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Consumers Don’t Know What They Want Until You Show It To Them. Worked Great For Apple. Netflix, Not So Much

October 10, 2011

Steve Jobs eschewed focus groups, consultants and market studies. He was extremely successful in showing consumers what they wanted.  Netflix tried the same approach, yet its subscribers departed in droves and its stock has lost 2/3 of its value in the last six months.

Why did this approach work for Apple but not Netflix? Both companies benefited from millions of passionate customers and smart founders/CEOs. The difference is found in the way Steve Jobs and Apple promoted the release of new products. No other company on the planet generates more pre-launch excitement, curiosity and publicity than Apple when it comes to new product releases.  And, no other CEO delivered products on launch day the magical way Steve Jobs did.

Had Netflix taken the Apple approach and generated excitement for its streaming product, it might not be in today’s predicament. What should Netflix do? Reed Hastings’ accomplishments cannot be questioned, but to save his company, he needs to step away and focus on his passion – education. Netflix needs a new CEO with energy, passion and excitement. A CEO who can implement the Apple approach and quickly turn things around.

There are many great candidates out there, but one person is just perfect for this job. That person is Loic LeMeur. Loic has limitless energy; he’s ambitious, great on stage and at ease in front of the camera. He’s tech savvy and now is a great time to transition away from Seesmic (acquisition by Salesforce.com is likely anyway). Plus, Netflix needs to expand internationally and Loic, as a Frenchman who relocated to San Francisco, is the perfect international leader. So, don’t be surprised this December at LeWeb, if Loic LeMeur is celebrating his new role as CEO of Netflix.

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