Reed Hastings – How He Created Netflix

Reed Hastings (Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr.) is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix. He is also a board member of Facebook and many other non-profit companies.

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Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr. was born on October 8, 1960  in Boston, Massachusetts. His alma matter is Bowdoin College (1983) and  Stanford University(1988) where he graduated with MS in Computer Science.

Hasting’s first job was at Adaptive Technlogy, where he created a debugging software tool.  He says that when he worked for this company, he understood the value of focus on one thing and doing it in the best way possible.  He says, “Instead of doing two products in an average way, be the best with one.”

reed hastings photo

Hastings quit Adaptive Technology in 1991 to float his own company called Pure Software that would troubleshoot software.  Though the company did fell and improved in staff strength, he found it difficult to manage the company. Considering that he was from an engineering background, he found it tough to lead, because according to him, he was focussing on the problem, rather than the solution. He finally started to look at his professional life through a fresh perspective and transitioned to a CEO’s role when Morgan Stanley in 1995, took the company public.

In 1996, Pure Software tied up with another leading company  Atria Software.  But managerial problems again cropped up especially after the leading salesmen of both companies resigned.  The merged company Pure Atria was then acquired by Rational Software and things were never the same again, according to Reed.  Frustrated with working in a bureaucratic environment,  Hasting decided to start afresh with his next start up.

Reed Hastings and the Netflix Success Story

Reed Hastings along with Marc Randolph, founded Netflix which was going to change the way the world would watch movies.  In 1998, the little startup began by offering movies on a flat-rate rental basis to customers in the US.

Hasting reminisces, “The idea of Netflix came to me when my company was acquired. I had bought the Apollo 13 movie on rent and was pretty late on returning it. As a result, I was slapped with a huge late fee., as  I was six week late. The amount I owed the store was $40. On top of that, I had misplaced the video cassette.  I was even scared to tell my wife about this, because she would freak out. Then I thought, do I need to compromise on my marriage, because of this late fee.  I then thought of a business model where a person could just pay $30 or $40 on a monthly basis and watch as many movies, as one wants. “

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Today, Netflix is the biggest name in TV and Internet entertainment, but back then Reed was wondering, if he was really on the right track. Initially, it was a rental service, and the subscription based model which is the most used, was one of the options that was given as an alternative.  The edge was no late fees and unlimited due dates.

Reed Hastings Netflix

As Netflix grew, Reed also decided that this new company would be free from managerial trapping and embrace the new style of leadership and management with breathing space to one and all.

Netflix is one of the most lucrative companies from employee perspective.  The employees can decide how much money they want as compensation and stock.  Also the pay structure is based on the performance, average performance equates to average raise.  The company also did away with fixed vacation and sick time for employees, it is up to them to manage their schedule.

Reed started video streaming service for Netflix in 2007 for  people to stream watch TV and movies on laptops and portable devices like smartphones and tablets.

Reed Hastings – Wife

reed hastings wife patty quillin

He is married to Patty Quillin. The couple live together with their two kids in San Francisco Bay Area.

Reed Hastins – Net Worth

According to information in 2015, Hasting’s net worth is worth $1.35 billion. His salary is $3 million (inclusive of stock options).

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