Reed Hastings is an American entrepreneur with a $1 billion net worth. As the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings has amassed a fortune. Reed holds 5.2 million Netflix shares, including options, according to the company’s most recent SEC filing. Reed’s net worth peaked at $7 billion during a period when Netflix’s stock was rising.
From 2011 to 2020, Reed served on the Facebook board of directors. He is not, and has never been, a Facebook user, ironically. He has even referred to social media as his “vision of hell.” From 2007 until 2012, he served on the Microsoft board of directors.
Early Development And Education
Hastings was born in the Massachusetts city of Boston. His father, Wilmot Reed Hastings, worked for the Nixon administration’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and his mother, Joan Amory Loomis, was a Boston debutante from a Social Register family who despised high society and taught her children to dislike it. Alfred Lee Loomis was his maternal great-grandfather.
Hastings went to Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and took a gap year before college to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Bowdoin College in 1983, which he described as “beautiful and interesting.”
He enlisted in the Marine Corps as a Platoon Leader Class member and spent his college summers in the service, including a period at the Officer Candidate School boot camp at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia in 1981.
He never completed the training and was never commissioned into the Marine Corps, instead opting to serve in the Peace Corps “for a blend of service and adventure.”
After college, he moved to teach math at an 800-student high school in remote northwest Swaziland from 1983 to 1985. “Once you have hitchhiked through Africa with 10 bucks in your pocket, establishing a business doesn’t seem too frightening,” he says of his Peace Corps experience.
Hastings went on to Stanford University after being rejected from his first choice, MIT, after returning from the Peace Corps, and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science in 1988.
Founding of Pure Software
Hastings began his career at Adaptive Technology, where he developed a software debugging tool. Audrey MacLean was the CEO of Adaptive Corp. when he met her in 1990.
Hastings told CNN in 2007: “I learned the importance of concentration from her. I realized that doing one thing excellently is preferable to doing two goods mediocrely.”
Hastings left Adaptive Technology in 1991 to start his own company, Pure Software, which made software troubleshooting products. Hastings found it difficult to oversee the company’s expansion because he lacked managerial experience.
He said that he was having problems keeping up with the rapid expansion of his workforce. His engineering education did not prepare him for the challenges of being a CEO, and he requested that his board replace him, citing a lack of trust.
Hastings claims he learnt how to be a businessman as a result of the board’s refusal. Morgan Stanley took Pure Software public in 1995.
Pure Software and Atria Software announced a merger in 1996. Pure Software’s programs for finding flaws in software were combined with Atria’s technologies for managing complex software development in this merger.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there were issues combining Pure Software and Atria’s sales forces after both companies’ top salesman resigned following the merger.
Pure Atria was acquired by Rational Software in 1997, resulting in a 42 percent reduction in both firms’ stock prices when the deal was announced.
Hastings was named Chief Technical Officer of the combined company after the merger, although he left soon after. Following the failure of Pure Software, Hastings spent two years pondering how to avoid similar issues with his next venture.
Reed and his wife Patricia Ann Quillin live in Santa Cruz, California, with their two daughters. According to public records, they paid $1.5 million in August 2013 for their rather regular home.
They have a two-story penthouse apartment in Hollywood that they own. Reed paid $1.75 million buying the apartment from actress Charlize Theron in 2016, which was a full $1 million less than Charlize spent in 2007.
Reed and Patricia gave $120 million in June 2020 to support America’s historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.
The gift is the first time a rich individual or couple has given more than $100 million to this cause. He is also the first of the Silicon Valley set to make such a significant contribution to racial justice.
Morehouse College and Spelman College both received $40 million from the Hastings, as well as the United Negro College Fund, which offers (and supports) scholarships to historically black colleges.