What We Can Learn From Netflix’s Failed Social Strategy and Miles' Universal Transportation Rewards Program


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 28, 2023

4 min read


What We Can Learn From Netflix’s Failed Social Strategy and Miles' Universal Transportation Rewards Program

In the world of business, there are countless examples of both success and failure. Companies often try new strategies and ideas, some of which work brilliantly while others fall flat. In this article, we will take a closer look at two different companies, Netflix and Miles, and explore what lessons we can learn from their experiences.

Netflix, the popular streaming service, is known for its vast library of movies and TV shows. In 2010, they attempted to implement a social strategy that would allow users to share their viewing habits with friends. The idea was that friends could recommend movies to each other, creating a network effect and making movie suggestions more personalized. However, Netflix soon realized that this strategy was not as successful as they had hoped.

One of the reasons for this failure was the inherent diversity of movie tastes. People have unique preferences when it comes to movies, and what one person may love, another may hate. Netflix failed to recognize this and assumed that their users would want to share their viewing habits with friends. In reality, no one wants to reveal all the movies they have watched, especially if they are embarrassed by their choices.

Another reason for Netflix's failure was the bias that clouded human judgment. The company became too focused on small wins and proxy metrics, rather than evaluating the social strategy as a whole. They believed that if they could just get a certain percentage of members to engage with the feature, it would be successful. However, they failed to recognize that the idea itself was flawed and would never be big enough to make a significant impact.

This is where the concept of sunk cost comes into play. Sunk cost refers to the idea that once resources (time, money, effort) have been invested in a project, they cannot be recovered. In the case of Netflix, they were so attached to the social strategy that they found it difficult to let go, even when it became clear that it was not working. This is a common trap that many businesses fall into – they become emotionally invested in a project and ignore the signs that it is not viable.

So, what can we learn from Netflix's failed social strategy? Firstly, it is important to spend time evaluating an idea, even if the CEO or other high-ranking executives support it. Small wins can cloud judgment, and it is crucial to ask yourself if the project is going to be big enough to matter in the long run. Secondly, it is essential to ignore sunk cost. Just because you have invested time and resources into a project does not mean that it is worth pursuing if it is not delivering the desired results. Lastly, be open to better ideas and be willing to kill projects that are not working properly. It is important to temper your pride in ownership and establish clear objectives for any new strategy or initiative.

Now, let's shift our focus to Miles, a universal transportation rewards program. Miles aims to solve the gap in the market where mobility, despite being a universal behavior, largely goes unrewarded. The company offers users the opportunity to earn rewards for their travel activities by partnering with brands and local merchants. This creates a new currency and marketplace where users can be presented with relevant, local rewards in the moment.

One of the key insights behind Miles is that travel is an extremely fragmented industry. Many travel startups struggle to engage users because travel activities are infrequent and disjointed. However, Miles has found a way to overcome this by leveraging predictive artificial intelligence. Their AI technology, known as 'Near Future', applies machine learning and AI algorithms to help brands, cities, and transportation providers discover, engage, and deliver value to customers while they are mobile and at rest.

By analyzing anonymous data from users' travel habits, Miles is able to tailor personalized reward offerings for their target audience. This data-driven approach allows brands and merchants to better understand their customers' near-future needs and deliver relevant rewards in real-time. This not only enhances customer engagement but also improves the lifetime value of customers and builds loyalty.

The concept of predictive AI is fascinating, as it raises questions about how accurate these predictions can be based on close-distance data. While we may be skeptical about the precision of travel predictions, it is intriguing to think about how Miles is able to provide such insights into people's travel patterns and preferences.

In conclusion, both Netflix's failed social strategy and Miles' universal transportation rewards program offer valuable lessons for businesses. Netflix teaches us the importance of evaluating ideas carefully, ignoring sunk cost, and being open to better ideas. On the other hand, Miles demonstrates the power of leveraging predictive AI and using data-driven insights to enhance customer engagement and deliver personalized rewards. By incorporating these lessons into our own business strategies, we can increase our chances of success and create innovative solutions that meet the needs of our customers.

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