Two Key Concepts From Marc Randolph: The Founder of Netflix

I sometimes watch a YouTube show called Impact Theory.

One of the recent guests was Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix and all-round interesting chap.

Here are two takeaways.


An interesting piece of advice, originally from his son.

When he was learning to skateboard a few years ago, in his fifties, he wanted to drop into a half pipe.

This is where you lean over the edge of a vertical drop before throwing yourself forward, face first, hoping your skateboard follows.

His son, a keen skateboarder advised him to place all his weight on the front foot.

“What would happen if I leant too far forwards?” he asked.

“You never lean too far forwards”, replied his son.

It struck Marc as a great metaphor for life…

Whenever we want to do something, we know we have to commit to see success.

It’s the nature of the beast.

Some worry that they’re assuming excessive risk and instinctively pull back.

Leaning into the halfpipe is a good reminder that fear creates the misguided assumption that we’re leaning too far forward.

The reality?

We’re probably not leaning far enough and fully committing.


No-one knows which ideas will work and vice versa, because all ideas precede action.

Very few ideas survive contact with reality.

Therefore a good heuristic to employ is that every idea you have is bad until validated.

So strive to test your assumptions as quickly as possible and iterate.

“Take your idea, and quickly collide it with reality”

Love this.

Marc shares a story from his early Netflix days, where having had the idea for mail-order DVD rentals, he and his co-founder Reed Hastings immediately tested its feasibility by posting home a CD (the closest thing they could find to a DVD).