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

Little, Brown. Sept. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9780316530200. $29; ebk. ISBN 9780316530217. BUS
First comes the idea. Then comes the hard work. Randolph, in his first book, gives the genesis story of Netflix. What makes this story particularly appealing is that it bridges the brick and mortar enterprise with ecommerce. Similar to Howard Jonas’s On a Roll and Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, Randolph’s work delves into the workings of a business, from startup to maturity. The author is particularly adept at describing how the “next big thing” gets started in the milieu of Silicon Valley, sprinkling throughout the text object lessons on leadership, talent, excellence, and working through problems. Of note are details of how Netflix grew organically. Randolph, understanding that his forte was in developing a startup, left Netflix after it had gone public, but before the advent of streaming. While Randolph intersperses into the narrative plenty of advice, his closing remarks are apropos: if you have the idea, start the business; focus on the problem rather than the solution.
VERDICT A worthwhile personal account and career guide for budding entrepreneurs.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month