“Netflix was built on the vision and creative DNA of one man-Marc Randolph. As the founding CEO, his leadership defined the culture of Netflix and laid the groundwork for successive, global revolutions in how we make and consume entertainment.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
In this crazy time of quarantines and lock downs more people than ever are turning to streaming services for their entertainment, so when a copy of That Will Never Work by Netflix co- founder Marc Randolph came my way I was intrigued to find out how this entertainment giant got off the ground.. Written in a humorously factual style, the book follows the Netflix story from its earliest days, and the the title comes from a comment made by Randolph’s wife when he first suggested the kernel of the Netflix idea to her, an idea that grew and changed dramatically over the course of several years before becoming the service that so many people around the globe now subscribe to on a monthly basis.
The idea of using the internet as a means to rent movies, at that time in physical DVD format was first mooted by Randolph and fellow co-founder Reed Hastings on a work commute in 1997, a time where Blockbuster was the king of video rentals and DVDs were new and untested technology , and at first finding people who believed in the idea, and more importantly were willing to invest in it as a viable business proved to be a huge challenge, but eventually the business got off the ground. The next step was to hire the right people to build the site, both the consumer interface and behind the scenes logistics needed to be something different than had ever been seen before, requiring highly skilled and motivated staff. From server meltdowns on day one to the dot com crash of 2000 things did not go smoothly for the start up, but with determination, ambition and a willingness to embrace change when needed, Randolph and his team were able to hang on and grow their idea to global success.
Even with the dynamic ups and downs of the Netflix story, this could have been a dull read, especially for someone who does not have a business background or an interest in that field, but I found it a gripping read. The almost conversational style and real sense of humour and honesty, even when it was less than flattering to the author, made it feel like I was being told a story, and even though I knew how it would turn out, since pretty much everyone on the planet knows what Netflix is, I still never lost interest and found myself rooting for Randolph and his team at every turn.
Added 14th June 2020