The New York Times took to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings rather aggressively in an interview which was published yesterday. In it, the Times asks Reed to suggest what Apple legend Steve Jobs might have said about Netflix’s last three months of operations.
Deftly deflecting the half-jab, half-question—”I’m not going to put words in a deceased man’s mouth”—the U.S. paper continues by bringing up the Qwikster debacle. “Seriously, what’s the deal?” Andrew Goldman asked.
Here is where Reed confesses. “We moved too quickly,” he replies. “[We] missed execution details.” But the CEO says the company knows how to go forward from here.
Even so, Andrew wasn’t done picking at Netflix’s wounds. Reed was grilled on his arrogance, the end of a key Starz deal in America, and more. But the most distinguished moment occurred when Andrew challenges Reed’s ability to fulfill his role in the company:
[Question] The company’s stock has fallen from more than $300 in July to under $120. More than $9 billion of market capitalization has disappeared. For the benefit of shareholders, have you considered stepping down?
[Response] No, not for a second. I founded Netflix.
It strikes a similar note to Research In Motion—with its share price sitting in the low 20s after a high of $140, founder Mike Lazaridis has been continually pushed to concede some of his control over the company. And he too, remains confident that the company can get back on the track to success.
It’s worth noting that entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist Ben Horrowitz recently said that founders make the best CEOs, although he’s referring more to startups. At which point then, one might wonder, does a founder become an ineffective CEO? Can they become too emotionally attached, too bling to outside opinion, too unwilling to pviot?
Regardless, Reed needs to re-align Netflix. And he needs to do it Qwik.