Home » Reed Hastings, Netflix: Stanford GSB 2014 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

Reed Hastings, Netflix: Stanford GSB 2014 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

Reed Hastings


GARTH SALONER: Good evening everyone and welcome. I’m Garth Saloner. I’m the dean of the Graduate School of Business. On behalf of the GSB I’d like to welcome you all to this event this evening.

This is the 37th Annual Encore Award Dinner. Each year the award is given to the entrepreneurial company of the year which demonstrates the spurt innovation and culture of the companies that have been springing up in Silicon Valley since the late 1970s. I’m delighted to congratulate Netflix and CEO Reed Hastings who’s MS 88 on being the recipient of the award this evening. Please join me in giving him a round of applause.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the encore selection committee for their work in selecting this year’s winner I’d also like to thank all of the sponsors for tonight’s event. In addition to welcoming many of our GSB alumni here this evening we have a number of engineering school alums and I welcome you to this event as well.

Entrepreneurship is thriving at Stanford University and including of course the Graduate School of Business. While we don’t have final numbers for the current year’s class and the class the year before, almost one in five of our graduates started their own company straight out of business school. So that’s for those of you who know what these trends look like a big increase from prior years and, and very much a, an upward trend over time.

In addition to that another, about quarter of the class took jobs in the technology sector. So if you put those together and then you add, finance jobs in tech, it’s almost 50 or 60% of the class, going into technology at the moment.

We have not seen, numbers like that since 1999. And I’m just saying you know, make of that what you will. We continue to innovate ourselves in entrepreneurship and I’d like to share with you just a couple of examples of things we’ve done recently to be entrepreneurial ourselves on the global front. Last week we launched a section of our course which is called start-up garage and, what differentiated the course this year is we offered it in a classroom that we have in the night management center which is a highly immersive classroom.

Half of the classroom is here on the Stanford campus. The other half of the classroom, which you see through a screen in front of you is in Beijing. And, and the class was taught as a combined class of Stanford students and students from Peking University who were combining in multidisciplinary fashion around start-up ideas across two different continents. So that’s I think a sign of the times.

The other example I would give you is a, is a program we call Stanford Ignite. Stanford Ignite started as a program we used to call the Summer Internship Entrepreneurship for those of you who remember SIE. That was a program that we offered at the Business School for Graduate students at Stanford who were not in the business school. The idea being if you have something great in the lab, it might be a good idea to get a little bit of the management on the way out and we’ve now taken that program globally. And again that’s a program we’re able to offer globally because we beam our faculty out in most instances from the night management center into wherever they are and we started a program last week again in Beijing. We’ve had a program going for about a month in Santiago, Chile. We’ve been in Bangalore, India for several years. We’ve been in Paris for a few years. We will go to Sao Paulo and New York City next year. And so that’s another example of how we’re able to increase our reach in entrepreneurship thanks to the educational technology.

In all of these activities whether they are here or abroad we rely on the ecosystem that we’re a part of. People come into our classes, they mentor students, they help advise students in a variety of ways. They’re guest speakers, we write cases on them so, we couldn’t do what we do without this ecosystem that we’re part of. And so I wanted to thank all of you for whatever you do to help us in those endeavors. So, thank you very much.

And with that, it’s my, it’s my great pleasure to invite up Jeff Yang co-founder and partner at, at Red Point Ventures. Jeff is an MBA from our class of 85 and the Chairman of the Encore Award Selection Committee. Please join me in in welcoming Jeff to the stand.

JEFF YANG: Thank you everybody. And on behalf of the Encore Selection Committee, we’ll wanna welcome you to the tonight’s award night. So a question might come up, why would you pick a 17-year-old company to win the entrepreneur of the year award. Well, the answer’s easy. The name of the award is the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year, not the youngest public company of the year.

And as you’ll hear later, Netflix we think is one of the most amazing companies because it’s gone through so many different iterations to get to where it is now. And I can’t imagine that even someone as visionary as Reed Hastings could ever have imagined running an Emmy-award winning content company when he first started Netflix in 1997. And that’s really why we chose Netflix.

Netflix has gone through many iterations to where it’s gotten now — to where it is now. And we chose them for their constant reinvention and entrepreneurial spirit. We believe that a company can be entrepreneurial regardless of its age since inception. And we think Netflix is the prime example of that.

So without further ado, I’m going to run a short reel telling you a little about Netflix, get you all excited, and then we’ll bring up its founder, Reed Hastings.

[Video clip]

Hey Reed if you need an agent Frank Underwood for next season I’m available. I’d like to bring up Reed Hastings who is the founder of Netflix. He founded Netflix in 1997. But if you go way back to when Reed received his BA from Boden, he spent a couple of years serving in the Peace Corps as a high school math teacher before coming to Stanford to receive a masters in AI. After that he went to go work in the AI lab at Schlumberger. Spent a couple of years at a failed startup in the AI space called Coherent Thought before moving for a very short time to another early stage company called Adaptive, and then ultimately started his first company, Pure Software in 1991. Took it public in 1995. And then finally it was acquired in 1997 by Rational Software. That was the year Reed founded Netflix.

One of the things that you might think is that, wow, that’s a classic example of a serial entrepreneur. But I really think of a serial entrepreneur is somebody who starts a company, leaves, starts another company, and then leaves. Reed is really kind of the serial founder and if Pure hadn’t been sold he might well still be founder there. But for the last 17 years he has been founder and CEO of Netflix, please join me in welcoming Reed Hastings.

Reed brought his tissue box in case his starts tearing up. Yeah So let, let me first start by asking you know, how, how does it feel to be here? You have some familiarity with the award.

REED HASTINGS: It is extraordinary because I was gonna give the dean a hard time because when I was a computer science graduate student here, I tried so hard to cross-list in the business school to do the entrepreneurial course, and was turned down so, it’s very sweet to be here tonight.

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