HBR: Speaking of owners, you've worked for two, both named Brown--Walter and John Y. Brown.
AUERBACH: They're like day and night. Walter Brown was one of the finest human beings I've ever been associated with. I learned a lot from him. Hell, I worked for him for 16 years and never had a contract.
HBR: You never had a contract? How did you do business?
AUERBACH: At the end of every year I'd say, "What's the deal for next year, Walter?" He'd say, "What do you want?" Sometimes I'd tell him I didn't want anything. We didn't make any money and the club was just pretty good. Sometimes I'd come in and say that I wanted more money. He'd say, "Fine, what else do you want?" I'd say, "Nothing." We'd have a discussion of no more than a minute.
We'd end up making the deal in the washroom every time. His office door was always open and there was always somebody in there. I used to get mad. I'd say, "For crying out loud, can't we sit and talk?" And he'd say, "All right, let's go to the bathroom and get the thing done."