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00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1d30001HearSA is an online audio archive of public programming intended to foster discussion and enhance awareness of informative local presentations and events. The archive includes lectures, panel discussions, book readings, and more. The opinions presented in these programs are those of the author or presenter, not Texas Public Radio or any of its stations, and are not necessarily endorsed by TPR.

HearSA: Graham Weston Talks With Netflix's Reed Hastings

Courtesy Tech Bloc
Rackspace co-founder Graham Weston (left) spoke with Netflix founder Reed Hastings on May 3 at the Empire Theater.

Blockbuster would have crushed Netflix. That's what Netflix founder Reed Hastings now thinks about the bankrupted corner brick and mortar store, had Blockbuster continued to roll out its version of a streaming service. But Blockbuster ran out of money, he said, and its parent-company Viacom gave up.

"[The] greatest day of my life was the day Blockbuster declared bankruptcy," Hastings admitted to interviewer Graham Weston, founder and former CEO of Rackspace.

That was one of several anecodtes Hastings shared at Kipp Public Schools Texas and Tech Bloc event on May 3. The event also marked the fourth anniversary of the technology industry advocacy organization.

Despite Netflix becoming the media behemoth it is today -- it did about $15 billion in revenue last year -- not all of Hastings' ideas have been hits. Just ask him about the "foot mouse" he wanted to create. It's exactly what it sounds like -- a computer mouse that you control with your feet (the floor is too dirty, and people's legs cramp up). Or the time he tried to spin off the physical DVD portion of Netflix as a different service.

But even when reflecting on success, he advised the audience to remember that they are always building on what is already there.

"You just want to be super observant, watching. 'How are things happening? What's happening here? Why is this changing to that?' Try to understand for yourself what is it that drives that progress."

The forty-minute conversation ranged from work culture to education. You can hear it in the audio player above.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org