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TheStreet Open House

Did Netflix's Reed Hastings Lie to Us?

That said, Hastings duped me. He duped all of us.

Hastings likes to tell the story that he "invented" Netflix while returning an overdue "Apollo 13" VHS rental on his way to the gym. As he lamented paying late fees, he claims he thought somebody should take the gym membership model -- pay one monthly price and use as much or as little as you like -- and apply something like it to the video rental business.

At this point, as Hastings story tells, an idea was born.

Randolph calls that a load of crap. He claims it was a nice story a few Netflix people concocted for marketing purposes. They needed a quick, straightforward and easy-to-understand way to explain the essence of the service.

Assuming Keating, as informed by Randolph and others (Hastings did not cooperate with Keating on the book), is telling the truth, it's clear that the whole "Apollo 13" tale was little more than fiction.

In and of itself, I really don't care. But, I ask philosophically, Is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse?

Can you get through life, a cycling career or the stewardship of a company with nothing but hyper-choreographed appearances, statements and YouTube videos?

At some point, people lose confidence in you.

Hastings apparently wasn't happy about Keating's book hitting shelves, iPads and Kindles across America. I think I know why.

He probably felt like all of this Armstrong-like trash was behind him.

Sure, he looked, shall we say, "phony" in his infamous YouTube apology video, but Hastings clearly learned something from last summer's debacle. No matter how cold and detached you are, it's not humanly possible to have not learned from it.

Here's your comedy for the day. This never gets old.

That was the worst apology in the history of apologies. And, for Andy Rendich, one of the shortest tenures as the president of a division with its own catchy name in the history of Silicon Valley.

But, once he cleaned up that mess, Hastings truly got Netflix's ship back in order. He started spending less. Or, more aptly, spending smarter.

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