En el año 2000, Marc Randolph y Reed Hastings pasaban por uno de sus peores momentos personales. La empresa en la que habían invertido todos sus ahorros, esfuerzos y dos años de trabajo estaba a punto de naufragar. Su idea de crear una empresa de alquiler de DVD por correo sin multas por retornos tardíos, a pesar de su éxito moderado, se demostraba incapaz de dar beneficios. Tomaron entonces medidas desesperadas. Viajaron a Dallas para ofrecérsela a su mayor competidor, Blockbuster, por 50 millones de dólares. La respuesta fue tajante: «Lárguense». Hoy Netflix tiene un valor de 150,000 millones de dólares y Blockbuster, en fin, está donde está. Tomando su propia historia como ejemplo, Randolph nos descubre el camino al éxito partiendo de una idea fundamental: nadie sabe nada.
Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video-streaming unheard 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 more than 150 million subscribers, Netflix’s triumph feels inevitable, but the 21st 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.