Entrepreneurial Lessons from Marc RandolphJuly 20, 2020
Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph is not a stranger when it comes to starting new business ventures. Before he started Netflix with his business partner, he had already founded five other ventures, for example, Looker Data Sciences. His career as an entrepreneur extends over 40 years. Other than the business that he has ventured into, he has mentored other entrepreneurs during their early stages and has helped set up successful tech startups.
During his interview recently with the Forbes, he explained that he knew his next company would be selling something online. However, the ideas that he was giving to his partner at Netflix were not new.
The two partners were researching extensive ideas ranging from an online pet food store to sale of a personalized brand of shampoo. The ideas were all common because they involved customized service or product sold on the internet. One of the ideas that they considered was video rental through email.
A startup is a team of players searching for a repeated business model that is scalable. According to Marc, this should not be the primary objective at the beginning of the business. Back in the days before setting up Netflix, validating an idea would last for more than six months and cost over a million dollars.
He followed his advice and decided to rent a DVD and mail it to himself. He used priority shipping and spent less than $10. In this regard, he was able to confirm the validity of the core function of Netflix. He gained unshakable belief without any proof of evidence to start executing the idea.
Marc says that with the existence of the internet, an entrepreneur can try doing several things within a short period to validate their entities. The internet has made the distance between idea and validation shorter. Previously, it lasted more than six months, but currently, it lasts only six hours.
A moment of crucial significance was when Marc stepped down as the first CEO of Netflix. However, he describes his experience as distressing. It was at six o’clock in the night, and his partner gestured to him that they needed to talk.
Reed explained to him why he was the best to be the CEO of the media services provider. He used PowerPoint slides to make his point, and at first, Marc thought he was getting fired. On the contrary, Reed was proposing that they run the entity as partners.
It was an awkward moment for Marc, but he sacrificed one dream for another one to flourish. He took a step back and asked himself questions about the most crucial desire in establishing Netflix. He realized that the dream of building a successful company was not just for him. The dream was to have a successful company even without him at the helm.
An essential aspect of his work life is to go to work and find solutions to different problems facing the world. He explains that when he looks back, he is great at the early stages of building a business and terrible at the later stages of the business.
The most critical aspect for entrepreneurs is to be self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses and to allow someone better to take over other duties. When your business starts succeeding, you can find people that are more important than you in undertaking different responsibilities.
There are valuable lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from Marc. They should learn to make the right decisions on where to focus their energy and time. There is no need to be complacent but to execute your plans of starting your business. Besides, it is vital to get advice from different people and to undertake evaluation before making decisions.
Taking advise involves active listening. Therefore, entrepreneurs leverage the collective mind power of all the advisors and are not afraid to share ideas. The fear of your idea being stolen when you share it with others is the main hindrance to starting.