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In that article, I briefly mentioned using a celebrity spokesperson to make the announcements and subsequently massage consumer backlash.
This makes sense for several reasons.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is an enigma.
The man exudes a brilliance beyond anything most of the rest of us could hope to attain. At times, he commands control of a room with a charming persuasiveness that's got to be God-given. By all accounts, he's also a heck of a guy.
Plus, it goes without saying -- Reed Hastings is a visionary. If all he did was come up with the DVD-by-mail idea, he would qualify, but there's so much more. I love listening to him speak about the future of television -- smart TV and such. It's dynamic stuff. And his visions and ideas regarding education are equally as strong. He backs up that talk by donating a ton of money to the cause.
But, there's another Reed Hastings we see from time to time. I'm not sure how or why it comes out, but it makes cats like
Zynga(ZNGA - Get Report) CEO Mark Pincus look like dynamic rhetoricians.
We all remember last summer. We all remember Hastings' horrific
YouTube video where he introduced
Qwikster. And we all remember the spoofs that followed from
Saturday Night Live to a great one by
Conan that I must have missed:
Hastings can come off like an aloof Keystone cop on occasion. That's what the public remembers him for. While much of the hate has worn off, it would come storming back if he showed his face again as the bearer of bad news.
For the record, I don't think the guy deserved what he got last year when he raised prices and split DVD. He took some viciousness and took it well. I was a bear long before those well-publicized missteps, moves that really didn't phase me much one way or another, as ill-advised as they were.