Get a free audiobook

That Will Never Work

The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea
Written by: Marc Randolph
Narrated by: Marc Randolph
Length: 11 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Phil Knight's Shoe Dog comes the incredible untold story of how Netflix went from concept to company - all revealed by co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph. 

Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar video stores were king. Late fees were ubiquitous, video-streaming unheard of, and widespread DVD adoption seemed about as imminent as flying cars. Indeed, these were the widely accepted laws of the land in 1997, when Marc Randolph had an idea. It was a simple thought - leveraging the internet to rent movies - and was just one of many more and far worse proposals, like personalized baseball bats and a shampoo delivery service, that Randolph would pitch to his business partner, Reed Hastings, on their commute to work each morning. 

But Hastings was intrigued, and the pair - with Hastings as the primary investor and Randolph as the CEO - founded a company. Now with over 150 million subscribers, Netflix's triumph feels inevitable, but the 21st century's most disruptive start up began with few believers and calamity at every turn. From having to pitch his own mother on being an early investor, to the motel conference room that served as a first office, to server crashes on launch day, to the now-infamous meeting when Netflix brass pitched Blockbuster to acquire them, Marc Randolph's transformational journey exemplifies how anyone with grit, gut instincts and determination can change the world-even with an idea that many think will never work. 

What emerges, however, isn't just the inside story of one of the world's most iconic companies. Full of counter-intuitive concepts and written in binge-worthy prose, it answers some of our most fundamental questions about taking that leap of faith in business or in life: How do you begin? How do you weather disappointment and failure? How do you deal with success? What even is success? 

From idea generation to team building to knowing when it's time to let go, That Will Never Work is not only the ultimate follow-your-dreams parable, but also one of the most dramatic and insightful entrepreneurial stories of our time.

©2019 Marc Randolph (P)2019 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Marc wastes no time cutting through the noise and identifying the truth. Every moment I have spent with Marc, whether it was as he formulated and launched Netflix or since then, has been truly rewarding. Marc understands what is important whether it is your product, your marketing, or your business plan. A remarkable and one of a kind visionary." (Mitch Lowe, founder of RedBox and CEO of MoviePass)

"Netflix was built on the vision and creative DNA of one man - Marc Randolph. As the founding CEO, his leadership defined the culture of Netflix and laid the groundwork for successive, global revolutions in how we make and consume entertainment. His willingness to step aside so that his co-founder Reed Hastings could scale up the company stands as an example of humility and self-knowledge that is rare in the startup world." (Gina Keating, author of Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs

"An entertaining chronicle of creativity, luck, and unflagging perseverance." (Kirkus Reviews)

More from the same

What listeners say about That Will Never Work

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    72
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    72
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • MC
  • 2020-03-27

Overall the book was good

This is a good inspiring book. Some parts at the end of each chapter are a bit boring, but it was a good book. The narrator was very good.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nobody Knows Anything

Wow! I had a hard time getting into the first part of the book, but about halfway through I just couldn’t stop. This book is inspiring, eye opening and just plain fun to read.

I could write down a lot of amazing quotes, but for me if there is only one to remember it is “Nobody knows anything”, any idea could be the good one, you have to trust yourself and be willing to fail. This book deserves to be read and read again, I starting noticing the value of it closer to the end when everything was coming together.

Make yourself a gift and buy this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • JJ
  • 2020-08-13

Disappointed

Nothing concrete, this book is full of author's self entitled advice to general public, too fluffy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jo
  • 2020-06-28

Thoroughly enjoyable

Marc is a gifted storyteller and takes us on a journey of his story like it just happened yesterday. His ability to recount details makes this a great experience for the reader.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best business book

I never write book reviews but this book deserves special attention. I’m that kind of person who reads 10 books at the same time, and this time I was hooked from start to finish. Very inspirational and well written. Love it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ken
  • 2020-06-12

great story for anyone wanting success in life

what an amazing story. thanks marc Randolph for sharing your struggles as you launched netflix

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pushing me.

This audiobook has now pushed me to start my own business adventure...wish me luck!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Adjust your expectations

The story only covers the inception of Netflix in the late 90s to its public listing in early 2000s. While it is effective in telling that story it tells the story of a company that is vastly different from what we know Netflix to be today. It begins and ends with DVDs. Found the story to be dull and unspectacular.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Memoir Worth Hearing

Mark does a fantastic job of sewing together the narrative of the Netflix story in a way that is both educational and engaging. Well done. I highly recommend to budding entrepreneurs.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

For the entrepreneur looking for inspiration this is for you. I loved the entire story and was spoken in a very engaging way from the founder himself. I love Netflix even more after reading this.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • ¡Yo!
  • 2019-09-25

Cut off at the end of chapter 18

The team needs to review this recording. It cuts off chapter 18 in the middle of the vending machine story.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan Maxwell
  • 2019-10-27

Great Story on the History of Netflix

Overall a good book. Wish they would have worked on their quality control on the audio. For example, in the middle of discussing the IPO the book jumped to the Epilogue and toward the end of the Epilogue it jumped to Acknowledgments. Very disappointing to invest that much time in the book and lose the ending. Don't buy this book until they acknowledge the problem and advise that they have corrected the problem.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. H. Rios
  • 2019-09-30

GaryVee inspired reader

Great book. Very binge worthy. What happened to the audio at end of the chapter "Going public?" and "Epilogue"?
Still loved this book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 2020-01-02

Netflix story stops in 2003

Great story of the founding. I was hoping for more details about Netflix the business, especially how it transitioned from DVDs to streaming. Unfortunately the story ends just as streaming starts becoming a topic.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • J. Linder
  • 2020-06-29

Does not measure up to other start-up stories

While some of Marc Randolph's story is surprising, the overall arc of this start-up story is not as compelling and exciting as others. As a business story, I was unable to put down "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight, of Nike. Howard Schultz's "Pour Your Heart Into It," kept you, as the reader, constantly amazed at Howard's dogged pursuit of his dream and the efforts he attempted to make it all happen. And "The Everything Store," by Brad Stone, enumerated the trials and tribulations Jeff Bezos and his team went through well before Amazon became the mega icon it is today. Yes, we hear about the original attempts at ideas, like personalized shampoo. And, yes, we hear about the banter between Randolph and Reed Hastings as the "videos by mail" idea was first bandied about. Yes, Randolph mentions the meeting he and Reed Hastings attended with Bezos in Seattle. And, yes, Randolph tells in some detail about the now famous meeting in which Blockbuster refused the approach from Netflix. But on balance there was a missing element of excitement. An element of desperation. As though the eventual success of Netflix was inevitable. Which was never the case the other books mentioned above. I found parts of Marc Randolph's story interesting, but never felt the despair and anxiety most founders go through in the early years. And, BTW, a professional narrator would probably have done a better job narrating the story than Randolph did.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nasar
  • 2019-10-26

It was pretty good

Book is pretty good I thought it would be more detail and I wanted to hear more about figures & salary. But overall book is a good listen & entertaining.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicholas Newsad
  • 2020-06-26

Entrepreneurs MUST read Chapter 14

"Chapter 14 - Nobody Knows Anything" is a MUST read for all entrepreneurs. I've worked at several start-ups and small businesses, and this illustrates one of the most important lessons: TRY a bunch of stuff and keep doing what works. Stuff that no one expects to be successful is going to work better than stuff everyone thinks will work. When trying to predict customer behavior, suspend logic and reason for 5 minutes, be open-minded, and TEST a lot of stuff.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Hank Scorpio
  • 2020-06-11

Nothing inspiring or interesting here

The story is severely lacking any inspection or meaningful insights. I’m honestly not sure why Marc wrote this book and I honestly can’t recommend that you read it or listen to it. You time is valuable and there are so many great books on business that provide useful tips and insight into starting or running a copy, this just one. The epilogue is probably the most interesting part of the entire book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kb
  • 2020-05-20

It was alright a little boring at time's

It was alright had a lot of boring time's. But it was interesting when you got through the boring time's.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anthony Kimani
  • 2020-04-27

Good insights into the early days of Netflix

The book discusses the genesis of Netflix from a series of discussions between Mark and Reed Hastings, how the iterated through different strategies for the company, dealt with growing pains leading up to Netflix’ IPO in 2002. It’s an interesting read for anyone interested in starting and aggressively scaling a business. The writing is easily accessible to the non-business reader; however, for the business reader, there’s a lot of irrelevant “filler” / banter that detracts from the core story of the company’s journey.

The story terminates at the IPO, which is when the author left Netflix and left Reed Hastings to lead the company through most of its major innovations (moving from dvd rentals by mail to online streaming; making its own tv shows and movies, etc).

1 person found this helpful