Besides offering convenient home entertainment at reasonable prices, Netflix also presents life lessons for U.S. industry, small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Netflix is one of the most fascinating success stories on the American corporate scene. It has demonstrated on a number of occasions its ambitious nature, tenacity, and innovativeness.
And aren't these qualities what make a company — and a nation — great over time?
Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, showed that he was unafraid to challenge the business establishment. He boldly took on Blockbuster — and won, even though his rival was entrenched and successful. Netflix is today one of the most admired companies in the nation. How did it happen? Here are five life lessons that Netflix can teach us all:
1. Having a Vision. Hastings & Co. quickly showed that Blockbuster's traditional brick-and-mortar structure had a fundamental flaw in its cost structure. As we've now seen, with the closings of such one-time powerhouse retailers as Tower Records and Borders, Hastings was ahead of his time. The Netflix way of sending movies and TV shows by mail is much more efficient.
2. Radiating a "Cool" Factor. This point is crucial. Every manufacturer wants the public to believe that his or her product is exciting and perfect for the times we live in — that it has sex appeal. Netflix accomplished this goal — hey, everyone likes to get cool stuff in the mail, right? Plus, Hastings' recent move to communicate with stockholders via Facebook is shrewd, as social media takes over our lives.
3. Showing Humility. In the summer of 2011, Netflix announced a price hike and did so in a callous manner — during the national recession. It looked to some like Netflix was behaving in an arrogant way. Netflix promptly reached out to its subscriber base and made an effort to show humility. We are a forgiving nation, after all.
4. Innovating. Netflix wisely created its own content, with the popular show "House of Cards," starring the two-time Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey. The series has given Netflix an identity removed from the content it makes available from Hollywood studios. Netflix has demonstrated that it can create its own content — and as everyone knows in Hollywood: Content is king!
5. Exhibiting a Swagger. Act like a winner and people will assume that you are one. Anyone who attended the recent White House Correspondents Dinner observed that Spacey, not President Barack Obama or any Washington mover and shaker, was the biggest star in the room. Everyone seemed to want to get a photo op with Spacey — who personified Netflix that night.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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