That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

by Marc Randolph
That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

by Marc Randolph


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In the tradition of Phil Knight's Shoe Dog comes the incredible untold story of how Netflix went from concept to company-all revealed by co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph.

Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video-streaming unheard was of, and widespread DVD adoption seemed about as imminent as flying cars. Indeed, these were the widely accepted laws of the land in 1997, when Marc Randolph had an idea. It was a simple thought—leveraging the internet to rent movies—and was just one of many more and far worse proposals, like personalized baseball bats and a shampoo delivery service, that Randolph would pitch to his business partner, Reed Hastings, on their commute to work each morning.

But Hastings was intrigued, and the pair—with Hastings as the primary investor and Randolph as the CEO—founded a company. Now with over 150 million subscribers, Netflix's triumph feels inevitable, but the twenty first century's most disruptive start up began with few believers and calamity at every turn. From having to pitch his own mother on being an early investor, to the motel conference room that served as a first office, to server crashes on launch day, to the now-infamous meeting when Netflix brass pitched Blockbuster to acquire them, Marc Randolph's transformational journey exemplifies how anyone with grit, gut instincts, and determination can change the world—even with an idea that many think will never work.

What emerges, though, isn't just the inside story of one of the world's most iconic companies. Full of counter-intuitive concepts and written in binge-worthy prose, it answers some of our most fundamental questions about taking that leap of faith in business or in life: How do you begin? How do you weather disappointment and failure? How do you deal with success? What even is success?

From idea generation to team building to knowing when it's time to let go, That Will Never Work is not only the ultimate follow-your-dreams parable, but also one of the most dramatic and insightful entrepreneurial stories of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316530200
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 510,019
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Marc Randolph is a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur, advisor, and investor, whose career as an entrepreneur spans four decades. In addition to being the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix, Marc has founded or co-founded six other successful startups, mentored hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs, and as an investor has helped seed dozens of successful tech ventures (and just as many unsuccessful ones). He is host of the top-10 Apple podcast That Will Never Work, where he works directly with entrepreneurs to provide 1-on-1 mentoring. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

1 Against Epiphanies 3

2 "That Will Never Work" 10

3 Please, Mr. Postman 24

4 Getting the Band Together 38

5 Show Me the Money 48

6 How It Feels to Deposit a Check for Almost $2 Million 64

7 We Were Almost CinemaCenter 79

8 Ready for Launch 99

9 A Day in the Post-Launch Life 122

10 Halcyon Days 146

11 Two Cents for Bill Clinton 161

12 "I'm Losing Faith in You" 175

13 Over the Hill 190

14 Nobody Knows Anything 209

15 Drowning in Our Own Success 228

16 Crash 242

17 The Belt Tightens 254

18 Going Public 267

Epilogue: Randolph's Rules for Success 293

Afterword to the Paperback Edition 313

Acknowledgments 325

Index 329

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