Netflix can no longer allow the meme of an egomaniacal, narcissistic Reed Hastings to fester. It allows books to get written and articles printed without giving authors intimate, even if off-the-record and informal, access to Hastings.
I talk to several people who know Hastings relatively well. They have nothing but nice things to say about the guy. He's apparently a pretty good dude.
Netflix has done nothing to shift public perception in this probably closer-to-accurate direction. In fact, the moves it makes (and does not make) produce the opposite outcome.
Netflix and Zynga should publicly "fire" Hastings and Pincus and "reassign" them as founders and chief strategy officers. Just like Tim Westergren at Pandora (P). People respect Pandora management, even if they don't see eye to eye on its future.Let's face it, visionaries such as Hastings and Pincus have no time for the public relations/media game when they're trying to focus as visionary and CEO. Few can pull off the Steve Jobs balancing act of genius, good guy/bad guy and narcissist all at the same time. There's nothing wrong with being a "bad guy" or even a "narcissist" as long as you moderate these qualities privately (which I am certain Hastings and Pincus do) and publicly (which both need to start or continue to do). Take some heat off of Hastings and Pincus. Give them time to strategize long-term and craft better public images with the checks, balances and coherent plan a new CEO will put in place.
Quick HittersBest Buy (BBY - Get Report). Hubert Joly was a mistake. Bottom line. Fire his butt, but be nice in the process. Position the move as a success: We brought this guy in shore up some internal, organizational things. He basically acted as a consultant. It was invaluable, now we take the next step and elevate Stephen Gillett (heck, even call him our "Marissa Mayer") to CEO. Trust me. People across spaces, particularly in tech and retail with a pulse (e.g., Starbucks (SBUX)) respect this guy. It's time for Best Buy's Board to wake up and do likewise. If its doesn't, he'll simply move on to a company where he actually has a real chance to incite change. Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report). I have to question Bill Gates' sanity. He's buds with Steve Ballmer. I get that. But, man, the guy is running Microsoft into the ground.
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