Winston Churchill famously said “history is written by the victors” and nowhere is this more true than in startupville.

Despite the recent surge of “how I screwed up” stories one finds on HackerNews, the vast majority of startup advice is still dispensed almost exclusively by successful entrepreneurs, with the size of their success directly correlated to how breathlessly their musings seem to be absorbed. Although they (we?) all have the best of intentions in trying to help others enjoy the same success we’ve seen, the path to these intentions is all to often paved with survivor bias, and survivor bias is a bitch.

Of course your agreement with that statement will probably depend upon which side of the survivor…

My oldest son graduated from college in June. He’s already started his own company.

He’s found a technical co-founder, lined up financing, found work space in San Francisco, and is already hard at work validating ideas. To paraphrase Harry Chapin: he’d grown up just like me.

But to tell the truth, I’m a little bit creeped out by the whole thing. You see, I’m the kind of guy who barely suppressed a smirk every time I bumped into another career-paired family; like the dentist whose son “just decided” to go to dental school or the lawyer whose daughter just passed the bar “without any encouragement from me”. …

But my choice of career has put me on the other side of that firing line plenty. I’ve seen every possible interview style you can imagine. I’ve seen great, I’ve seen terrible, and I’ve seen everything in between.

Having sat through hundreds — if not thousands — of interviews, I’ve identified a few patterns; small, often quite simple things that ensure a candidate has made the best possible impression.

So with graduation season in full swing — and approximately 5 million newly minted graduates hitting the job market — I thought I would share my top 10 tips to crushing…

A few years ago, as I was finishing That Will Never Work, my book about starting Netflix, I sent a draft to my eldest son, Logan. He appears a lot in its pages, growing from a kindergartner eating fluffernutters at the kitchen table to a young man in a brand-new blazer, accompanying me and Reed Hastings to New York for the Netflix I.P.O. I thought he’d be interested to see his role in the story. And since he’s a young entrepreneur now, I wanted to get his take on some of the lessons I tried to embed within the narrative.

A few weeks ago, one of the organizations I work with started its board meeting with the icebreaker, “tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know”. Someone shared that he had carried the torch in an Olympic relay. Then, even more surprisingly, he showed us the actual Olympic torch.

This created quite a stir. The Olympic torch? What was he doing with it? Wasn’t the Olympic torch a one-of-a-kind item passed hand-to-hand, for thousands of miles, from Greece to the site of the Olympics?

“Wait, wait, wait,” he blurted out after noticing our confusion. “You don’t pass the…

I’ll make you a bet.

Put me in any supermarket in the world — even one I’ve never been to before — and I’ll bet you I can walk straight to the milk. That’s because it’s always found in the same place: in a refrigerated case at the very back of the store. A location calculated to be as far as possible from the front door, that requires navigating past the salty snacks, the cereal, and several hundred other high-margin impulse-buy products.

And it’s not just supermarkets. You’ll find this pattern repeated in big-box stores, gas stations, 7–11s, and pretty…

Before Covid, I used to spend a lot of time in airports. And no matter what city I was in, no matter what time of day, I saw it at least once: a harried traveler sprinting through the terminal, trailing rolling suitcases, scarves, and sometimes even small children in their wake, in a desperate attempt to make it to the gate before the door closed.

And every time, it made me shake my head.

Not because I’m smug about being early for my own flight. But because over decades of traveling, I’ve learned something important:

You should never, ever, run…

Hint: It’s Richard Branson’s fault.

Five Years Ago, Richard Branson invited me and my wife to spend 4 days on his private island.

I turned him down.

That decision lasted exactly as long as it took to tell my wife about it. Within minutes, my plans to go mountain biking that particular week were cancelled, and Lorraine and I were stocking up on sunscreen.

Necker Island beckoned, but it wasn’t all going to be fun and games. In addition to four days of beach, kitesurfing, and partying, I was asked to give a 40-minute presentation on “turning dreams to realities”…

It’s hard being a leader.

Especially in an early stage company, where leadership often requires that every few weeks you have to make a pivotal, game-changing decision based on incomplete, inconclusive, or ambiguous information.

In my book That Will Never Work, I write about the brutal decision we made early on at Netflix to stop selling DVDs, which at the time accounted for 95% of our revenue, and focus entirely on making our nascent rental business successful. …

In 2002, after six years thinking of little other than Netflix, I decided it was time to think a little differently. And so I left.

The most wonderful byproduct of this was that I finally had time. Time to linger over coffee with my wife. Time to get outside and surf, run, or mountain bike every morning. Time to head into the Tetons for two weeks of back-country snowboarding.

There was time to engage with other startups, many of whom were looking for advice from someone freshly back from the war. It was easy to say yes to every invitation to talk, to have coffee, or to sit on an advisory board.

Then the non-profit community came calling, and before I knew it was on…

Marc Randolph

Netflix Co-founder. Entrepreneur, Investor and Advisor

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