If you ask that question on Yahoo Answers, you’ll probably get something about how a husband’s Xbox was once used for Netflix, but now it doesn’t work. If you ask that question on WolframAlpha, you’ll get get some abstract data about money spent on various things each year. If you ask that question on Bing, you’ll get a bunch of old content. Both Ask.com and Google give you the answer if you dig into their links a bit — or if you click on their first links: to Quora.
What happens when you ask Quora that same question?
You get this: “about $600m”
That’s not just some random person citing some old numbers from an old story. That’s directly from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
The data point itself is somewhat interesting, but it has been out there before. What’s really interesting is that once again, Quora is proving to be a go-to place to get such information from fairly incredible sources. No one had yet answered the question someone asked about Netflix, so the CEO took it upon himself to answer it. Boom. Next question.
The fact that Quora is able to foster such an environment continues to fascinate me. If that can scale remains to be seen, but real people answering real questions about their companies is very, very useful. And if the platform can prove itself to be a good source of information relayed anonymously — such as here — it could really explode.
I wonder how long until one of the search engines tries to buy these guys? Or rather, I wonder how long until one of the search engines is successful in buying these guys — because I’m sure some have already tried. Again, this Netflix query brought up Quora as the first result in both Google and Ask. Google is all about saving time, so why not just buy Quora and bake this into results?
Of course, whether Quora, which was started by ex-Facebookers, would sell to Google or anyone is another story. But someone is going to offer this company a lot of money. And they’re going to need to.
Update: I decided to put my query on Quora: “Has one of the major search engines already attempted to buy Quora?”
Naturally, Co-founder Adam D’Angelo answered:
No. We’ve been pretty clear with everyone we’ve spoken to externally (including our investors) that our goal is to build Quora into an independent company over the long term and we are not considering acquisitions.
Good for them. Awesome product.