Power to the People

If anything proves the power of the consumer voice, the Netflix flip-flop does. In the company’s official statement, CEO Reed Hastings says, “There is a difference between moving quickly – which Netflix has done very well for years – and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case.”

The statement doesn’t get too specific, but it looks like in the company’s haste to secure a position in the growing and extremely competitive market for streaming content, Netflix took its eye off the target: the customer.

We may never know what the execs at Netflix were thinking. Someone there must have thought about the possibility that customers would find the extra ‘work’ a bit annoying. Maybe they thought they weren’t asking that much. They obviously really underestimated the results of such a move.

Remember the KISS rule for writing copy? Keep it Simple, Stupid. It was what Steve Jobs did so well. He kept his products simple to use and created a need we didn’t even know we had. Kind of like Starbucks, too.  If someone had asked me 15 years ago if I would pay $3 for a cup of coffee, I would have laughed.

As for Netflix, they did the right thing keeping the websites together, finally listening to its consumers who said read my lips, keep it simple, stupid. The verdict’s still out, but we’ll find out if that’s enough to keep the romance going.

The Apple King

I already miss Steve Jobs. As a fellow marketer with a love for design that I inherited from my architect dad, I idolized Steve Jobs. Here’s this geeky guy who made wires and keyboards and speakers cool. In fact, as I’m writing this I’ve got my headphones connected to my bright green iPod nano.

Not only was every product that Apple rolled out transformational from a technology point of view, but the design, the colors and the coolness factor were mind-blowing.

Jobs wasn’t exactly a hardware guy or a software guy, but instead a big thinker who surrounded himself with the best of the best in every facet of technology, communications and design. He was described as passionate, stubborn and a great leader.

Whenever there was a new product launch, I tuned in to see Steve Jobs’ spiel as much as the product itself. Standing there the past few years in his signature black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers, Jobs was a wizard at launching products with a mega screen behind him, such as the iPod mini he untucked from a Tom Thumb-like pocket in his Levi 501s to the amazement of the crowd.

Creating timeless design in its own rite is inspirational. Take Michelangelo, Bernini, Degas, Warhol and Mies Van der Rohe as examples. Jobs was not only able to break frontiers on the design front, but also on the technology side. How cool is that? And how cool is it that Jobs once dated Joan Baez and also was an executive producer on “Toy Story?”

I’m confident Apple has the right mix of techies and creative folks to keep cranking out the hits, but I really miss Steve Jobs. And the fact he was 56, about my age, really hits home.

So hat’s off to you, Steve, for going to the edge and dragging us right there with you along the way. We’ll miss you.