- 25 min
Wilmot Reed Hastings, Jr. is founder of Netflix, a company specializing in DVD rental by mail. He is currently Netflix Chief executive officer, President and chairman of the board, and was the founder of Pure Software.
In 1991 he founded his first company, Pure Software, which grew to one of the fifty largest public software companies by 1997, when it merged with Atria. Later that year, the combined company, Pure Atria, was acquired by Rational Software. Rational was subsequently acquired by IBM in 2003.
A self-avowed Democrat, Hastings is active in educational philanthropy and politics. He is a founding member of NewSchools.org, Aspire Public Schools, Pacific Collegiate School, and EdVoice.net. He led the successful drive in 1998 for a stronger charter school law. He is a member of Technology Network (TechNet), where he served as CEO for a year. In 2000, he joined with the California Teachers’ Association, Governor Gray Davis, John Doerr, and others to win the battle for easier passage of local school construction bonds. He served as President of the California State Board of Education for two terms under Gray Davis. Although Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated Hastings to serve for another term, the California state legislature rejected him in January of 2005.