The Most Valuable Lesson From The Creator Of Netflix To Aspiring Entrepreneurs
If there is one thing you should learn from him — it’s this.
“Nobody Knows Anything”
It’s as simple as that. The founding CEO of Netflix, Marc Randolph, summarized his best advice to new entrepreneurs with this one sentence. My first impression after reading this was, “damn, that’s a bold statement, this man is overconfident.”
I quickly realized I was wrong to jump to such a conclusion as he started to elaborate on this very straightforward statement.
Before I breakdown the critical messages behind it, I highly recommend you read his book “That will never work” if you haven’t already. I’m sure you will get to learn at least a couple of things as Randolph takes you through the whole process from coming up with an idea to the launch day.
As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I am always on the hunt for lessons from people who have already made it. I found that Marc Randolph’s statement highlights three crucial aspects of the world of business and entrepreneurship.
1. You’ll Never Actually Know If It Works Until You Test it
How often do you share your startup ideas with people only to get the following response:
“No, it will never work.”
Sometimes it’s not even coming from people — you simply say it to yourself.
Some would argue that it’s an essential part of the thought process to make you evaluate the potential of your idea, but I believe it to be more of a discouraging one. When you’re just brainstorming new ideas, there are many other ways to help you trigger positive emotions that could get you started on that journey. Start by envisioning it succeeding, and I promise it will make you feel much better.
The truth is that there is no proof that your idea could fail if you never tested it. In other words, the only guarantee for your failure is the fact that you never started in the first place.
Randolph describes in his book how all the people around him told him that his Netflix idea wouldn’t work — including his wife. He also admits that he thought the same. So he wants you to understand that the only way for you to find out if you’re idea is a good one is to do it.
2. You Don’t Need To Know The “How” Before Starting
I believe this one to be the trap that most of us fall into. It’s the exact reason why I stopped believing in business plans. If anything, I think they are a pure waste of time and energy.
Knowing exactly how to go about achieving a particular goal is simply unrealistic. There is this fascinating quote I heard from a success coach that states:
“If you know HOW you are going to reach your biggest dreams, you are dreaming far too small”.
Saying, “I don’t know how” is one thing successful people never say — even if they don’t truly know “how.” The reason is simple. They just find out how by taking action on it.
We need to stop seeing that as a bad thing because it does not necessarily mean you’re unprepared — it just means that you’re someone with big dreams and that you are finally stepping out of your comfort zone.
3. You Have To Be Willing To Fail
The third most important message behind Randolph’s bold statement is to always trust yourself. Don’t confuse that with the rejection of weaknesses. The idea of trust here is that you need to accept both your strengths and weaknesses. It will allow you to get back up if things go wrong, and you face failure.
Not be willing to accept failure simply signals a lack of self-esteem — working on improving that will significantly increase your chances of success. Remember that the only thing that differentiates successful people from non-successful ones is their willingness to take risks.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
Never let the fear of the unknown hold you from taking that next step and do not fall into the avoidant mentality trap. Know that the fear of failure will hinder any move you’ll be trying to make towards success if you do not overcome it.
The bottom line is this: confidence and persistence will let you know what works and what doesn’t. “Nobody knows anything” — make that your motto.
Early and quick testing is the most realistic approach to new business ventures. Most importantly, stop aiming for perfection and just trust the journey. Your tolerance for failure is far more important than anything else.