Before co-founding Netflix, Marc Randolph spent years developing his leadership skills in the wilderness—as a NOLS student and instructor. Starting with his first course at age 14, Randolph says that the real-life leadership experience he gained at NOLS was the “single biggest contributor to my success as a businessperson.”
“[On a NOLS course], you had a chance to make decisions - decisions with real consequences - and communicate them clearly and forcefully to your group. And then, this is the key part, in a matter of hours learn the consequences of that decision. You do that day after day after day...
I did this when I was 14 years old. And I came back again when I was 15 and 16. When I was 17, I took the course to become an instructor. I was an instructor from when I was 18 to when I was 23, each time, taking increasing responsibility. At the end, I wasn't just leading a group of four or five for a day, I was in charge of an entire expedition for 30 days.
By the time it came time to start a company, I'd been leading people for years in real circumstances with real consequences with people coaching me and I was working with gradually increasing responsibility.”
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