What was once inspired by a $40 Blockbuster late fee has now become a household name thanks to Reed Hastings, CEO and Co-Founder of Netflix. Reed Hastings took a small idea of renting out less than 1,000 DVDs in the late 90s, and transformed Netflix into a massive content-creating monster that’s now been nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and that also generated over $5 billion in revenue in 2018. Reed Hastings is the ultimate Brand Champion, harnessing the evolution of television and launching internet entertainment to never-before-seen heights. Reed credits a majority of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time spent in the Peace Corps, teaching high school math in Swaziland.
“Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating.”— Reed Hastings.
Hastings, being a coder at heart, created his first company, Pure Software, in 1991. Pure was a debugging software created for engineers, which he ended up selling in 1997 for $750 million. This gave Reed and Pure Marketing Director, Marc Randolph, the capital and ambitious nature to start Netflix. Early in their business, both Marc and Reed had the intention of creating Netflix Original TV shows and movies, even before launching their streaming platform. Reed anticipated early on that DVDs would phase out and that the internet was heading towards a new direction. He anticipated a movement that no one else saw coming. Inspired by YouTube’s success, Reed transitioned Netflix into a streaming platform in 2007. At first, there was a learning curve for networks to understand Netflix; many saw it as a competitor and not a partner. Reed’s vision was for creators all over to come together and create quality content to bring people joy, creating partnerships and keeping his platform customer-centric. After continually pursuing networks to join forces, Starz was the first network to sign a deal with Netflix in 2008. After that – the rest was history.
Netflix is a notoriously lenient place to work, with unlimited vacation days, up to 12 months for maternity/paternity leave, and more. Reed is focused on getting employees to improve the current company environment, rather than sustaining what they already have. He took his vision of a small DVD rental company and morphed it into a billion-dollar company with monthly subscriptions, original feature films & tv series, and famously happy employees. Reed Hastings is a Brand Champion.