Netflix’s killer app

Like many households, I joined Netflix Australia and Stan as soon as they became available. After a couple of months, even through Stan appears to have more content hours, I dropped Stan and upgraded my subscription with Netflix from $8.99 to $11.99 a month (this gets me HD views).


It’s because Netflix understood pretty early on that it is pretty pointless having thousands of hours of content when your viewers don’t know which one will suit them. On Stan, I was drowning in content and found it hard to choose between hundreds of titles I’d not heard of. But on Netflix, every time you rate a TV show (1-5 stars), movie or documentary on Netflix, it knows a bit more about what you like and indicates on new shows how much it thinks you will like them. Its matching algorithm takes into account what millions of other users have indicated as well as what you state your tastes are.

So far, not only has the rating system been pretty accurate, I’ve also watched a bunch of documentaries and movies that I would not have considered and have really enjoyed them. And because Netflix keeps helpfully throwing up a host of shows every time you’ve watched one, my list of shows to watch keeps growing.

Add into that the quality of its original content, It’s not surprising that Netflix has grown to become one of the biggest and most loved media companies in the world.

Device addiction

I admit it, I’m addicted to my smartphone.

The impulse to pick it up and check for emails, look through my rss feeds, check out facebook, fact-check some random thing or put a bit more time into a game has pretty much taken over most of my waking life. It’s not too bad at work as I have stuff to do but any free time in between is spent looking at some square inches of LCD.

There has to be much more to life than this – after all seven or so years ago (I was an early adopter), I didn’t have a smartphone.

Continue reading “Device addiction”


Currently, the most frequently used programs on my PC are XP (but only the basic standalone functions), Word, Excel, Firefox, Thunderbird, WinAmp, a music encoding type application, a DVD viewing program and a local firewall and virus checking product.

And that is it.

Except for XP, Word and Excel, all the rest are open source. And I can easily substitute Word and Excel with OpenOffice as well as move away from XP to one of the many Linux distributions out there. Even if I choose to stay with MS Office, I cant see I would need any additional functionality from new versions. Currently, I hardly use more than 20% of the functionality anyway.

Basically except for security patches, I cant really see any reason why I need to upgrade the software I use.

I may upgrade hardware – specifically hard-drives and maybe a bit more RAM but so far, if I dont upgrade XP and Office, I wont really need a faster processor / motherboard. The performance of my 2.5 year old 1.7 GHz / 256 Mb PC is more than satisfactory.

So conceivably, unless I do something silly like start playing games or vendors find that I need some cool new functionality which requires more processing power, I think I may have reached my software/hardware stable state.

If this is true for myself, it’s probably going to be true for a substantial portion of the market as well. Which means in turn that if I was a software vendor (like Microsoft) I might start getting a little worried about how I’m going to sell more software. And the same for hardware vendors but at least, for them hardware does wear out unlike software.