Translation from PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings's E-Mail to Netflix's Entire Customer Base

( Spun off from my [previous post][last post]. [Hat tip to diveintothemark][translate]. )

> I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

“I’m going to continue to confuse a great business pivot (Netflix streaming) with a small business mistake (hamfisted way we bundled a streaming subscription separation with a price increase), and then compound it with a terrible business decision (splitting a company in two).”

> It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.

“I’m shocked some of you didn’t like the shit sandwich I gave you…”

> Let me explain what we are doing.

“…So I’m going to take a bigger crap on it and give it back.”

> For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us). So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do

“Now I’m going to make up some [bullshit analogies][last post] to distract [from][netflix loses subscribers] [the][streaming prices] [real][netflix loses starz] [reasons][usps in trouble]. Hey, did you notice how I referred to AOL ‘dialup’ when you and I know I really mean AOL, the entire company? 😉 Heck, they should renamed themselves [Huff][Huffington Post]-O-[LOL][atrios tweet]!”

> So here is what we are doing and why.

“Double the Benjamins, only half the tedious bullshit of running a business.”

> Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.

“Like you, I stopped with the rentals when I found that every title we can’t stream can be downloaded in an hour using [BitTorrent][bittorrent].”

> I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolves, without maintaining compatibility with our DVD by mail service.

“I got Apple to let me put out the Netflix App with nary a peep from them because they thought my main business was going to be this archaic DVD-by-mail. Heck, I even got them to bundle my shit into their Apple TV and do all the work. [Amazon][kindle app store] and [Conde Nast][wired app store] can eat my farts! Lolz!”

> So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.

“I want to play with the cool new toy. DVDs-by-Mail was a pain in the ass. I’m going to spin it off into some worthless business that is going to die.”

> It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.

“I picked a name that sounds like it came from 1999 so you know where Qwikster [is going to be][dead pool] long before the **next** 10 years are up.”

> Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies.

“Can you imagine telling your friends that ‘I’m using Qwikster?’ You might as well be saying, ‘In my day, we got DVDs by mail and [WE LIKED IT][grumpy old man]!'”

> One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will follow.

“We’re going to put all the money-losing ideas that we knew better than to do into Qwikster in the hope that Qwikster can take down [Gamefly][Gamefly] along with it.

> A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.

“You’re going to love having to rate every movie twice on two separate websites. Also, you know all those times when you went to rent something and realized you could stream it, or those times we couldn’t stream stuff and you just added it to your queue? Say ‘Buh-bye’ to that, bitches!”

> There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). If you subscribe to both services you will have two entries on your credit card statement, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as your current charges.

“Instead of punishing just the 1% of you who whined about new pricing, I’m going to punish the other 99% also with new pricing, separate billing, **and** a new company.”

> We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready.

“The rest of you, don’t look into [Hulu Plus]

or [Amazon Prime][amazon prime], until one of them has bought us out, K?”

> For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.

“The sock puppet grew on me also…right until the moment Pets.com went out of business and it became a meme for FAIL. I hope [this meme][qwikster cancel tweet] for FAIL will top that.”

> I want to acknowledge and thank you for sticking with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.

“Fuck you, loyal customers.”

> Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.

“If you’ve been assigned to the Qwikster team, just know that all of us never liked you in the first place, but we couldn’t justify shitcanning you.”

> Respectfully yours,

“No matter what happens, I’m rich, bitch!”

> -Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

“If you haven’t gathered it by now, this signature shows I don’t give a shit about ‘Shitster‘. Oops! I mean ‘Qwikster.’ Also, if your name is Jeff Bezos, you now know who to call for a M&A.”

[Gamefly]: http://www.gamefly.com/ “Gamefly: Video Game Rentals”

[dead pool]: http://www.fuckedcompany.com/ “Fucked Company is Fucked. The dead pool”

[Huffington Post]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/07/aol-huffington-post_n_819375.html “AOL Acquires Huffington Post”

[john cole]: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/09/19/odd-man-out-again/ “Odd Man Out Again—Balloon Juice”

[Windows XP]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP “Windows XP—Wikipedia. While Windows still has a DOS prompt, the first Windows not built on top of DOS was Windows NT. The first consumer Windows built on that kernel was Windows XP, which succeeded Windows ME which succeeded Windows 2000.”

[art of the parlay]: http://daringfireball.net/2004/08/parlay “The Art of the Parlay, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Platform Licensing and Market Share—Daring Fireball.”

[the music subscription model]: http://terrychay.com/article/the-music-subscription-model.shtml “The music subscription model. Here was an argument from the same time period with a different co-worker. This one felt that Virgin Music would kill off Apple iTunes. I disagreed. :-)”

[bittorrent]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_(protocol) “BitTorrent (protocol)—Wikipedia”

: http://www.hulu.com/plus “Hulu Plus”
[translate]: http://diveintomark.org/archives/2007/04/16/dhh-translation “Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Rails Developer David Heinemeier Hansson’s Response to Alex Payne’s Interview—Dive into the Mark”

[kindle app store]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/10/amazon-kindle-cloud-reader_n_923573.html “Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader Sidesteps Apple App Store Restrictions—Huffinton Post”

[wired app store]: http://paidcontent.org/article/419-conde-nast-does-last-minute-pivot-on-wired-app-pricing/ “Conde Nast Does Last-Minute Pivot On Wired App Pricing—paidContent”

[last post]: http://terrychay.com/article/dvds-by-mail.shtml “DVDs By Mail”

[netflix loses starz]: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/blogs/gear-up/netflix-loses-huge-library-of-movies-from-starz-20110902 “Netflix Loses Huge Library of Movies from Starz—Rolling Stone”

[usps in trouble]: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/07/postal-service-pushes-to-end-saturday-delivery/ “Postal Service Pushes To End Saturday Delivery—ABC News”

[grumpy old man]: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4303/saturday-night-live-grumpy-old-man “Grumpy Old Man—Hulu”

[atrios tweet]: https://twitter.com/#!/Atrios/status/115781657377767425 ““quixster’s dvd library will consist only of aol free trial discs’ —@Atrios on Twitter”

[amazon prime]:bhttp://www.pcworld.com/article/220399/amazon_prime_vs_netflix_video_streaming_feature_showdown.html “Amazon Prime vs. Netflix: Video Streaming Feature Showdown—PCWorld”

[qwikster cancel tweet]: http://twitter.com/#!/jeremybowers/status/115788501030682625 ““Qwikster, noun: The sound of several million Netflix subscribers clicking on their mice to access the “cancel my account” page” —@jeremybowers on Twitter”

[streaming prices]: http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/08/technology/netflix_starz_contract/index.htm “Netflix’s vanished Sony films are an ominous sign—CNN Money”

[netflix loses subscribers]: http://techland.time.com/2011/09/16/netflix-loses-1m-subscribers-because-of-price-hike/ “Netflix Loses 1M Subscribers Because of Price Hike—Techland @ Time”

Kindle hits the iPhone

One of the iPhone updates I downloaded last night was the New York Times app. Trying to figure out how it was better than the previous version I was hit with the announcement that there is a Kindle app for the iPhone.

Here are some screenshots with commentary:

Kindle on the iPhone

The Kindle icon is nice. I put the app next to Stanza which is, by far, the best free book reader for the iPhone. Yeah, my battery is running out.

Startup screen

This screen is the same as the Kindle 2’s UPC symbol.

IMG_0019

All my purchased books are synced and the covers are in color. Nice.

On the other hand, none of my sample chapters synced, none of my documents synced, and my magazine subscription The New Yorker didn’t sync. I was hoping to see the latest cover in color on the iPhone. 🙁

Where's the color?

Kindle app wirelessly synchronized my page position from my Kindle 2. Slick! You flick tap to change the page, tap hold to pull up the menu. They’ll probably have to change the navigation UI to be more in line with other iPhone readers.

For some reason the scroll is too slow for page flipping. You flick to fast you just get a white screen. You can change the font size but you cannot rotate the display.

Images on Kindle books are supposed to be color. Not for me! Maybe it depends on the book, but the print version of this book is clearly color, while the Kindle version is black and white. Also you can’t pinch zoom or tap zoom any of the images. So much for using the Kindle for my pr0n needs. Argh!

Go To…

There seems to be a bug where both “Beginning” and “Cover” jump to the cover. Beginning is supposed to jump to the first readable area.

Note that the app syncs my notes and marks from my Kindle 2.

The jump menu is the only thing clearly better on the iPhone. I can jump to the section with just a flick and tap. Those of you who take a lot of notes know how frustrating it is to navigate the Kindle 2’s eInk display.

BTW, there is no text-to-speech. This is disappointing. I know the iPod has spoken menus and there is a way sync high quality voices to it. I’d love for a high-quality voice like Alex read my books while I’m driving (and then sync my book position back to my Kindle 2.
[If I have time I’ll archive my notes later in this article]

Great moments in packaging

The drains in the apartment periodically get clogged— *cough* not me, I have short thick hair. This means every six months dropping a bottle of Liquid-Plumbr® pipe snake down the drain…or Drāno®, depending on which conglomerate I’d like to support today.

A suggested solution is to jam a plastic barbed wire down it. So I ordered a three-pack from Amazon. It’s been on backorder for about six months. Eventually I got fed up and ordered a single Zip-It Drain Cleaner for $5.56 plus free two day shipping through Amazon Prime.

The package was too good not to share

The boxThe box half openThe box openedDSC_4976.JPGThe Zip-It

I figure it cost more to ship than I paid for it.

Somewhere, out there, a polar bear just drowned.

Firestarter

Well the Kindle 2 came out today so I preordered it.

This morning two people IM’d me about it so I decided to give the first my Amazon referral bucks. I give Amazon bucks semi-randomly to various friends and he asked me how I do it.

I use a “Buy from Amazon” bookmarklet I wrote to make life easier.

You can drag that into your toolbar if you like. One nice thing is to remove the second prompt and just replace the href with the tag to yourself. I keep it this way so that I remember to put the associate ID of one of my friends since I put them on rotation.

Amazon.com: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle StoreAmazon.com: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Store

Anyone else wonder why Amazon decided to call it the Kindle? Shouldn’t it be something more akin to Treehugger? I thought Green was in.

Continue reading about My take on the K2 after the jump