Random ruminations as I figure out and deal with life, grad school, being an engineer and a product manger; learn more about technology, marketing, economics, news, writing short stories and other stuff that distracts me from doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing....
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Netflix takes more of my money... with help from Jackie Chan!
I'm a big fan of Netflix: both the product and the company. So I wasn't too surprised that they managed to make me give them more money in two ways.
Way 1: 2 subscriptions! Because they invested in a great recommendation engine.
My wife got her own Netflix subscription earlier this year. This isn't particularly surprising since she's in school in Boston and I'm working in NYC, but the reason she got one wasn't just because of the DVD mailings. It was because she wants recommendations based on what she's watched and my movie/TV tastes (I like almost everything) and compulsive rating of things, were making it impossible for her to get good recommendations.
Fast forward to a few months from now when she's done with school and we're living together again: I have a feeling that we'll still need 2 subscriptions; though there's a chance that I might just cancel mine since even though I love rating and discovering content, Netflix's discovery mechanism actually ends up only slightly influencing what I finally watch.
Way 2: I opted into the DVD plan for myself.
There's an art to pricing (in addition to the science that we were taught in school.)
I really like the way they re-priced their 1-DVD plan, and introduced the online-only plan. Here the actual cost and price is less relevant, since most consumers will compare it with the existing plans.
There's a 2 dollar difference, between the online and 1-DVD plan, but I found myself thinking "Oh, its just a dollar more to keep the plan I'm already on...I should just keep it."
Logically, given that the last DVD that I got (an arty Hindi flick) has been in my bag for 3 months, I shouldn't. After all, Netflix lets me
upgrade to the DVD plan anytime I want a DVD (also awesome!)
A couple of weeks ago, while in line waiting to pick up some food I'd just ordered, I overheard two conversations - I don't make a habit of this, but it's hard to not hear things when you leave your phone behind. :-/
My first reactions as I heard both of these conversations was annoyance at the protagonist in one and admiration for the other. Both conversations stayed with me for a while, but it took me some time to realize that was unfair on my part to be annoyed at the person that I was annoyed at.
So about these conversations:
The first was between someone working there and a friend. She was sympathizing with her friend who'd be starting a new job leaving this place. "Oh, it's minimum wage again?", she said with concern in her voice. "Yes, but it's fine", said her friend. The job was closer to where she lived so she thought she'd make about the same and she might get home a little earlier to her daughter some evenings though the hours…
Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.
My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.
She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.
No one did.
The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.
Still nobody moved.
My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn…