Breaking Down Succession S02’s Negotiation and Communication Scenes

Episode 01: The Summer Palace

00:07:15

Logan compliments Kendall for bowing to him

  • Again, pure Dominant. Wants respect, wants to be flattered even if he knows it’s on purpose;
  • Kendall respecting his value and authority makes Logan like him. It’s how it works with a Dominant;

00:12:15

Kendall tells Logan the game plan for the takeover

  • The opposing team is going to tackle big shareholders first, usually conservative institutions. This makes a lot of sense. They are risk-averse, and they just trust Logan because he has obtained results so far, but no future guarantee;
  • Naturally, it becomes a consensus game. Fighting for the shareholders while others are doing the same;
  • Out of curiosity, if they are focusing on conservative shareholders, I would do a little bit of reframing. Framing the new team as being the ones who are unstable, and emotional, and trying to change things, and positioning Logan as stable, and being attacked by a radical team that wants to change the status quo;
  • It’s all about what the shareholder wants, and positioning yourself as the best solution to that;

00:28:30

Shiv screwing with Roman’s mind

  • Saying that you believe in someone sarcastically or with something else implied causes a much bigger effect than directly telling them you don’t believe in them;
  • This is because, if you have a problem, then just stating it, you get it out of your mind. It’s a catharsis, in a way
    • It’s the reason why once you write something down, you can forget about it, or when someone talks about their emotions they subside. But if it’s unsaid, if it’s still in there, it’s still swirling;
    • I call this “Peace of mind manipulation”. Doing something to allow a person to get something out of their mind;
  • Same principle here. If you say what’s wrong, the other person can get it out of their head and make peace with it;
    • But if you say something sarcastically or cynically, and they don’t really know what you mean, you cause uncertainty, and you screw with their mind;
  • Especially since Roman has thin skin, this is a great technique;

00:34:15

Logan discusses the future with the family

  • When others attack Kendall and Logan says, “He’s taken his medicine” almost in a protective way. The other state that the’s being soft on Kendall, and they are completely right. They don’t know what Logan knows;
  • Tom sucks up to Logan, as usual. In this case this actually works, it’s flattery, and he actually stated in a matter-of-fact, direct way without being needy. This was a pretty good demonstration of flattery. Authentic;

00:38:00

Logan meeting people one by one

  • Great to isolate opinions and get people to state what they would not state in public, due to fear of what others think or just not wanting them to know. Great insight;
  • More than that, it’s a great negotiation tool. At the table, if multiple people disagree with him, he has less power. It’s 3 on 1 or 2 on 1. But if he’s meeting people individually, a disagreement is always one versus one – and he’s pretty Dominant, so this is a way to get their opinions without getting any disagreement at all;
  • “I didn’t do a deal with Kendall. I do what I want”. This is exactly the language a Dominant would use. Quick, to the point, does what he wants;
  • Shiv later tells Tom she negotiated to get him a good position. She used her leverage here. Logan wanted here, so she could pretty much dictate terms. I would love to say she’s a good negotiator, but it’s probably due to what happened with Kendall;

00:48:45

Logan accuses the constructor of placing the dead raccoons

  • He threatens and humiliates the contractor without any confirmation that the raccoons in the chimney were actually his fault, then offers him below what he spent, and insults him on top of this. Usual Dominator stuff here;
  • Considering how he is treating him, if he’s done it before, I would have put the racoons there;

00:49:55

Logan nominates Kendall as co-COO

  • May not make sense considering their history, but remember a Dominator wants to win above anything else. If naming Kendall makes the company stronger, now that he’s subjugated, and makes the stock price go higher, Logan will do it. Wins above anything else;
  • Also, a Dominant will recognise another Dominant and actually collaborate in about 1% of cases. This is such a case. He subjugated him, so now he’s useful;
  • The thought process is even usually shorter than this. He’s not an enemy anymore. No use spending energy. Let’s focus on abusing the next person and squeezing as much as possible out of them;

00:52:55

Kendall tells Sandy’s team that Logan will never give up

  • The line that he will literally bleed cash, they will bleed cash, he is willing to go to jail and send assassins, and that this will never end and they can both be destroyed is literally pure Dominant behavior. They are willing to lose everything to make the other side lose as well;
  • In terms of negotiation itself, he may be using this as a threat to discourage Sandy’s team. Declaring open war. Because he doesn’t care. In fact, this is prettu funny. It’s a Dominant declaring open war in the name of another Dominant that is hurt and has nothing to lose. It’s very fascinating;
    • Earlier, I could see Kendall making the exact same threat to his own father, and now he’s making that threat in the name of his father. In the name of the father (Day-Lewis would be proud);

Episode 02: Vaulter

00:00:40

Kendall acting sore with Roman and the park attendant

  • He’s hurt and depressed, but still a Dominant. Notice that his mood changed, but he’s still short, to the point, gets what he wants and leaves;
  • It’s almost like hungover domination;

00:02:15

Discussion about the proxy war

  • Both sides have valid points. Gerri wants to wait to give a reply not to seem rattled, Shiv wants to give an immediate reply and win them over aggressively;
  • I do respect Shiv’s reframe, making the new contender seem immature and the current Logan team seem solid, but I would still side with Gerri here, to be honest;
  • By sending a quick reply, you’re acknowledging their danger. You’re showing you take them seriously. I would ignore them completely. Because if things are OK, and the company is running as usual, there’s no reason to react. By reacting, you show that they have a point, or at least you acknowledge them;
  • There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s what I would personally do;

00:10:00

Aggressive banter between Kendall and Lawrence Yee

  • I love it, because it’s again realistic. There’s small stabs going here and there, ego, narcissism. Kendall seems back on his game, and by this I mean borderline abusive again;
  • Also, notice here how both Kendall and Roman went. One of them would be enough to speak with him, but both went to show power. Anytime you have a number advantage in a negotiation, you have a subconscious advantage, because the other side will feel intimidated, and have less mental permission to be aggressive. It’s almost like every person at the table gets a say in the matter, so if you have multiple people at the table, you have more of the total share of the opinion, if you will. It’s almost like a vote, so the more people on your side, the more votes. Assuming they are working well together, that is;

00:14:25

Tom tells the current ATN manager Cyd he’s there to trim the fat

  • This negotiation is weird. I don’t understand why Tom made it his value proposition to trim the fat off the network. If you want to do that, hire a PE firm or restructure;
  • I think it would be more worth it for him to create a new initiative, or try something new. But still, here we are;
  • In terms of negotiation, he went in with a very hard plan, did not adapt to the current manager’s opinion, she offended him, and he returned the favor. This was not a productive negotiation;
  • He could have established some type of compromise, something beneficial for both, but this ended up as a confrontation. This was just embarrassing for both of them. I think that this conversation could have gone in so many other ways;

00:20:15

Logan negotiating with Shiv the CEO onboarding

  • Logan proposes a very long plan, and then a very short one. It’s very simplistic. Dominant brain;
  • Shiv does the right thing, which is to say that she will think of a plan, and then get back to him. Not rushing anything, not accepting any option in the moment. The right approach;
  • But also, it’s weird that it almost seems she’s finding an excuse because she doesn’t believe it. Remember the persuasion technique of implementation intention? The more real and detailed you make it, the more you persuade. Here it’s like she’s doing the opposite. He’s making specific plans, and she’s reducing it to a vague commitment. I would even argue she doesn’t want it, doesn’t believe, and she’s psyching herself out due to this. I could be wrong;

00:22:10

Roman going against Kendall on Vaulter

  • He waited until Kendall said all he needed to say to then counteract with his point. Extremely sneaky and immoral, but devastating technique;
  • You hear everything the other side states, so that you can prepare counter-arguments for everything and then just dump them all on them. It’s a true piledriver;
  • Both of them have valid arguments here, and it’s hard to tell who is right. Both plans could work;
  • On a side note, it’s interesting how Kendall got treated the same way. In the very first episode, he told Lawrence Yee he was going to own him, and do whatever he wanted, and now Kendall ended up being owned himself and directed by someone else. It’s poetic justice;
  • Also interesting is that, as a Dominant, Logan respects someone else if they dominate, if they win. And you can see here that, despite Kendall and Roman having both valid arguments, Roman was more aggressive. It’s very possible that his approach was picked just because he was more aggressive than Kendall. A Dominant recognising dominance;

00:28:05

Rom tells Shiv they gutted Kendall’s baby

  • I would just correct that this isn’t his baby. For a Dominant, everything is a tool, with a purpose. Vaulter is just another tool to Kendall. So don’t feel very sorry for how things turned out, because Kendall would have probably done the very same thing if he found a reason for it;

00:30:45

Shiv tells Tom that she doesn’t trust Logan placing her as CEO

  • She says that she is just being used and doesn’t trust that Logan will make her CEO. And you know what? I believe that very exact same thing. I’m glad someone in the show is perceptive and knows when they’re being played;

00:33:45

Kendall tells Yee they are going to make the company work

  • This is a very funny situation. Kendall is dominating Lawrence Yee for a good reason. He’s dominating him into running the company in a better way. This is a very interesting and unique situation. I love it. For a good purpose finally;

00:43:35

Shiv discussing with Tom whether Logan or Gil

  • Tom mentions Logan can do to her the same he did to Kendall. True. But I not argue it’s because he gets bored. It’s because Kendall stopped being a useful tool that allows him to win more. I think the same would happen here;

00:48:10

Greg depending on Kendall for boundaries

  • Pretty funny how Greg is so needy, can’t do anything on his own. He’s asking permission of Kendall to draw a boundary and finish the party. He’s not even demanding, even though it’s his apartment;
  • This is one of those times where being needy or too empathetic will get you nowhere. You need to be firm. Although Kendall is a Dominant, and he can blow the relationship up over a minor thing, the alternative is to be his little servant forever. None of the two are good options;

00:49:35

Shiv quits her job with Gil

  • The power dynamic here is interesting because each side keeps throwing small stabs at the other side, and they progressively increase in size;
  • This is an example of a negotiation where both sides don’t care at all, and because of that you don’t see any restraint, and things just escalate;

00:52:40

Logan gives Kendall a job after gutting Vaulter

  • Shows his transactional side, and again Dominant. Notice, in specific, how he didn’t even offer it. He declared it. It’s like, “You’re working here now”, like it or not;

Episode 03: Hunting

00:04:55

Logan in the meeting

  • Dominant attitude, not wasting time. Telling them sarcastically to pause and eat the pastries;
  • Overriding Gerri. She says a purchase is not what they need, he says it is, period, discussion over;

00:20:55

Connor negotiating with Shiv

  • What would it take for you to reconsider? Great question, implementation intention;

00:24:30

Greg asking Tom for advice on talking to Logan’s biographer

  • Tom mentioned Logan will kill him, and to never admit him. This is a good approach for a Dominant, who is emotionally immature, and who may immediately destroy your career if you give them bad news;

00:31:20

Gerri and the Karl ambushing Tom about doubts about Pierce

  • Nobody here wants to be the one to second-guess Logan. So funny. They all fear the consequences;
  • This is the type of culture you create when you have a Dominant as the CEO with no consequences in terms of who he fires or hires, and no corporate governance. This is a realistic conversation in many companies;
  • Tom later telling Logan that people are against Pierce, but that he isn’t. Oh my god, so pathetic. These people are all cowards;
  • The most ironic thing is they don’t realise that Logan respects power and dominance, and wins, and that the best way to get him to understand this point would be to do something else for him that makes him money. THEN he listens;

00:42:00

Logan abusing everyone on the table

  • Logan goes around the table and abuses everyone;
  • The motion conveys power. The fact that people are sitting and waiting, while he moves at his own pace helps to determine his actual power;
  • He abuses Frank and tells him he didn’t get any of the jobs he wanted because he thought he was guilty, and didn’t even have proof;
  • Then he tells everyone to take their phones out;
  • Then he singles out every person that doubts Pierce;
  • Then he forces Tom, Greg and Karl to sit on the floor and pretend to be pigs. I love how Tom says, “Like there is any rational explanation for this;

Episode 04: Safe Room

00:10:00

Frank and Logan

  • Frank mentions “He could be our Coriolanus, switching sides”, and Logan says, “Why don’t you take your library card and fuck off?”;
  • LOL!;

00:14:00

Footstool fiesta

  • This is very funny, but also disturbing. I also don’t get why Tom is doing this. He’s not particularly a Dominant or gets pleasure in doing it;
  • If anything, I would state that he is doing this to try and seem though, or he just genuinely thinks it’s funny;

00:18:00

Kendall welcoming Shiv

  • Very out of character to be so humble and polite. But this is something that happens when a Dominant is destroyed. When they’re humiliated;
  • And in this case, they completely reverse. So a Dominant goes from fully dominant and aggressive to fully desperate, humble, unsure what to do;
  • This is because usually, the only weapon a Dominant haves is bullying. Once they lose that, they literally lose their personality, and they don’t know who they are. This is also why, when you stand up to a bully. in many cases they completely fold;
  • So what you see here is Kendall being lost;

00:21:00

Rhea negotiation

  • Notice how Kendall, who is temporarily out of character, is giving these long explanations, such as, “That is not what we’re interested in doing”, stuttering, and Logan cuts him and asks, “Look, what do they want?”;
  • They’re actually providing good balance to each other, and they are working together. This is crucial when you have multiple people on the same side of a negotiation. They have to be aligned;
  • With these two, it’s very lucky they are on the same side. I’m honestly appalled one of them hasn’t contradicted the other and blown this up yet;

00:33:00

Tom and Greg complaining Cyd looks like a hero, but not them

  • They are completely correct. In the face of danger, someone who has courage and stays near the danger will be hailed as a hero. Frequent with journalists, such as wartime ones. High risk, high reward;
  • By immediately running to the panic room, they are protected, but nobody will call them heroes, that’s for sure;

00:35:25

Kendall and Logan making offers

  • They’re just throwing numbers when Rhea already mentioned it’s not just about the money. I would find out more about their values and specific personalities. This is another approach;
  • Kendall asking, “What would move the dial for them?”, good technique;
  • Their approach is still relatively aggressive. Not ideal. It’s throwing outnumbers and assuming Rhea will take it;

00:41:20

Connor refusing the biographer at the funeral

  • Excellent attitude. He deflected and didn’t give her anything, despite her insistence;
  • Her argument wasn’t that good, also. She’s threatening his image, giving the impression someone may paint Connor in a bad light. I don’t know if it’s a credible threat, because the book is about Logan and the focus is on him;

00:43:15

Greg blackmails Tom, with permission

  • See, this can be very destructive. Once you give an ultimatum, the relationship usually does not go back to a previous stage of trust again;
  • I know they are kind of half joking here, but an ultimatum in the real world usually does not work, because there is no going back. And also, you’ve played the only card you’ve had, so if the person is not affected and dares you, then you have nothing left;

00:46:45

Rhea negotiation closing

  • She finally mentions what they want, and they want a peace offering. See, here it is. Logan and Kendall, as Dominants, are all about the numbers. Making logical offers and that’s it;
  • But by knowing what motivates the other side and what they may want, they can go a lot further, and now we finally know what emotionally motivates the other side;

00:51:20

Kendall opening up to Shiv

  • You can see that once he has been subjugated, as a Dominant, Kendall’s behavior completely changes. This occurs in negotiations as well. If you break their frame, the Dominant completely reverses and becomes needy, desperate, lost in themselves;

Episode 05: Tern Haven

00:13:45

Logan asks Kendall to handle Peter

  • Very interesting demonstration of Dominant behavior. Just doesn’t want to waste time. Go figure it for me. Done;

00:14:05

Logan honors the Pierce family with a toast

  • WHAT. This is completely out of character;
  • I see no reason for Logan to be kissing up to the Pierce family. Or why. There is literally no precedent, no reason for him to behave like this;
  • Either Logan has internally realised that they are needy, and is showing weakness, or some kind of emotional old-man-at-end-of-life situation just occurred in his mind. But this is completely out of character;
  • This makes no sense. After threatening to disrupt and damage every single other person in every single other deal… why now?

00:17:50

The Roys bomb their talks with the Pierces

  • You can see how the Roy family could have chosen to hold back on their arrogance in order to cause a better impression… but they didn’t;
  • Roman and Connor especially;
  • Shiv is the only person holding back and trying to be diplomatic, taking back her joke, maintaining decorum;

00:25:42

Shiv tells Tom that Logan sees him hesitating and he’s done

  • 100% realistic. 100% reality. This is EXACTLY what happens. Logan will not see Tom as someone with credibility and authority unless he acts like a Dominant too, is aggressive, and gets a kill;

00:28:20

Nan asks Logan about their own acquisition offer

  • Nan asks Logan about the offer very point-blank;
  • I like her style. Very direct, honest, and testing him to see what comes out;
  • (Btw, “Potemkin Pillage” is a great pun);
  • Logan’s style in replying is also very in character. Short, to the point, brutal with others, not mincing words, and reacts defensively;
  • Shiv forcing Logan to state she’s the successor is a very intelligent play. But it’s a gamble. You can see Logan reacts defensively, many people at the table are irritated, and this will have consequences;
    • I’m torn about whether this was a good move or not. Because Shiv wanted to lock her position. OK. But at the same time, she risked bombing the whole deal due to the instability cause, and it seems that’s exactly what happened;
    • Btw, I love how realistic the situation itself is. You take a gamble in a negotiation, and the answer is not immediate. You’re just filled with tension in this heavy, weird aura, until things play out and you realise whether you are a genius or an idiot. And you see Shiv’s nervousness afterwards, and even some remorse. This is super realistic. I love this chain of interactions;
  • (Oh, the Romanity. Another excellent pun. This episode’s writers were on a roll);

00:48:00

Nan’s meeting with the Roys

  • Nan’s attitude. Pragmatic, but fair. Super simple, super direct, state what she likes and what she doesn’t;
  • Also, I find it hilarious how cousin Naomi was, err, “convinced” by Kendall. Hey, shows how;
  • Logan stating that he can go to 25, but it would need to be fast. True Dominant. Everything has to be fast, and right now;
  • Nan states specific governance controls and other demands. All of them fair;
  • I love how Nan demands Shiv as the successor, and doesn’t back down on it, and is not intimidated by Logan. She politely persists and draws a boundary. All shy people and introverts, take note here. Persistence with politeness. This is how you do it. Brilliant execution;
  • Logan doing basic Dominant thing. That is, blowing up the negotiation on a whim. I like how Nan politely calls his bluff, holding her ground, and then Logan decides to go forward and really blows it all up;
  • All of this is super realistic. Disturbingly realistic;
  • Also, more Dominant stuff. How he becomes grumpy when Shiv confronts him on the helicopter, and then he releases kind of a war cry when they land and the deal is agreed via phone;
  • Notice the small detail of Logan greeting Greg in a Dominant way. He’s grabbing him and saying, “Come here”, nicknames him, and hands him the champagne. Even when celebrating, dominating them;

Episode 06: Argestes

00:00:15

Logan on the Pierce deal

  • Logan saying to just give them what they want in order to get it done quickly;
  • A bit off-character. I would expect Logan’s Dominant personality to force it to be done quickly AND still with the terms they want. It is his personality type to want everything and want it now, but the compromising does not seem natural;
  • I love how hilarious it is Logan dominates Kendall, who dominates the lawyers and literally tells them to do the same to their minions. Literally how this works in the corporate world;
  • Including how Kendall is brutal with them, telling them they’re worthless and monkeys and they will be fired. A normal person would ask, “Would I risk antagonising these highly skilled people for the rest of my life just like that?”. A Dominant doesn’t care. They do it… and possibly pay for it later;

00:03:20

Shiv complaints to Frank into not getting into Argestes

  • I like her strategy of complaining to Frank and trying to enlist him so that they both protest to Logan, or similar, to get into Argestes;
  • But she was short-sighted in terms of not noticing that Frank is already broken in. He was fired and brought back by Logan. He’s already obedient. He’s not going to back her on this. He accepts where they are;

00:08:30

Logan to Shiv about not telling her

  • I said it was better to come forward with the cruise thing beforehand. And this is proof. They’re gonna pay for it;
  • The line, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” may be about Logan not knowing himself (but I don’t think this is the meaning);
    • More likely, him knowing but not telling Shiv, giving her plausible deniability;
    • I understand the point, but it’s a faulty one. Even if she’s not complicit to these problems, she’s still going to be involved in them and have to deal with the fallout of them. Didn’t protect her a lot;
  • The advice to finish the deal before the cruise thing leaks is dangerous. If they find out in the meantime, not only does the deal bomb, they can literally be sued. It’s a gamble;

00:12:00

Greg telling Tom the slogan won’t work

  • This is a great lesson in terms of framing. You can reframe something, and depending on your point of view, it can be seen as good or bad. This is an excellent example;
  • A slogan about being diligent and attentive being turned into a kind of admission of stalking is hilarious, but true;
  • Think of the usual startup saying, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature”. Here it’s the reverse. The “We’re listening slogan”, “It’s not a feature, it’s a bug”;

00:13:30

Logan telling Marcia she may hear bad things about him

  • Great move. Preempt problems and they seem smaller. Adverse transparency. By revealing negative things you didn’t need to, you sound more authentic, credible, and the other side has a harder time attacking you;

00:15:05

Logan imposing a “tomorrow” deadline on the Pierces

  • Using a deadline. Risky move. Can show assertiveness, can show pragmatism, but the other side can also smell weakness. Very risky at this stage. But it may be a good move if it works;
  • A lesson here is, if you’re going to bluff, bluff seeming arrogant, not weak. Worst case, they see you as arrogant. But they don’t see weakness;

00:16:15

Stewie telling Kendall he doesn’t trust him

  • Very realistic. Remember, as a Dominant, Kendall threatened Stewie and many other people. This burns bridges, and in many cases, irreparably. They know Kendall only wants to get as much as he cans, and doesn’t care about anyone else;
  • This happens in the real world, and exactly like this;

00:17:45

Tom and Greg on “We’re HEAR for you” slogan

  • I know this is supposed to be ridiculous, but there is a great lesson here;
  • The more vague something is, the more that you can attribute different meanings to it, but also the more the person loses credibility. Because when you say what you mean, you say something specific;
  • Saying something vague means you’re unclear, incompetent, you’re trying to avoid stating a message, or something similar;
  • That’s why, for example, why when oil companies do oil spills, they never say, “We will clean up 100%”, or “50%”, or give any sort of timeframe. They just say, in general, “We will make it right”;
  • The more vague something is, the lower the probability the person actually wants to take action or do something. It’s the opposite of the principle of implementation intention;

00:24:30

Rom proposing to Gerri “The rockstar and the molewoman”

  • This could work in general terms. Good cop bad cop. Through the principle of perceived contrast, one accentuates the other. Roman looks eccentric compared to Gerri, Gerri seems more logical and competent compared to Roman;
  • This COULD work with two hypothetical figures, but Roman knows too little of management and is too much of a loose cannon in my opinion;
  • Great general principle, and a persuasive presentation, but the specific team doesn’t work for me;

00:28:15

The magazine doesn’t respond to Logan’s bullying and fights back

  • Again, nothing new here. 100% realistic. This whole show is about Dominants bullying and intimidating people, and this creates a polarising reaction;
  • Either they cave, and obey, or they react aggressively and call their bluff, and then it’s all-out-war;
  • This is literally what happens in real life;

00:28:45

Nan not reacting to Logan and Kendall’s hurry

  • Nan is putting a damper on the speed that Kendall and Logan want;
  • She makes a last-minute demand about performance compensation. This is what I call unexpected rigidity. And it’s a gamble of its own;
    • After everything is agreed upon, you try and squeeze one last thing in the last minute. And the other side may either accede to it, because everything’s pretty much closed, or they may blow things up. This would be OK with anyone else, but very risky with Logan;
  • One thing to really take note of is Nan’s defensive measures. She refuses the deadline, and she does it calmly. She refuses to sign anything right away, and just states some things need to be talked more thoroughly;
    • She’s an example of a real class act and persisting while polite. Excellent measures;
  • (Also LOL at Roman. “Just Google it”. “I don’t know what it is that we did”);

00:30:55

The cruise article

  • The lack of specifics plays two roles in specific here:
    • First, it’s lack of proof. It’s safer for Waystar. The article lacks teeth;
    • True or false, any story is more persuasive if it has more details. Think of, “I was beaten yesterday” versus “I was walking home in the rain yesterday at around 9 PM, walked into a dark alley, and I felt this sudden searing pain in the back of my head, and I fell to the floor. I touched my hand and could feel a warm liquid on it. Then I felt a series of kicks, and I was gasping for air”, and so on;
    • Anything can become more persuasive with more details. Period. That’s why they say the best lies are the ones that are embedded in truth;
  • (Stewie telling Kendall the deal is dead on the water, just like the women in the cruises. WHOA. Savage pun. This is Jimmy Carr-level of savage);

00:37:50

Shiv and Rhea negotiating about the cruise thing

  • I love this negotiation. Logical on both sides. They both keep their cool;
  • Shiv saying “If you don’t like it you can seek another source of capital”, but it’s not a real threat, more like a playful jab;
  • They are both very pragmatic, analyse the consequences of the article, and what can happen to the deal. Excellent communication on both sides. You can see that both are smart, but they are not aggressive. They are just feeling each other out;
  • Btw, first time that two women are handling a negotiation, it’s the most competent one of the series so far;

00:42:10

The Roys discussing Shiv instead of a Roy man on the panel

  • Small things here. It’s risky of Shiv to first have refused it and now want it last minute. I love Logan asking the lawyer his opinion, he says it’s difficult, and Logan insults him and demands an answer right away. The usual;
  • Pros and cons to both sides. I agree having a woman up there is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be just due to the article. But on the other hand, placing Shiv there and making an active change communicates weakness. It communicates they acknowledge the article;
    • In other words, they can lean into it, admit they did something wrong, and make changes, or they can outright deny the article. But not one of both. Here they’re placing Shiv up there, but still kind of recusing themselves in terms of the article. It’s a weird mix to me;
  • Shiv argued to Logan in EXACTLY the right way. Notice this in specific. This is brilliant. She’s dominant. She’s stating she knows her stuff and she doesn’t care. Take it or leave it. And Logan takes it;
  • Shiv insulting Logan and calling him a dinosaur, which results in him going ballistic, feeling offended, and slapping a tooth out of Roman. Very realistic;
    • Please notice the very very thin line here with a Dominant. You should show teeth to be respected by a Dominant. But if you cross a line, and disrespect them, then you’re on the other side now, and they’re done. It’s a very fine line between respect and all-out-war;
    • That’s why in 99% of cases, two Dominants will be at war, and on the other 1%, they can be allies;

00:52:40

Logan threatening Nan when she pulls out of the deal

  • Logan is going ballistic here, which is surely partially caused by Shiv’s insult, but also letting his personality come through;
  • Notice how he didn’t try to use logical arguments, appeal to what Nan wanted in terms of goals or values, or anything else. He just said, “It’s a good deal, you’re an idiot not to take it”. Period. And then he’s done, with a threat;

Episode 07: Return

00:01:50

Gerri suggests opposition research on Roman

  • Oppo research is a great idea, especially when you have the quantity of skeletons in the closet that Roman probably does. You will need a lot of spin doctoring, and you will need to know everything that’s wrong in order to frame it the right way;

00:03:05

Sandy’s team’s video on Waystar

  • Sandy’s team’s points are ALL true. Corporate governance fails – the executives do what they want – there’s no succession planning – or there is, for Shiv, who is not even in the company or trained – and the acquisition strategy is a joke, and negotiations are blown up on a whim due to Logan’s moods;
  • The communication is crystal clear here, and this is a great presentation. Devastatingly effective. No wonder Frank says they’ve had negative feedback from some investors. ALL THESE CLAIMS ARE TRUE!

00:07:40

The legal team drills Tom

  • So the persuasion technique used here is to get the person to state clearly what they know or don’t know. Or what they did or did not do;
  • Tom is using his usual technique, which is escaping and saying nothing. This does work at times, but in a legal situation, such as a deposition, avoiding the issue or avoiding giving a clear answer can come across as shady or having something to hide;
  • If I were Tom, I would answer clinically. In an objective manner. State the facts and that’s it. Trying to sugarcoat, avoid, or otherwise deflect a direct answer comes across as shady;
  • In this situation, on top of everything, considering that Tom was a director for such a short time, I wouldn’t sweat it;
  • As we see this later, Tom’s biggest problem is Greg. Greg is a liability, and he’s the one who can blow all of this up;

00:20:40

Logan accused of bullying British waiter into suicide

  • Sandy’s group is trying to use the abuse of the waiter to try and discredit Logan. That is, painting him as so unhinged and out of control that he literally caused a death;
  • Although this is technically not correct – the waiter was killed by another Roy, Kendall in this case, ironically – it fits the message perfectly. They’re trying to pain Waystar’s direction as having no controls on the executives, and no strategy. A loose cannon CEO that literally kills a waiter with words – and with a punch – fits this perfectly. Well played, Sandy and team;

00:29:50

Rhea offers Shiv a job at Pierce

  • Interesting tactic. At this stage, I have no idea what Rhea is trying to do. Either she’s trying to undermine Logan, by compromising Shiv who is in line for CEO, or she’s legitimately trying to help Pierce gain an upper hand, to get back in Nan’s good graces;
  • I have no idea what she has to gain with this offer. She’s not helping Logan, and she doesn’t seem to be in that much good relations with the Pierces. OK, I would say, but not excellent;
  • Third option I can think of is that she is testing Shiv to gauge her reaction, and actually still supports her for Waystar CEO. That’s the only option that would remotely make sense here. I can’t decode this;

00:41:50

The Roy mom negotiates for the divorce settlement

  • Very common in a divorce setting, and also common for someone who has been screwed over by a Dominant. She wants to seem him bleed;
  • I love how she asks Roman what is Logan’s maximum to then ask more, or ask for the Summer Palace that he wants. She wants to see him bleed and take something from him;
  • This is an example of a negotiation where she has nothing to lose. Logan is the one who needs her support, and she can ask for whatever she wants, and she wants to see him bleed in specific. She has all the power here, and can do whatever she wants;

00:50:50

Logan confronts Shiv over considering the Pierce job

  • This is a great example of how storytelling and framing in many cases can matter more than the facts. She didn’t even say she was considering the job, but that was the rumor that was spread to everyone;
  • Also, I think I get it now. I think that Nan Pierce orchestrated the offer through Rhea just to get back at Logan and throw it in his face. Remember Logan blew up the negotiation and threatened Rhea and called her an idiot. This must taste very good. I’m still not sure this is the real reason, but it would make sense;
  • Or maybe Rhea was actually working with Logan, and she wanted to discredit Shiv to get her out of the way as CEO, which is what actually happened. This is also another possibility. In the next episode, we find out she’s a CEO candidate. There we go. Wanted to move here out of the way;

Episode 08: Dundee

00:04:25

Roman not delivering on his speech

  • This is hilarious. I love how Roman’s deadpan delivery clearly sounds fake, and the studio manager, or recording manager is trying to gently tell him it’s not good enough, and Roman just decides to go crazy and sarcastic instead of taking it seriously;
  • Also, I love how this whole campaign is just pure emotional manipulation at its best. Doing the whole “dad as a hero” bit is a classic, and brings all types of emotions for so many people. They’re milking it for all its worth;

00:09:43

Logan’s reaction to the possible cruise whistleblower

  • Logan as a Dominant. Doesn’t learn, doesn’t change anything. There’s a possible leaker that can blow the cruise thing wide open. What is his first reaction? Threaten him. Silence him. Destroy him. The usual;
  • This is borderline delusional, and scary. He literally believes he can scare and bully everyone around him, just due to his power, even though he literally has had several people come back to get revenge on him due to his attitude in the first place;

00:25:30

Dealing with the whistleblower

  • I love how Gerri literally states “we made the threat/offer”. It’s hilarious. You either accept this and get in bed with us, or we destroy you. It’s a useful combination in situations like the mafia, for example. You either accept us or move against us and die;
  • “He said no”. Of course he said no, you have no idea what he wants. He may have a hurt pride. He may want to see Logan bleed. You have no idea of his motivations and you are just throwing money at him?
  • This reminds me of the Billions episode in Season 3 about Taylor’s compensation when Wendy Rhoades says, “Once you take everything away except money, money is all that’s left”. These people are excluding all other possible motivators and just moving to money. Very limiting;

00:43:25

Greg tells Logan about his grandfather’s threat

  • I love how Greg is pretending to leave, but he’s actually trying to get something from Logan, and Logan doesn’t give him anything. Again, pure Dominant, no concessions, willing to blow things up;
  • He just tells Greg, “Make your decision, call his bluff and stay”;

00:44:55

The team wonders how to deal with the whisteblower

  • “There’s something going on under the water”. Of course, YOU MADE NO EFFORT TO OFFER ANYTHING EXCEPT MONEY;
  • The concept that Sandy’s takeover team is funding the whisteblower is possible. True. But also, it could also be any other possibility, and he may just be a person who wants something else;
  • Either way, they need to figure out what this person wants and give it to him in order to shut him up. They won’t fix it by just throwing money at the problem;

00:50:35

Shiv’s message to Logan

  • Shiv is the one who gets it. “I know you hate wasting time, and you would just like to be having dinner”. Precisely the communication that works for him;
  • She’s not offering false gifts, doing a random rap song, or similar. She’s speaking his language, pure and simple;

00:54:10

Marcia telling Logan he hurt her

  • Marcia telling Logan, “You hear what you want to hear, and you punish me for something I didn’t say”. Again, very realistic. Exactly what a Dominant personality causes. No regard for others, does what he wants, to whomever he wants, and doesn’t care about the consequences. In the long-term, they will erode any relationship, they will do whatever they want, and force the other side to deal with the consequences. It’s a very trying process;
  • Also shows how people cope with a Dominant. She had hope he would get better or control his behavior. Nope;

Episode 09: DC

00:03:15

The Roys reacting to the whistleblower

  • First, I’m appalled at how much this guy knows. So in Season 1 the “fixer” tells Tom the document destruction can be secret. Now this person knows all about it as well. Anyway, not to get off topic;
  • The material he has is powerful, and he’s trying to discredit the company. But I’ll be honest. Unfortunately, in the world of nowadays, if the company just shows that it did something, throws someone in the grinder as a sacrifice, then they can keep going without any type of punishment. That’s the unfortunate reality of nowadays;
  • Same works for Sandy’s takeover bid. I keep defending that Tom should have gone public with what happened, shows that they did something to rehabilitate the company, and moved on. There are ways to show the company is not weak, with added corporate governance controls, tighter relationship with regulators, and so on. They can show that they can admit the mistake, pay some fines and bounce back up;
  • Naturally, for Sandy’s team, this is an excellent opportunity. They had already released the video claiming Waystar has poor governance and strategy, and now show them as responsible for this. It builds up on the previous accusation. Masterful execution. Devious as hell, but masterful;

00:10:35

Logan convinces Roman to go after sovereign wealth money

  • I don’t really understand what they want the sovereign wealth money for. Or, I mean, I understand what they want it for, but what is the process here?
  • Sovereign wealth funds invest in traditional funds and in alternative assets like hedge funds or private equity. I don’t see them frequently make a direct investment in a company;
  • Maybe they’re important enough to get an allocation? But there’s a specific process to get money – ESPECIALLY institutional money. I don’t see what’s happening here;
  • I would rate this specific scene as very unrealistic. Very contrasting to previous scenes. But I may be missing something here;
  • (Btw, Rhea complaining about being the CEO of a sinking ship – good on you. She manipulated her way into being CEO and screwed Shiv. Well, you made your bed. This also happens in real life. You fight so much for something, and find out it’s rotten afterwards. What a pity);

00:16:00

Roman tries to get the sovereign wealth money

  • Ok so the sovereign wealth fund person clarifies they like the company as part of a portfolio. That makes this more justifiable. But even then, they will need to go through an excruciating due diligence process, and if it’s a PE play, which it seems like, there needs to be a blueprint to create value while optimising operations. Roman is not going to close this with his puppy eyes and smile;
  • They’re going to pitch at an investment conference? Hmmm, again, weird. This is not a one-time pitch. It’s a series of meetings with due diligence experts for financial, legal, commercial and other areas. Bottom line is just making the investment if the numbers make sense;
  • This scene makes it a little bit more realistic, but still not that realistic;

00:19:05

The Roys meet Bill at the lobby

  • I love how they appreciate his support, but are still going to throw him under the bus. Very realistic, exactly what happens in the corporate world with ruthless people;
  • In this case, I would not even call them ruthless, they’re just fighting for survival. But yeah, same pattern. Giving them a kiss on the cheek while stabbing him in the back;

00:22:00

Roman pitches to the sovereign wealth fund

  • OK. Roman’s pitch is useless. He’s not hitting the right notes.
  • For a PE investment, you have to show the company has bloated operations, and that it can be improved by trimming the fat. Usually, it’s a company that is not a market leader, but can be one if optimised;
  • He’s saying that they are profitable. Every company up for a PE investment is already profitable. He’s saying they can buy into the news space at the very top. Again, irrelevant. He only needs to mention that the company can go from number 2 to number 1 with optimisation;
  • I’m appalled that Logan didn’t pay someone to coach him on how a PE investment works if the pitch is that important;
  • The part about the LBO structuring is the only realistic part about this. But even that should be validated by their own team, not taken for granted. “Can you manage your debt?”. “Yes”. “Then we’re good”. INVESTMENTS ARE NOT THIS SIMPLE, FOLKS;

00:24:15

Tom and Gerri’s hearing

  • I love how Gil is confronting Tom with proof. You want to make the person state whether they think A or B. Whether A or B happened;
  • Gil is being excellent at grilling Tom. He’s asking him a series of targeted questions to get him to admit what he wants;
  • He’s asking him whether he knows of the nickname or not, and then catches him in contradiction with the proof. Then he gets Tom to admit he knew about the nickname. He’s being super targeted;
  • Gerri claiming that the documents were destroyed as part of usual data management. First of all, this is data governance, not management. It’s about data retention and destruction. Also, there should be clear policies for this, so the Senators can actually demand these policies and catch them in a contradiction. Either they didn’t follow these policies, or don’t have them;
  • Also, I don’t know how they destroyed the documents securely but there’s a full tracking of when the documents were destroyed and at what time. I have no idea who the fixer was, in Season 1, who said they could destroy the documents anonymously, but it seems like he didn’t do a great job. I’m not even a specialist here, but would it not be more effective to replace the incriminating documents with redacted or empty versions, and to do it slowly, rather than empty 100 boxes in one night? Of course this is going to raise an alarm! Facepalm. Either this is not realistic at all, or this fixer was an idiot. I don’t know which to believe;
  • Also, again, Gil is being super efficient here. Leading Tom exactly where he wants. He first establishes Tom knows Greg. Then he establishes Tom is using Greg by what he stated in the email. Then he establishes a history of Tom using other people, such as the human furniture thing. LOL. This is excellent persuasion;

00:32:30

Shiv tries to negotiate with Gil

  • Tit for tat. Pretty basic and efficient negotiation technique. Shiv’s being level-headed over her brothers;
  • Also, Gil doesn’t take it because he has another option. Standard negotiation here. He has nothing to gain by making this concession here;
  • Shows you how having options radically changes your attitude. Gil does whatever he wants;

00:34:35

Logan tries to ask Rhea to meet with the victim whistleblower

  • This is a gamble, a pretty big one. I’m not sure what you could give to one of these victims to make them not speak;
  • Usually, this is already a pretty big action in terms of courage, and this person is probably very scared. Either this person has really made up their mind, or she’s feeling terribly scared here;
  • I guess what they are going to try to do here is try to pay her off or threaten her more. Both options are suboptimal. I would give the guilty person’s head on a spike. That’s the only thing that would even begin to repair the relationship and convince the person. But as usual, in this series, it’s either going to be money or threats;

00:37:50

The sovereign fund people talk with Roman

  • First of all, “With Zenyal here there is more interest in the deal”. I don’t know who Zenyal is, but this is bordering on ridiculous again. This is not how the investment process works. Unless they’re corrupt and buying the company with billions in cash, a sovereign wealth fund does not work like this. Even a corrupt one. They have processes and people. This just went very unrealistic again;
  • About the US government blocking the deal. They would probably not do it unless the country or specific people are sanctioned. With the way they’re behaving, I start to think they should have been;

00:39:55

Gil hears Kendall and Logan

  • OK, so Gil is completely out of character here. He started with pointed questions in Tom and Gerri’s case, and here he degenerates to accusations and speculation. Come one. Either he is emotional or he lost his edge. OK, he recovers a little bit, but the questions are a little bit less pointed here;
  • Kendall does what I expected him to do, which is to turn this into Gil having personal bias. I love this. I LOVE THIS. Kendall was a true killer here. He did the only thing that could have been done here, which is to turn from the defensive to the offensive, and he did it with great efficiency;

00:45:15

Shiv tries to convince the victim

  • OK, so Shiv trying to convince the victim. Excellent communication. I love how she starts by using empathy, by stating she’s not there to force her. She’s making sure she doesn’t feel pressured or intimidated. This is great persuasion;
  • I love the specific gesture of Shiv taking off her heels. It’s a power play. A reverse power play, in a way. She’s humbling herself and showing she’s not superior. Then she mentions the bad experience she has had with her father. Excellent. She’s hitting all the right points. I’m appalled at how better she is than her brothers at negotiating;
  • Then she subtly tries to redirect her from testifying in public. She’s polarizing her options into two specific options. Speaking in public as bad, helping Shiv in private as good. Speaking in public as blaming her and ruining her. Working with her in private as really achieving results. This is brilliant;
  • I love how she is giving her exactly what she wants. I said specifically that the only way to satisfy the victim would be to crucify the guy who did this to her, and Shiv offers precisely that, and tells her how she is going to do it. This is brilliant. This is possibly the best persuasion situation I have ever seen in this show so far. This hits all the right notes;
  • Notice how in the end she says, “You shouldn’t trust me. You shouldn’t trust anyone. Do what is best for you”. Adverse transparency. Being honest about something that is negative about you, even if it makes you look a bit worse, because it will massively add to your credibility and honesty. This is a brilliant use of it. This whole 3-minute conversation is a persuasion tour de force, and it should be taught in school. I cannot express how many techniques Shiv used here, in a subtle and masterful manner. Just brilliant;
  • Now, we’re putting the moral thing aside, naturally. Whether this will end up helping the victim or not. But in terms of persuasion, of what she said… she said all the right things;

00:53:05

Logan debriefing Rhea on what happened

  • I love how Rhea tells Logan that she knows he is lying, but she still finds him plausible and appealing. True. This is charisma. And power. It’s what it does. They twist your logical brain and make you like the person due to emotion. If you have enough charisma, unfortunately you can get away with a lot more;
  • I love how Rhea says that Logan doesn’t care about anything and he realised that now. True. Typical Dominant behavior. Cares about nothing. And what does Logan do, as his typical move? Threatens her and insults her;
  • By the way, I know some people would say this is poor character development for Logan, but this is reality. A hardcore Dominant learns nothing, burns all bridges, and keeps hopping from one place to the other, burning bridges everywhere. As much as he seems plain as a character, this is real;
  • Also, later with Shiv, Logan admits they need to sacrifice a high-status person within the company. This is true, and it should have been done sooner. It should have been the first thing. And actually, this feels out of character. Logan would have thought of this as the first thing from the beginning, as a hardcore Dominant. Small thing that’s out of character. Or hey, maybe he thought he could just deny everything, and now he realises he can’t, and now he’s deciding to sacrifice someone as a first instinct;

Episode 10: This Is Not For Tears

00:02:35

Shareholder representative tells Logan it should be him to go

  • One of the shareholder representatives telling Logan it should be him to be fired. This is very realistic. The legal problems are so significant that it may be justifiable for the whole CEO to have to go. Especially since, well, he is the cause of the problem. Even if they fire someone up high, if Logan doesn’t go, it’s not fixed, because the culture comes from him;
  • This is a situation where Logan going seems like the best thing to do, for public perception, and is also ACTUALLY the best thing to do;

00:15:40

Roman clarifies how they closed the SWF money

  • So to confirm, they are getting a sovereign wealth fund investment because two government figures like the company;
  • I am going to shut up now. I will not elaborate again on how unrealistic this is, because it’s just making me angry at this point;
  • To add insult to injury, Roman just rubs in how unrealistic it is. “We got an hour, we pitched hard and they say they want in”. COME ON!;
  • And wow, this actually takes a very realistic turn. Roman says it’s probably not real, and that it makes no sense for them. Wow. This turned realistic all of a sudden;
  • I have a problem with the one mega deal versus a thousand smaller deals line. If they have a portfolio of buyouts, that’s not a choice. An LBO is only done on huge companies, usually with a global presence. They can’t just sacrifice one LBO opportunity for a thousand smaller ones. They invest in a specific ticket range. That’s the same thing as saying that a Venture Capital firm, instead of investing in a thousand startups, can just invest a thousand times more in a global company. Nope. You have a specific strategy, and the company must be at a certain stage, and there’s usually a range in terms of the investment ticket. So it’s more like instead of investing $1B here, they can invest $1B in another company. But never change their actual strategy. Come on;
  • Roman is telling the truth regarding the relationship. It’s a gamble, and either they close or they’re done. Because imagine, they’re already under legal trouble. And now they’re getting in bed with another government, possibly sanctioned people, to save the situation. They’re burying themselves even more, morally. So yes, the only thing that saves them is results. If they don’t close the deal, it’s done;

00:23:15

Connor asks Logan for fake reviews for the play

  • Connor makes sense. Social proof is everything. If there’s a public statement from a big source that something is good, everyone will go watch it;
  • That’s why reviews from critics are almost like a pygmalion effect. What is said becomes reality, in a way. If critics state it’s bad, everyone will focus on how bad it is, and more reviews come. If critics state it’s good, most people will focus on how good it is;
  • Anchoring effect. The initial impression frames everything that comes after. I mean, with time, there is the possibility of reversing it, but at least in the short term, initial reactions are everything;

00:32:35

The team clarifying Logan’s successor

  • I think Tom is a bad choice, as Kendall stated. he’s associated with the cruise thing. Also, Tom doesn’t have a lot of edge. He’s kind of a weasel. It’s not the worst choice for the company, but he will not earn Logan or Kendall’s respect, and this will create a lot of conflict;
  • In fact, although this is unhealthy, I think the best choice is to have a Dominant, a killer, like Kendall, because Logan won’t respect anyone else. That’s it. And make no mistake, regardless of the CEO, Logan will be orchestrating things in the background;

00:41:20

Logan and Kendall go back to Stewy

  • Typical Dominant play. He makes one offer and wants this closed immediately;
  • Then, Kendall resorts to threats as usual. And they don’t work. Notice what I mentioned here. The only weapon a Dominant has is bullying and intimidation. It’s a bluff. And once the other side stands up to them, they have nothing. They crumble;

00:52:10

Logan and Kendall talk about sacrificing Kendall

  • So, this is exactly what I expected Logan to do in the first place. Sacrifice him. A Dominant burns all bridges, and cares about noone. When Logan saved Kendall from the death of the waiter, I did not expect him to defend him, but instead to throw him to the wolves. And hey, it took some time, but he’s doing exactly what I expected him to;
  • Also, this is the clearest crystalisation of the Dominant attitude I have ever seen. I know I keep talking about this personality type, but this summarises it so well. Logan tells Kendall, “You’re not a killer, you have to be a killer”. This is exactly how a Dominant thinks. You need to be a Dominant as well for them to respect you. Period;
  • Later, at the table, Logan making Roman CEO doesn’t work for me. It hurts how, after one of the most realistic scenes from the show, this bit is so ridiculous. It should be someone sensible and with experience. Gerri or Frank, for example. But Roman? He tried to present himself as part of a tag team with Gerri, and they didn’t even make that work, and now he’s going to be CEO alone? This is ridiculous;

01:02:50

Kendall turning on Logan in the press conference

  • Also, last scene, not a lot in terms of negotiation. It’s a great scene though;
  • I just wanted to state that, as a follow up to the previous point, where Logan stated Kendall is not a killer, this is what makes him a killer. Although this will probably create an all-out war between them, as a Dominant, Logan will now respect Kendall. Absolutely. Although this will turn things sour, this type of action makes a Dominant respect you more than trying to please him, such as Tom does, for example;

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