The founders of Netflix, Web-based training company, and author of In the (Google-)Plex . . . all interviewed.
Yes, I’m shilling for Charlie Rose again.
1. Reed Hastings founded Netflix in 1997 and is its CEO. He reports that Netflix continues to move away from mail delivery of plastic DVD discs to on-demand streaming of video via the Internet. They’re also slowly moving toward content production — not just delivery. He reports that they have 23.4 million subscribers, and a 70 percent growth rate(!).
Mr. Hastings claims that Microsoft’s Windows 7 is wonderful, and is now the best selling operating system ever. I take this with a large grain of salt, since he sits on Microsoft’s board of directors, and many of those copies that filled up channel pipelines aren’t actually being used.
2. Salman Khan is focusing on providing web-based training. Until now, he’s working outside traditional academia, but wants his Khan Academy training courses to gain the same standing as more traditional teaching methods. I liked what he had to say and think that he’s moving in the right direction regarding the need for easy to understand instruction even for complex subjects. (See my recent article, It’s time to rationalize school curricula.) Bill Gates told Parade Magazine that he uses Khan Academy when he homeschools his own children.
Mr. Khan views Khan Academy as filling in gaps in students’ understanding.
3. Steven Levy seems like an old friend. (I’ve never met him; I’ve just read his books and articles.) His 1980s book, Hackers, is a classic. His most recent book, In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives is about Google. This is a broad subject: Google’s annual revenue is 30 billion dollars — all from advertising(!). He reports that Larry Page’s recent return to the CEO position is intended to continue innovation. Google continues to allow its employees to use 20 percent of their time (one day per week) to pursue subjects that interest them — not necessarily Google. Larry and Sergey are both products of Montessori schooling, which encourages original thought — and according to Mr. Levy they both prize creativity within Google. The job ahead for Larry Page is to keep Google agile and innovative, even though it’s now a huge company.
Charlie asked Mr. Levy about Google’s ambivalent relationship with China, and its policies regarding user privacy: this is fascinating.
I recommend all three of these interviews. (All 3 images are from http://charlierose.com.)
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695