opinion In Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 cinematic masterpiece, The Godfather, there is a moment which tends to cause a chill to run down my spine whenever I watch it.
In the scene, The Godfather's chief advisor, Tom Hagen, attempts to explain to recalcitrant movie director Jack Woltz precisely who Don Vito Corleone is. 'Mr Corleone is Johnny's godfather,' he tells him, referring to the famous singer. 'To the Italian people, that is a very religious sacred, close relationship.'
The scene is chilling because of the implied threat it contains. To Woltz, Corleone is a nobody, a putz from the suburbs. But to the people who know him '” especially the Italian community '” Corleone is the Godfather, the arbiter of all that happens in their world, the ultimate power and the mafioso with his hands in every pie.
Now, it would not be drawing a long bow to suggest that, in many ways, iiNet managing director Michael Malone has become the Godfather of Australia's Internet service provider industry '” virtually unknown outside the sector; but having become a figure of legend within it '” and holding absolute power over his own organisation, with a wider circle of influence extending out for some way.
Arguably, Malone has partly been able to bring iiNet to the point where it is today, number two in ADSL broadband in Australia and lighting a fire under Optus and Telstra, through the same two factors which took Corleone to the top. Like the Godfather himself, Malone came from humble roots; with its first steps being taken in a suburban garage in Perth in 1993. However, Malone and his growing team gave no quarter as they rapidly expanded the ISP; expanding their operations interstate and voraciously buying up every rival they could get their hands on.