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Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,326 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Netflix has come a long way since 1997, when two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Marc Ran­dolph and Reed Hastings, decided to start an online DVD store before most people owned a DVD player. They were surprised and elated when launch-day traffic in April 1998 crashed their server and resulted in 150 sales. Today, Netflix has more than 25 million subscribers and annual revenu ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Portfolio
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  1,326 ratings  ·  118 reviews


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Tony
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s impossible for me to review a book like this disinterestedly. After all, for the first three and a half years of Netflix’s existence, I was running Europe’s largest online video and DVD retailer. So the first half of this book is like a giant trip down memory lane — not necessarily in the specific details, as our story played out quite differently, but in terms of lots of the wider arguments and decisions, and in particular the constant struggle to convince investors, and the press etc that ...more
Michelle
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a business book about the rise of Netflix and how it competed against Blockbuster and to a lesser extent Redbox. It's a lot of interesting facts. The start of Netflix and how it developed under Reed Hasting as he moved for more control over the company.

The most interesting part is how Blockbuster implodes. Under Antioco reign, they were able to quickly create an online DVD rental service that compete with Netflix, got rid of late fees (despite the store franchisees complaints to keep it
...more
David
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business-bio-s
As soon as I saw this book while perusing Amazon I knew it was a must read.

Having worked at Blockbuster for 3 years during their decline and the ridiculousness of trying to sell books and other merchandise to customers, I knew that part of the story pretty well.

I am a solid believer in competition, and personally have always been more of a theater goer or a spur of the moment movie renter. I always just figured Netflix users were pretty patient people that didn't mind waiting for new releases.
...more
Ameya Joshi
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are going to be 2 kinds of audiences for this book. (1) People from the industry - tech, showbiz, employees of Blockbuster, Netflix, Redbox etc. who know bits and pieces of this tale and want an overarching narrative with some corroboration. For these - Netflixed will probably be perfect. (2) The other kind of audience would be the 'layperson' who doesn't really know the nitty-gritties of this fight, late adopters, international readers etc. For this audience (which I assume will be larger ...more
C.
Now I know who to blame for the end of VHS and the change to DVD, because they were cheaper to mail!

Really fascinating read about the history/growth of Netflix, from VHS to DVD to today's streaming movies, and how those two brilliant young men were behind those changes.
Mitchell
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I pulled Netflixed off the library shelves as I was browsing in person, I was mostly thinking of them as an impressive technology company. Netflix uses Cassandra, a well thought of NoSQL database, and provides some of the best of the tools around that, which I've used for several years now. And Netflix has had some great sessions at Oscon, mostly around their devops practices like the simian army.

Netflix the service is something I have mostly dodged. I was never a customer of the disks by m
...more
Jessica
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads, and was extremely interested in the company who provides a service I use monthly yet know very little about. Netflixed focused mostly on the battle between Blockbuster and Netflix than it did anything else, though Redbox does get a few mentions. I was surprised how fascinating I found the entire story of Blockbuster's demise, and it explained a lot of what I experienced growing up - Blockbuster stores selling overpriced candy, changing ...more
Mark
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I came into this book fresh off "Shoe Dog" and I was hoping that this would provide a similar story - the story of a company with insights from the founders. While the book was definitely worth the read, it was more of a strategic read and focused less on the thoughts and motives of the company founders other than to create a great company that shipped plastic disks back and forth, as founder Marc Randolph mused at the very end of the book.

The content of the book is a fairly linear story about
...more
Roger
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
A book that let me down within the first couple of chapters. First off, reading about two wealthy individuals with prestigious backgrounds get together to make more money doesn't really motivate me to to keep on reading. In the early stages, one of the founders concentrated more on job titles than a business plan. I guess that is an acceptable way of doing things when you already have a couple million dollars in the bank. Did they accomplish great things with Netflix? Of course. However, I felt ...more
Paul
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting read and I learned a great deal about the early years of Netflix and how it competed against rivals and grew at a time when many thought their business model would not work.
There is a huge amount of coverage on Blockbuster here which is just as fascinating (if not more so) as we get an incite as to what went wrong and with the magic of hindsight it does make for interesting reading as to how they got it so wrong.

I was hoping that this would cover more recent history though - as f
...more
Sumit Gouthaman
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though "Netflix" appears prominently in the name, this book seems to cover both Netflix and Blockbuster in equal detail. It focuses on the time period from 1998 to 2013.

I really enjoyed the format of this book. The story at Netflix and Blockbuster interleave in each chapter, keeping the reader engaged.

There are many business related lessons to learn from this book. Chief among them: 1. Don't underestimate your competition, 2. Don't underestimate the disruption caused by a changing technolog
...more
Chris
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This was a great, and very interesting read. It starts with the formation of Netflix and goes through their battle with Blockbuster and continues through 2010 with their CEO problems.

The story was extremely well written, the main focus is the battle between Netflix and Blockbuster, and it does a great job of showing the intents and struggles people in both companies faced as they attempted to not only stay in business themselves, but put the other out of business.

Even if you are not interested i
...more
pinK
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I received this book from a First Reads giveaway.

I have been using Netflix for years, but I never understood the size of it. I had no idea they were even bigger han iTunes and Comcast, that seems so amazing to me. I think I've enjoyed this book more than any First Reads I've received lately.

I've always seen Netflix as a small service I use, not as a company that eats up nearly half the country's bandwidth. That boggles my brain.

I would recommend this to anyone that wants to know more about thei
...more
Esmeralda
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-won
"every big oak come from a small seed"
I may be a little irogence but I always pictured the big companies always big. I was interesting to get to know the story behind them. The writing was forcus and to the point. I like to see the struggle. I normally don't read this type of book but it was an interesting experience broading my horizon. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of reading this free book. won from firstreads.
Elke
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
As far as business books go, this was great! Netflix's history is such a roller coaster with so so many hurdles along the way - they persevered with huge losses for so long. Reed Hastings, the CEO, sounds like quite a character. It was also fun learning about the demise of Blockbuster - they made one big mistake which killed the company, right at a time when the company could have gone the other direction. Page turner!
KJ
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I won this book a while back in the Giveaways and just got around to reading it due to being busy at school. The business aspects of this book were really interesting and intriguing at times. As someone who normally loves to read novels it wasn't my favorite read but I was surprisingly interested! It took me a while to read it, seeing as it was a text book and I had to read it alongside my other school work but I recommend this to anyone interested in business/marketing.
Pamela Scott
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
It was a very informative read made me laugh at times and in shock at other time great knowledge was learned about today's society from this book.
Alex Nagler
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
Received a copy thanks to Goodreads Advance Read. Enjoyable text on the birth and growth of a company whose envelopes and ability to stream we're all familiar with.
Pete Johnson
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This book should have been called "Blockbuster: A How-to guide to running a company into the ground".
Brian
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, worth a read for anyone interested in business ad technology.
Byrne
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the sources the author cultivated, this book was going to be a story of the Blockbuster comeback until the last minute when Blockbuster didn't come back.
Vincent
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Dense, but gives good insight about how Netflix changed the game.
Miguel Silva
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good walkthrough from humble origins to recent events.

Great read for those wondering how they managed to drive blockbuster out of business and turn an industry on their heads.
Boris
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes people oversimplify the history of innovative firms. Nowadays, the media and other outlets are perpetuating the myth that Netflix killed Blockbuster due to their ability to use algorithms and the internet. Many times over you hear that Blockbuster never had a chance to win over Netflix because it was the dying mortar and brick company that did not saw opportunities on the internet. However, this book shows you a more compelling and realistic story about how Netflix won the battle again ...more
Neeraj Kumar
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Netflix vs Blockbuster, a modern-day rendition of David vs Goliath!, is a story worth reading and reiterating. Having recently completed the book - "Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs",

BiG Learning -
"Businesses that fail to evolve along with technology die! - this was a central tenet of Hastings and Netflix was a manifestation of that belief. This is how the free market is supposed to work: A better product, a clean balance sheet, and a near-flawless execution of a business plan
...more
Phil Simon
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
For years, I thought that Blockbuster CEO John Antioco swung and missed. It turns out that the story is far more nuanced than that. His successor Jim Keyes made exactly the wrong bets and hastened Blockbuster's decline.

Gems like this are common in Gina Keating's excellent exposé on today's most popular streaming service. I just couldn't put it down.

Keating is a superior writer and her research is first-rate. ⭐. ⭐. ⭐. ⭐. ⭐.
Andrey
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
It’s more about good ol times with VHS and DVD renting rather than streaming wars.
Mehmet
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good and rather detailed narrative of the rise of Netflix and their rivalry with Blockbuster. The book chronicles the founding of Netflix (dispelling some myths along the way), its rather rapid rise to the top of the video rental business, Blockbuster’s attempts to copy and beat them, how and why that didn’t work out, and their eventual demise.

The book uses a chronological approach in relating the story, which sometimes works out well but doesn’t in other times. Especially in later chapt
...more
Wes
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book, especially the middle chapters chronicling the fierce battle between Netflix and Blockbuster. This wasn't just an open and shut case of the Innovator’s Dilemma. Upstart, nimble David disrupts and upends aging industry Goliath. No, just as with everything, there are layers and many rounds in this battle, in some of which Blockbuster landed some almost deadly blows to Netflix. Blockbuster's John Antioco was actually a really good CEO (despite the historical reputation) wh ...more
Sally Sugarman
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Since we were early subscribers to Neflix, I was intrigued to read about its origins. The book shows how forward thinking business executives, using some of the most sophisticated methods of data gathering and being open to the possibilities of new technology can build a business that will change the way people view films and television. The first days of creative thinking on the part of a number of people in the tech field is the most exciting part of the book. The details about how to merchand ...more
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“Founders often had to step aside to let corporate “grown-ups” raise their babies—that was just how Silicon Valley worked.” 0 likes
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