Ten Lessons Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph Shared with HPU Students

Marc Randolph, Netflix Co-Founder and Entrepreneur in Residence, returned to High Point University for a Q&A led by HPU President Nido Qubein and to continue mentoring students. Randolph held numerous small-group sessions throughout campus, working one-on-one with students in HPU’s entrepreneurship, business and pharmacy majors. Below are a few lessons on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship Randolph shared with the HPU community.

1. Entrepreneurs can’t be complacent

“Your vision of the future is always informed by the next step you take. I always have to be willing to ask myself what could change because I might realize that my idea won’t work. Being an entrepreneur is a combination of tremendous self-confidence and willingness to admit that you’re wrong.”

 

2. Envisioning the world as it will be

“As an entrepreneur, you have to envision a collision of a market that doesn’t exist yet and products that don’t exist yet. You have to be prepared for that eventuality when they do come to exist. In essence, that is what a startup has to do every day.”

 

3. Build grit through practice

“Strength comes from practice. It comes from stressing yourself enough that you recover and get stronger to accomplish greater things in the future.”

 

4. Learn how to make good decisions

“The strength to make hard decisions in your career comes from having made plenty of less hard decisions. The strength for making less hard decisions will come from making easy decisions. The trick is putting yourself in a position where you have the opportunity to make real decisions of real consequence early on in your career.”

 

5. Decide where to focus your time and energy

“There are so many things going on and so many distractions with things happening much quicker than they once did. It’s so easy to get distracted and feel that you have to keep up with everything that is going on. Even if 100 things are broken in my business right now, there are one or two that I can focus on. Solving those specific problems will fix the rest of the problems.”

 

6. Start doing and stop waiting

“I always tell people to do something. Do something now. Don’t just tell yourself, ‘I need to prepare myself and then I’ll do it once I get there.’ Do something now, because now is when you can begin developing the practice of trying something, failing, trying it again and failing. And each time, you get a bit stronger. Start now, do small things, fail at those and you’ll get smarter.”

 

7. Find a problem you love to solve

“People’s lives are limited, and our careers are short. You’re going to spend a lot of time working, so you may as well spend it doing what you love. If you’re doing something you love, if you’re solving really hard problems with really smart people, that is the most fulfilling thing you can do with your life.”

 

8. Get advice from a lot of people, then evaluate it

“It’s really hard to figure out what advice to take. The flaw with the word ‘advice’ is pairing it with the word ‘take.’ You should never take someone’s advice and do it blindly. You should get as much advice as you can and draw on that using your own intuition and experience.”

 

9. Extraordinary entrepreneurs listen well

“Good entrepreneurs take in all the advice they’re given and really listen. Then they come back with questions about how to implement the suggestions they’ve been given. Their questions tell me that they didn’t blindly do what they were told or blindly dismiss new ideas. When that happens, you are leveraging the collective mind power of everyone you have been in contact with.”

 

10. Never be afraid to share your ideas

“Being afraid to share an idea because you’re afraid it will be stolen is the single biggest reason people give for not starting. It is highly unlikely that the idea you begin with will look exactly the same by the time you start your business. The trick is to use your original idea as a starting point, then let it collide with reality and morph as you improve it. What the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley realized is that the trick is to tell everyone your idea. Then they will be able to offer you valuable input so that you can improve your idea.”

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