Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph participates in an interactive Q&A session led by students and moderated by High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein.
HIGH POINT, N.C., April 23, 2018 – High Point University students spent today with Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph, HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence, as he returned to campus to mentor students.
During an interactive Q&A session moderated by HPU President Nido Qubein, students asked Randolph questions about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to make strategic career moves. Randolph also hosted small-group sessions throughout the day with entrepreneurship, sales and pharmacy majors, who pitched their business ideas and received feedback directly from the Silicon Valley icon.
“We at High Point University believe that when you graduate, you ought to be absolutely ready for life,” said Qubein. “That means being exposed, in part, to men and women who have accomplished great things. We call it experiential learning. It is my pleasure to introduce to you a man who understood early on that if you take the risk out of life, you take opportunity out of life. He and his co-founder took a risk, not just financially, but on their reputation, and Netflix of course has changed the very way that you watch television today.”
“When it comes to investing my time in an idea, the first thing I check on is if I’m interested in the problem,” said Randolph. “I tell people not to fall in love with their idea, but with the problem they’re trying to solve. The idea is going to change. The idea is likely going to be a bad one. If the problem is an interesting problem, that’ll keep you going for a long, long time.
“People’s lives are limited, and our careers are short,” added Randolph. “You’re going to spend a lot of time working, so you may as well spend it doing what you love. I know lots of people who’ve had success in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, and they don’t need to work again. Yet, they go back. And it’s not for the money or for the salary. It’s because 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.”
HPU student Chris Putnam, a psychology major, asked Randolph about mental strength – how to build it and continue to grow it under the pressures of running a business.
“Strength comes from practice and from stressing yourself enough that you can recover and then move on to do equal or greater things in the future,” said Randolph. “Being in a business, the strength to make hard decisions comes from the experience of making less-hard decisions. And strength to make less-hard decisions comes from making easy decisions. The trick is to put yourself in the position where you have the opportunity to make real decisions with real consequences early.
“That’s why I always tell people to do something,” said Randolph. “Do something now. Do something while you’re in school. Do something this summer. Don’t just tell yourself, ‘I need to prepare myself and then I’ll do it once I get there,’ ‘I’ll do it once I get my MBA,’ or, ‘Okay, I’ll do it once I spend three years in the industry.’ 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.”
Students in both the HPU Selling Club and Entrepreneurship Club met with Randolph and had the chance to share their ideas for his feedback. CeAnna Soper, a senior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, double majoring in business and communication, pitched her product, called Breezy Brush, to Randolph.
“Pitching my business to Marc Randolph was an amazing experience because he gave me feedback that will be very helpful to me,” said Soper. “He was an active listener and put a lot of thought into his comments. He asked me some things I hadn’t thought about before, such as different aspects of marketing. Now I have my homework to do when it comes to moving my product forward.”