Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Why I Waited Sixteen Years to Write My Book About Netflix

By Marc Randolph
Co-founder and first CEO of Netflix

September 17, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo: My son Logan and me, with Reed Hastings smiling in the background, on our way to the Netflix IPO. Source: Medium)

“I’m so glad I waited sixteen years to write about Netflix. There’s no way I could have written this book in 2003.” — Marc Randolph

See, I’ve known people who wrote books. And they told me a couple things: It was hard work, it took forever, and most of them were unhappy with the finished product. If you wrote honestly about yourself, it sounded like you were bragging. If you wrote honestly about other people, it sounded like you were settling old scores.

In the years after I left Netflix, the company I co-founded, I didn’t want to puff myself up or tear anyone else down. And besides, I was still working — advising new start-ups, starting new companies, giving speeches about innovation and leadership at conferences around the globe.

I was busy and happy in my own life, and thought that a book was something you did in retirement, when you were through with everything else and had time to look back.

As the years went by, writing a book got even less urgent. Who wanted to read a book about Netflix from the co-founder years after he left?

The truth is, I only started thinking of writing a book a couple of years ago, when Richard Branson invited me to give a talk at a conference on his private island in the Virgin Islands.

I know, I know — that sounds really obnoxious. But bear with me.

First of all, I didn’t want to go. I had a mountain biking trip scheduled for that weekend, and the gig on Necker was pro-bono. But my wife Lorraine — a voice of reason in all things, and a lover of the beach — told me that if Richard Branson invited you to his island, you went. Which is how I found myself on Necker Island, barefoot, speaking to a small group of passionate business owners, covering my usual topics — How nobody knows anything, how if you want to make a dream a reality, you have to get up off your ass and just start.

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