Good to see some Netflix truth telling

Was sent this about Netflix on Bloomberg today.

According to a statement issued last week, international subscribers grew at the slowest rate since 2014, when Netflix was available to far fewer people.

Not surprising – I wonder if Netflix tries to use Netflix from Singapore – the catalog is shit. I wouldn’t even bother using it in Singapore if it wasn’t for my ISP’s feature of routing my Netflix and HBO traffic to the states. It’s amazing the difference between the local catalog and the USA one – it’s still comical to me I can’t watch the latest season of the House of Cards on Netflix Singapore. Would be one thing if Netflix Singapore cost 4 bucks but it doesn’t.

Ultimately Netflix may prevail but I think they have underestimated a few things –

  • Cost. They want to pull the SBUX global pricing game but that’s silly since the size of my cappuccino in Singapore is the same as the one in San Francisco. Netflix catalog differences are huge.
  • Local competition – they act like none exist.
  • Not being able to download. Not a huge issue but an issue.
  • VPN blocking. A bunch of people used Netlfix for the USA catalog – now that has stopped which means they have lost subscribers who were paying USA prices to get access and who dumped them when they saw the local catalog.

Big kudos to iFlix for getting a big mention. What’s glaring is the complete miss on HOOQ but guessing that is either cause most folks are already writing it off or that HOOQ continues to be appallingly bad at PR. 

Here you go HOOQ – got you some PR today. 

IFLix and Netflix are spot on about piracy but Netflix seems to just be burying their head in the sand when it comes to dealing with the issue:

And that won’t be easy. In September, a senior Netflix manager acknowledged piracy as the company’s biggest competitor in Asia-Pacific, the fastest-growing internet market. But instead of lowering prices or seeking different models, Netflix is charging $7.99 per month to subscribe in Cambodia — a country where the average income is about $1,000 per year, and where only 2.3 percent of the population has a credit card. In fact, fewer than half of the 600 million people in Southeast Asia carry plastic. And even if they can pay for Netflix, the experience of watching it probably won’t be pleasant. Almost every country in the region has internet speeds below the global average — oftentimes way below.

They can’t price like this, have a shitty catalog and not offer downloads. It just won’t work.

I have always said – the real competitor in Asia is piracy. Note ::

Netflix, HBO and Amazon will be global video players – also it is too early to tell if FB, Apple and Google will sit this party out since it is such a minefield of losses. We know Apple keeps trying to alter the cable game but that is a USA only thing and their buy on demand model will someday not work out well but for now one gets the best content on PPV. I still buy/rent far too many movies but maybe that is cause I have kids and I want new releases so I can skip the theatre.

My take is that this problem will never be globally solved and that in each GEO it may take on different patterns – just look at India with HotStar having HBO content :: Word is that HotStar has essentially clubbed to death any of the other major players in India and I expect you will see some casualties soon. I honestly have never understood why HOOQ tried to be India – it is a race they will never win. Seems iFlix is sidestepping the India train wreck and focusing on other winnable territories.

I portend that Netflix is gonna keep bleeding and the investors might start to tire of it. Amazon has yet to show their global video hand but I suspect it will challenge Netflix in certain parts of the world. I wonder if HBO will do more HotStar like plays – I think they should. iFlix seems to be the local or strong emerging markets player to watch and it pains me to say it but I think HOOQ is toast but most folks probably labeled anything built by Singtel as toast anyway. I guess it just depends on what shade of burnt you acknowledge.

As a consumer of stuff – well, I still use my Mom’s Netlfix account, pay for HBO (VPN goodness from viewquest) and continue to wait for Apple to do something cool with the TV.

Shots fired…

End of an era

Say what you will about how or the why, but it is kind of sad to see Yahoo go. The impact of Yahoo on the early internet can’t be argued with. As someone who worked there of course I think this didn’t have to happen but it did none the less.

Dan over at the Term Sheet has some good points on it:

5. Speaking of Mayer: I vividly remember the day she was named Yahoo CEO, because it was the opening afternoon of Fortune Brainstorm Tech and she had been expected to speak (on behalf of Google). At the time, I recalled Brainstorm attendees having lots of optimism about her tenure, given their belief that she’d supercharge Yahoo’s new product portfolio, as opposed to expanding its media efforts (in the end, she mainly focused on mobilizing existing product and continuing the media focus via things like digital magazine launches).

Most importantly, however, I felt that she was in a no-lose situation: She was taking over a ship that everyone believed was sinking. If she turned things around, then she’d be hailed as a business genius. If she didn’t… well, of course it sunk. Kind of like what I argued when Cerberus bought Chrysler.

This is not, however, the way things played out in the court of public opinion. A lot of that is on Mayer for a management style that rubbed certain people the wrong way (she was a first-time CEO), and a lot of that is on Yahoo PR for letting her appear on the cover of any magazine that would have her (the higher the profile, the steeper the fall). And, to be sure, her ridiculously large compensation package annoyed shareholders. But, in the end, I stand by my original sentiments. This was a 3-alarm fire that Mayer failed to put out, rather than one she started.

It is tough to argue with his premise on Mayer. Yahoo was going down the drain before she got there. But, I still think she had a swing for the fences strategy on one hand with all the acquisitions but then on the other hand never shipped anything. She also did nothing to cut costs. Any of us who worked there can tell you that Yahoo could have easily cut 5k heads and things would look the same but profit would be up. I was always down for trying this. It would be the advice to any company or startup – cut your costs and you have more time to sort things.

I also wanted to see a big layoff, close some shit and then double-down on what works. Not saying it would save Yahoo but would have given her more time and maybe allowed Yahoo not to sell.

As far as selling to Aol/Verizon – seemed to me to be the logic winner in this from the beginning but I wonder if they can do anything with it. Even for me – Aol is not really a part of my life anymore at all except for a few content sites they own.

Obviously I think Mayer made a killing for doing nothing really but managing the sale but maybe that was all she was ever intended to do but damn – what a payday.

Will wait to see what Verizon does next and I hope they don’t fuck up Flickr. Pretty much the only Yahoo thing I use.

Think Simple

I had wanted to read his first book, Insanely Simple, but just never ended up picking it up.

Happened to be at the book store today to restock for the kids, Yo Kai Vol 5 just in, and came across Ken Segall’s latest book – Think Simple.

So far so good. I am always game for thinking more simply and of course it is easy to want to make things simpler but the reality is the opposite. Hoping to glean a few ideas or to out of the book.

First step is working on a mission statement.


Pitch Decks

Just like raising money – there is no ONE way.

If you are always searching for the trick or the hack, when it comes to these subjects I suggest moving on.

Deal flow is alive and well, which means I get lots of PDF’s sent in email and/or lots of meeting requests. I am not complaining in the slightest – I am fortunate enough to be in this position and grateful enough to know that having folks email or come in and meet me is a privilege.

I have some tips though. Take them or leave them. It’s up to you since I am an apprentice but I can always share what makes me tick.

I am all for a deck but the main thing to remember is you are telling a story. If you can emote the story without a deck. Cool. If you can use the whiteboard, a flip chart or even some play dough then cool. Whatever tool helps you tell the story is fine by me. I am interested in the story as much as anything.

Tips as a list:

– stay human and share the journey

– talk about the team earlier – don’t save it to the end

– a roster of advisors and investors is only interesting if you can explain the relation or how they help

– explain the problem you are solving – if there is no problem to explain then that should tell you something

– explain the solution – and then touch on how tech is used for the solution

– explain the various ways you might make money and who might be interested in paying for it 

– touch lightly on what might happen if you can’t make money or the main plan doesn’t work

– discuss what the funds will do to help you – be explicit

– leave plenty of time for discussion – do not have the goal of getting through the slides just because you made them. It is more important to cover the topics and have a healthy discussion. 


Have fun. Enjoy the telling. Ask questions. Leave an impression.

Most of the details, fact finding and business modeling discussions will most likely happen in follow up meetings anyway. The main point of your first meetup or virtual deck is to leave a positive impression while you convey the story.

As always – it is a marathon. Not a sprint.