Blockbuster executives "laughed us out of the room," Randolph said.
John Antioco, then Blockbuster's CEO, dismissed the offer, considering Netflix a niche business and downplaying the significance of the dot-com era.
In hindsight, Antioco's skepticism about the dot-com bubble was justified, as its subsequent burst demonstrated. Given Netflix's lack of profitability at the time, the proposed amount might have appeared too high.
Randolph vividly remembers how Blockbuster executives laughed off their proposal, a stark contrast to the current state of affairs where Blockbuster has dwindled to a single store while Netflix thrives.
Looking back, Randolph believes the crucial lesson to be learned from the experience, a lesson Blockbuster learned too late, is the importance of self-disruption. If businesses are unwilling to disrupt themselves, there will always be someone else willing to disrupt them.
A similar sentiment emerged at Facebook
These disruptions are becoming all too common, with even the venture capital industry itself being disrupted by platforms like StartEngine, which allow retail investors to invest in top startups.
Clayton Christensen, renowned author of "The Innovator's Dilemma," regarded Netflix as a prime example of disruptive innovation. In 2015, Christensen wrote that Blockbuster's decision to ignore Netflix might have been justified initially, as the two companies catered to different customer groups. Netflix's DVD-by-mail service appealed to specific customer segments like movie buffs, early adopters of DVD players and online shoppers.
As new technologies allowed Netflix to transition to streaming video over the internet, the company became appealing to Blockbuster's core customers. Netflix's disruptive path from the fringes to the mainstream eroded Blockbuster's market share and profitability.
Randolph expressed pride in ignoring the naysayers who believed the idea would never work. Although Netflix is retiring its DVD-by-mail service, which initially propelled its success and contributed to Blockbuster's downfall, the company has shifted its focus to streaming media directly to consumers. Netflix remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering the utmost service to its members, constantly adapting to the ever-changing industry.