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Code/red: Netflix Overtakes HBO in Facebook Gloats

Plus, Supreme Court decision prediction algorithms, Mark Zuckerberg's employee motivation techniques and another dumb drone accident.


  • Nvidia and Zynga report earnings.

Netflix: Like HBO With a Seventh of the Profits

Back in February, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos said that the company’s goal is “to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” Six months later, it appears well on its way. Netflix now has more subscription revenue than HBO. According to CEO Reed Hastings, it collected $1.146 billion to HBO’s $1.141 billion last quarter. A noteworthy milestone for the company, though one that comes with a major caveat: HBO’s profits last quarter were more than seven times those of Netflix. “They still kick our ass in profits and Emmys, but we are making progress,” Hastings wrote. “HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league.” Among those who liked Hastings’s post: Mark Zuckerberg.

On Sale for the Next Hour Only: One Slightly Used E-Commerce Site, Pivot Included

Steven Bertoni, Forbes: “, the once white-hot e-commerce company, could be in the middle of the biggest sale yet — itself., a flash-sale firm turned home design shop and e-retailer, has been in sale discussions with a number of suitors, sources say.”

“My God, It’s Full of Stars!”

New aerial photos of Apple construction site show dirt, gravel.

Your Former Colleagues Hua Wei and Xiao Mi Miss You

Former Apple Specialist Sam Sung: “With a view to raising money for a very deserving charity, I’m auctioning the only ‘Apple Sam Sung’ business card I have left and I’m going to donate ALL of the proceeds [minus eBay fees] to Children’s Wish, BC & Yukon — a not-for-profit that grants wishes to sick children.”

Google-B&N Venture Targets Impatient Agoraphobic Bibliophiles in Select Cities

If you love to read, don’t yet own a tablet or e-reader, live in Manhattan, West Los Angeles or San Francisco and have yet to discover a bookstore or newsstand in any of them, then Google and Barnes & Noble have got you covered. On Thursday the two companies announced a partnership to provide same-day delivery of books and magazines via Google Shopping Express, the search giant’s toddler delivery service. The alliance is being touted as “a clear challenge to Amazon,” though the pairing of a struggling brick-and-mortar bookseller with Google’s experiment in expedited delivery hardly merits that description given the speed with which Amazon is pushing forward with its own aggressive same-day delivery ambitions.

Next Step: An Eliza-Style Semi-Intelligent Supreme Court Chatbot Called “Clarence”

Josh Blackman, assistant professor of law at the South Texas College of Law: “Today, I am proud to announce the next evolution in Supreme Court prediction. … My colleagues and I have developed an algorithm that can predict any case decided by the Supreme Court, since 1953, using only information available at the time of the cert grant. … Using only data available prior to the date of decision, our model correctly identifies 69.7 percent of the Court’s overall affirm and reverse decisions and correctly forecasts 70.9 percent of the votes of individual justices across 7,700 cases and more than 68,000 justice votes.”

And When Things Got Really Serious, He’d Hand You the Seppuku Blade

Early Facebook employee Noah Kagan: “[Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg] would walk around with a samurai sword, fake threatening to attack you for bad work. … He’d come around and pretend to cut you, joking if you take down the site he’ll chop your head off. … He had some great motivational lines. With love, he’d say ‘If you don’t get that done sooner, I will punch you in the face,’ or ‘I will chop you with this huge sword,’ while holding a huge sword in hand.”

So, What Me Worry?

Security researcher Bruce Schneier: “We’re not seeing massive fraud or theft. We’re not seeing massive account hijacking. A gang of Russian hackers has 1.2 billion passwords — they’ve probably had most of them for a year or more — and everything is still working normally. … Security is terrible everywhere, and it’s all okay. This is a weird paradox that we’re used to by now.”

Send the Owner Down for It

The National Park Service banned drones and other unmanned aircraft from all Park Service-controlled lands and waters in the United States earlier this year, but some folks aren’t taking the prohibition seriously. On Wednesday, a tourist visiting Yellowstone National Park crashed a drone into Grand Prismatic Spring, the third-largest geothermal pool in the world and one of the park’s marquee features. Now park authorities, who have far more important things to worry about — like bear management — have to figure out how to recover a drone from 150 feet of 160-degree water without damaging the spring.

Off Topic

Am I a bad person for this? and 8-Bit Cinema: “Se7en.”

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and horrible Apple sweatshirts to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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