《伟大产品背后的那些伟大的女性产品经理(II)》–NETFLIX–Kate Arnold:需要是发明之母

Netflix is one of my all-time favorite products and companies.

Netflix是我最喜欢的产品和公司之一。

But back in 1999, a then very young Netflix based in Los Gatos with less than 20 employees, was on the edge of going bust. They had a couple experienced co-founders, including the now legendary Reed Hastings, but the problem was that they were stuck at about 300,000 customers.

但回到1999年,当时只有不到20名员工的年轻的Netflix公司,正处于破产的边缘。他们有几位经验丰富的联合创始人,包括现在的传奇人物里德·黑斯廷斯(Reed Hastings),但问题是他们的客户只有30万左右。

They were essentially providing the same general pay-per-rental experience that Blockbuster provided, just an online version of this.There were, as always, some early adopters, and some people lived in places that didn’t have a video store, but in truth there wasn’t much of a reason to do this via the postal service when you could just stop by the local Blockbuster store. People would rent once, and then quickly forget about the service, and didn’t seem very willing to change.The team knew that the service wasn’t better enough to get people to change.

本质上来说,他们提供的是类似百视达的按租付费体验,只不过是在线版而已。和通常一样,也有一些早期的尝试者,有些人住在没有音像店的地方,但事实上,当你可以去当地的百视达商店(Blockbuster store)时,就没有什么理由需要通过邮递服务来这么做。人们会租一次,然后很快就忘记了服务,似乎不太愿意改变。这个团队知道,这项服务还不足以让人们改变。

Even worse, DVD sales were starting to lag, and a Hollywood backlash further muddied the situation. Then there were challenges with fulfillment logistics, difficulty maintaining DVD quality, and trying to figure out how to do all this in a way that covered costs and generated some cash.

更糟糕的是,DVD销售开始放缓,而好莱坞的反弹进一步使情况变得更糟。然后还有后勤保障方面的挑战,难以维持DVD质量,以及如何以一种覆盖成本并产生一些现金的方式来完成这些工作。

Kate Arnold was the product manager for this small team, and the team knew they needed to do something different.

Kate Arnold是这个小团队的产品经理,团队知道他们需要做一些不同的事情。

One of many tests they tried was to move to a subscription service.Get people to sign up for a month, and offer them unlimited movies.Would that be perceived as “better enough” to get them to change their media consumption behavior?

他们尝试的众多测试之一是转向订阅服务。让人们注册一个月,并提供无限制的电影。这会不会被认为“足够好”,让他们改变媒体消费行为?

The good news was that yes, actually, this really did appeal to people. A flat monthly fee and all the videos they could consume sounded pretty great.

好消息是,事实上,这确实吸引了人们。一个固定的月费和所有他们可以消费的视频听起来非常棒。

The bad news is that the team created some real problems for themselves.No surprise that Netflix customers wanted to rent mostly newly released feature films, yet these were much more expensive for Netflix to stock, and they would need to stock so many copies of these, that they’d very likely run out of money fast.

坏消息是这个团队给自己制造了一些真正的问题。毫无疑问,Netflix的客户想要租借大部分新发行的故事片,但Netflix的库存太昂贵了,而且他们需要储存这么多的拷贝,他们很可能很快就会用光钱。

So the product challenge became how were they going to make sure Netflix customers could watch a set of movies they would love, yet wouldn’t bankrupt the company?

因此,产品的挑战变成了他们如何确保Netflix的客户能够看一套他们喜欢的电影,同时又不会让公司破产?

They knew they needed to somehow get customers to want a blend of expensive and less expensive titles.Necessity being the mother of invention, this is where the queue, the ratings system, and the recommendation engine all came from.Those were the technology-powered innovations that enabled the new, much more desirable business model.

他们知道他们需要以某种方式让客户获得一种兼有昂贵和便宜的混合物。需要是发明之母,这就是队列、评级系统和推荐引擎的来源。这些都是技术驱动的创新,使新的、更理想的商业模式得以实现。

So the team got to work. In three month’s time, the team redesigned the site, introducing the queue, the rating system, and the recommendations engine all in support of Netflix being a subscription service.

所以团队开始工作了。在三个月的时间里,团队重新设计了网站,引入了队列、评级系统和推荐引擎,以支持Netflix成为一个订阅服务。

They also re-wrote the billing system to handle the monthly subscription model (a funny little side story is that they actually launched without this as they had the 30 day free trial month, which bought them the extra time they needed).

他们还重新编写了计费系统来处理每月的订阅模式(一个有趣的小故事是,他们实际上没有这样做,因为他们有30天免费试用月,这给了他们所需的额外时间)。

With so many moving pieces and interconnected efforts, the daily stand-ups included just about every person in the company.

由于有如此多的活动片段和相互联系的努力,每天的站立会议几乎包括了公司里的每个人。

Between working with the co-founders on the strategy, validating concepts with the users, assessing the analytics, driving features and functionality with the team, and working with finance on the new business model, marketing on acquisition, and the warehouse on fulfillment, you can imagine the workload Kate faced on a daily basis.

在战略上和联合创始人一起工作、和用户一起进行概念确认、评估分析、和团队一起驱动特征和功能、在新的商业模式上和财务人员一起工作、营销上的收购、库存情况,你可以想象凯特每天面对的工作量。

Yet the team got the new service up and running and used this to power and grow their business for another 7 years, until they disrupted themselves again by moving aggressively to the streaming model.

然而,该团队启动并运行了这项新服务,并将其用于推动业务增长,持续了7年,直到他们再次大举转向流媒体模式,打破了自己的传统。

Kate would be the first to credit a pretty amazing team, including some exceptional engineers, and the vision and courage of the founders, but I would argue that without a Kate driving for the technology-based solutions that could actually power this business, there’s a good chance Netflix as we know it never would have happened.

凯特会是第一个相信这个相当了不起的团队的人,包括一些杰出的工程师,以及创始人的远见和勇气,但我认为凯特没有基于技术去驱动解决方案,事实上是商业的力量,这对Netflix是一个很好的机会,正如我们知道它永远不会发生。

One other interesting little aside about early Netflix – when they were struggling for cash early on, they offered to sell themselves to Blockbuster for $50M, and Blockbuster turned them down. Today Blockbuster is in the dead pool, and Netflix is worth over $40 billion.

在早期Netflix有个趣事,当他们在早期为赚钱而挣扎时,他们提出以5000万美元的价格将自己卖给Blockbuster,而Blockbuster则拒绝了他们。如今,百视达已经破产,Netflix的市值超过400亿美元。

Kate is now a product leader at Shutterstock in New York City.

凯特现在是纽约Shutterstock的产品负责人。



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