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June 21, 2005

Comments

Robert Wenc

I have seen the three colors trilogy a number of times and am still very impressed. I have yet to see Decalogue, but this is the third source I have run into in the past week recommending it. I think I might just have to get it...

Rob

ethan

I saw the Red, White and Blue trilogy a few years ago and fell in love with them. They are so gritty and real in the way they present human emotion. I have Decalogue in my queue.

So yeah, gotta love Netflix -- I was one of their early users (they have kindly allowed me to continue my subscription at an absurdly low intro rate). Their service is one I think of all the time when we talk about customer/client service. They always beat my expectations and respond to feedback by making changes quickly. For example, when you lose a disc or encounter a shipping problem their customer service is excellent – they *trust* their customers. Their lost disc system is literally on the honor system (within limits, I am sure, but you know what I mean). Oh, and they added RSS feeds so you can track all sorts of things (like your rental queue, new recommendations, top 100 movies etc.) in your feedreeder. Smart company with a great product. I'm rooting for them to succeed against loss-leaders like Blockbusters and WallMart because Netflix has been pretty much fanatical about ensuring my happiness as a customer.

Oh, and I read an interview with their CEO a while back where he said he intentionally did not name the company "DVDs By Mail" or something similarly constraining. I hope this means that his vision for superior product/customer-support/customer-experience will extend into the movies-over-broadband phase of digital content delivery. I will definitely be one of their first subscribers.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Actually Walmart recently abandoned its own DVD rental business and now sends people to Netflix from the Walmart site to rent DVD's. I also have been very impressed with how Netflix handles lost DVD's, namely by trusting its customers. When you think about it, this is a very reasonable business decision, but we have gotten so used to having to do battle with a business when something unusual happens, that it still takes me by surprise when a business actually does the right thing by me. I think that customer service is far and away the key factor in customer retention.

Bill Higgins

I think it's really telling that you use the word "obscure" in a post about finding content that is interesting *to you* on the web.

One of the most fashionable topics of discussion in the blogosphere today is how the web enables fragmentation of markets on a massive scale. I wonder, how many bricks-and-mortar video stores in the USA have "The Decalogue" in stock? Not many, I'd guess. But the de-centralization of the web leads to a situation where a company simply needs a couple of big distribution centers *somewhere* with several copies of "The Decalogue" in stock to profitably serve *the nation* (and probably Canada).

This is central to the whole notion of Chris Anderson's "Long Tail" article, which (despite its current hype) describes this phenomenon well. I.e. as locality and shelf space become less and less an issue, massive variety becomes possible and micro-markets become profitable.

PS - Thanks to James Snell of IBM for explaining much of this to me.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Getting a copy of the Decalogue, and other such "obscure" movies is now the easy part, since you can order them online. Amazon offers it for sale, Netflix offers it for rental, and so on. So perhaps as we have this plethora of riches to choose from, the really valuable shelf space is in our brains, or more specifically, how do you get into my brain the fact that I should watch a film like Decalogue. Libraries play a huge role here, and I believe that their role will only become important as trusted places to recommend what we should read and watch, as well as make copies available. Personalized recommendations from sites you trust, like the Netflix example I mentioned in the blog, will also be very valuable. And then there is the wider community in the Internet, with lots and lots of people making recommendations.

Richard Barbara

Irving,
Thank you for pointing out the existance of the Decaloque....

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