I'm a research driven ecommerce strategist & UX professional. This is where I think about work.
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Things I've said & written:
Trust: The Secret Sauce In Social Commerce
Ecommerce & the Social Web: Why it matters. What you can do.
What are you doing unto others? The importance of reciprocity on the social web.
Good Search Abandonment: Delivering Content without Clicks to the Cross-channel Customer
The ways and means of widgets
Email is dead. Long live Email.
NYTimes on Online Accessibility
NYTimes on Interactive Catalogs
Harnessing Customer Influence & Emerging Interests (In a Hurry & On the Cheap)
The Big So What: The Apple iPad Enters Our Lives
The original Netflix prediction algorithm — the one which guessed how much you’d like a movie based on your ratings of other movies — was an amazing piece of computer technology, precisely because it managed to find things you didn’t know that you’d love. More than once I would order a movie based on a high predicted rating, and despite the fact that I would never normally think to watch it — and every time it turned out to be great. The next generation of Netflix personalization, by contrast, ratchets the sophistication down a few dozen notches: at this point, it’s just saying “well, you watched one of these Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life, here’s a bunch more”.
Netflix, then, no longer wants to show me the things I want to watch, and it doesn’t even particularly want to show me the stuff I didn’t know I’d love. Instead, it just wants to feed me more and more and more of the same, drawing mainly from a library of second-tier movies and TV shows, and actually making it surprisingly hard to discover the highest-quality content. It’s a bit like what Pandora would be, if Pandora was severely constrained in the songs it could choose from.
This move is surely great for Netflix’s future profitability, and probably helps explain its resurgent share price. If Netflix can provide half of the service that traditional TV offers, at a tenth of the price, that’s a deal which can go a very long way. But it’s also a service aimed squarely at couch potatoes, not at movie lovers.