Netflix CEO Explains Qwikster Fracas To Catty NYTM Reporter

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stopped off at the New York Times Magazine to engage with a very ornery reporter on what the whole deal with Qwikster was. If the reporter really asked these questions and didn’t just spice them up later to make himself look like a badass, I’m surprised Hastings didn’t punch him in the face.

The interview starts off with a question that would throw anyone for a loop:

“Q: Part of Steve Jobs’s legacy is how incredibly well he managed the Apple product rollouts. What do you think Jobs, who never minced words, would say about how Netflix has operated in the last three months?

A: I’m not going to put words in a deceased man’s mouth.”

Ouch. Hastings goes on to describe how the company made “just a mistake in underestimating the depth of emotional attachment to Netflix.” Erm, that’s not why people were pissed. They didn’t want to have to go to two different websites to manage their streaming and their DVDs, and the botched price-hike announcements before this didn’t set the table well either. Then we have:

“Q: I’m curious if you could have done any kind of research — or even a select-market rollout — that could have anticipated this?

A: I don’t know of any Internet service that opens on a regional basis…”

Burn! Lastly:

“INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED.”

Well, there you go. Still, the interview is worth a read to get an insight into Hastings head. I’m sure though after this experience Netflix will mind its next steps very carefully, and probably try to do some focus-group testing first to see how customers will respond to their proposals.

Reed Hastings Knows He Messed Up [New York Times Magazine]