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Reed Hastings was sitting in a hot tub in Santa Cruz with a friend when he told him about his idea for Qwikster, the doomed spin-off of Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service.His friend thought it was an awful idea.
This anecdote comes from William D. Cohan’s Vanity Fair account of Netflix’s stock crash in the second half of 2011, and it was originally published in the New York Times.
But Hastings “ignored the warning, believing that chief executives should generally discount what their friends say.” Now he admitted that he had been “guilty of overconfidence and of ‘moving too quickly,'” and “hubris,” even. The harsh reaction from his customers was due to the “angry mood of the country,” he said, citing both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street political movements. He again clarified that he did what had to be done. “We still need to move quickly in streaming,” he said.
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