Founder Stories

Netflix’s Co-founder on Blockbuster, Innovation, and the Best Movie for an Entrepreneur to Watch

Marc Randolph shares lessons from his time with Reed Hastings and company in a new memoir

Patrick J. Sauer
Published in
9 min readOct 31, 2019


Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix.
Photo: George Pimentel/Getty

LLast Wednesday, Netflix broke with precedent and released viewership statistics for a year’s worth of its homemade movies and television shows. A movie view is defined as 70% watched within four weeks of its premiere (for a TV series, 70% of a single episode counts.) The numbers are striking, even with the healthy caveat that these are self-reported figures. Stranger Things is the top television show with 64-million plays (from a subscriber base of 158-million.) That’s a hell of a lot of views — especially considering Netflix doesn’t know how many eyeballs each view gets — but not totally unsurprising as the quirky ’80s sci-fi pastiche caught the pop culture wave and went well beyond the confines of Hawkins, Indiana.

A much bigger shock comes in the form of The Highwaymen, a somnolent Kevin Costner/Woody Harrelson flick about the Texas Rangers who hunted down Bonnie and Clyde. If you’ve never heard of The Highwaymen, theoretically, you’re not alone. The reviews were lukewarm and fair to say, had it been in theaters, it would’ve died a quick screen death at the…