The real origin story wasn’t as clean or concise, according to co-founder and former CEO Marc Randolph. He says Hastings began telling the tall Apollo 13 tale to give a sexy explanation for how Netflix worked. There was no late fee, no aha moment, just long commutes in Silicon Valley that the pair spent plotting their next venture around the time that Hastings’s first business, Pure Software, merged with Atria, where Randolph worked, and sold to another company.

Amazon was dominating the book market and Hastings and Randolph wanted to be the “Amazon of something,” Gina Keating, the author of Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America’s Eyeballs, wrote in the Washington Post (paywall). The advent of the DVD, which held hours of video and could be delivered cheaply, presented the perfect opportunity. That’s when they mailed a CD to Hastings’s house, in a blue greeting-card envelope, as Randolph recalls.

Maybe all of these origin stories are true. Maybe none of them are.

The fact is that on August 29, 1997, the company was incorporated in the US state of Delaware. The US-based video business was called Kibble, before the name was changed to, and later Netflix. It began renting DVD rentals by mail in April 1998, and introduced its subscription model the following year. Nearly a decade later, Netflix started streaming video and changed the way we watch everything. Today, it’s one of the biggest Hollywood distributors and producers of online video—and a prolific global storyteller.

“These founding stories are just that—they’re stories,” Randolph told the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2014. “They’re constructs that we come up with to take what’s a very messy process with input from many, many people, and condense it into a story which you can get across in a sentence or two… It’s a good story, and Netflix is a story, so I’m okay with that.”

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