Netflix was born after the founder rejected ideas to sell custom built surfboards and shampoos

Netflix was born after the founder rejected ideas to sell custom built surfboards and shampoos
  • Netflix co-founder and first CEO shared how Reed Hastings rejected over 100 of his business ideas.
  • In his book, “That will never work”, Randolph revealed he had a little notebook full of over 114 ideas, all of which were rejected by Reed Hastings.
  • Marc was trying to convince Reed to come on board as an advisor and investor. Hence, he would drop the idea every time Reed said it’s impractical.
Marc Randolph could have been peddling personalised shampoos by mail or making custom-blended food for pets — or even surfboards. But now he is providing tailored television shows to millions across the world with Netflix, along with co-founder Reed Hastings.

This idea to start a DVD rental service-- which eventually became a streaming service-- came after 114 business ideas such as above by Randolph-- were rejected by Hastings.

A year before Netflix was launched in 1997, Marc Randolph was struggling to find a feasible business idea. Marc thought of every consumer-friendly product can he can sell using computer from toothpaste to customized baseball bats. Those were the times of first dotcom boom.

Hastings would take 30 seconds to do a quick evaluation of pros and cons, cost-benefits and risks and always said the iconic phrase, “That will never work.”.

“I kept a little notebook of ideas in my backpack and carried it with me everywhere I went: driving, mountain biking, you name it. I’d even take it surfing - leaving it in my backpack on shore, of course. There’s a reason why rejected idea #114 is “personalised surfboards, machine-shaped to your exact size, weight, strength, and surfing style,” said Randolph in his book That will never work.

Since Randolph was trying to convince Hastings to invest, he dropped an idea every time Reed called it impractical.


“I had no idea what would work and what wouldn’t. In 1997, all I knew was that I wanted to start my own company, and that I wanted it to involve selling things on the Internet. That was it,” he said in the book.

They launched a DVD rental service together in 1997 which later went public in 2002. The Netflix in its current form as we use today originally began in 2007 when Hasting and Randolph started the streaming service after DVD sales fell.

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