Hastings will join a board of directors that includes founder Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreessen (Netscape, Andreessen-Horowitz), Jim Breyer (Accel Capital), Donald Graham (Washington Post) and Peter Thiel (PayPal, Clarium Capital, Founders Fund).
“Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “He has built a culture of continuous rapid innovation, something we share and work hard to build every day.”
Hastings founded Netflix in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail subscription service, but it has quickly become the giant in on-demand Internet video. Before Netflix, Hastings founded Pure Software, which created products for troubleshooting software.
Why Did Facebook Add Hastings to the Board?
Zuckerberg, who still retains significant control over Facebook’s board, wasn’t under any significant pressure to add another board member, so why make the move?
At the moment, we can only speculate as to the motives behind the appointment of Hastings to the board, but we do have a few thoughts:
– Hastings also serves on Microsoft’s board of directors. Microsoft has been one of Facebook’s key partners ever since it invested $240 million in Facebook back in 2007. This appointment will likely bring the two companies closer together.
-Hastings’ expertise in online video could be crucial to Facebook’s future expansion plans. Whether that means Facebook expands its video platform further to compete with YouTube or integrates Netflix directly into Facebook is anybody’s guess. Facebook is clearly interested in media, though.
– Netflix has successfully navigated an IPO (back in 2002), and with Facebook likely to IPO in early 2012, that experience could prove invaluable.
– Hastings and Zuckerberg share a passion for education reform. More importantly, Zuckerberg may simply like Hastings as a person. It wouldn’t surprise us if Zuckerberg just likes having Hastings around to consult.
Whatever the reason, Facebook had added some serious muscle to its board. What it means for Facebook’s future remains to be seen.