If you don't know Ted Sarandos by name, you damn sure know his work. As content chief officer for Netflix, Ted oversees Netflix's annual budget of over $6 billion.
AKA he is the mind behind Netflix & Chill. And although he is a multi millionaire now, Sarandos started off from humble beginnings.
1. Include Him in Your List Of Tech Giant College Dropouts
"I did two years at Glendale Community College, spent all my time working on the newspaper, and didn’t get enough credits [to graduate] … I use to be kind of embarrassed about it but it’s kind of like a badge of honor."
2. He Worked at a Video Store Before It Was Cool
"Not enough people even had enough VCRs to support the store at the time but it started growing and started growing and started growing and I use to spend so much time there as a movie nerd [the owner] said do you want a part time job … the stores are empty all day so you could watch any movie."
3. The Force Is Not with Him...
“Weirdly I was not into sci-fi … I remember people in line for Star Wars and me just kind of ‘what are they doing?’"
4. ... but Bank-Robbing Al Pacino Was
"I remember seeing a movie like Dog Day Afternoon that really like kind of opened my eyes about what an important role movie play in society and culture."
5. Spike Lee's Netflix Series May Have Been a Personal Passion
"She’s Gotta Have It and Brother From Another Planet - those were the two movies honestly that I kind of said there’s a whole different kind of movie too … I remember watching She’s Gotta Have It the first time thinking – the music’s loud and they’re talking over the soundtrack, the score. And when they’re walking, they’re not walking. What’s going on? And it’s in black and white. And it was beautiful. And those two movies were showing me … there’s an art form here too."
6. His First Time Online Shopping Was for His Eventual Job at Netflix
“There was a guy who I knew through my old video store days who was then working at Netflix. His name was Mitch Lowe, he’s the guy who started Redbox and MoviePass, he called me and said Reed [Hastings] would like to meet you and I did my very first e-commerce transaction which was to buy that airline ticket to go meet Reed.”
7. Reed Hastings is Basically Morpheus
"In 1999, he described Netflix almost exactly as it is right now. And at that time the internet was way too slow to support anything like this ... it was pre-streaming so he basically saw it as a download service, but digital distribution. He said every bit of filmed entertainment that comes into the home will come through the internet."
8. Netflix's Now Endless Choices Were Once a Bunch of Nothingness
"We started streaming eleven years ago and basically we had nothing to watch. All the movies were sold to all the different payed TV services. The libraries were sold to TV networks and channels, so basically all we could license was movies that weren't otherwise sold. So the collection of things to watch was really silly."
9. Netflix Exposed Audience to the Early Work of Monster Movie Maverick Guillermo Del Toro
"In a really unusual lucky break, HBO passed on La Vie en Rose and The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth. So we were able to pick them up and all of a sudden we have movies that were like in the movie theatre recently on Netflix, streaming ... I remember Guillermo told me he had never met anyone who had seen The Devil's Backbone that didn't see it on Netflix."
10. He Feels House of Cards Is the Prototype for Modern Binging
"[House of Cards] wasn't just a change in distribution, it was a change in creative storytelling. It is the first show that was ever written to be watched in multiple episodes ... without artificial cliffhangers. Because it was competitive, we wound up doing this deal ... [at the time] it was looked at as pretty crazy, giving it two seasons commitment with no pilot ... changing the writing process also changed the watching process I think, too."
11. And Lastly, Here's the Tea on That Obamas x Netflix Collaboration
"It's really new, we're just getting them settled into the business. [The Obamas] just hired a new executive to run the production business with them. What you should expect from them are television series and films that are entertaining with a conscious that are telling inspirational stories. Not held to any particular format. They're going to work in non-scripted, they're going to work in film, they're going to work in television, they'll work in documentary. It's really taking their core skill as storytellers and translating it to media."
Take a deeper dive and listen to Ted's entire interview with Justin here: