Some of your clients are clearly misogynist tourists

She complains, “There’s just no appreciation on their end. I got them ___, and they’re still trying to tell me how to do my job. It’s so frustrating. I have clients that I feel I’m under-servicing and this one takes up all my time. They have a low retainer, but they act like they own me. That’s the last time I let them talk me down on my retainer.”

“You shouldn’t have let that happen so you shouldn’t be surprised.”

“How so?”

“I once visited Venice when I was a kid. Many stores didn’t have prices, but some of the stores did. No matter which, you didn’t have to pay the listed prices — there was an expectation that you could haggle over the price.”

“And?”

“Well with this client: they don’t know your field so they don’t know what the expectation is. **You** set that. Letting yourself get talked down on that amount is like buying something in Venice. Imagine if we were in the United States, and someone walked into your store and said, ‘Hey, I know it says it cost $15, but how about I give $10?’”

She laughs.

“Exactly! The only place you can do that here is at a car dealership. If you treated their counteroffer like you just treated this hypothetical, they would have learned to go somewhere else and be someone else’s problem, or deal with you on the terms you set. When you created your own business, it was because you didn’t want companies to feel they owned you, and you wanted to be free to be honest with them. You need to set those terms down in this way.”

“Yeah, they said that they wanted _____ in the long term but didn’t have enough money right now, so they wanted a two month contract at a lower rate to try it out. I should have known they never really valued the work I do.”

“That’s another thing right there! Imagine, I was single right now and asking you out. What if I told you, ‘Hey, I really want have a committed relationship and get married someday. Why don’t we fuck so I can try you out?’ Would you?”

“When you put it that way, definitely not.”

“Exactly.”

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”

Editorial wall my ass

The person next to me on the airplane was reading the Wall Street Journal. I glanced over and it took me about 15 seconds to realize that it was the editorial page. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal has definitely got to be the largest: “I’m an ignorat douche” tags I’ve ever seen a person display.

A lot of people rationalize reading the Journal because of the claim of an chinese wall that separates their editorial board from the news board. The claim is their editorial board is right wing whackos (and that content is given for free online); their journalsm is impartial enough to make business decisions (and that content is behind a pay wall online).

Bullshit.

Take this recent example: McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan.

And then read the takedown by a conservative or the this New York Times article. There is really no excuse for sloppiness in this reporting other than a political agenda—after all the rationalization McDonald’s is giving for dropping the plan in the article is that they’re keeping too much money for themselves!

This is common sense: Murdoch bought the paper and changed its direction radically. If you are reading the Journal now to make business decisions, you are making really poor ones.

The first lines outside Apple Store

You may have forgotten by now, but the first lines outside Apple Store were for the openings…

My graduate school friend, Dave, called me that morning and mentioned that an Apple Store was opening up in the area and we should check it out. We casually showed up just before noon and were totally blown away by the lines.

The line for Apple Store

The line for Apple Store
Apple Store, Palo Alto, California

Olympus C-2500L
(3 exposures, 1/200-1/400sec, f/2.9), iso100, 11.8mm (47mm)

I took this photo nine years ago today (October 6, 2001) outside Apple Store Palo Alto. It was the ninth Apple Store opening, and the first street-level Apple Store.

The sign reads: “5 down, 95 to go.” It is a reference to the fact that Apple has only 5% market share and the retail store concept was trying to reach the other 95%.

Apple modeled the store after the Gap. The anticipation buildup was stolen from the first lines for Microsoft Windows 95 six years earlier. Apple’s nearest competitor, Gateway Country Stores failed three years later in 2004. Microsoft would copy this idea eight years later in 2009with impending failure?

I’d say the retail store idea worked better than Apple could have ever imagined.

Discouraged by the lines that morning, we had lunch across the street at Pluto’s. When we finished, there was no line and we walked right in. They still had some free t-shirts when we left.

That was a good day.

Update: Apple and Microsoft go head-to-head with Microsoft’s fifth store-to-be.

Thoughts on “Thoughts”

Now that this site has been down for a month (Thank you, SARSxSW), I tried to see restart this blog with a deep thought.

I couldn’t come up with anything.

So instead, I’ll talk about the tech news. Recently a lot has been going on about Steve Jobs latest missive: “Thoughts on Flash” to which, Adobe’s CEO quickly responded to in the Wall Street Journal.

Instead of rushing to Apple’s defense here, I thought I’d provide some thoughts on these “thoughts.”

Continue reading about three thoughts after the jump.