According to Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, “the most profound advice in human history” can also be the worst advice.
At Cape Cod Community College’s recent graduation, Randolph shared with the class of 2022 students that the common graduation speech – “follow your dreams” has become “the word of the day.” terrible advice“.
Randolph, 64, says: “The advice itself isn’t bad. But it’s too bad because all the well-meaning people who tell you to follow your dreams overlook something important. They never tell you how to do it. pursue that”.
The Netflix co-founder says there’s nothing wrong with following your passions or hobbies, but it’s hard to monetize them without knowing how to accomplish your goals. His advice to recent graduates includes phrases like “there’s no such thing as a good idea”. It basically means that you can’t tell if something is a good or bad idea until you try – and “stop thinking, start doing”.
Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. Photo: Getty Images
Randolph explains, he learned those lessons from his own career. Before he and Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix, they were colleagues at a software development company called Pure Atria. The two went to work together every day, and during those trips together, he told Hastings dozens of ideas, from shampoo to dog food.
The couple came up with the idea of renting movies in the mid-1990s. At the time, it was considered a bad idea: DVDs were not yet a mainstream entertainment medium, and cassettes were too heavy and costly. poor to deliver to the consumer.
Betting on the future success of DVD, which could be shipped more efficiently without damage, Randolph and Hastings founded Netflix in 1997. Randolph took over as CEO at the time. He left Netflix in 2003, four years before the platform started streaming movies.
For now, despite the recent ups and downs, the company still leads the streaming industry: By 2021, the platform has reached around 222 million monthly subscribers. That success would never have been possible without Randolph’s willingness to try new things and accept failure.
Before launching Netflix at the age of 39, Randolph worked for the CEO of a music company and managed a bar in Colorado. Randolph said he was also once “the worst real estate agent in the state of New York”. Randolph previously wrote in a blog post that during his eight months of direct sales, he sold nothing and rented out exactly one apartment.
These experiences were shared by Randolph with graduate students as a reassurance. He left them with a really useful piece of advice.
“Whatever you want to do, you have time to do it”he said. ″Don’t worry if you haven’t made it yet… Uncertainty is fun and I’m envious that you have the world in front of you”.
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