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Netflix is today a company whose valuation hovers around $130 billion, but it was, of course, once a little startup, and in his new book “That Will Never Work,” Netflix’s cofounder and its first CEO Marc Randolph takes readers on a fun and surprisingly vivid journey through the streaming giant’s earliest days.
It’s also instructive, though this is more memoir than business book, and Randolph, who is the great nephew of Edward Bernays — a public relations pioneer — turns out to be a very compelling writer, explaining in sometimes humbling detail how and why the company eventually outgrew him, and the reason he doesn’t regret stepping away when he did.
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In fact, rather than lament past decisions, Randolph seems to relish his longtime work as a startup advisor, one who often has no financial ties to the companies he helps. As he explains it, there is a “role for someone in a founder’s life who isn’t a board member or an investor or an employee. The role of a founder-CEO is extremely lonely. You can’t always be fully forthcoming with your board or investors or employees. And if you go to your peers and you bring them an issue, they don’t really understand. So it’s very valuable for a founder who doesn’t have an ulterior motive but also understands a problem well enough that they can give really good advice.”
Randolph also shared why it took him 16 years to tell his story about what has become one of the most impactful companies in the history of television.
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TC: We’re still zipping through the book but there is a lot of great storytelling here, from scenes with you...
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