Similar to this point, Mitch’s third lesson is to listen to your customers. This might seem like a fairly obvious point, but a lot of businesses fail to ask for, and listen to, customer complaints and opinions rather than just their feedback to specific questions.
“Innovation is about solving problems and you won’t know what these problems are unless you’re actively listening to your customers. I have learned more about the business and more about what’s going wrong by sitting in customer service than I ever would in my team,” says Mitch.
Lastly, you have to come to terms with the fact that when you create innovation you’re going to make mistakes and sometimes things won’t work out the way you thought they would.
“Persevering through this is what leads you to success,” says Mitch.
Netflix has fostered a culture of trying new things, failing, getting back up and trying something new. For example, Netflix first attempted to create original content in 2006 with its film production unit Red Envelope, which Mitch described as a failure that was shut down after only two years. However, the company didn’t give up on the idea of producing content and tried again under its own banner in 2012, finding success with its original series ‘House of Cards’. Netflix is now a major producer of content and in 2018 received the most Emmy nominations of any network3.
Mitch says it’s this willingness to learn from failure that has led the company to some of its biggest successes.
“We don’t give up after failures, instead we look at how we can do things in a different way. That can be difficult because sometimes in the beginning you do want to give up. You try these new things because it makes sense to you but then the customers won’t accept it.
“But you can’t be afraid to make mistakes and you can’t be afraid to keep trying if it fails in the beginning. You have to keep persevering and not be afraid of taking that bold, innovative step.”
All these lessons lead back to the overarching themes of embracing change and being open to new ways of doing things, which Mitch says are at the heart of digital transformation.
“The type of thinking that dismisses ideas is the type that destroys innovation and you get disrupted when you think this way.”
You want your business to be a Netflix not a Blockbuster and that means embracing the disruption.
1 Rodriguez, A 2018, 'Twenty years ago, Netflix.com launched. The movie business has never been the same', Quartz, viewed 11 July, <https://qz.com/1245933/twenty-years-ago-netflix-com-launched-the-movie-business-has-never-been-the-same/>.
2 Watson, A 2019, 'Netflix - Statistics & Facts', Statista, viewed 11 July, <https://www.statista.com/topics/842/netflix/>.
3 Lynch, J 2018, 'Netflix broke HBO's 17-year streak by earning the most 2018 Emmy nominations of any network', Business Insider, viewed 11 July, <https://www.businessinsider.com.au/netflix-earns-most-2018-emmy-nominations-network-ends-hbos-17-year-streak-2018-7?r=US&IR=T>.