Business Books

'That will never work' - the birth of Netflix and the amazing life of an idea

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.

It 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.

The Money Show asked Michael Jordaan, businessman and entrepreneur, why he liked this book.

That something is not going to work is something I have heard so often in life.
In this story it was his wife that told him this will never work. This must have been his 56th idea - so everybody said everything would never work. One has to persevere and execute. And today hundreds of millions of people are enjoying Netflix.

Michael Jordaan, former FNB CEO, co-founder and chairman - Bank Zero

Sometimes experience is not the only thing that's valuable.

You need, sometimes, youngsters - sometimes rebels to ask why has this not been done like this before. Then the answer is not good enough that 'we've always been doing things this way, the tried and tested way'.

To innovate one has to take risks, and has some tolerance for making mistakes.

That's why I like the title of the book.

Michael Jordaan, former FNB CEO, co-founder and chairman of Bank Zero

Listen to the full book discussion below.

Get the 10 most-read articles of the week from Bruce Whitfield’s The Money Show, emailed to you every Friday morning.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
 I wanted one SA for all but DA members called me cheeky black - Herman Mashaba

I wanted one SA for all but DA members called me cheeky black - Herman Mashaba

Eusebius McKaiser sits down with the People's Dialogue founder on why he left the Democratic Alliance to form a new party.

[WATCH] Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens waterfall overflowing goes viral

[WATCH] Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens waterfall overflowing goes viral

Khabazela shares some of the videos that went viral on Twitter and Facebook.

We won't allow Cyril Ramaphosa to speak. We will disrupt Sona - EFF

We won't allow Cyril Ramaphosa to speak. We will disrupt Sona - EFF

Newly appointed national spokesperson Vuyani Pambo says the president has an obligation to the country and not the ANC.

Right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility - Malcolm Gladwell

Right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility - Malcolm Gladwell

Ian Mann reviews Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know”.

How Gavin Watson's Bosasa - born from ANC Women’s League – captured the State

How Gavin Watson's Bosasa - born from ANC Women’s League – captured the State

Bruce Whitfield interviews News24 Editor Adriaan Basson, author of "Blessed by Bosasa - Inside Gavin Watson's State Capture Cult".

'South Africans have to show greater respect for our farmers'

'South Africans have to show greater respect for our farmers'

“I spent a year travelling 100 000 km [crisscrossing SA researching farmers]. It changed my perspective,” says author Ivor Price.

Popular articles
Open day season: How to choose the best school for your child

Open day season: How to choose the best school for your child

Parenting expert Nikki Bush has valuable pointers on what to keep in mind when matching your child to a school.

Zuma returns from Cuba, addresses 'hundreds' of supporters

Zuma returns from Cuba, addresses 'hundreds' of supporters

Former president Jacob Zuma arrived at OR Tambo International where supporters waited to give him a hero's welcome.

[WATCH LIVE] Joseph Shabalala's funeral service underway in Ladysmith

[WATCH LIVE] Joseph Shabalala's funeral service underway in Ladysmith

The music icon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder is being laid to rest in his home town in KwaZulu-Natal.

Load shedding to be suspended at 5pm, resumes on Sunday

Load shedding to be suspended at 5pm, resumes on Sunday

Eskom says 'improved generation system performance' will allow it to suspend load shedding at 5pm on Saturday.

[WATCH] Ndlovu Youth Choir's moving 'Homeless' tribute to Joseph Shabalala

[WATCH] Ndlovu Youth Choir's moving 'Homeless' tribute to Joseph Shabalala

The Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder will be laid to rest in Ladysmith on Saturday.

'High possibility' of load shedding continuing throughout Sunday

'High possibility' of load shedding continuing throughout Sunday

Stage 2 power cuts are scheduled until 6 am on Sunday, but Eskom says this could be extended.

 'When languages are being let go of in favour of English, we lose identity'

'When languages are being let go of in favour of English, we lose identity'

Joanne Joseph spoke to Play Africa founder and CEO Gretchen Wilson-Prangley on International Language Day.

'There is a stated commitment to deal with TRC cases but it's taking too long'

'There is a stated commitment to deal with TRC cases but it's taking too long'

Former commissioner Yasmin Sooka says it has been a 16-year battle trying to get the NPA to prosecute TRC-related cases.

We have invested heavily in driver and passenger safety - Uber

We have invested heavily in driver and passenger safety - Uber

Uber Sub-Saharan Africa general manager Alon Lit says their prices have not changed drastically since 2013.

 Tegeta's R3.7-billion coal supply contract with Eskom set aside

Tegeta's R3.7-billion coal supply contract with Eskom set aside

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says the court has given the unit the green light to institute legal action against the company.