Netflix and the Benefit of Flip Flopping

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, gave subscribers some good news yesterday:

We are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password … in other words, no Qwikster.

As a long time subscriber, I can only say Hallelujah.

But I am not surprised. Hastings has changed course sharply before. Most famously, he killed off a set-up box–the Netflix Player–just weeks before its scheduled launch. I take that as a sign of great leadership. As I wrote two years ago:

Reed Hastings is not a man who gets locked in by sunk costs: he’s willing to kill projects … even if he’s got years invested in them.

That’s a real strength. I am sure he regrets the decision to move toward Qwikster, but kudos to him for reversing course.

P.S. Netflix’s corporate culture was the subject of one of my most popular posts. Favorite line: “Adequate performance gets a generous severance package.”

2 thoughts on “Netflix and the Benefit of Flip Flopping”

  1. Not only Netflix, this slogan is plastered across offices from one side of the Banking and Finance industry in New York to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sidney, Los Angeles and Charlotte – “Adequate performance gets a generous Bonus and a Golden severance package along with company vehicle and suitable comp package”

    Your either a golden god or dog poo on their shoes in this new world.

  2. Jimmy Kay,

    I strongly suspect that you missed the mild sarcasm implicit in the original quote. What I think Netflix was suggesting is that merely “adequate” performance warrants the boot at Netflix. Further, the “generous” package is likely meant to be sarcastic and an invitation to make a relative comparison: even an”average” severance package would be viewed as “generous” in comparison to one’s failure to meet the high expectations set for performance in the first place.

    That said, severance packages are far too generous in most industries, including finance and banking.

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