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: 9780316530217
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 95,832
File size: 544 KB

About the Author

Marc Randolph is the co-founder of Netflix, serving as their founding CEO, the executive producer of their website, and a member of their board of directors until his retirement in 2004. Although best known for starting Netflix, Marc's career as Silicon Valley entrepreneur spans more than four decades. He's founded or co-founded more than half a dozen other successful start-ups, mentored rising entrepreneurs, and invested in numerous successful tech ventures. He speaks frequently to companies and at industry events nationally and internationally. 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

Acknowledgments 312

Index 316

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That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MizWorldTravel 29 days ago
If you like backstories of the major companies and brands we interact with today that have broken the mold and set the tone for how we live, you will thoroughly enjoy this book! It is the story of how a little company called Netflix went from an idea that was laughed at (and by a pretty big behemoth in the business world,, Blockbuster) to the ubiquitous brand it is today. Told in the first person by Marc Randolph, one of the co-founders who eventually retired in 2004 (I think), it is not so much an autobiography of a man but of a company and it was a fascinating read especially if you are a small business owner and an aspiring entrepreneur. Granted, this was during the dot com boom so there was quite a bit of VC money out there in the bay area (specifically Santa Cruz is where he is located) to help them out, but the intricacies of how they started and failed many times, the people on the journey with him - some still there, others laid off a while back, make this a really good read. Randolph tells it as a story and invites you along on the journey, writing it so it is palatable for anyone even if they are not a business person. He makes a point defining the "lingo' so the reader can easily understand what is happening when it gets in the weeds about how businesses work. Full disclosure: 1) I would love to own my own business that breaks out and becomes something great, so these stories fascinate me and 2) I am a fairly generous reviewer and tend to only critique major issues, and do not delve into a book on the micro-level of analysis, so if you wanted a blow by blow analysis that picks apart every nuance and flaw, you will not get that here. There are parts that seem to drag on, however, I feel like shortening it would not really allow the reader to get the full story. As someone who, among other things, has worked in the direct marketing industry, I had heard vaguely about the Netflix story - how everything brick and mortar was going to go away (Blockbuster) and go digital but people did not believe it would go down that way - yet it did and is not going back. So I was actually really excited to find a book that actually tells the whole story and how it really went. Overall, although a business book it is also for people who just really like a good story. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley.