This week’s conversation is with Marc Randolph, a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur, advisor and investor.

Marc is the co-founder of Netflix, served as their founding CEO, as the executive producer of their web site, and as a member of their board of directors.

Although best known for starting Netflix, Marc’s career as an entrepreneur spans more than four decades.

He’s founded or co-founded more than half a dozen other successful start-ups, mentored rising entrepreneurs including the co-founders of Looker Data which recently sold to Google for $2.6B, and invested in numerous successful tech ventures.

He is a frequent speaker at industry events, works extensively with young entrepreneur programs, sits on the board of the environmental advocacy group 1% for the Planet, and chairs the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Board of Trustees.

In this conversation we discuss how he and co-founder Reed Hastings developed the idea for Netflix, how to create a strong organizational culture, and why focus is the key for any entrepreneur.

“Company culture is not this thing that you write up on a piece of paper or that you design. It springs organically from how the founders treat each other and how you tend to act.”

In This Episode:

  • The moment he decided to start Netflix, what was going through his head?
  • How his friendship with Reed Hastings evolved into co-founding Netflix
  • Why he loves storytelling and how its an essential component for being a great leader
  • Imagination vs. logic… how that yin and yang made his partnership with Reid so successful and set the foundation for Netflix’s culture
  • The key to being a successful entrepreneur: focus, more importantly understanding which problems actually need to be solved
  • What’s his life mission?
  • His framework: optimism, controlling the controllable, resiliency, and not involving his ego
  • Why having a strong sense of empathy for his employees and customers was both helpful and a detriment
  • How constantly being outdoors during childhood shaped him… getting comfortable with the unpredictable, embracing risk, and overcoming obstacles
  • His approach to risk-taking
  • The core principles that influence his actions
  • What he would ask another master of craft

 

Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS

 

Quotables:

“One of the things that I learned about being a leader, about what it takes to make people want to join you on these completely irrational adventures in startup life, is that the most powerful way to motivate someone is storytelling.”

“I have a business idea that’ll never work. Well, wait a minute. What can we do to begin gathering some evidence about whether my intuitions are correct or not? It’s a big guiding principle for me.”

“I’ve become convinced how little I actually know and how universally errant my preconceptions are of what’s going to work. Which means I set myself up in advance to be extremely comfortable with being wrong.”

“When someone tells you your idea will never work, they don’t really know. The only way to find things out is to try them for yourself. It also applies to the things you tell yourself. That will never work. Wait, back up. How do you know without trying?”

“It’s a constant battle to be focused on the most important thing to get right, but it’s equally important to know what you need to focus on. That’s the biggest problem I see with early stage entrepreneurs.”

“Every moment you’re thinking about what you’ll do once you’re successful is taking away from the likelihood that you actually will be successful.”

“So many things happen in the outdoors, which have proxies for what has happened in the rest of my life: unpredictability, risk taking, the sense of not knowing where a path is going to lead and having to figure it out along the way.”

 

Related Episodes:

 

Books:

 

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Co-founder and first CEO at Netflix |

Marc Randolph is a tech entrepreneur, advisor, speaker and environmental advocate. He is the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix.