That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph

Earlier this week, I finished listening to audible That Will Never Work by Marc Randolph, the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix. Marc painted a turbulent story of his life starting from the plot of the inception of Netflix to its eventual IPO in 2002 and his retiring from the company in 2004. When it comes to Netflix we all think of legendary Reed Hastings, the other co-founder and current CEO of Netflix. But as Reed will probably never write a book, Marc has filled the gap for us by telling the Netflix story in detail.

Some of the things that are highlighted in this book -

  • How a single idea doesn’t come out all on a sudden but shapes over a long period of time
  • How a good idea is indistinguishable from a useless idea in its raw form
  • How mutual respect between co-founders (and friends) can build a great culture in a company
  • How different the landscape of startups in the bay area was two decades ago
  • What thin a line separates success and failure for a startup
  • How you need to constantly re-invent yourself to sustain your business
  • The value of forward-thinking or preparing ahead of time. for example, get ready with DVDs even when very few households had DVD players.
  • How the VCs work in the bay area
  • Some examples of David and Goliath in tech
  • How large companies like Blockbuster, Sony, Toshiba, Amazon either underestimated or took advantage of early small-sized Netflix
  • The value of culture in the success of a company
  • How painful it is to go for a layoff
  • A short but horrible picture of Dot com bubble
  • What it means to go IPO successfully
  • How it is wise to leave your place before you become redundant
  • The first name of a company better be not that good so it can be easily changed later
  • Some Silicon Valley acronyms and memes — OPM, Nobody knows anything
  • You have to learn to love the problem, not the solution

I am a Java programmer currently working for in San Francisco, California, USA. I finished my MSS in Economics from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and two years Software Engineering Diploma from NIIT. After working for more than 4 years in various outsourcing and local projects back in Bangladesh, I came to USA on H1B visa at early 2005. Other than my passion for computer, internet and online community, I am a passionate chess player with my current USCF chess rating of 2022. In USCF terms I am a Candidate Master or Expert. I have also picked up hiking as a hobby lately. I love to travel around, read books and write blogs. Read my IT thoughts at, online diary of regular events at and chess endeavors at . View all posts by ashikuzzaman


Originally published at on June 13, 2020.

I am an engineering leader, chess enthusiast and avid reader.