Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph shares the 8 'rules for success' his dad gave him when he was 21

Marc Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix
Credit: Paul Riedmiller

When Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph graduated from Hamilton College with a degree in geography, his dad passed along some words of wisdom.

"When I was 21 years old, fresh out of college and about to start my first job, my father gave me a handwritten list of instructions," the entrepreneur and author writes on LinkedIn.

Randolph, now 61, still has the list today: "I've passed them on to my own children and the original copy hangs next to my bathroom mirror."

Here's are "Randolph's Rules for Success":

  1. Do at least 10% more than you are asked.
  2. Never, ever, to anybody present as fact opinions on things you don't know. Takes great care and discipline.
  3. Be courteous and considerate always — up and down.
  4. Don't knock, don't complain — stick to constructive, serious criticism.
  5. Don't be afraid to make decisions when you have the facts on which to make them.
  6. Quantify where possible.
  7. Be open-minded but skeptical.
  8. Be prompt.

His dad's advice didn't turn him into an overnight success by any means. Randolph, who says he never thought he'd be a tech entrepreneur, started as a failed realtor, he writes on his blog: "When I was 23, I was quite possibly the worst real estate agent in New York. I was working for my mother's agency in Chappaqua, and no one was buying houses. In eight months, I made zero sales. I rented one apartment."

Do at least 10% more than you are asked.
Marc Randolph
co-founder of Netflix

From there, he worked as an executive assistant to the CEO of a sheet music company.

While not the most glamorous job, "I was learning thousands of things per day: What a CEO does from nine to five. And what he does from five until he actually goes home," he writes. "I saw firsthand how a good CEO prioritizes tasks, how he handles himself around employees. And, most crucially, I got to see how a real company works, at every level." That would pay off when he started Netflix at 39 in 1997 and ran the company up until 2003.

Besides following his dad's rules for success, Randolph advises young people to find and learn from smart people. "If you apprentice yourself to the smartest people who will take you seriously, you will learn at every step," he writes. "You'll learn their special language. You'll see what real people do. Your interests might surprise you. They will evolve.

"And you'll be well-positioned to take advantage of whatever opportunity life throws your way."

Don't miss: 'Anyone' could have built Netflix, according to its co-founder

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