Reed Hastings known as the man who invented the term "binge watching," is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix and serves on the boards of Facebook and a number of non-profit organizations. A former member of the California State Board of Education, Hastings is an advocate for education reform through charter schools.
Hastings joined the Peace Corps after graduating from Bowdoin College "out of a combination of service and adventure" and went to teach high school math in Swaziland from 1983 to 1985. Hastings credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in the Peace Corps.
After returning from the Peace Corps, Hastings went on to attend Stanford University after getting rejected to his first choice, which was MIT. Hastings' first job was at Adaptive Technology, where he invented a tool for debugging software.Hastings left Adaptive Technology in 1991 to found his first company, Pure Software, which produced products to troubleshoot software. In 1996, Pure Software announced a merger with Atria Software followed by an acquisition by Rational. Hastins who was appointed as the CTO of combined company left the company there after.
In 1997 Hastings and Marc Randolph co-founded Netflix, offering flat rate film rental-by-mail to customers in the United States. Headquartered in Los Gatos, California, Netflix has amassed a collection of 100,000 titles and over 44 million subscribers. "I got the idea for Netflix after my company was acquired," said Hastings. "I had a big late fee for 'Apollo 13.' It was six weeks late and I owed the video store $40. I had misplaced the cassette. It was all my fault. I didn’t want to tell my wife about it. And I said to myself, 'I’m going to compromise the integrity of my marriage over a late fee?' Later, on my way to the gym, I realized they had a much better business model. You could pay $30 or $40 a month and work out as little or as much as you wanted."
Hastings said that when he founded Netflix, he had no idea whether customers would use the service. "Netflix was originally a single rental service, but the subscription model was one of a few ideas we had—so there was no Aha! moment. Having unlimited due dates and no late fees has worked in a powerful way and now seems obvious, but at that time we had no idea if consumers would even build and use an online queue."
"The possibilities for building connections between cultures and people are endless and important."
"I learned the value of focus. I learned it is better to do one product well than two products in a mediocre way,"
"Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn't seem too intimidating."
"I was doing white-water kayaking at the time, and in kayaking if you stare and focus on the problem you are much more likely to hit danger. I focused on the safe water and what I wanted to happen. I didn’t listen to the skeptics."