Nobody thought Marc Randolph’s Netflix idea would ever work. Not even his wife. Two and a half years in, it looked as though the naysayers were right. Netflix was hemorrhaging money. Worried they would soon be out of business, Marc and his cofounder, Reed Hastings, practically begged Blockbuster to bail them out.
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And, get this: Blockbuster was interested until Marc and Reed asked for $50 million. At which point, the Blockbuster big-wigs all but laughed them out of the conference room. It felt like a death blow. Not only were they not going to invest, but Blockbuster would remain Netflix’s biggest competitor.
That’s when Marc realized, as his dad used to say, “The only way out is through. We would have to take them down ourselves. And now? That company they could’ve bought for $50 million [aka Netlfix], is now valued at $250 billion. And the company which, at the time, had 60,000 employees and 9,000 stores [aka Blockbuster], is down to one store,” Marc said in a spine-tingling moment on Ed Mylett’s podcast.
It’s interesting, the first half of Marc’s career, he said he was a direct marketing guy. A self-proclaimed “junk mail king” who did catalogs and magazine circulation. This taught him how to sell to someone he couldn’t see in person. The key was “remote empathy.” An ability to figure out what somebody wants and how they’ll react to your messaging without being face-to-face with ’em.
So when the internet came along, he went, “Holy crap, this is direct response marketing on steroids.” Marc saw an opportunity to individualize every customer’s experience. There was all this content and all these people, but nobody really connecting each person to what they wanted to watch. Marc believed Netflix could fill that void.
Here’s another gem: “I never fall in love with the idea,” Marc explains. “I always fall in love with the problem. And, when you fall in love with the problem, well the problem never goes away. The problem never fails. The problem is always there. And then what happens is, all these things that were your ideas—when they fail, who cares? ‘It was an idea that I was trying and I learned something from that idea.'”
In other words, Marc truly doesn’t see failure as failure, but rather, as a jumping off point for more exploration. You’re just crossing stuff off the list, constantly narrowing down solutions that might actually work. That approach is what motivates Marc as an entrepreneur, even when business is circling the drain. He craves adventure, not money. Which is ironic, huh? ‘Cause the man is stanky rich.
Regarding Marc Randolph’s net worth
After a botched promotional pitch with Sony, Marc was demoted from CEO of Netflix to President. A few years later, in 2003, he left. Upon doing so, he agreed to forfeit 650,000 shares of the company. Rumor has it, today, Marc pays for Netflix like everyone else. He drives a Toyota Tacoma with a “NETFLIX” license plate.
Don’t feel too bad for him though. Marc transitioned to corporate business coaching and angel investing. He is thought to have a net worth of approximately $100 million dollars, according to Celebrity Net Worth. For more on Marc’s fascinating story, the following interview is nooice.