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That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

2019 . Business & Finance, Biography, Children's . Marc Randolph



About the book


In the tradition of Phil Knight's Shoe Dog comes the incredible untold story of how Netflix went from concept to company-all revealed by co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph. Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video-streaming unheard was 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 over 150 million subscribers, Netflix's triumph feels inevitable, but the twenty first 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. What emerges,though, isn't just the inside story of one of the world's most iconic companies. Full of counter-intuitive concepts and written in binge-worthy prose, it answers some of our most fundamental questions about taking that leap of faith in business or in life: How do you begin? How do you weather disappointment and failure? How do you deal with success? What even is success? From idea generation to team building to knowing when it's time to let go, That Will Never Work is not only the ultimate follow-your-dreams parable, but also one of the most dramatic and insightful entrepreneurial stories of our time.

Featured on:






Little, Brown and Company




0316530204 (ISBN13: 9780316530200)


Pirgun Akinal

2 days ago


@MortenVSchroeder usually I follow your lead with start up books buy this one I didnt get any inspiration. Its a long book about one of the most amazing companies of all times but in the end I was thinking it's good Reed Hastings was involved otherwise we wouldn't have netflix. He talked about number of computer screens on a trading floor more ambitiously.

1 Comment

Markus Marañon Straarup

2 weeks ago


A fantastic book on the founding of Netflix. Such an honest portrayal of a startup. Marc seems like a great guy. Worth a read, excited for the book from Reed’s perspective.

Shivali Goyal

2 weeks ago


A great book about the early days of Netflix. Busts a lot of myths about “aha moments” and “perfect start-up starts”. Also quite refreshing to find the founder’s candidness in acknowledging others’ role in the company’s success. All in all, some solid lessons in there for anyone wanting to do something of their own. Thanks @MortenVSchroeder for the reco! Onto next!

Morten V Schroeder

1 month ago


Really really awesome book and I’m struggling whether to give it a 9 or a 10. What makes it truly amazing is that it’s both a memoir of founding one of today’s most influential media companies, but at the same time also an incredibly helpful guide for how to run a successful startup! Netflix as originally thought-out was actually not a very good idea and that’s also clear from their results, but through persistency, testing and ‘pivoting’ they eventually cracked the nut! Yet, when it then became successful the .com bubble almost put a stop to their success and again through amazing leadership they survived! I genuinely feel that not only did I learn about an incredible story but I also took away some valuable lessons! I’d recommend any entrepreneur to read it 👏 So why not a 10? It took a little while to get really good and I wish it had more about Netflix in their later years as a digital company! @JoenMøller AWESOME rec!!


Joen Møller

1 month ago


Great book about the founding and first years of Netflix. Quite enjoyed the candid storytelling. @MortenVSchroeder could be something for you.


Esben Poulsen

1 week ago


1 Comment

Porsha Williams

2 weeks ago