Category Archives: Uncategorized

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?

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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.

Please wait for the next register

I was trying to look around the web for gift ideas and after checking amazon I thought I would check Macy’s because they have a store right by my house. After finding the right url (not macy.com) I was surprised to find the following message “It is a little crowded in here right now and to make sure everyone enjoys shopping with us, we’re asking new visitors to wait here a few moments while other shoppers finish up”. While I appreciate their concern for other shoppers I think their approach is fairly poor. Anyway, I just thought that was random

Macy’s website down

Christmas Shopping

Ahh, the wonderful chaos we call Christmas.  Actually I really love Christmas and even though I live one block away from a mall I still found myself doing the cycles around the city to all the different shopping centers.  I was going to write about the wonderful gifts I bought for everyone but I recently found out that my Dad knows about my blog (probably my only reader) so I will try to keep the element of surprise.

I will admit that my family does not do well with surprises.  My mom constantly talks about who got what and what everybody wants.  This year my family decided to do an “open wish list”.  Instead of buying surprises for each other we decided to tell each other exactly what to buy for us.  Although I do think this is a much more responsible approach to receiving gifts it does ruin a bit of the surprise.

So yesterday Melody and I started out by heading down to “Las Americas!!” outlet mall.  The weird thing about the mall that on the back side of the parking lot is a huge 17 foot high fence.  What are they trying to keep out you may ask…. the whole country of Mexico.  That’s right the mall is built about 20 feet away from Mexico which made my shopping experience different because Melody and I were the only white people there.  Now I know my co-workers are going to say I’m racist but I truly didn’t have a problem with this.  I merely wanted to point it out because that doesn’t happen much in the U.S.

After Las Americas we went to Mission Valley mall.  I don’t really like Mission Valley mall but it had a target and a Bed Bath and Beyond so it made more sense.  Nothing memorable happened in Mission Valley so I won’t write anything more about it.  Although we did have Monsoon Indian To Go which was exceptional.

Skinning Deki Wiki

survival of the fiestaI’m a graphic designer for a great company called MindTouch. We develop a wiki and up to date things are going pretty well. Most of the time I work on developing new templates and then developing new skins for those templates. The most recent skin I developed is called Fiesta. It is very consumerish and has nice curved edges and big icons. It’s really pretty basically. I also built it keeping in mind that many other people would like to customize this for themselves. It is very flexible and easy to manipulate.

About two weeks ago I heard of another template being developed “under the radar”. They call it enterprise (Deuce Skin) and they (yeah I am stereotyping the programmers) thinks it’s the greatest new development there is. I have my own opinion on the matter so I thought I would provide a visual to better convey my message.

Aggressive Apple Marketing

I was checking out Digg.com a little earlier and I came across a link titles “Apple’s advertisement on Cnet’s Vista Page”. The title alone was enough to make me check it out. What I found was an awesomely planned advertisement by Apple. Apple actually purchased both advertising spaces on the page which include a large horizontal ad up top and a fairly wide vertical ad on the right side. In the vertical ad they had their typical “I’m a mac… and I’m a pc”.

Don’t give up on VistaThis is where it gets funny. The top advertisement had a bulb sign that says “Don’t give up on Vista” with he bulbs were all dulled out at the start of the ad. Down in the other ad the pc guy had a big red button with a wire which was apparently connected to the top ad. Once prompted the pc guy starts to discuss how some people are giving up on Vista or event moving back to XP and that their new sign would clear things up for everyone. He pushes the big red button and only part of the sign lights up. Keep in mind this is all on the Windows Vista page of CNET.

I was quite impressed by both the ad and aggressiveness of Apple. To be honest I haven’t seen anyone else utilizing multiple ad spaces to interact together.

Check out the ad for yourself at http://www.cnet.com/windows-vista.html

Almost Thanksgiving

It’s Tuesday and almost time to head home.  Tomorrow Melody and I are going to Chicago to spend some time with my family.  This is the first time Melody will meet me brother which will be really cool.  She got to meet my parents a couple months back when they were out in San Diego visiting me.  I love Thanksgiving.  It is a simple and fairly cheap holiday and it is extremely relaxing.  My typical thanksgiving involves big dinner, drinks, movies and sleeping.  The only difference this year will be the snow that Chicago has already had.

I’ve started swimming again which I’m very happy with.  In San Diego I can swim outdoors pretty much all year round.  Last winter there were only about 3 non-consecutive weeks were I couldn’t swim outdoors.  My goal is to be in good shape around January when I start training for the San Diego Rock N’ Roll marathon.

Nothing else is new.