High Point University

Q&A with Netflix Co-founder Marc Randolph

By Alexis Ancel // Editor-in-Chief

On April 23, Netflix Co-founder Marc Randolph, High Point University’s Entrepreneur in Residence, visited campus to speak with students and share his experiences as an innovator. Following a Q&A with HPU President Nido Qubein, Randolph sat down with Campus Chronicle Editor in Chief Alexis Ancel to discuss inspiration, entrepreneurship and the future of the upcoming generation. Here is what they discussed:


Q: What mistake have learned the most from over the course of your career?

A: I’ve made so many mistakes in my career that it’s impossible to pick one that was the profoundly impactful one. I think to answer the question more indirectly, value was in making so many mistakes. So it wasn’t that there was one big one. It was that I allowed myself to become comfortable doing things which would lead to mistakes. But that’s what risk taking is all about.

Q: Who has been an inspiration for you or made an impact on you?

A: I’ve been incredibly lucky because I’ve had the chance to work with two brilliant entrepreneurs, which really is what taught me so many things about how they approach problems and think about the world. One was a person I had the chance to work for when I was in my second job, so I was still in my early to mid 20s, and then another was a person who had a software company. They were the ones who I really modeled after. Then a person who inspired me—I’m reading a book about Shackleton, the polar explorer. He modeled leadership for me.

Q: HPU students are very fortunate to have a lot of resources that make success easier—networking opportunities, connections, and so on. What advice would you give to young people who don’t necessarily have those resources or don’t feel like they have those opportunities?

A: I think the world is so connected now for your generation, that you do, through social media and otherwise, have friends which are all over the world that are not in the same town and not on the same campus. You have access to other adults and professional people, and you should draw on that as heavily as you possibly can. That doesn’t need to be geographically proximate. Just being able to reach out and have mentors and advisors who could live a half a world away for the specialty. That’s what I would encourage people to do who don’t necessarily have it all nicely and neatly in one place like you do at HPU.

Q: Are you working on any new projects now that you can tell us about?

A: I’m now in about the sixth year of probably the most recent startup that I did, which is a data analytics company. I’m in the fortunate position that I have now almost completely worked myself out of a job, which is a good thing. At the beginning when it’s a brand new start up, you’re doing almost everything. And then little by little, you begin hiring people in who are really good at their individual areas, and you can hand it off to them. Now I’ve pretty much gotten to the point where I’m only on the board, and even then like a contribution is minimal. So it’s been a great ride.

Q: If you could change one thing about the world today, what would it be?

A: I would wish that income distribution was more equal, not just within the United States, which I think is leading to bad outcomes, but between the different countries in the world as well. There is a line between the haves and have nots, which I think is troubling. People are digging into their own respective areas and try to fight to preserve the haves, and it troubles me.

Q: There’s one more question I have to ask. If you could be in one show on Netflix, what would it be?

A: [Laughs] House of Cards.