Netflix Trading Immersion Offers Software and Developer Lessons for Any Business

Comment: Smart companies should make software a core strength and offer paved roads to their developers. Matt Asay provides more details.

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Image: NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe Stock

It has become a truism to declare, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has put it, that “every company is a software company” that it is easy to forget about software, while essential, it is not all that most companies companies will do. Or as analyst Benedict Evans has written of Netflix: “The technology has to be good, but it’s still about TV.”

Technology as a lever

Netflix has seen its share price fall by 75% from its all-time high just a few months ago. For the first time in 10 years, he lost subscribers: 200,000 of them. People smarter than me will find reasons, but here’s mine: There hasn’t been something on Netflix I wanted to watch in years (the new season of “Stranger Things” is a big exception to that rule). As NBC Universal, Disney, Apple and others launched their own streaming services, they pulled content from Netflix. What remains, at least for me, and apparently for others, is simply not worth the increased subscription price Netflix charges.

Which, to Evans’ point, has to do with television, not technology.

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Thinking about Netflix’s challenges, Evans continued: “All the questions that matter are questions from the television industry. How many shows, in what genres, at what level of quality?… These are not Silicon Valley questions, they are Los Angeles and New York questions.”

This does not mean that the technology does not matter. It does, but it’s the ante to compete for TV subscribers. This brings us to your business.

Developers, developers, developers

What’s true for Netflix is ​​probably true for your business: If you’re not already a software business, you need to become one. Or, rather, the software should become a core strength rather than a flaw.

That’s the only way to fend off levers from Netflix-like companies hoping to compete in your market. This means, as I’ve argued before, that every company must figure out how to hire, retain, and train developers.

SEE: Business leaders as developers: The rise of no-code and low-code software (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Smart companies are figuring out how to offer paved roads to their developers. Like Netflix, they are creating self-service development platforms using Kubernetes and other technologies to provide freedom across barriers, allowing developers room to innovate on their behalf. And when developers are in short supply (which is increasingly the case for everyone, given the demand), they turn to low-code platforms to effectively recruit employees beyond IT to contribute development.

Those developers aren’t going to transform a bank or retailer into a software company per se, but they can make sure the software doesn’t become a reason for customers to go elsewhere.

Disclosure: I work for MongoDB, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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