Reed Hastings: Risk Taker or Netflix Killer?

Netflix has revolutionized the way we consume movies and television shows; its DVD-by-mail and online streaming content has replaced traditional [...]

October 27 2011 by ChiefExecutive.net


Netflix has revolutionized the way we consume movies and television shows; its DVD-by-mail and online streaming content has replaced traditional video stores like Blockbuster. And, it’s cheap. But since instituting a price hike in July and attempting to separate the two arms of the company (which the company has now reneged on), CEO Reed Hastings has taken a beating.

Netflix stock is down 70 percent since July. And many blame the CEO for such a bold move.

Hastings has three guiding principles, according to this Bloomberg article. They are as follows:

  1. Avoid “barnacles that can slow down a fast-moving business
  2. Make tough decisions without agonizing
  3. Focus on great results rather than the process

It seems that Hastings’ strategies this summer have stuck to these three principles, yet they weren’t successful. So is Hastings at fault here? What went wrong at Netflix?

Despite its horrible performance in the market, many are taking Hastings’ side, giving him credit for looking to mold Netflix’s model to fit the future, rather than rely on what has driven the company’s success in the past.

Business Management Daily took a look at a few recent Hasting interviews to see what leadership lessons can be found here. Here are three CEO takeaways from Netflix’s experience:

  1. Trust and loyalty are fragile things
  2. Don’t get blinded by the data
  3. Stay curious, ask broad questions, and listen

As a CEO, what is your take on the Netflix fiasco? Do you blame Hastings or do you think he made a bold move in attempt to anticipate the future of the market? Please comment below.

Read: 3 Reasons Netflix’s Reed Hastings Shouldn’t Be Fired…Yet
Read: Can Netflix Regain Lost Ground?
Read: Reed Hastings Knows He Messed Up
Read: Three Leadership Lessons from the Netflix Slide
Read: Netflix Isn’t Doomed