Netflix's best picture bonanza

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It is Tuesday, January 22, 2019. In case you forgot.
Netflix And Thrill

Netflix is going for gold 

As Netflix’s original content arsenal has grown (Netflix released an estimated 1,500 hours of original programming in 2018), so has the company’s appetite for recognition. 

Netflix found instant success with its original series -- House of Cards alone was nominated for nine Emmys in 2013 and became the first online-only show to ever win. In 2018, Netflix beat out HBO for total Emmy nominations with 112 (HBO had topped the list for the 17 previous years) and tied HBO for wins for the first time as well.

Netflix’s silver screen performance has been another story. Although the company has snagged 14 Academy Award nominations since the company released its first original film in 2015 (Beasts of No Nation), they have failed to bring home the crown jewel of awards season -- the Oscar for Best Picture.

 

Roma-o-rama

However, it looks like that could change this year thanks to Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. With a 96% rating on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, glowing reviews from critics across the board, and more than a handful of awards already, Roma is positioned as Netflix’s best shot at the top spot. 

And Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos is doing everything in his power to make sure that happens, including spending $25 million on Oscar promotion. Sarandos enlisted Oscar expert Lisa Taback (whose successful Best Picture campaigns include Moonlight and Spotlight), threw a party hosted by Angelina Jolie, and plastered Roma ads everywhere.

With a company content budget of about $12 billion, it’s clear how Sarandos is paying for the Roma campaign -- the question is really why
 

A shot at the big leagues

Netflix wants to prove that it can compete with the major studios not just in terms of quantity (budget, releases, viewership, etc.) but in quality as well. A Best Picture win would complete the company’s transformation from Blockbuster-killer to premier original content studio. Netflix is betting more accolades will help attract new customers and justify price hikes

It’s not just about subscribers either. As other studios prepare for the streaming wars, the tech giant is hoping to woo Hollywood’s best and assert its position at the top -- Roma taking the crown at this year’s Academy Awards would definitely help. 
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Episode #5 - Jamie Kent, Software Engineer at Parabola, Co-Founder of Women in Sports Tech

In our latest episode, we interview Jamie Kent. Jamie is a Software Engineer at Parabola. Parabola is an SF-based startup building products to give knowledge workers the capabilities of engineers. Jamie is a UPenn alum, Fulbright scholar recipient and all around badass person. 

In our conversation we talked about how Jamie's Fulbright research project took her to South America, where she helped teach Chilean youths computer science fundamentals.

We also got into how she transitioned into software engineering without a computer science background as well as the non-profit she co-founded called Women in Sports Tech, which aims to provide growth opportunities for women in the sports tech industry.
 
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Yours truly,
Zac Cherin
Brendan Uyeshiro
Brendan Uyeshiro