Scripting News for 1/13/2008

The place on the Net for Flix 

They are running for the hills but the end of the trail is Little Big Horn, where Custer made his last stand, and lost his life. Of course the Indians didn’t do too well either.

AP: “Girding for a potential threat from Apple Inc., online DVD rental service Netflix Inc. is lifting its limits on how long most subscribers can watch movies and television shows over high-speed Internet connections.”

Please oh Netflix strategy gods, get a copy of Marketing Warfare and read it.

Netflix owns what used to be a great hill, for some it might still be one, the movies-by-mail hill.

They obviously feel they need to be in the Internet movie business, and in that they have a huge head start that they aren’t using. They are being too damned fair to their competitors.

Give the users the ability to grant other sites access to their movie ratings. Build Netflix into the social network of movies. You’re already there, but you need to make every other social network connect up to Netflix. You need to be the hub for movie-watching on the net. You’re lucky that so far that’s what you are. But soon you will have to fight for that too, and then it will be too late to try to force your competitors to connect to your site. They will have data that you want. Then the nature of the negotiating will change. Right now you have the data. Use that power!

Make the users everyone think of Netflix as the place on the Net for Flix.

How Hillary hit a nerve 

She may or may not have been acting, but either way, when she sighed in New Hampshire and almost broke out in tears, and said how she feared that our country was heading from a bad place to a much worse place, she came close to expressing how many of us feel. Close but not quite there, because unlike the rest of us, she has a chance of being able to do something about it. The rest of us, Republican or Democrat, are going to have to sit by, and hope (there’s Obama’s word) that someone else can straighten out the mess, and really means it when they say that’s what they want to do.

Meanwhile…

On Twitter, a reminder from Republican diehards from the south, of the supposed discourse we’ve had over the last five years.

“Cut and run.”

“Micromanage.”

It’s all positioning, appealing to fear. Of course I don’t want to cut and run. Nor do I want to micromanage.

Can we macromanage, or do we have to shut up and watch?

Our president used the term World War III, he actually spoke the words, as an optional American-started thing. This is the horror that makes us feel like HIllary did that day in New Hampshire.

In the sixties, the hardhats used to yell “America love it or leave it” to protestors. They had no clue about the country they were defending. Its strength is that you can love it, disagree with the people who run it, and not leave it. Even better, come Election Day, you can overthrow them, in a bloodless coup, and march down Pennsyvlania Avenue to celebrate. It’s all right there in the Constitution. (But you don’t get to hang the guy you overthrew.)

Watching the Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, SC on Thurs night, the loutness of the Republicans was striking. First, the way they shouted down Ron Paul, who like HIllary, raised questions that most of us have. Why are we in Iraq? They laughed when he asked. Not only didn’t any of them answer it, but none of them had the presence to realize that the majority of Americans who wonder the same thing might be offended by their laughter. I certainly was. When did dismissing an opinion you don’t like become a proper response for someone seeking our vote? Any one of them could have said “I may not agree with Ron Paul, but please let him speak, and let him have our respect.” Any of the others could have closed the deal in that moment. None of them had the guts to do it.

I also was struck by the gungho rhetoric about going to war with Iran. It was like one of those war movies where the young guys rush to sign up wanting to teach the Kaiser a lesson, or the Commies or whoever the demon du jour is. The movies almost always teach that war is hell, by the time the war is actually underway everyone wishes it were over. The way wars start is with spit and vinegar, vim and vigor, talk of pride and honor, but they quickly devolve to misery, futility, death, devastation. My generation learned that early-on, with Vietnam. I don’t remember anyone thinking we should be there. I missed being drafted by luck. I thought for sure that my generation would never choose to go to war. I was wrong. But I didn’t imagine that, after creating such a quagmire in Iraq, which we still haven’t extracted ourselves from, we would be so quick to conjure up another futile war.

War with Iran is a crazy, crazy idea. All evidence is that Iran has actually been trying to work with us since 9/11. Even if they weren’t, as Ron Paul says, they’re a third world country, no threat to us. That the Republicans would contemplate war with Iran, with such colorful gunghoisms (gates of hell, introduce them to their virgins), this is where HIllary hit the nerve. Could we be in for another four years of lunacy? Will those who object be called unpatriotic?

Could a Republican actually win this year? Who thought Bush could actually be re-elected at this time in 2004?

I heard on one of the Sunday talk shows that the reason Republicans don’t like Ron Paul is they think he’s anti-American. I’ve listened to him, if you take him at face-value, which I do, his ideas seem radical, unimplementable, but un-American? He’s fervently pro-American. He says we should fix our own house, it’s falling apart, instead of trying to control others (which doesn’t work). How would we feel if our country were occupied by foreign troops? Would we do everything we can to expel them? (Of course.) Why should we expect any other country to be different? I’ve been saying the same thing since our invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ron Paul has the guts to say the madness is mad. He’s the only one in either party who does that, though Obama comes close, and in her New Hampshire moment Hillary did too.

I want someone to win my vote by telling me how good I am, not how bad the other guy is. I see through it, I know the Dems don’t want to micromanage, they don’t wake up in the morning looking for ways to lose. I know they’re not cowards. All this sloganeering has done is make us weary of ourselves. I want to get started fixing things, if not now — when? That’s the nerve that Hillary hit.

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