In every generation, there are innovations that not only bring a fortune to their pioneers but also further change the development of socio-cultural engagement. Reed Hastings has made a name for himself in the history of the 21st century with his pioneering work for Netflix – the American Internet entertainment service with more than 130 million subscribers in over 190 countries.
Hastings co-founded Netflix with Marc Randolph, and the company has transformed the way digital media content is consumed around the world since its inception in 1997. Learn more about Reed’s biography, his family, how he got rich, and other facts.
Reed Hastings Bio
Reed was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1960, the son of Wilmot Reed Hastings and Joan Amory. For his early education, he was enrolled at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, from where he entered the Naval Corps officer training program. He never received a commission and chose to serve in the Peace Corps.
His time in the Peace Corps led him to Swaziland, where he taught mathematics at a school between 1983 and 1985. He attributes some of his entrepreneurial drives to his time in Africa. Upon returning from his adventure in Africa, he enrolled in the prestigious Stanford University for a postgraduate degree in computer science. He graduated in 1988 with a master’s degree in computer science.
Soon after graduating, he founded his first company in 1991 – Pure Software, a software bug-fixing product development company. The company’s growth highlighted Hastings’ lack of management needs, and at some point, he had to ask his board to replace him with someone with management expertise, a request that was denied by the board.
Reed Hastings had to embark on a journey to familiarize himself with the workings of management. The company went public in 1995. The following year, Pure Software merged with Atria Software to form Pure Atria. The merger aimed to merge Pure Software’s capabilities in software defect detection with Atria Software’s expertise in managing complex software systems. Within the new structure, Hastings was appointed Chief Technical Officer.
A few months after the merger, Hastings left Pure Atria after selling his stake to Rational Software Corporation for $700 million, and in 1997, he and Marc Randolph Netflix started out as a mail-order film distributor. Reed Hastings invested $2.5 million in seed capital to launch Netflix.
By April 1998, Netflix was the world’s first online DVD rental company with 30 employees. Over the years, Netflix has expanded its services around the world. The company currently has a market capitalization of more than $130 billion and revenues of $15.794 billion starting in 2018. Netflix employs over 5,400 people.
How Did He Become So Rich?
There is really no “single” reason why Reed Hastings has accumulated so much wealth in the last ten years. The answer lies in a combination of a number of reasons. First of all, Hastings is one of the most intelligent and innovative billionaires in Silicon Valley. His decision-making ability and unconventional management techniques are things that will make even the smartest businessmen scratch their heads.
One of the reasons for his wealth is the extraordinary growth of Netflix and its subscriber base in over 193 countries around the world.
Hastings’ personal net worth has grown impressively over the last five years, with an astronomical 300% increase over the last five years. In June 2014, Hastings’ net worth was $1 billion, in March 2016 it was $1.2 billion, and after 12 months it had grown to $1.8 billion. In September 2017 his net worth was $2.2 billion. The biggest jump was to occur between September 2017 and May 2018 (a period of 8 months), when he accumulated another $1.4 billion, bringing his net worth to $3.6 billion.
Reed Hastings personally owns only 2.5% of Netflix stock and uses very clever techniques to sell and reinvest it, a practice through which he has recently raised approximately $600 million (after-tax).
Reed Hastings Net Worth
Beyond his personal stake in Netflix, Hastings sits on the board of tech giant Facebook, where he has acquired 47,846 shares worth nearly $10 million. His personal fortune comes from his shares of Netflix, Facebook, and the money he made with his first start-up – Pure Software. Reed Hastings currently has an estimated net worth of $4 billion.
Wife and Children
Reed Hastings married Patricia “Patty” Ann Quillin in 1991. Patty is a graduate of Cornell University and has worked with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Patty is a very private person and shares her husband’s passion for philanthropy. The couple has announced that they will donate half of their net worth to a charity initiative. They have two children whose identity has remained private.