Reed Hastings is one of the co-founders of Netflix. Currently, he serves as the CEO of the company that he co-founded, which is in addition to his other responsibilities as a member of the Boards of Directors at Facebook and a number of non-profit organizations.
Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Reed Hastings:
Great Grandson of Alfred Lee Loomis
On his mother’s side, Hastings is the great-grandson of Alfred Lee Loomis, who was a man with a wide range of talents to say the least. After all, he was an attorney, a physicist, and an investment banker who is still remembered for his fervent support of scientific research. Furthermore, Loomis contributed much to the Allied victory in World War Two, seeing as how he helped in the development of radar as well as the nuclear bomb.
Served with the Peace Corps
After graduating from college, Hastings served with the Peace Corps, which specializes in promoting social and economic development outside of the United States. In Hastings’s case, he went to teach math in the Kingdom of Swaziland, which is one of the smallest countries in Southern Africa. Hastings has credited his time in the Peace Corps with honing his entrepreneurial spirit because its challenges made the challenges of starting a business seem smaller.
Learned the Value of Focus from Audrey MacLean
When Hastings was at Adaptive Technology, he had the chance to meet Audrey MacLean, who is one of the most powerful businesswoman in the United States as well as someone with a longstanding interest in entrepreneurship. From MacLean, Hastings learned the importance of focus, which he summed up as being preferable to make one outstanding product than two mediocre products.
Believes in Business Culture Called “Freedom and Responsibility”
Hastings used Netflix to test his beliefs about the right business culture, which he calls “Freedom and Responsibility.” In short, said business culture is famous for providing its members with increased control over how they are paid as well as how they work, though this comes at the cost of being let go with a generous severance package if they fail to perform well.
Has Had Missteps From Time to Time
Of course, Hastings has had his fair share of missteps, which are inevitable for business people. For example, Netflix’s share price tumbled in 2011 because of an announcement that it was spinning off its DVD business, which resulted in so much chaos and confusion that it was reversed within a month. As a result, Hastings came under pressure to step down, though he refused.
Has Told Multiple Stories about the Founding of Netflix
The co-founders of Netflix have told multiple stories about how it was founded. For example, Hastings has claimed that he got the idea after being charged $40 for returning a movie late. Furthermore, he has also claimed that he was inspired by a bandwidth-related math problem that was focused on solving for both volume and distance traveled. His co-founder has stated that the two just wanted to make the Amazon.com of something before settling on DVDs.
Has Been Vocal about His Belief in Streaming Video for a Long Time
Hastings has been a believer in streaming video for a long, long time. For proof, look no further than the fact that he stated that Netflix was preparing for an Internet-based future back in 2005, which was when it was still known for DVDs rather than streaming services.
He Still Underestimated Streaming Video
With that said, it is entertaining to note that Hastings still underestimated the power of streaming video. After all, he expected that Netflix would still have at least a decade’s worth of time in which to dominate DVDs, but as it turned out, Netflix launched its streaming services in 2007, which soon started expanding by leaps and bounds.
He Needs No Office
Currently, Hastings no longer bothers with a physical office because Netflix’s use of DocuSign means that he doesn’t need the space for physical papers. As a result, he wanders from place to place in his office with his laptop, meeting with the people working for him as needed.
He Is Needing His Laptop Less and Less
Nowadays, Hastings is even starting to leave his laptop behind because he needs it less and less. This is because his phone is taking over more and more of his laptop’s previous functions, meaning that it is not unimaginable that there will be a time when Hastings will stop using his laptop as well.