Mark Randolph is the co-founder and past CEO of Netflix. 25 years ago he had a great idea, in fact he had hundreds of them, ranging from customer surfboards through to personalised dog food. The idea that grew legs after being tested was Netflix. 

Netflix started as DVD mailing service and evolved nine years later into a subscription based streaming service employing over 12,000 staff.

I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at the Fearless Females #iwd2023 event. Here are his top 5 key takeaways from his presentation.

  1.  Ideas don’t count.

They’re all bad ideas to start with. Ideas only become great after they are executed. The best ideas are the ones that focus on solving a problem. Ask yourself; “What is wrong, what is broken, what can I fix?” We all have thousands of ideas – it is the action and implementation that matters.

2.  Business evolution is essential. 

You cannot afford to be complacent. Your business model may need to change entirely. The key is putting yourself in a position to be able to react. The customer will tell you when it is time to change – listen to them.

3.  Not all failures are bad.

Netflix failed to sell the company to Blockbuster, and then Amazon. This forced them to adapt and evolve. 

4.  Culture is king.

Culture is everything. As a leader, you must create an environment that mirrors who you are. Freedom and responsibility are essential for a healthy culture. This is easy with 10 people as you can articulate your goals and vision, and everyone is on the same page.

It gets harder when you scale. Ensure you have the right people in the right seats. Empower them with the information and context that they need to make the right decisions. 

5.  On pitching.

When pitching focus, on what you have done and are doing. Don’t show a 5-year business plan with expected sales, predicting the future is futile. Show me what you are doing now with the customer numbers, sales, and data. 

Marc finished his presentation by encouraging action. “Sometimes you just have to start and figure it out along the way.”

Sharon Ferrier
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