Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Reed Hastings Is Just Like You — He Complains About the Cable Guys on Facebook

Last fall, Reed Hastings took to Facebook to field his customers’ complaints. Now he’s using Facebook to complain to Comcast.

Here’s a screenshot of the Netflix CEO’s most recent post, where he gripes that Comcast won’t let its subscribers watch HBO Go — the pay channel’s “TV Everywhere” app — via an Xbox 360, and goes on to talk about the way the cable provider enforces its broadband usage cap.

Both of these complaints are the kind of thing that most people don’t care about, but vex a certain kind of technically savvy user. They are important, though, because they underscore some of the tensions between programmers and providers that have made “TV Everywhere” more conceptual than it ought to be, nearly three years after Time Warner and Comcast announced a grand launch plan.

Still, this is one of those stories where the form matters more than the content — it’s just interesting to see the head of a public company handling company business on Facebook. Then again, Hastings happens to be on Facebook’s board of directors.

Also note that Hastings doesn’t just gripe about Comcast on Facebook. Here he is a couple days ago, praising the company’s new Xbox app, and complimenting/wooing Comcast executive Sam Schwartz. And then he gripes, just a tiny bit, about Streampix, Comcast’s sorta-kinda Netflix-killer.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work