The Vibe — August 29, 2022
The Battle for Blockbuster
Today, but Not Today
You hear it from time to time, “imagine being the guy who passed on buying Netflix while running Blockbuster”.
Netflix launched on August 29, 1997, and the guy who passed on buying it in 2000 while CEO of Blockbuster was John Antioco. There, the wondering is over.
But hold the Monday-morning quarterbacking before you dig a little deeper.
To start, you gotta understand that John worked his way up through the 7–11 corporate world and has held Chairman and other C-suite positions in as many as 12 companies, including Blockbuster. He didn’t inherit a family company and just willy-nilly make moves. John’s a pro.
If you don’t know the Blockbuster/Netflix story, here’s a quick retelling: In a different time (the year 2000) and under different circumstances (which is important to remember), John made a decision to not buy Netflix.
We all know how the Netflix part of that continues, but what about John?
Netflix didn’t become Netflix overnight, and John’s decision to pass on their purchase wasn’t his “downfall”.
In fact, Antioco’s end at Blockbuster had more to do with a person than a decision. But that’s a whole other story.
The moral of this story is for today’s world: easy on the hindsight judgments. Presentism is a tricky lens through which to judge.
Sure, we’ll continue to poke fun at “the guy who passed on Netflix”, but remember that “guy” has a name, and I doubt he’s concerned with our jabs.
After his departure, Mr. Antioco continued to achieve success. John has held integral leadership positions with companies you’ve never heard of that own companies you see everyday, and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.
But if he only would’ve bought Netflix 🙄 (too soon?)
Stuff Happening Now-ish
🚀 Watch Artemis I — We’re going to the moon (again…finally)
⚾️ Mickey Mantle died in 1995 (RIP). He’s still breaking records.
🍿 $3 movie tickets at thousands of theaters on 9/3.
📱200 megapixel phones are coming. Smart people say that’s a huge deal.