ECONOMICS

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
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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.

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