An open note to Reed Hastings
Posted by Euroranger on September 19, 2011
Like a great many of you, I received an email today from, of all people Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. He even addressed me by my first name (Craig) and immediately apologized to me saying he owed me an explanation. I’m not sure why all of you were copied on that email where Reed was apologizing to me but since you got my email I’d like you to also have double the peeping goodness of my response to my new contrite friend Reed. For those that didn’t get a copy of my email, I’d copy the entire thing below but, as with nearly all important messages to me from CEO’s, Reed believes he knows what it is about him and his firm that I dislike and is, quite naturally, incorrect. So most of his email is him justifying his thoughts and actions that resulted in me being upset enough that he felt the burning need to apologize to me for it…except he’s entirely wrong about what it is I’m displeased about. Anyway, his email (or a part of it anyway):
After that, Reed gets all maudlin…not outright saying as much but he pretty much begs me to understand and to please stay…that I am the wind beneath his corporate wings and so on. It was really rather sad, his whole “it’s not you, it’s me” thing because, yeah, it pretty much IS you Reed. You just don’t see our relationship as anything other than a one way street. It’s all about you. You’re only sending me this sham “I’m sorry” email because you think I might be jilted enough to leave you. You don’t show up for our counselling appointments, money keeps disappearing from my account (it’s not even a joint account for crying out loud) and you don’t care one atom about MY needs. But to show I’m not a petulant house husband, I’ll keep it civil and reply to your email with this open note:
My dearest Reed Hastings:
I very much appreciate you taking the effort to inform me of your latest unilateral decision regarding our shared relationship. As usual, I’d wish you’d have actually ASKED me what was wrong and solicited my advice on what you can do to fix it rather than deciding for yourself what is best for both of us. I get the feeling you don’t truly care about my feelings or needs and that, coupled with our nearly complete lack of communication, makes me believe our relationship is doomed. However, I will honor the vows I made in the EULA during the heady sign up period of our affair and will tell you exactly what it is I need to feel valued and fulfilled as the other half of our relationship.
You see Reed, it’s not really about the money. You (Netflix) have what amounts to a fairly monopolistic position in the streaming video industry. When even a giant asshole company like Walmart (world renowned for sneaking in and cutting the balls off other companies just because they can) tries and fails to compete with you, you have a fairly solid bully pulpit to do whatever it is you like. Do you really want to know what you could do to make me happy, Reed? Do you truly want to see me stop drinking myself to crying sleep each night grieving for the lost promise of our once oh so bright future of not all that long ago? Do you? Good. Listen up cause here it comes:
MAKE ALL YOUR MOVIES AVAILABLE VIA STREAMING
That’s it. Really. You see, it goes like this: BluRay is nice and all but I have an XBox 360 and the installed Netflix app there will stream content to my television in glorious 1080p HD. I don’t NEED BluRay because the difference it offers from 1080p is negligible. HD 1080p is good enough and you already deliver that. Keep your BluRay discs; I’m not even remotely interested in them.
I know you may have to pay more to be allowed to acquire the streaming rights to ALL the movies. Right now I pay $8/mo for the rather pathetic library of streaming titles Netflix offers. For another $8 I can get DVDs by mail. Guess what: I’d be GLAD to pay $16/mo for streaming only IF that meant I could see movies like Inception, Thor, X-Men First Class and the like via my XBox 360. Seriously. Hell, charge me $20/mo if you need a round number and if I could view ANY movie in Netflix’ streaming AND DVD-only library via my XBox…I’d be one happy customer.
Do you know why it’s not about the money? Well, I know it’s been a long time since you were home but think about my alternatives. I can go to the Redbox or the Blockbuster box and yes, I can pay a single thin dollar to get the movie I want…but it’s NOT convenient. I no more want to go to a box out in front of a store than I wanted to go into a store all to get a DVD. It’s cheaper, yes, but it’s no more convenient. Streaming to your TV, where the only action I have to make is to move my right thumb minuscule distances on a gaming controller, beats the everloving hell out of getting into my Jeep and driving down to the box that stands in front of the store that stands RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE BLOCKBUSTER USED TO BE. Blockbuster isn’t there anymore because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of driving over there everytime I wanted to see a movie.
You might say “but Craig darling (you USED to call me that), you could always get the movie On Demand from Comcast”. That too is true. Comcast IS just as convenient for watching movies as streaming Netflix. But…do you know what Comcast charges me to see a single movie? They charge me $5.99 to see any new title…and their library is ridiculously limited compared to Netflix’ massive catalog. If I watch just 4 movies a month (one per week) with Comcast, I’m already paying them more than I’d pay you if you charged me $20 to see all of your vast archive via streaming.
Those are my only two options, Reed. Whether I like your attitude and indifference to our marriage or not, if you gave me your catalog for extra money, I’d stay with you in this abusive relationship. I’m irrational like that.
Anyway, that’s my message to Reed Hastings. I’ll stick with you Reed…I’ll even give you more of the one thing you DO want from me (money)…if only you give me this little thing: your entire movie catalog via streaming. I’ll be your forever faithful partner if only you grant me this one wish.
Yours truly, me.
My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.