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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Coke for the video age: Netflix un-changes its formula

Today’s New York Times contained a blog post that nicely summarizes the about-face taken by the Netflix after trying to spin-off its traditional DVD rental business.  Click here to see the story.

Implications:   In recent days, some of my colleagues and I have pondered the limitations of research.  Specifically, we reflected on the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and how so much of that innovation originated on the gut feeling and intuition of Steve Jobs and the company he created.  Many of those innovations come in spite of research, as much as they are born because of research.  A century ago, Henry Ford is credited with saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they’d have told me ‘a faster horse’.”

Research has its limitations, but so does running a business without sufficient research, as learned the hard way by Netflix in recent weeks.  (Or, I supposed you could say that research has now been done… in a manner more expensive than simply canvasing their customers and prospects.)

Is your company moving too fast?  Too slow?  Have you asked your customers?  Or, are you safe in contemplating a new product or service launch that is so good... your customers might not have even realized they might want it?

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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