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Netflix’s Vision Makes it Recession-proof
By now, the story has become the stuff of legend in the startup world.
In 2000, Blockbuster had a chance to buy Netflix for $50 million. The brick-and-mortar video rental store declined the offer.
Two decades later, Netflix is worth $194 billion, and just a single Blockbuster store remains open for business.
While Netflix is recession-proof today, the company was on much shakier ground during the previous economic downturn. Yet amid the Great Recession, the company managed to transition its offering to streaming video and lay the groundwork for creating its own content.
It’s a lesson in the power of a company vision in uncertain times.
Netflix never wanted to mail DVDs
Netflix killed the video store with its by-mail DVD service. But it never really wanted to be in the DVD business.
Instead, founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph always had a broader vision for the company beyond platforms or delivery models. Here’s how Randolph tells it:
“We very, very early came up with the idea that Netflix would be about finding movies you love, which in fact has nothing to do with how you choose to receive them.”
Marc Randolph, Netflix Co-founder
That became the credo that drove the direction of the company and its messaging to customers. So when the Great Recession hit and Netflix’s DVD business faltered, it saw an opportunity in the disruption and jumped at the chance to pivot its business model.
“We never spent one minute trying to save the DVD business,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Variety.
A Vision Statement that Guides Business Decisions
Netflix has since evolved its corporate vision and mission to reflect broader goals around global growth. But that scrappy vision hashed out between two passionate founders has been critical to the company’s journey and ultimate success.
It’s a perfect example of how we at Braithwaite define vision —