Marc Randolph, Co-Founder of Netflix and High Point University’s Entrepreneur in Residence, participated in an interactive Q&A session with students on social entrepreneurship, moderated by Dr. Joe Blosser, Robert G. Culp director of Service Learning.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 24, 2020 – Today, High Point University students had the opportunity to learn from Marc Randolph, Co-Founder of Netflix and HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence, through a variety of opportunities, including an interactive Q&A session, lunch and one-on-one business pitches.
Randolph serves as a mentor to all students, sharing lessons he has learned as an entrepreneur and giving tailored feedback to students.
“Having the ability to communicate effectively, being good at learning, trusting people and giving clear direction were all key to my success as an entrepreneur,” said Randolph. “Here at HPU, the Premiere Life Skills University, students are learning these valuable skills. Life skills are going to work for you regardless of what way your business and life take you.”
Kicking off the day in Congdon Hall’s Callicutt Auditorium, Randolph participated in an interactive Q&A session with students on social entrepreneurship. The session was moderated by Dr. Joe Blosser, Robert G. Culp director of Service Learning.
“The conversation with Marc Randolph helped students see the possibilities of creating their own social enterprise,” said Blosser. “The biggest piece of advice he gave us today was to just get started.”
One student asked what advice Randolph would give to someone who wanted to start a business at a young age.
In response, Randolph said, “Start the business. Entrepreneurship is learned by practicing and doing it. You want to put yourself in a scenario where you get a chance to do it. If you have an idea you can learn from now, why aren’t you doing it?”
In the afternoon, students in HPU’s Entrepreneurship Club pitched their business ideas to Randolph inside Cottrell Hall’s Graves Collaboratorium and Belk Center for Entrepreneurship.
“It is an honor to have the privilege to not only hear Marc Randolph speak to our school, but also the ability to pitch my business ventures to him and get feedback on my ideas,” said Mack Bonvallet, junior majoring in business administration who presented his business, Ohana Lock, to Randolph. “The in-residence innovators, like Marc Randolph, are one of many extraordinary aspects about High Point University and one of the key reasons I chose this school.”
Lauren McAtee, freshman entrepreneurship major and founder of PawAlert, also pitched Randolph.
“Being able to pitch to Marc Randolph is an experience I never thought I would have,” said McAtee. “Before I came to HPU, I always heard about Marc Randolph, and I thought how cool it would be to see him on campus. I never expected to be able to speak to him, let alone pitch my business idea to him. This is such a wonderful opportunity.”
Mark McKinney, senior majoring in entrepreneurship and founder of Atmos, was able to tell Randolph how he has implemented previous advice.
“One of Marc’s quotes from a previous visit that I often remind myself of is, ‘Fall in love with the problem, not the solution,’” said McKinney. “It is so easy to fall in love with your own idea that you miss the opportunities that the problem can present us with. In my own startup we have had to pivot with the new circumstances we have come upon—to adapt to the immediate needs of our potential clients and create a new solution.”
Kathy Elliott, assistant professor and director of the Center of Entrepreneurship, plays an integral role in fostering opportunities for entrepreneur students on campus.
“The chance for HPU students to pitch their businesses to such an accomplished entrepreneur like Marc Randolph and receive his personal feedback is invaluable,” said Elliott. “Many of these students will go on to pitch in competitions and to investors. The advice they receive from Marc allows them to perfect their pitches and is certain to have a positive impact on the outcome of future presentations. These are moments they will not forget.”
While Randolph reinforced the value of life skills, he also shared the importance of a well-balanced life.
“The piece of advice I will leave you with is how critical it is to be a happy person,” said Randolph. “Make sure you take time now to learn what it is you love doing and ensure that is weaved into any business idea.”