Admitting failure, learning from Qwikster

qwiksterIn September a former Internet darling, Netflix made a bizarre announcement.  They were going to split their business operations into two parts. Their online streaming operation would continue to be called Netflix and their DVD by mail operation would be cleaved off and would be rebranded as Qwikster.  I won’t get into just how stupid this decision was because that has been explained well elsewhere.  What I am interested in is the about-face the company did.  Earlier in the week, and prior to the execution of this plan, the company announced that it was abandoning the plan in the face of immense customer criticism.

Admitting failure is never easy for anyone. For corporate players it is even harder. It is even harder yet when that admission means rolling back an announcement (even an announcement as seemingly ill thought out as this one.)  So, this couldn’t have been a fun excercise for Netflix.  There is no doubt in my mind that it was the right thing to do. The only fault I have with this announcement was that they didn’t roll back enough of their recent mistakes. So this was a pretty safe move.  They were wrong, there was pretty much no one out there defending their recent moves so retreating was the right move. Interesting watching a big company swallow their pride though.