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Summary

In the tradition of Phil Knight's Shoe Dog comes the incredible untold story of how Netflix went from concept to company - all revealed by cofounder and first CEO Marc Randolph. 

Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video streaming unheard of, and widespread DVD adoption seemed about as imminent as flying cars. These were the widely accepted laws of the land in 1997, when Marc Randolph had an idea. 

It was a simple thought - leveraging the internet to rent movies - and was just one of many more proposals, like personalised baseball bats and a shampoo delivery service, that Randolph would pitch to his business partner, Reed Hastings, on their commute to work each morning. 

But Hastings was intrigued, and the pair - with Hastings as the primary investor and Randolph as the CEO - founded a company. 

Now with over 150 million subscribers, Netflix's triumph feels inevitable, but the 21st century's most disruptive start-up began with few believers and calamity at every turn. From having to pitch his own mother on being an early investor, to the motel conference room that served as a first office, to server crashes on launch day, to the now-infamous meeting when they pitched Blockbuster to acquire them, Marc Randolph's transformational journey exemplifies how anyone with grit, gut instincts and determination can change the world - even with an idea that many think will never work. 

What emerges, however, isn't just the inside story of one of the world's most iconic companies. Full of counterintuitive concepts and written in binge-worthy prose, it answers some of our most fundamental questions about taking that leap of faith in business or in life: How do you begin? How do you weather disappointment and failure? How do you deal with success? What even is success? 

From idea generation to team building to knowing when it's time to let go, That Will Never Work is not only the ultimate follow-your-dreams parable but also one of the most dramatic and insightful entrepreneurial stories of our time. 

©2019 Marc Randolph (P)2019 Octopus Publishing Group

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Look behind the scenes

I really enjoyed listening to this book, was captivated since tried out the sample. Marc Randolph has a great narrative voice, didn't put me to sleep and provided great education on building of the startup, the parts, that are not so commonly known. Thank you, Mr Randolph for following your dream and for openly sharing your and your colleagues story with us.

4 people found this helpful

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It is always impossible until it’s done

This quote from Nelson Mandela that I used on the title of this review is was I felt reading ( listening) this book.
With so many things that could go wrong and went wrong, it was more about the path description and not the end destination that made you enjoy this audiobook.
This is the real proof that ordinary people can make the difference if we’re in the right time at the right place.

3 people found this helpful

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  • CG
  • 16-12-21

Interesting memoir but lacks substance

It was truly interesting to hear Marc Randolphs story on the birth and growth of Netflix but overall the book lacks character, punch and substance. It’s trying to be Shoe Dog but contains none of the poetic style, development or pay-off from that story.

To be honest I get the impression that Marc had some really great ideas and pushed hard to innovate and make them a reality but it was the input of others such as Reed Hastings who really made the company what it is today. To be fair to Marc he does admit that early on in the book. The first half of the book is very interesting, Marc makes no secret of the fact that he came from an affluent background and he more than deserves the success he has achieved. But most of the story felt like it was drunk off of its own success and didn’t really deliver any substance or anything tangible to take away for founders and entrepreneurs.

There were parts that were down right offensive when he touched on having to make redundancies for the company to survive and staff graciously departing for the good of the company. It’s just typical delusion held by executives that people care about the company more than they do about their own lives and success. I hope to god those people were given stock options.

Overall the story is interesting but I get the impression that Marc isn’t a truly remarkable entrepreneur like Phil Knight, Elon Musk, Bezos etc. Just someone who took a leap with the right people around him that paid off

2 people found this helpful

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A great startup story with many lessons to learn

Recommend this book to anyone in entrepreneurship, who is interested in business or who just wants a good and enjoyable read about how, a now large company, first started off. Plus great business and even life lessons.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable story well told

Not quite as good as shoe dog, but certainly worth a listen.
Shows how fine the margins are for success and total ruin

2 people found this helpful

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Mediocre

If you like hearing the rise of entrepreneurs this book didnt really do it for me. Interesting story but not in the same league as Shoe Dog and others

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Interesting but not fascinating

It's an interesting story to hear. As the author points out it is binge worthy. At the same time I find it hard it relate to. I did not find it particularly fascinating. A good listen for a day of work around the house.

1 person found this helpful

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Block Buster!!

A great story of now well known company. A story of leapfrog tech and an incumbent sleeping at the wheel. Enjoyed the presentation.

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Very realistic and encouraging

Full of vivid real life description of events and advice that is very relevant and encouraging.

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A truly inspirational story

The whole story is thoroughly engaging throughout and is a truly inspirational read for business enthusiasts.

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  • Annie Grigoryan
  • 03-02-20

I even bought the book itself

I was expecting your typical business book written by a Silicon Valley-entrepreneur, but it was the total opposite. Marc Randolph is extremely down to earth and gives business tips you can apply at any stage of your career. And he's a great narrator as well with a funny Boston accent. After listening to the audiobook I went out and bought the actual book to highlights some quotes, tips and tricks. I will keep it at my desk for inspiration and motivation.

3 people found this helpful

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  • michelle
  • 28-01-20

I loved this.

it kept me sitting in my car long after I reached my destination. thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • manasi
  • 03-11-19

great memoir

Loved knowing about the journey of netflix which has become such integral part of our lives over time. The story is well told and keeps one highly engaged.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-06-22

Practically insightful

Insightful about the up and down journey of making one's dream a reality and why it must be done.

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  • David Lemayian
  • 05-05-22

One of my favourite Memoirs

Lots of Memoirs have been written. few have achieved this level of awesome. Thank you Marc for sharing your story

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  • Antti Merilehto
  • 22-03-21

Straight shooting

Netflix story told by the first CEO. No BS approach. what I really liked was the way the author dissects the difference eras of the company. Of course it is based on what Marc Randolph sees as the reality of what happened but I feel that there is a voice for others too.

If you read this and then the Reed Hastings Rules no rules I think you get a good picture of why Netflix culture is what it is claimed to be.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-20

Brilliant!

Really enjoyed this book, excellent insight into what goes into a startup and how to navigate the challenges. Honest and funny.

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  • Rogerm
  • 06-10-20

From startup to behemoth.

A most interesting book as told by the author himself. Fantastic. As a subscriber of Netflix, it’s interesting to know how it got there.
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-08-20

Fantastic engaging read!

Enjoyed this thoroughly from start to finish. inspiring and honest, with key lessons on how successful ideas form after multiple evolutions over time

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  • Gary
  • 10-08-20

Great all round

Not the off the shelf story about Netflix
A humble version of events
Entertained the whole way through