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That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  4,963 ratings  ·  507 reviews
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 co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph.

Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video-streaming unheard was of, and widespread DVD adoption seemed about as imminent as flying cars. Indeed, thes
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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 ·  4,963 ratings  ·  507 reviews

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Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

"[Author & screenwriter] William Goldman is most famous for writing three words: 'Nobody Knows Anything' . . . Nobody really knows how well a movie is going to do, until after it's already done it . . . [It] isn't an indictment. It's a reminder, an encouragement . . . you have to trust yourself. You have to test yourself. And you have to be willing to fail." -- the author, on pages 211-212

Marc Randolph's That Will Never Work is a book that untidily - though not really meant in a negativ
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating AND entertaining!

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I won this book in a giveaway. (Thank you Hachette Book Group!) I was a little worried I would find That Will Never Work a bit dry but I was totally wrong. I found myself smiling/chuckling many times as I was reading it. Marc Randolph SO has a way with words and if he ever writes another book, I will be first in line to read it.

I loved reading how Marc would pitch ideas (customized dog food, customized baseball bats, customized
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I tend to find Netflix a very interesting company and so the story itself is interesting. That said the writing style is such that I found myself skimming through large chunks of it without feeling like I was missing much. Lots of memoir-ish stuff that just added nothing.

If I didn’t find the topic particularly interesting I probably would have bailed on this one.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Pretty sure all the good reviews are from people the author knows. There’s no reason this book should be 13 hours long. The Epilogue was 30 minutes!! He drones on and on with personal stories, how he already has a few successful start ups, and tips for success. By the end I found him unlikeable and unrelatable.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Some neat details about difficult moments in Netflix’s early history. Really great stories. But the author has a chip on his shoulder that interfered with my ability to trust the narrative. Careful lies of omission made me yearn for a less conflicted historian.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was like listening to an annoying uncle brag about how good he is at business. It seems like he just wrote it so he could reminisce about the good old days.

It took him a long time tell stories we already know the end to. And some of his stories were so contrived. [My wife] said, "You look like a chameleon." In a way...I was!

I really thought this was going to be a book about Netflix (more like Creativity, Inc.). It was more like an autobiography. We never get to the ends
Dec 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Got this from a work acquaintance as a Christmas gift. Not a fan. The author comes across as a giant money-obsessed douchebag, with chapter titles like "show me the money" and "how it feels to deposit a check for almost $2 million". Not relatable at all to the average non-millionaire, and comes off as flaunting wealth in a nation with millions of people unemployed, homeless and in poverty. Wish I could return this trashy book.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the main things I wanted to note from this book is that being an entrepreneur is a lot easier when you've a wad of cash behind you. Jeff Bezos was given some "seed capital" by his folks to start Amazon, the not unforgettable sum of three hundred grand. To be fair, Marc Randolph is very open about the fact that Netflix was funded initially by family and friends - or rather, make that "friend", his main partner Reed Hastings. Of the two million dollars "raised" to kick off the idea of renti ...more
Sam Ng
Dec 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I really don't get all the glowing reviews. It's one thing to write a book sharing your experiences and some vague, common sense "success tips". On the other hand, I really doubt someone is going to give away the very business strategies that, say, a father would pass down to his son. This would only generate more competition to himself and would not be very bright! So don't expect anything like that in this book.

Another consideration that wasn't really touched on in this book is that networking
I am a Netflix user, even though it is through my friend's account lol. I wanted to read about the birth of Netflix, how it started and what led this revolution on how we now consume content. I loved that Marc Randolph gave us an in-depth look into Netflix was the idea stage, before capital was involved, people were hired and the first DVD purchased.

A lot happened to get this giant company started and it was great getting insights into what makes and break a start-up. Culture of course is a hug
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I generally don't care for business books, but Marc Randolph's story of Netflix hit home, as I was part of the Blockbuster group working directly for Wayne Huizenga in the very early days (way before the company was sold, moved to Dallas post 1994 and ruined). Didn't have to be that way. Classic story of a big company's failure to adapt. But more importantly, classic story of a small company's will to adapt, survive and prosper. Kudos Marc. I wish we worked together back then.
Shawn Rapier
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Ok book. I enjoyed hearing about the start of Netflix but it got bogged down. It was like the author wasn't sure if he was writing a business book, a biography or a company story. There were parts I loved but others I sped through just to be done.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Interesting story, painfully folksy book.
Fefyy Antela
I REALLY enjoyed this book.

It was fascinating to learn more about the beginning of [probably] the biggest entertainment institution in our modern days 😄
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Nice, short and informative read about the founding and initial stages of development of Netflix.
Between the pages we meet again some of the well known heroes of the Silicone Valley such as Jeff Bezos.
Nirooj Bista
Intriguing. There's so much to learn from the journey through birth and life of Netflix. Up to the point, only thing I knew about Netflix was just the tip of the Iceberg, but there is so much underneath it. I am glad I got chance to read this book!
Hiran Venugopalan
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Simply loved this book. For starters, I did not know that Netflix actually was conceptualised in 1997, still seems a nascent 21st century startup to me. What I most admired about the book is that Marc has clearly articulated that it’s not just the idea which makes a startup, in many cases the idea grows over a period of time till you finally realise this is the one. To know how Netflix actually evolved over these period of 20 yrs actually helps. Somewhere I think it definitely strikes a chord wi ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is only fitting that I binge read this book - binged enough to miss a hike in Patagonia and just stay in.

I loved this simple, honest, inspiring and humbling account from one of the founders of Netflix. Also given I didn’t know about the early history of a company and product I love so much before this, I had a blast reading the origin stories and the aha moments.

Written well, told with authenticity and purpose.
Simona Saplacan
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I oscillated between 3 and 4 stars but went with 4 because their story and what they accomplished is quite impressive. It's a combination of American dream, crazy start-up world, memoir/autobiography and motivational self help. It felt a bit too focused on personal stuff but I guess this is supposed to make it more human. I could have lived, though, without the very accurate descriptions of what everyone was wearing all the time 😅
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the book! If you are into memoirs and autobiographies, this is a great one. It is definitely up there with Shoedog. I read Patty McCord's bok first ("Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility") and loved it, as well. I saw that Reed Hastings also has had a book on Netflix out recently so am looking to put that in my TBR pile.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 easy way to learn about the creation of Netflix and how this idea ended up being the amazing success Netflix is today. Great insight from Marc Randolph about pursuing your dreams and try and not to be afraid of failure.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Not a right book to learn about Netflix which we know today. But it's a good one to know about the early days of the streaming giant.
Nikita | thebookelf_
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it

// 𝙌𝙪𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙛𝙮 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 //

Who isn’t intrigued to know the inception and growth of the streaming giant – Netflix. I buried myself into the book the moment I received it and it has been nothing short of an inspiration. The book takes us through an exciting, inspiring, and transformational journey of Netflix’s co-founder Marc Rudolph.

The inception of Netflix can be traced back from the time brick-and-mortar video stores were raving and renting movie was on its peak. Streaming content online with
Julie Yu
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Success. A simple word that billions chase after. How does one reach success?

Within the book, That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea Marc Randolph details one of his many successes in life. Through the rises and falls, he provides us a true insight into how one approaches success. Randolph describes the thousands of hours he poured into Netflix, detailing the sacrifices he made. He also describes his fortune with his colleagues, those met and lost along the
Tõnu Vahtra
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"That will never work... but, nobody knows anything". This is a founder story (memoir) written by Netlix co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph. The time span of the book is from the idea until slightly past Netflix IPO until Marc stepped down from his active role in the company. Netflix has been fortunate to identify and ride the macro trends in consumer technologies. They started with movie rentals when first DVD's emerged and sending movies over mail became viable, at the end of the book the ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised how intrigued I was by this story. I love Netflix, and let's face it, I don't know how doesn't love the service, but I had no idea how it began or any of the original backstory. What I loved particularly about the book apart from the story itself, was how the story was told. For me, I'm not a business person nor do I understand how business works so I was worried that it would be filled with mumbo-jumbo that I wouldn't be able to understand, but I was proven wrong.

It w
Andrew West
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
From someone who has never heard about the startup story of Netflix, this is a fascinating read. Marc Randolph, the founder of Netflix, gives an insightful perspective on the early beginnings of this massive tech company.

Marc does a spectacular job running the reader through the early days of the company way before streaming was actually possible. For starters, I never knew Netflix started as a DVD rental company. They profited on the fact that it was cheaper to mail DVDs in the mail rather than
Krishna Rathi
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
An honest account of all the possible things that go on in a startup. Whenever we read a news article about how a founder came up with an idea, there is always a 'Eureka' moment associated with it. Marc Randolph actually debunks that myth.

The initial idea on its way to execution goes through so many modifications that one might always underestimate the success when starting up with the implementation of the idea in its raw form. However, it is those tiny tweaks that actually form the secret ing
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marc Randolph's retelling of Netflix's birth is engaging and insightful. Unlike many of the "results at all costs" type personalities whose business memoirs/biographies I've read in the past, Marc comes across as a more balanced individual. It's clear he worked very hard to bring his dream of Netflix to life, but his voice and perspective are easier to relate to than some I've read in the past.

His recounting of how he ultimately relinquished the CEO position to his friend, and co-founder, Reed H
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