Thursday, September 22, 2011


I recently got an email that started,

"I messed up."

I'm married now, so getting this email sent me into a frenzy of what the hell who could this be. My stomach dropped and I went into panic mode.

Then I reminded myself I was reading an email from Netflix. I'm serious. This email was from a business. It was from the CEO of the business. And he was writing as if he was my ex-boyfriend trying to apologize and get back together with me.

Here is the rest of that thrilling email, with the subject line "An Explanation and Some Reflection" --because journaling in public is also a very good business decision--

Dear Christina,

I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn't make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. [blahblahblah long paragraph]

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.

I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail.

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.

It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.

[blahblahblah long paragraph]

There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). [this is a sad attempt at humor, much like a sniveling ex trying to make light of his mistake of putting his penis into another girl's vagina--heh heh we're done with that!--anyway, blahblahblah long paragraph]

For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.

[blahblahblah more sniveling]

Respectfully yours,

-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.

1. Really? A LONGER explanation AND a video?

2. Here's a business move: change your original service, split it up into two different services, and then change the name of the original service to something else and keep the old name for the new service. Genius!

3. Reed? The guy's name is Reed? What is he, a soap opera character?

4. Actually, this whole email would make a lot more sense if he were a soap opera character, you know, with the personal tone of a get back with me plea.

Unfortunately, Netflix Quickie Mart is still the best service for DVD rental, so I have to suck it up and use it. Maybe in time, I'll finish out my queue and be done with it. That means I have to stop adding to my queue, which is a bad, bad habit I'll have to break. Change is bad, people, Change. Is. Bad.

No comments: