A memoir from Hendricks, the founder and chairman of Discovery Communications, the world's leading educational communications and TV company, which boasts more than 400 million subscribers living in 215 countries.
The author tells how he built the basis for his present dreams to provide educational TV services to the 400 million households worldwide that lack electricity by working through the world's village schools. He describes how he had been drawn to the educational power of TV as a child growing up in Alabama in the 1950s. Moving into public service as one of the first lobbyists at the federal level for university programs and then the founder of a newsletter company servicing academic science programs, Hendricks recalls how he prepared for the opportunity that would present itself in September 1982, when he founded “Cable Educational Network,” the predecessor to the Discovery Channel. The author had accumulated insight into the world of documentary films, cable TV and the broadcasting system, as well as the untapped potential of 25 percent of viewers whose interest in scientific and other factual content was going unaddressed, which Hendricks calls “the magic number that would one day create a multibillion-dollar industry.” The author also shares his own view of the characteristics that shape a successful entrepreneur. For Hendricks, the key has always been curiosity, which he views as “the fuel of human progress,” something that can be taught “to anyone, at any age, anywhere in the world.” Recruiting the people and raising the finances to build the capacity called on still other qualities, which the author’s narrative helps bring out. Hendricks also explores the economics of cable broadcasting and where the technology of global educational TV is headed.
An interesting tale of how curiosity and entrepreneurship merged to transform TV and education.