the job as the new host of The Apprentice-- because The Donald wasn't going to be there as far as I know. I went-- and I went off merrily to jail feeling happy that I had a nice Apprentice show coming up.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Yale…as you called it.

MARTHA STEWART:
Yale.. And-- So, I went off to jail. And-- and there-- and when I came out, the plans were changed. And I would've-- now, being me, because I'm a creative person, I suggested that maybe we should do The Entrepreneur instead. Now, Mr. Entrepreneur, Mr. Idol. You know, American Idol guy.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Right.

MARTHA STEWART:
Yeah. So, I would've done that for this show. And instead you would have The Entrepreneur on and you'd have The Apprentice on. Wouldn't that have been a smarter move?

MICHAEL EISNER:
You're on television, on a daily show. You have giant books. One of your books is selling-- is it 50 million or 500 million (LAUGHTER) copies. Some-- some unthinkable amount of-- of-- of …

MARTHA STEWART:
The magazine sold more than 2 million copies, Martha Stewart Living sells more than 2 million copies a month. We are-- people use our information. Millions and millions and millions of people-- use our information every single day.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Well, I have to tell you, I called Bruce Karatz. Bruce Karatz is the CEO of KB Homes. KB Homes--

MARTHA STEWART:
Right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
I’m telling the audience as I’m telling myself… is a home builder that made an arrangement with your for to design a home. And I was saying to Bruce, you know, "How did this happen?" and he said, “Before Martha Stewart would agree to do it. She flew down to look at one of our projects to look at the model homes and look at how we do it. She came down with seven people. She had a camera and she had her notes. And she asked us a million questions, took pictures of everything, and took down notes. "Nobody else did that." (LAUGHTER) Here's was the—the boss into the weeds, into the details. Of course, I felt great cause I been known to

MARTHA STEWART:
right?

MICHAEL EISNER:
Change the shampoo in a bathroom and—here is somebody who is…

MARTHA STEWART:
But, that's the way I am. Because-- taking the pictures, I always have a camera with me. And taking the picture-- just-- it-- it makes my memory-- absolutely precise.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But, this sounds like you're a perfectionist. And I'd be curious, in everything you do, do you go for perfection or do you got for close to perfection or do you go for okay or what is your goal?

MARTHA STEWART:
I go for excellence.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Ah, there’s a difference.

MARTHA STEWART: That's the word. And-- I always-- I had a little saying, "Oh, it's perfectly perfect." When I made something, I would want it to be perfectly perfect cause I'm a teacher and if I do something that's a mess nobody's going to use me as the teacher. They're going to say, "Oh, she's just a shlock” So-- so, when I make a cake I want it to be perfectly perfect. So, my nieces and nephews-- all made fun of me. One year I did a Thanksgiving special. And I said-- I think I said, "perfectly perfect," 13 times. And they counted. And then, they did a spoof of me-- at Thanksgiving-- the real Thanksgiving dinner. And everything (LAUGHTER) was perfectly perfect. It made me look so stupid. But, I laughed about t. And I remembered not to say perfectly perfect after that. So, now-- what it really is, Michael is-- pursuit of excellence.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Well, I thank you for coming on this show.

MARTHA STEWART:
Thanks.

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