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Blockbuster Dissolves While Netflix Prospers: Evolutionary, Psychological, and Religious Explanations

Stashed in: Consumer Trends, Netflix, Content Curation, Publishing, & Media (Industry), Style-Image-Brand, Netflix, Forever Hold Your Peace (Business Death)

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Interesting: Blockbuster vs Netflix from an Evolutionary Biology analysis.

Why is it that one group, or company, of people fail to adapt while another seems to easily ride a powerful wave of change without falling?Drawing on evolutionary biology, I provide a context that distinguishes the two companies.[1]Within this framework, I proffer a possible psychological explanation involving the survival of a human being and the self-perpetuation telos (i.e., goal) of human genes.

whoa, didn't expect it to go here:

I submit that it is no coincidence that Blockbuster and its acquiring parent company—two groups of people, really—had so much trouble letting go an existing business model and associated strategy even after changes in the industry as well as the business environment had already begun to incapacitate the mindset undergirding the model and supporting strategy. Moreover, a mindset framing a strategic business model is itself lodged in a broader attitude not just regarding change, but also the self.

The pull of the self to hold onto itself is based on the unity-of-the-self assumption and the instinctual urge to survive. Survival can include the person’s dignity and how he or she is perceived by others. Where concern for the self is excessive even for the person’s own good, the person’s “field of vision,” or perspective, narrows artificially. As a result, the need for strategic change is apt to be missed. Rather than being oriented to finding a means of attaining a punctuated equilibrium, the person (and persons in the same local culture) finds his or her referent in the status quo—in the self-supporting or enabling “substance” composed of ideology, value, belief, attitude, mentality, and even perspective.

In short, people differ in the degree to which they clutch to whatever appears necessary to one’s self-identity and viability (and ultimately survival). A culture can easily form as a few people who clutch at what they “know to be true” at the expense of being invested in change (not to mention being open to or inclined toward it) share or infect other people close by as though via an air-born pathogen. One such culture tends to gravitate toward another like culture. Hence, Blockbuster and Dish Network. Meanwhile, other cultures form on the basis of the meta-assumption that change is good, even (and especially) when it manifests in a dynamic-oriented rather than static personality. Hence, Netflix.


on some really poignant shit, relating personally...

queue amusing euphemistic ironies amid today's superficial, flesh-celebrating culture:

"Christians may recognize the paradox by thinking of the concept, agape, which is divine self-emptying love. Through grace, the divine love internal to the person manifests as the self’s voluntary self-emptying. This sort of love differs from that of caritas, which is human love. It is directed, or raised up, to eternal moral verities (Plato) or God (Augustine) and fueled by the same energy that manifests as garden-variety lust. After all, hot air rises. Although sex is no stranger to corporate games, it is not, at least from a Christian standpoint, fueling the movement toward change. From an evolutionary standpoint, however, sex (as well as sustenance and shelter) is very much involved in any adaptive inclination. The Christian explanation is in line with what the Buddhists coined as empty your cup.

Whether as a person or group, being focused on emptying one’s cup because only then can it be filled with new fluid is in turn premised on the assumption or belief that the self itself is fluid—like a river continually of water but never the same molecules at the same place. In contrast, the self of a narcissist is like a frozen mill-pond that suffocates any life within."

While very insightful analysis, it also forgets to take into account the very natural/successful strategy of niche markets, ie. deciding to change ONLY if those changes are (believed to be) successful such that the changes will be therefore classified as "adaptation"; more importantly, it makes no direct mention of an evolutionary concept representing "The Long Tail," which serves as the core justification of Netflix's original model.  

But perhaps these are just micro concepts within the broader concept of Self vs Adaptation, and merely needs a merging of the two trains of thought for an expanded, stronger analysis.

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