What A Difference Six Years Makes

There was a time, many years ago, that Netflix was this scrawny little small-cap stock of a firm that mailed DVDs to monthly subscribers. I was an early user of Netflix, and I absolutely loved it. (They are based here in the Bay Area). No one dared dream they would have a market cap of over $160 billion, as they do today. If you told someone ten years ago that Netflix would dwarf General Electric in terms of value, they would have laughed you right out of the room.

Although it’s a darling these days, six years ago, Netflix was absolute dog meat. They had introduced a product called Qwikster, which was considered the biggest product debacle since New Coke. By late summer of 2012, the stock had fallen 80%. Now just take a moment and consider that. Try to imagine, say, Amazon falling from 1844 to 377 in the span of a few months. On top of this, it’s not like they were in the throes of an economic meltdown. This was 2012 when the recover and QE fever were all the rage. So NFLX was garbage, and the news media reflected it:

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Click on image to enlarge)

So, in a perfect world, what kinds of headlines SHOULD have been appearing? I would say that the front page of the New York Times should have had, in 72 point type, “OH MY GOD, BUY ALL THE NETFLIX YOU POSSIBLE CAN AND DO NOT SELL IT FOR ANY REASON, YOU SCHMUCK!” Because, as we all now know, the stock was, at exactly the same time these headlines were appearing, about to go up 52-fold. In other words, scrape together twenty thousand bucks, and bang, you’ve got a MILLION bucks in 2018. Easy.

Of course, these days, you’re not going to be reading any negative stories from analysts about Netflix, because anyone shorting it today is considered as insane and wrong-headed as anyone stupid enough to buy it six years ago. That’s just how these things go. They hate ’em at the bottom and love ’em at the top.

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