Fifteen years ago today, Netflix went public. But how the co-founders came up with the idea for the revolutionary entertainment service is still unclear.
Originally, CEO Reed Hastings told several outlets said he got the idea for Netflix after Blockbuster charged him a $40 late fee for "Apollo 13." But co-founder Marc Randolph, who left the company in 2002, said the tale was a "convenient fiction" to explain why the company was better than its competitors, according to CNET.
Instead, Randolph claims the company was started when he and Hastings decided they wanted to create "the Amazon.com of something" in 1997, The Washington Post reported. They decided on shipping DVDs because customers were willing to buy them online and they were strong enough to mail. Since they couldn't get a DVD — which was new technology at the time — they mailed a CD a few blocks to see how it would hold up. When it arrived in one piece, they decided to start Netflix.