Have you ever logged onto Netflix after a long day at work and wondered who the wealthy individual who owns Netflix must be? Here we will give you not only who it is, but their background and more important information.
Reed Hastings was born October 8, 1960, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was an attorney for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare during the Nixon administration. Meanwhile, his mother was a debutante from a Social Register family who was disgusted with high society and taught her children to have no love for it.
Hastings would then go on to attend Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For a gap year, he sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door. It wasn’t until 1983 that he graduated from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor of the Arts in Mathematics.
He would go on to join the Marine Corps, specifically the officer training. Hastings also spent college summers with the Marines. However, he never completed the training and was never commissioned with the Marine Corps. Instead, he opted to join the Peace Corps “out of a combination of service and adventure.”
Afterward, he was a math teacher in high school in rural northwest Swaziland from 1983 to 1985 after his college years. Hastings credits the Peace Corps for his interest in business as he stated, “Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating.” After the Peace Corps, he attended Stanford University and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science in 1988.
Beginning of Business
Hastings was a part of Adaptive Technology where he built a tool that could debug software. He left Adaptive Technology in 1991 when he decided to lay out the beginning of his entrepreneurial idea. His first company was Pure Software, and its mission was to create products to troubleshoot software. However, being CEO was hard as he did not have any sort of manager experience and so, growth was difficult for Pure Software. He had such despair over the company he even asked the board to replace him, but they refused. Hastings claims that this is when he learned how to be a businessman. In 1995, Morgan Stanley bought Pure Software. Then in 1996, Pure Software merged with Atria Software. However, there was a problem with Pure Software and Atria due to integration leading to the head salesmen for both companies to leave.
Then, in 1997, Rational Software bought the company, now known as Pure Atria, and named Hastings the Chief Technical Officer. But, he left soon after. Because of these problems, Hastings spent two years brainstorming about avoiding similar problems in the future. In the very same year, Hastings, and a former employee, Marc Randolph, co-founded Netflix. They offered a flat rate movie rental by combining two emerging technology: DVDs and websites as both were easier to navigate than their predecessors.
The idea came to Hastings after he left Pure Software when he had a late fee on a movie and misplaced the cassette. He also thought no one was going to use the service. But, fortunately for him, the business, headquartered in Los Gatos, California, the service has over 100,000 titles and well over 100 million subscribers.
Netflix, TV, and Activism
Hastings created an internal culture guide for Netflix, as it was known. The company had an innovative management practice. He created an idea called “Freedom and Responsibility.” What it did was offer employees large severance packages to ensure that they had incentives. Netflix also eliminated sick and vacation time and allows employees to manage their time off. The Hastings guide came out in August of 2009. It even became a tool for employment screening to weed out those who were not comparable for the job.
Since then, Hastings has been interested in Internet television and has admitted that YouTube is what got him to change strategies for Netflix. In 2007, he launched a service to stream movies and shows from one’s computer. He is also a Facebook director from June 2011 to May 2019. During that time he had amassed over $10 million in Facebook shares. From 2007 to 2012, he was on the board of Microsoft.
Hastings is also a political activist and has been interested in education reform in California. He was on the State Board of Education and later President of the state of California. He helped pass Proposition 30 in Nov. 2000 which helped lower the level of voter approval for area schools to pass construction bond problems from 66 down to 55 percent. Hastings also pushed for more English instruction and education for non-English speakers. This caused a backlash, and he resigned by 2005.
Personal Life and Who Owns Netflix?
Since then, he has also been advocating for charter schools and even argued for the elimination of elected school boards. He also donated to children’s education, various Democratic politicians, the Covid-19 vaccine, Ukraine non-profit, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
But, if you’re still wondering who owns Netflix, Hastings now owns just a small 1% of Netflix and is worth around $2.4 billion. He currently resides in Santa Cruz, California with his wife Patricia Quillin. They have two kids together.