Reed Hastings

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Wilmot Reed Hastings, Jr. (b. 8 October 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American businessman and entrepreneur. He is the founder, CEO, president and chairman of the board of Netflix.

Hastings attended high school at the Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[citation needed] His father was a lawyer who once served in the Nixon administration, serving as general counsel in the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. "One weekend when I was about 12, my parents, sisters and I were invited to Camp David, when the president wasn’t there. Elliot Richardson, who held several cabinet positions, invited us. We rode around in golf carts, had a tour and I saw that President Nixon had a gold-colored toilet seat."

Hastings studied mathematics at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and won its mathematics department's Smyth Prize in 1981. "I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school and went to Bowdoin College in Maine. I majored in math because I found the abstractions beautiful and engaging," said Hastings. Hastings received his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in 1983.

Hastings wanted to serve his country and joined the Marine Corps in their Platoon Leader Class and spent the summer between his sophomore and junior year in boot camp at Quantico, Virginia. "I found myself questioning how we packed our backpacks and how we made our beds," said Hastings. "My questioning wasn’t particularly encouraged, and I realized I might be better off in the Peace Corps. I petitioned the recruiting office and left the Marines."

Hastings taught mathematics as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland from 1983 to 1985 and credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in the Peace Corps. "I joined the Peace Corps after graduate school and went to teach high school math in Swaziland, out of a combination of service and adventure," says Hastings. "It was an extremely satisfying experience. Taking smart risks can be very gratifying. Guessing right is a skill developed over time. Not all smart risks work out, but many of them do." "Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn't seem too intimidating."

Returning from the Peace Corps, Hastings went to graduate school at Stanford. "I didn’t get into my first choice, which was M.I.T. I got accepted to Stanford," said Hastings. "I had never been to California and arrived in late summer. Driving up to the campus I saw palm trees. It was dry and brown. I asked myself, 'Where’s the ivy?' Within a week I had fallen in love with California." Hastings earned a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University in 1988.

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