When Netflix tried to broaden the surface of attack as a response to Blockbuster's attack - feat. Reed Hastings / Management and culture


  • Reference meeting: "talk — courage and change — part 1 studying and reflecting about the case of case of Weird Barrel — 246fa026-d2b7-4009-b7a6-3752025c48d4"
  • Parent project: Course on culture and leadership
  • Participants: Marcio S Galli - Thanks to Rodrigo cofounder of Weird Barrel.
  • Text language: en-us
  • Tags: Leadership, culture, technology, competition, forces.
  • Document status: Copyright, draft.

  • Context: Rodrigo of Weird Barrel (Ribeirao Preto SP) more than one time have articulated a vision about the importance of a movement of focus which relates to the following points from Reed Hastings. In Rodrigo's metaphor, it's like the fetus presentation position.

Analysis of Netflix's attempt to broaden the surface of attack as they tried to beat the competition from Blockbuster

The following paraphrase from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, reveals how companies and teams can be forced into broadening their efforts, as they face external forces such as major competitors. Reed recognized that many efforts didn't contribute to their win.

  • "And wasn't management so clever? We went through these waves of battles in '06 and '07, and in the end we won. They ended up closing down their online thing, and two years later going completely bankrupt. But we looked back and none of those four efforts made any contribution to our victory. And one by one, we had closed them down along the way, every single one of those four. And so, in hindsight, we realized when attacked, we should retreat to do the core better and not try to broaden the surface of attack, essentially." (Reed Hastings @ Greylock, 2015, 20min28sec)

Reed Hastings acknowledges when the team changes their mindset, when they identify what matters for them

  • "And it was a great lesson for us of focus. So now when people say, 'Aren't you getting into news or sports?' we're like, 'Absolutely not,' and we're really confident in our answer. Movies and T.V. shows on a global basis, enormous market. And so we're much less subject to being prone to go off and chase the shiny object to try to have something in the checklist to differentiate." (Reed Hastings @ Greylock, 2015, 21min12sec)

Reed Hastings about improving the performance about what matters

  • "And in hindsight, if we had just gone from 98% perfect to 99.9%, we would've done a lot more for the business. And it's hard work — It's operational logistics — how to get DVDs not to break, the amount of polycarbonate analysis we had to do — it was all this stuff. We would've beaten Blockbuster sooner than we did." (Reed Hastings @ Greylock, 2015, 21min12sec)

Marcio S Galli
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