The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Several weeks ago, we had Netflix's ( NFLX)
CEO Reed Hastings apologizing about the way in which he poorly communicated the company's new dual-pronged, price-increased system of DVD and streaming video, and the upcoming split of the company. Now we find out he's backpedaling on the strategy's details because it's not going over well with customers. Qwikster, the DVD division and subsequent website, has been scraped. What does this do to the confidence, loyalty, or common sense of supporting a gifted technology company that may be its own worst enemy? Hastings may join a list of CEOs -- think HP ( HPQ) -- with an uncanny ability to "snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory."
As I wrote in my
first commentary about Hasting's first mea culpa, "When making any strategic move, executive decision, or policy change: First, do no harm to those relationships critical to your success. That would certainly include customers." In an almost "Obamaesque" defense of poor communications over actual strategy, it's good to remember: "It's not always style, sometimes it's substance, too." Perhaps whoever is in charge of strategy at Netflix ought to be replaced. I'll end this commentary on Netflix and Mr. Hastings with the exact sentence as I did the last one: "A strategic move without an awareness of its impact on internal and external relationships is the greatest risk a CEO can't afford to take."