Co-founder of Netflix will headline spring semester Thought Leader Series

By Leda Alvim, STAFF WRITER
On November 26, 2018

Marc Randolph co-founded Netflix in 1999 as a DVD rental business. It now produces annual revenues in excess of $3 billon. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Netflix co-founder and former CEO Marc Randolph will speak in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Oval Theater on Feb. 21 at 2:30 p.m. as the second lecturer in the Muma College of Business Thought Leader Series.

The event is free and open to the public. When it was first announced Nov. 16, 705 spots were available. However, due to high demand, all seats were claimed after one week.

Tickets had to be reserved online in advance to attend the lecture.

According to Lorie Briggs, director of communications and external relations for the Muma College of Business, a waiting list is available for those still interested in attending the lecture. Currently, there are 21 people on the list, with the possibility of some dropping. Depending on demand, the lecture possibly could be moved to the Yuengling Center.

Randolph will deliver a 40-minute talk about his achievements, innovations and his life’s career, including the creation of the Netflix empire. After the lecture, questions will be taken from the audience for an additional 30 minutes.

This year is the second edition of the Muma College of Business Thought Leader Series. Last year, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak drew an audience of more than 2,700 people to the Yuengling Center. Due to high demand, the event sold out within two hours after the announcement.

Born in Chappaqua, New York, Randolph is an American entrepreneur, adviser and investor.

Alongside Reed Hastings, Randolph created the online movie and television streaming service Netflix in the late 1990s. According to Netflix Investor Relations, as of October 2018, Netflix had 137 million subscribers worldwide and 58.46 million in the U.S.

Netflix’s initial idea was to provide DVD sales by mail, focusing on the DVD rental business. In 2007, the company introduced its streaming service, and in 2010, expanded its services internationally. Netflix’s annual revenues now surpass the $3 billion mark.

“Reed and I were in downtown Santa Cruz (California) and we were saying, ‘I wonder if we can mail these things,’” Randolph wrote in the book Netflixed. “We went in and bought a music CD and went into one of the stationery stores and bought a greeting card and stuck the CD in the envelope and mailed it to Reed’s house. And the next day, he said, ‘It came. It’s fine.’ If there was an ‘aha’ moment, that was it.”

Throughout his time working at Netflix, Randolph served as its founding CEO, executive producer of its website and as a member of its board of directors until his retirement in 2004.

In the past few years, Randolph co-founded the analytics software company Looker Data Sciences. In addition, Randolph is a board member of Chubbies Shorts, Getable, OpenEd, National Outdoor Leadership School and 1% For The Planet.

“Nobody knows what is going to work in advance,” Randolph said in a lecture at High Point University. “The only way to figure out if it is a good idea or not is by taking a risk. Don’t show me your three-year business plan. Figure out ways to test things cheaply, quickly and simply. You have to do something; you have got to try something."

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