Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings started 2012 trying to repair the damage from price-hike mistakes he'd made in 2011 and ended the year with an investigation notice from the SEC. But there was good news, too.

Reed Hastings can't catch a break. The Netflix CEO started 2012 trying to repair the damage from price-hike mistakes he'd made in 2011 and ended the year with an investigation notice from the SEC, which apparently did not like the way he announced some company news on Facebook and on a blog. There was good news, too. Netflix landed a coveted deal to stream Disney-owned content and the total number of streams served by Netflix continued to grow.

Nonetheless, the year reminded Silicon Valley that even the best of executives can make blunders that take months or even years from which to recover. It's easy to forget now how revered Hastings was among other tech execs. He was the guy who took on Blockbuster and won, a true industry disruptor, serving on the boards of some of tech's biggest names, turned into a cautionary tale of how moving too fast and not listening closely enough to your customers can lead to disaster.

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