June 23, 2014
Reed Hastings Is The World's First 'On-Demand' Billionaire

Reed Hastings, cofounder and CEO of Netflix, is officially a billionaire, according to Forbes.

The company streams to over 48 million subscribers in over 40 countries, and as a result Netflix's 2014 stock price rocketed to over $400 a share, making Reed Hastings a bonafide billionaire.

The majority of Reed Hastings' wealth involves Netflix stock and options, which is estimated to be worth over $900 million. When his other assets, including $120 million in post-tax profits from stock sales over the last five years, are averaged in, Reed Hastings is worth well over a billion dollars.

Netflix isn't all that Reed Hastings has going on, by the way. He's also a board member at a social networking site called Facebook, maybe you've heard of it.

Reed Hastings started Netflix in 1997 with partner, Marc Randolph. At its inception, the company only offered DVDs by mail, but it was a business model that intrigued subscribers with its "no late fee" design. The company launched its streaming service in 2007 - a move that would take Reed Hastings and his company into the stratosphere.

In 2011, Netflix stock rode the streaming subscription wave to the tune of $300 per share.

Reed Hastings made a few misteps in 2011, (Hastings flirted with dividing Netflix into two separate companies, one streaming, and one dvd-by-mail), but Reed's decision to get behind major, original content on the on-demand service was a risk that paid off huge.

In 2013, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black brought a huge boost in subscribers. Investors lined up last year to get a piece of this new television, cruising the company up over $300 a share, and there's no sign that original content from Netflix will stop anytime soon. Under Reed Hastings' leadership, the streaming service has announced plans for a science fiction series called Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and Michael Straczynski, as well as a daily talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler.

Reed Hastings graduated from Bowdoin College in 1983. He was a Peace Corps math teacher in Swaziland before earning an MSCS in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford. Hastings founded Pure Software in 1991 and sold it in 1997, before starting Netflix.

Lately, Reed has been at the center of the Net Neutrality debate in Washington, primarily because, according to Fox Business, its video streaming could become costly should cable providers be allowed to charge for so-called fast lanes on the internet.

Though he's now a billionaire, Reed Hastings has signed "The Giving Pledge," pledging over half his fortune to charity, joining the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg.