Santa Cruz Tech Beat


The Courage of the Early-Stage Entrepreneur

By Marc Randolph
Co-founder and first CEO of Netflix

October 10, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

I’ve been talking a lot about courage recently. I’m starting to conclude that it’s one of the most important characteristics for any entrepreneur.

I wrote last time— and in my book That Will Never Work — about how Netflix walked away from our lucrative business of selling DVDs to focus everything on rental. If you know me, you’ve heard me tell that story dozens of times. You’re probably sick of it. But it’s a great example of a company having the courage to double down, walk away from a likely but mediocre success, and bet it all on the unlikely chance of a huge win.

At the time, walking away from 95% of our revenue to chase a dream probably looked totally irrational to the outside world. But sometimes that’s the nature of pursuing unlikely opportunities. You have to do things that will make other people think you’re an idiot.

Trust me, I should know. Netflix did it countless times.

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