Netflix has come very close to winning the Oscars for Best Picture in the past. This year, they are pushing hard with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Glass Onion is the first time Netflix has worked with a big three theater chain to distribute its films on 700 screens across the country. – uniquely for one week – before going to streaming on December 23rd. 

When you look at Netflix’s CEO Ted Sarandos, his appearance doesn’t scream multi-billion dollar company owner. He walked into DMAC on November 29th wearing jeans, bright white sneakers, a blazer, and a nice watch. If you saw him on the streets of Los Angeles, you wouldn’t suspect that he is the pioneer and leader of the biggest streaming service of all time. 

Yet, he still gets stopped in public and interrupted at dinner by fans and filmmakers alike wanting to pitch themselves or their next series idea. Ted told students he doesn’t mind getting noticed and stopped at dinner but feels bad for the people with him. He loves seeing the passion people have in Hollywood, and it seems like everyone always has a script with them in LA.

On just another day in Ted Sarandos’ childhood, his mother splurged and bought the family a VHR player. They didn’t have any tapes to play yet; however, a video store just opened right around the corner from his house: Arizona Video Cassettes West. Ted would bike to the store frequently and eventually became friends with owner Dale Mason. 

Eventually, after Ted started working there, he wondered why Dale chose to open a video store of all things in the 80s. Dale’s response: the two best businesses everyone should open in the 80s to make the most money were yogurt shops and movie stores. Dale hated yogurt and loved movies. The rest was history. 

When asked by a student how he maintains his work-life balance, Ted said he doesn’t have one. He told students to pick something they love to do as their career. If he weren’t working at Netflix, he would probably own a video store and watch movies. He always had the unique skill of giving customers the best recommendations of what to watch next, catering to the films they loved when they rented in the past. Now, he gets to pick the stories people see on big and small screens. The only secret to a work-life balance, he says, is choosing something you love because you will spend your whole time doing it. 

Everything happens for a reason. Just because a man chose to open a movie store in the 80s instead of a yogurt shop, we now have some of the best movies in the world right at our fingertips.