Business Wars

de Wondery

New episodes come out every Monday and Wednesday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers.

Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. 

Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights -- or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.

Episodios

Death Row Records vs Bad Boy Records | Ready to Die | 3

por Wondery

In the 70 and 80s, the founders of Death Row and Bad Boy are coming of age. In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton, a young Dre is spinning records before he even learns to read. Dre desperately wants to be a hip-hop DJ, but Los Angeles barely has a hip-hop scene. In New York, on the other hand, rap is popping off. And an 18 year old called Sean “Puffy” Combs has B.I.G. plans for the Big Apple.

They don’t know it yet, but their struggles and successes have already begun to shape the egos and sounds of their multi-million dollar tug of war.

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Death Row Records vs Bad Boy Records | Interns & Intimidation | 2

por Wondery

This episode contains explicit language.

In the 70 and 80s, the founders of Death Row and Bad Boy are coming of age. In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton, a young Dre is spinning records before he even learns to read. Dre desperately wants to be a hip-hop DJ, but Los Angeles barely has a hip-hop scene. In New York, on the other hand, rap is popping off. And an 18 year old called Sean “Puffy” Combs has B.I.G. plans for the Big Apple.

They don’t know it yet, but their struggles and successes have already begun to shape the egos and sounds of their multi-million dollar tug of war.

Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/businesswars.


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Introducing: 9/12

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How did 9/11 the day become 9/11 the idea? That question drives award-winning host Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Running From COPS, The Line) to shift his focus to what happened on 9/12, and every day after that. 9/12 is a poignant, surprising, and surprisingly funny seven episode series about people who wake up on 9/12 having to navigate a new, radically altered world. A teenager gets caught up in an out-of-control conspiracy theory that he helped start. A Pakistani business owner finds hundreds of his Brooklyn neighbors are disappearing. Joke-writers at The Onion must figure out just how soon is “too soon”? 9/12 asks what it all means. We know what happened on 9/11. But what happened on 9/12 to alter our memory and our perspective forever? 

Listen to 9/12: wondery.fm/9_12_BusinessWars

All seven episodes of 9/12 are available to stream now on Amazon Music or Wondery+. Episodes will release weekly everywhere starting September 8th.

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Death Row Records vs Bad Boy Records | Life After Death | 1

por Wondery

This episode contains explicit language.

In the 1990s, the landscape of American music was changed forever by two titans of hip hop: Death Row and Bad Boy. The rivalry between these iconic rap labels would go on to become as legendary as it was notorious. But in these early days? It’s all good.

Death Row Records, the West Coast company, is already the hottest label in gangsta rap. But now that they’ve signed mega-star Tupac Shakur, they’re poised to dominate the industry.

New York-based Bad Boy Records finds an answer to Death Row in The Notorious B.I.G, also known as Biggie Smalls. But first, founder Sean “Puffy” Combs has to convince the young rapper to evolve his sound to reach the masses.

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Summer Food Frenzy: Best of Business Wars Daily

por Wondery

Summer is a time for barbecues, picnics, and maybe even a stiff drink. When it’s warm out, the business of food really starts booming. That’s why we decided to bring you a roundup of some of our favorite recent food stories from our weekday news podcast, Business Wars Daily.

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The Birth of Vegas | Can Sin City Survive? | 7

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From a turn-of-the-century railroad stopover to a glamorous entertainment oasis, the evolution of Las Vegas has been one for the books. Casino moguls replaced crime bosses as the kings of the castle, giving "Sin City" the more family-friendly vibe we see today. Although the mob is out, more challenges have moved in — a global pandemic, a statewide drought and competition from other markets are giving the Las Vegas gaming industry a run for its money, raising some questions about its future.

 For more, we spoke with Howard Stutz, an award-winning journalist at the Nevada Independent who's covered casinos and gaming for more than 30 years. He's sharing what the Strip was like yesterday, how it's faring today and what it might look like tomorrow.

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The Birth of Vegas | Gambling on the Future | 6

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Sin City shapeshifts from its long-held ranking as the supreme adult playground on the planet to a bizarre family-friendly amusement park. Steve Wynn sets a redesign trend that emphasizes Vegas visitors who come for things other than gambling. It’s a world of boutiques, restaurants and Disney-esque rides for the kiddies.

But it’s a gamble that won’t pay off. As the new century kicks in, ever-changing Las Vegas goes through yet another attitude adjustment as Wynn and Kerkorian battle to the end. The city suffers a variety of tragic blows, and Wynn heads for a fall from grace no one could have predicted. It’s all part of the remarkable, continuing business growth in a city that is like no other.

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The Birth of Vegas | Sharks In the Lobby | 5

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The mob’s longtime stranglehold on Las Vegas is weakening as the feds press down harder than ever. Just a few years ago, no one built anything on the Strip without gangster involvement. Now, as the late ‘80s unfold into the ‘90s, rising Vegas mega-developer Steve Wynn begins his rise to battle Kirk Kerkorian as the new kings of the Strip, and they don’t need mob money or influence to do it.

Wynn opens what will become the most financially successful casino resort in the world. And it’s financed not by dark underworld funding, but by Wall Street as the corporate sector steps in to knock the mob from the world it created.

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The Birth of Vegas | Casino Combat | 4

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Vegas is getting a bad rap in the press, thanks to the increasing spotlight on the mob’s control. The legitimate powers in the halls of Nevada government need something—or someone--to spread a veneer of respectability over Sin City.

That someone arrives. He’s one of the most wealthy, powerful men on the planet. And he’s also a loose cannon. As far as new governor Paul Laxalt is concerned, that’s not a deal breaker.

And rich developer Kirk Kerkorian has plans to build the biggest hotel on the planet. Plans that herald a new wave of building on the Vegas Strip.

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The Birth of Vegas | Nevada Doubles Down | 3

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The mob faces its biggest threat yet when Nevada governor Grant Sawyer wants control of the state’s top-grossing industry—gambling. The attack includes a strictly-enforced gangster blacklist to keep hoods out of their own casinos. Things get worse when Attorney General Robert Kennedy mounts his own war against the Syndicate, aided by the FBI.

But as the mob and the law battle it out, tourism gets a massive boost when Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack comes to town. They define a swinging image of Sin City that proves unshakable.

Meanwhile, the mob is down but not out, hoping the incoming governor will ease the legal scrutiny. But their hopes are not going to be fulfilled.

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Wondery Presents - Dr. Death: Miracle Man

por Wondery

Paolo is a smart and handsome surgeon, renowned for his ability to perform surgeries that transform his patients’ lives. When television producer Benita covers him for a story, he’ll transform her life too, but not in the ways she expects. As Benita crosses professional lines to be with him, she learns how far Paolo will go to protect his secrets. And halfway around the world, four doctors at a prestigious medical institute make shocking discoveries of their own that call everything into question. From Wondery comes Season Three of the hit podcast, Dr. Death. MIRACLE MAN tells the story of a globe-trotting surgeon who seduces the medical world, and sweeps one woman off her feet. Hosted by Laura Beil.

 

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The Birth of Vegas | The Feds Get Fed Up | 2

por Wondery

Backing from a legitimate Mormon banker creates major funding for the Vegas mob infrastructure. The underworld is coming out on top in Sin City. But there’s a challenger out for blood: the United States government.

A U.S. senator launches an attack on mob-run gaming, and brings his third degree hearings to town. It’s not the only problem in Vegas. Segregation rears its ugly head, but entertainer Harry Belafonte fights back.

As a destination for all manner of illicit, adult good times, Vegas is firmly on the map. But that may not be a good thing.

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The Birth of Vegas | Sunrise on Sin City | 1

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In 1931, the massive Hoover Dam project brings thousands of workers to Nevada. They have paychecks and nowhere to spend them. The state legalizes gambling, setting a small, dusty town called Las Vegas on its way to becoming an unsurpassed phenomenon.

The mob realizes there are untold riches to be made in gaming, and by the late 1940s, gangsters Meyer Lansky and Benjamin Siegel are opening casinos on the fledgling Strip.

For the mob, the situation is a dream come true. Gambling is legal, prostitution is ignored, and local politicians are either for sale or agreeable. And best of all, there’s virtually no competition.

But that won’t last.

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Häagen-Dazs vs Ben & Jerry's | Big Chunks O'Love | 1

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It's the '70s and best buddies Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are about to open an ice cream parlor. These hungry hippies only want to have fun making ice cream. But as their business grows, they're going to find themselves on a collision course with the heavyweight champ of gourmet ice cream: Häagen-Dazs.

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | Does Cuba Still Love Havana Club? | 7

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For Cubans, rum is more than just a drink. It's become a symbol of identity, culture and politics, and each bottle has a lot to say — especially when it's labeled "Havana Club." 

As Bacardi and Pernod Ricard battle it out in court to determine the true owner of this traditional Cuban liquor brand, there is a larger cultural and geopolitical conversation unfolding. 

To dive into this discussion, we spoke to Professor Lillian Guerra, a Cuban-American historian and Director of the Cuba Program at the University of Florida. She talks about Cuban economics, culture and policy as they relate to Bacardi, Pernod Ricard and Havana Club — and she's revealing her take on who has the real stuff.

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | Last Call | 6

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Pernod Ricard believes it’s just a matter of time before Cuba’s embargo is dropped. It dramatically expands its distilleries in Cuba for the moment when it can delug the US market with its Havanista rum. But politics will make this anything but a straight shot.

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | Rum Punch Politics | 5

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Bacardi manages to best Pernod Ricard by using both the courts and Capitol Hill to keep the embargo in place against Pernod Ricard’s rum of the same name, Havana Club. But as relations between the U.S. and Cuba warm, negotiations between Havana and Washington begin. On Castro’s wish list: the right to sell its Havana Club in the U.S.

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | The Liquor Lobby | 4

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Bacardi has one-upped Pernod Ricard by deploying a U.S. trade embargo to block imports of Pernod Ricard and Cuba’s rum. So Castro announces that Cuba will make copycat products of American companies, ignoring their U.S. trademarks.

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | The Bat Out of Hell | 3

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Bacardi is now America’s favorite rum, but two former French spirits rivals  -- Ricard and Pernod -- have joined forces to challenge Bacardi. And to gain the upper hand in security rights to Havana Club, the French company turns to Bacardi’s arch enemy for help: Fidel Castro.

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | Hunter or Prey | 2

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Before they were billion-dollar behemoths owning many of today’s biggest booze brands, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard were three tiny, family-run companies. Pernod makes absinthe so well it became synonymous with the substance that causes a frenzy in Europe before being banned. Ricard steps in with an absinthe substitute and causes its own craze before merging with Pernod. Meanwhile, Bacardi gets enormously rich and fantastically famous at an odd time for a distiller — Prohibition. All that success, though, puts both companies on a collision course over a Cuban-made rum called Havana Club. 

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Bacardi vs Pernod Ricard | Rum and Revolution | 1

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When family-run rum maker Bacardi was kicked out of Cuba in 1960, it vowed to go to extremes to get revenge on Fidel Castro. So when French spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard cuts a deal with Castro’s government to share in the fortunes of Cuban-made Havana Club rum, Bacardi declares war on Pernod Ricard, too.

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Encore: Southwest vs American Airlines | Free LUV | 6

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Thanks to deregulation, no-frills knock offs of Southwest take to the skies like crows. About 120 airlines have gone out of business or filed for bankruptcy since the industry was deregulated in 1978.

American’s SABRE system optimizes...everything. It manages ticket pricing so flights are always full, and American is building new hubs and terminals. Meanwhile, Southwest company culture is shifting from sex appeal to backyard barbecue vibe. Is it enough to attract families to fly?

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Wondery Presents Business Movers | General Motors: Back from the Dead

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Behind every successful business is a story. From Wondery and Lindsay Graham comes Business Movers, a weekly podcast that brings you the true stories of the brilliant but all-too-human businesspeople who risked it all. On the latest season, you'll hear the remarkable story of how General Motors crawled out of the grave and is now in position to lead the car industry into the future. How'd they pull off the comeback? The answer was Mary Barra, a woman who rose from engineer to executive in an industry typically dominated by men. She knew General Motors from the inside out. Mary would do anything to restore the company to power, but it would be the hardest fight of her life. This is just a preview of General Motors: Back from the Dead from Business Movers, but you can listen to the full episode at wondery.fm/businessmoversGM.

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Encore: Southwest vs American Airlines | The Cult of Herb | 5

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Everyone loves Herb Kelleher—even FAA regulators. The onetime corporate counsel-turned-CEO is coming into his own at the helm of Southwest. But his latest challenge is coming up with a way to skirt the FAA’s pesky “slot” system, designed to limit air traffic by rationing takeoffs and landings. Kelleher has a business to run. So he embarks on a crazy plan to snag a few extra slots for Southwest. It may not work, but one thing’s certain: it will be a whole lot of fun. 

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Encore: Southwest vs American Airlines | The Darling of Deregulation | 4

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As deregulation dawns, Southwest Airlines’ founder and CEO are locked in a power struggle. In the middle is Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s corporate attorney. And after 18 months serving as a punching bag for the company’s top brass, he’s had enough. 

But as Southwest deals with a succession crisis, American Airlines is facing another emergency. It needs money, fast. The company is cash-poor after investing in its proprietary online reservation system, SABRE. The situation is so dire CEO Al Casey turns to a drastic option — moving the company’s headquarters from its homebase in New York City to Dallas. 

Just as American is getting a financial lift, Southwest takes a nosedive. Deregulation has the company eyeing expansion routes, but the powers that be will do anything to stop it. 

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Encore: Southwest vs American Airlines | Aviation Cyber Wars | 3

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The computer age is on the horizon, and American Airlines has a secret weapon: SABRE. Sure, the airline is top of the heap under the current pen-and-paper reservation system — the one where travel agents use a massive phonebook to look up flights, then call individual airlines to book a ticket. But they’re tired of playing phone tag. The American Society of Travel Agents has plans to roll out a new electronic system, one that could force American to lose its unofficial preferred status. The company has to get its system to market first — and its leaders have to convince the travel agencies to get onboard. 

But there’s a much bigger threat looming on the horizon, one that could give a big boost to upstart rivals like Southwest Airlines. Deregulation is coming, and when it does it will change everything. 

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Encore: Southwest vs American Airlines | Dogfight Over Dallas | 2

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Baniff and Southwest battled in court for domination over the skies. Southwest came out on top for a little while, but Baniff pushed back with prices Southwest just couldn't beat. The only way Southwest could fight back was to give the mostly male, mostly businessmen clientele something they couldn't refuse: free booze. For the first time ever, Southwest is in the black. With Baniff tamed, there's more turbulence. This time, it's a national airline. American Airlines is here to play.

Please note, this episode originally aired in 2018.

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Encore: Southwest vs American Airlines | Clearing the Runway | 1

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In Texas in the 1960s, Rollin King had a crazy idea. He wanted to create a no-frills airline service that served San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. All he and his lawyer had to do was convince the Federal Regulations Bureau that they had no jurisdiction on flights that never left Texas. Of course getting Southwest off the ground would have been a lot easier if they had any planes…

Please note, this episode originally aired in 2018.

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Introducing: One Hundred Percent with Marcus Lemonis

por Wondery

One Hundred Percent with Marcus Lemonis is a little bit of a masterclass, a cocktail party and a Sunday drive all wrapped up into 30 minutes with an audience invited to listen in. Marcus values family, community, character and ethics and helps small business owners who need his guidance and investment. His process is very personal and provides valuable insight through his ability to identify both problems and solutions. For years he has transformed the trajectory of businesses and the lives of its founders. Listeners will get to enjoy fun and unfiltered conversations centered around mentoring entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs that Marcus invites onto the show are creating products or services that will impact the world for the better. In each episode, listeners will meet the most exciting generation of business owners, including Charles Barkley, Kathy Ireland, Al Roker and Nicole Miller, and all the innovative ventures coming to and disrupting the market. Marcus talks to CEOs, entrepreneurs, inventors and all kinds of new leaders in the only way he knows how, it gets personal. They also talk about something successful people rarely reveal, what they need to take their success to the next level. Marcus and the guest explore that question in an effort to solve that puzzle..

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Food Delivery Wars | Can Food Apps Ever Deliver Profits? | 5

por Wondery

In the wake of the unexpected jolt of the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery app businesses are looking for stability and profitability any way they can find it.  With Uber’s purchase of Postmates and DoorDash buying Caviar, consolidation has become all the rage. 

And the apps are diversifying into prescription fulfillment, groceries, and third-party logistics. But the razor-thin profit margins, rising costs of doing business, and withering relationships with labor and restaurants are taking their toll.

We’re joined by Preetika Rana, a technology reporter at The Wall Street Journal to discuss how these app companies plan to be the last one standing in the food fight.

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Introducing: Business Wars

por Wondery

Netflix-HBO. Nike-Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet. Sometimes your attention. Sometimes just the fun of beating the other guy. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.

Netflix vs Blockbuster - Sudden Death | 1

por Wondery

This is Episode 1 of an 8-part series on the brutal business battle between Netflix and Blockbuster, and later HBO.

It all started around 1997, with a guy named Marc Randolph and his mathematician friend Reed Hastings. Randolph and Hastings knew they’d have to take on Blockbuster, but what they didn’t anticipate was that their business model would take on network television and eventually change the entire movie industry.

This was an 8-year total war that left innumerable casualties in its wake: thousands of hollowed out buildings and economic losses in the billions.


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Netflix vs Blockbuster - Origins | 2

por Wondery

After Hastings pleaded with Antioco to buy Blockbuster Online, Antioco agreed to present Hasting’s proposal to the board. What he didn’t tell him was that he was pushing the board to reject the offer so Netflix would wither and die. Meanwhile, Netflix was struggling to gain legitimacy in Hollywood. Netflix quickly realized that before it could take on the Hollywood gods, it would have to slay Blockbuster.


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Netflix vs Blockbuster - Dirty Tricks | 3

por Wondery

Thinking like your enemy is the best way to beat them, and during the war, Blockbuster tried every trick in the books to get inside Netflix. Sometimes they succeeded - sending “housewives” into warehouses as spies, and sometimes things didn’t go as planned. But when Blockbuster did deliver, they delivered big. They threw everything they had at Netflix, but the war raged on.


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Netflix vs Blockbuster - The Digital Divide | 4

por Wondery

You know that expression “content is king”? Well it turns out, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a hard-working algorithm that burrows into customer habits and viewing patterns. With that, Netflix had a clear upper hand on Blockbuster.

That, and the fact that Netflix targeted this new “streaming” technology that in 2007, no one really believed in. Soon they were on top of the world.

But it’s dangerous being on top. If you trip, you have a long way to fall.


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