Does the Kid Stay in the Picture?, from the NY Times
This article gives a brief history of Netflix, which is cool. But more interesting is this little quote buried at the very end of the article, by the founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings:
“If we differentiate the Web site well enough, with rating histories and other features consumers want, that’s our strategic leverage.”
(Jello Biafra is chastising me for wanting convenience or death.)
I wonder if Netflix has done any user studies to find out what their users are actually using their site for? Me, I use it to add movies to & tweak the order of my queue, maybe watch a trailer, though usually I go to the IMDb for that. I pretty much always know what movie I want to add to my queue or pop to the top before I go to Netflix. For me, the appeal of Netflix is the thinness of the interface, not the hugeness of the community.
I was introduced a few weeks ago to the idea of an “aftermarket of the iPod economy,” which I think is kind of weird, but ignoring that for a moment, you’ll notice that Apple isn’t trying to create these services, they’re letting others do that (so far, at least). I wonder if it’s good strategy for Netflix to try to create this sort of value-add, or whether they should stick to a thin business model.
Is this the next boom, the post-tech boom? The service boom? Everyone wants to be in the service industry? Of course there’s still a need for actual products. So where will product providers draw the line between products and the services on top of them?