Over the course of his business career, Netflix founder and chief executive Reed Hastings has seen a lot.
From starting out as a door-to-door vacuum salesman in the suburbs of Boston to founding and running the online media powerhouse Netflix, Hastings’ experiences moving from the sales trenches to the boardroom taught the serial entrepreneur lessons that he’s used to grow his business.
In a new video from Foundation Capital, the second in the firm’s “Startup Stories” series, Hastings shares some of those lessons and discusses the “white knuckle” moments he’d had in the days when the company was going head-to-head with Blockbuster LLC.
“There was a multi-year battle for survival between Blockbuster and Netflix,” says Hastings. “One quarter we shrunk, because they were basically hitting us on price so hard. We underestimated them to our peril. And honestly, in hindsight if they had started two years earlier when we were that much smaller, they probably would have won.”
Among the other insights in the short video, is Hastings talking about the different skills necessary to be an effective leader.
“Leadership is pretty nuanced, because there’s the personally endearing part about caring and fellowship and then there’s also the strategic part about not leading the company into a boxed canyon,” says Hastings.