What if a video rental business were run like a health club?

NetflixWeightlifterThe rise of a number of today’s top tech firms—Foursquare, Airbnb, Pandora internet radio—can be traced to a “Why doesn’t somebody …” or “What if we were to…” question, in some cases inspired by the founder’s personal experience.

One such example, which has become a modern classic business story, is the origin of the Netflix video rental service. The man who would go on to start the company, Reed Hastings, was reacting to one of those frustrating everyday experiences we’ve all had. Hastings had been lax in returning some movies rented from a Blockbuster Video store and by the time he got around to it, the late charges were exorbitant. A frustrated Hastings wondered, Why should I have to pay these fees? (he has admitted that another question on his mind at the time was, How am I going explain this charge to my wife?).

Surely, others have been similarly outraged by late fees. But Hastings decided to do something about it, which led to a subsequent question: What if a video rental business were run like a health club? He then set about figuring out how to design a video rental model that had monthly membership, like a health club, with no late fees. (Years later, Hastings would question whether Netflix could and should expand its model: Why are we only renting the films and shows? What if we made them, too?)

Tags: , ,


Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter!

About the Author

Journalist and speaker Warren Berger realized that the majority of successful creatives and entrepreneurs he was interviewing over the years were great questioners. His wondering about "How can we all learn to do what they do?” led to this website and the writing of his latest book, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts here.

1 Beautiful Comment

Trackback  •  Comments RSS

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Why Curious People Are Destined for the C-Suite | October 21, 2015

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

CommentLuv badge

Top