Today, like every other Netflix subscriber, I got an email from Reed Hastings, CEO. In this he attempted to explain what’s going on at Netflix including announcing their new brand, Qwikster.
I already had issues with the recent price increases. They were awkwardly announced, offered little explanation and did not elaborate on how these changes would benefit Netflix members.
When I read this email it only made me more annoyed. First, it was poorly written and it rambled from topic to topic. Secondly, it offered little explanation of the value of these changes. It came off as arrogant, unapologetic and out of touch with their customers.
So, following is the letter I wished I had received. It still doesn’t make their pricing and strategic decisions any better. But, I expected a more expressive letter with at least some element of humanity.
I offer the following only as personal therapy. Again, I do not defend their business decisions, but if I am to be affected by them, I’d like a better explanation.
Dear Netflix customers,
Recently, we announced changes to our product and pricing models and I realize now that we did a poor job of explaining it. I’m sorry about that and I want to take a moment to tell you why these changes are good for Netflix and, ultimately, for you.
We’ve known for a while that our future was in streaming. If you look at the history of media, you can see how technology has progressed enabling new entertainment options for consumers. While we love DVDs for their ubiquity and huge library of titles, we understand that on-demand access to entertainment is where we need to be headed.
With our future laid out before us, we’ve decided to split our efforts so that our dedicated teams can focus on better serving you. Customers can continue choose streaming content or DVDs in the mail and both services will be supported by the full efforts of Netflix. However, our customers will notice a change.
Starting today, we’re launching a new brand called Qwikster. This group will continue to provide the DVD service that you’ve grown to love. The red envelopes will still be in your mailbox and you’ll have access to our full (and growing) library of titles. Nothing will change except for the logo on the envelope.
The Netflix brand will grow into a streaming-only company with our sights set on the future. You’ll see more titles available, new features and some great improvements in the way you interact with our service.
As lovers of entertainment, we’re excited for these changes because we believe that choice and new opportunities ultimately make for a better experience.
Now, you may recall that we recently made a decision to increase our prices. Truthfully, it’s long overdue. The cost of the Netflix streaming and DVD services is still one of the best deals out there. Compared to a night at the theater or buying discs or even renting individual titles, Netflix’s cost per month is really, really low.
But, for us to expand our services and continue to provide you with the best in entertainment, we need to make some changes. The additional revenue generated will go right back into the service. We’ll be adding new streaming titles and new features which make the experience even more valuable to you, our customer.
I understand that the recent changes may have confused some of you, and that’s not right. Our job is to make things as easy as possible so that you can relax and enjoy a great movie.
To set things right and to give you enough time to fall in love with our new company, Qwikster, I’m giving you 3 months of free DVD service. In addition, we’re adding Blu-ray and video game rentals to all plans at no extra charge. We want to prove to you that we’re still the best value and your best entertainment partner.
Thank you for sticking with us. We’re excited for the future and we know you will be, too.
Reed Hastings, CEO
After 4 years, I’ve decided to leave Adaptive Path.
It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my professional career. When I moved to San Francisco to join this company, it was the most exciting change in my life. It continues to be the best thing I’ve ever done.
I love every bit of this company because of the people who make it work. They are my family and my best friends. They’ve pushed me into places I never thought I would go and inspired me to do my best. I’ve grown tremendously as a designer, consultant and a leader and I am humbled for being a part of them.
My decision is not based on any typical reason for leaving. The project work is exciting, the people are crazy geniuses. So why leave?
It’s simply that there are other aspects of my career that I want to explore, new opportunities that are found outside of Adaptive Path and I need to do this in order to grow. It was a very difficult decision to make.
In a couple of weeks, I take up my new role as Vice President of Experience Design at Razorfish. Based in San Francisco, I’ll be working with the Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles studios. As part of the leadership team, I’ll be able to effect changes in the Razorfish organization that will enable us to engage with our clients and the design community in new and exciting ways. I’m fortunate to find myself surrounded by excellent designers, young and seasoned, who will continue to push me into new places.
Adaptive Path has an amazing culture of transparency and support. People leave, as they often do, to search for a way to realize their passions. Adaptive Path has always supported this and continues to do so. Watching Alexa build Foodspotting, seeing Dan be successful with Kicker Studio, witnessing Ryan enable startups to thrive with Second Verse and promoting Bryan and Jeff as they change the industry with TypeKit. And still others, like myself, who have gone to different studios - not to compete, but to bring some of AP’s culture and design thinking to a wider community.
While I hope to make my Adaptive Path colleagues proud, I’m excited about the opportunities ahead. Please follow along at:
Experience designers live in a world of provision, anticipation, empathy and improvement.
Consistent messages are to brands as recognizable patterns are to experiences.