My thouhghts on Netflix

I have been speculating about the future of Netflix for the past couple months and I have been reasonably accurate.  I had predicted the fall of Netflix about 7 months ago but everyone kind of brushed me off.

Anyway, I don’t think they’re completely doomed just in need of a big change. In fact, when they decided to spin off their DVD business to Qwickster I was sure they were actively pursuing acquisition.  Now that they have closed Qwickster I am left confused and just curious if there is any strategy in place.    Anyway, let me explain my assessment.

Think about it this way.  Netflix was a pioneer and was surprisingly successful as a very small player in a huge market.  I don’t think Netflix purposefully targeted such a big industry, instead I think they were just jazzed about being innovative and forward thinking.   The fact that they offered a complete TV solution with DVD and streaming was a very attractive offering,.  When they broke the combo service apart I think they fundamentally undermined their own value proposition.

Regardless of their success their industry was/is attracting a lot of attention(as it should have). What they eventually found is that they’re were up against the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon, ABC, FOX, CBS, TimeWarner, Cox, etc.  You get the idea, it’s a big player industry!

Being in the ring with such big players presents a lot of problems.  First, Netflix doesn’t have the cash (~330m) to go toe-to-toe with any of these companies.  In an industry were demands are increasing and studios are hiking prices up this is a huge disadvantage.  Secondly, if Netflix stock price continues to drop they might attract the attention of the hawks.  As these big players charge ahead into streaming TV their will be a lot of cash to play with which might mean goodbye Netflix (acquisition).

Well, all of that being said that, the announcement that they are killing Qwickster seems to contradict my assessment.  On the other hand, dropping the Qwickster brand may have been a defensive move to avoid the hawks.  Who knows what will happen from here?

Being an innovator in the workplace

I had my regular meeting last week with my CTO to catch up and we ended up getting a little philosophical about my role at work.  We discussed many of the successes that I have had in the past and where he sees me contributing the most.

I am continuously trying to see new boundaries we can push through, what features we can sell or offer and how we can be innovative to increase revenue.  While this typically comes easy to me because of my extensive background in this industry it is not really a repeatable process by the rest of the team members that I work with.

As such, we discussed how I need to continue to test the boundaries for new opportunities while keeping an eye out for areas that can be easily executed on by the rest of the team.  I was told that I am on the frontier and my job is to find the easiest way for everyone else to have the success that I have.

We put together a simple model to represent this approach.

Please excuse how crude the diagram is.  Simply put as someone who discovers new channels of innovation at the company, the breadth of my reach is much wider than what can be executed day in and day out by the remainder of the team.  I am not saying anything negative about the rest of the team, it is just a matter of individual focus.

My job, as an innovator, is to test the boundaries of new ideas and figure out what is the best and most appropriate for the rest of the team.  This, of course, only applies to my area of focus, not the company at large.

If I expect everything I figure out to be adopted I will not be able to continue the search for new innovations.  Instead I will be stuck supporting the tasks/duties that I have introduced.  From this, I become a bottleneck and instead of innovating I actually become more stationary in my job (very stationary).

In conclusion, it is best for someone who is on the forefront of ideas to find out what is the most sustainable and repeatable in the organization.  Once it can be adopted and supported by the rest of the organization I can move on to discover a new idea.

Back again

I have taken a very long siesta from blogging and I have decided to come back and revitalize my blog.  I will no doubt take a lot of effort but I have given it a facelift and will start to update on a more regular basis.

If I have ignored any comments it was not intentional and I will attempt to answer any outstanding questions.  There is a lot that has changed in the last year or so and I definitely have a lot of queued posts.

Damien

JavaScript – Block email domain

Do you have forms on your website for people to submit sales information? Do you get personal email addresses when you’re looking for business email addresses? Blocking the personal email addresses can be very advantageous to your sales process and can provide a much needed filter on the leads coming in.

Here’s a nice JavaScript function that validates the domain of an email address against a list of predefined blacklisted domains. You add more domains simply add another item to domarray.   For instance you could have:

domarray[3] = “microsoft.”;

Additionally you can validate the domains as specific as possible:

domarray[3] = “gmail.jp”;
domarray[4] = “gmail.co.uk”;
domarray[5] = “gmail.kr”;

The Whole Script

function chckDomain(em) {
var emat = em.substring(0,em.lastIndexOf(‘@’)+1);
var emdom = em.substring(emat.length,em.length+1);
var emdom = emdom.toLowerCase();
var domarray = Array();
domarray[0] = “gmail.”;
domarray[1] = “hotmail.”;
domarray[2] = “yahoo.”;
for (i=0; i < domarray.length ; i++) {
if (emdom.indexOf(domarray[i]) != -1) {
return false;
}
}
return true;
}

Enjoy

Damien
@DamienH

Jquery Number Ticker

I work at MindTouch and earlier today I started looking around the web for an animated jQuery number ticker to display the real-time page views with ajax. After searching for a while I wasn’t able to find anything so I thought I might try to build one.

With jQuery it wasn’t too challenging and I was able to develop the ticker in no time at all. The script is flexible and adjusts to the number of digits in the number. It also adds commas to properly format the number. You can see how the ticker looks here displaying the number 786554 – Jquery Number Ticker - by Damien Howley.

counter_ticker_bg

The jQuery code creates and removes the digits as needed and of the css is responsible for positioning the digits. The ticker is animated with jQuery which adds a nice touch. I got the number comma formatting from mrededkj.com. You’ll also need the following image that I created.

Markup

 

</div>

CSS

<style>
.counter-wrap {
height:18px;
overflow:hidden;
}
.counter-number {
height:198px;
width:12px;
position:relative;
background-image:url(IMAGE URL HERE);
float:left;
}
</style>

Jquery Code


$(".counter-number").each( function(i) {
$(this).attr('id','num'+i);
});
function loadinput() {
var newval = $("#numgo").val();
loadticker(newval);
}
function loadticker(ticnum) {
var fticnum = add_commas(ticnum);
var numheight=18;
addticker(fticnum);
if (ticnum && ticnum != 0) {

var s = String(fticnum);

for (i=s.length;i>=0; i–)
{
var onum=s.charAt(i);
$(“#num”+i).attr(‘value’,onum);
}

$(“.counter-number”).each( function() {
var nval=$(this).attr(“value”);
if (!isNaN(nval)) {
var nheight = Number(nval)*numheight*-1;
$(this).animate({ top: nheight+’px’}, 1500 );
}
if (nval==’,’){
$(this).animate({ top: ‘-180px’}, 1500 );
}
});
}
}
function addticker(newnum) {
var digitcnt = $(“.counter-number”).size();
var nnum = String(newnum).length;
var digitdiff = Number(nnum – Number(digitcnt));
if (digitdiff

‘);
}
}
function add_commas(nStr) {
nStr += ”;
x = nStr.split(‘.’);
x1 = x[0];
x2 = x.length > 1 ? ‘.’ + x[1] : ”;
var rgx = /(\d+)(\d{3})/;
while (rgx.test(x1)) {
x1 = x1.replace(rgx, ‘$1’ + ‘,’ + ‘$2’);
}
return x1 + x2;
}

Call the function

<a href="#" onclick="loadticker(786554)">load ticker - 786554</a>
<a href="#" onclick="loadticker(1767697234789837)">load ticker - 1767697234789837</a>
<a href="#" onclick="loadticker(1988989)">load ticker - 1988989</a>

I hope you enjoy this code, feel free to post any improvements as this was simply a prototype.

Thanks

Damien
@DamienH

Critical Mass Bikers Riding Through Fashion Valley Food Court

After riding about 14 miles throughout San Diego we arrived at the Fashion Valley Mall. As we rode our bikes through the parking garage I thought this would be end point. Instead all 400+ Critical Mass riders made their way through the food court, down the ramps and finally everyone got stuck as the escalators.

After reaching the mall Aaron and I decided to head back home. We took a shortcut from Mission Valley up to Hillcrest which was fairly steep. After the hill Aaron and I parted and I headed home. All in all it was a great time, extremely entertaining.

Damien

Climbing Mt. Whitney

This past weekend some friends and I climbed Mt. Whitney which is the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. The peak sits at an altitude of 14,497.61 feet and the campground is just around 8000ft.

We woke up around 2AM and started the hike around 3AM which gave us about 3 hours of night hiking. All in all the uphill hike took about 10 hours and we only got to 13,000 ft. We didn’t go the rest of the way because of improper equipment. We didn’t have crampons and ice axes which apparently were critical in order to make it past the ice cliffs




I took plenty of other photographs(205) and took some movies(16) that you can see at http://www.flickr.com/photos/damienhowley/sets/72157620426196020/.

I hope you enjoy

Damien