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Silicon Valley’s most important document ever

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Netflix (s NFLX) has long been famous for giving its employees unlimited vacation time. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings justified this move in a slide deck he first published online in 2009, which also outlines the company’s approach towards hiring (no “brilliant jerks,” please) as well as firing (only keep the people that you’d fight for if they wanted to leave).

Facebook (s FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg praised the deck in a new GQ magazine story about Netflix, saying:

“It may well be the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.”

The GQ article is a good read for everyone interested in Netflix and its CEO, who apparently doesn’t own any flashy furniture, but does keep a bunch of chickens and goats in his backyard. But it also serves as a good reminder to take another look at that Netflix company culture deck:

[slideshare id=1798664&doc=culture9-090801103430-phpapp02&w=450]

14 Responses to “Silicon Valley’s most important document ever”

  1. In spite of this brilliant document, which is obviously good for the bottom line, many, many people at Netflix dislike the corporate culture. I am close with people working both in upper management on the content/marketing side and in the engineering departments who say the “firing” culture creates a team of people who are often fear-based and sycophantic. So…

  2. The only way to do that would be to go into intermittent ad breaks within the movie stream which is basically replicating the fta tv model and this would require netflix to build out a parallel ads business to monetize their streams. The other option would be to work as a a marketing channel for production houses where in netflix is a puppet at their hands and can be used to promote specific content which the production houses monetize elsewhere, namely via television or dvd sales etc.

    Neither of these options are likely to be too appetizing for netflix. They are more likely to be an internet version of hbo with premium original content for which users pay a premium amount. For eg: arrested development and netflix only movies which should start coming from 2014.

    Youtube is likely to follow the first model above becoming the go to place on the internet for free to air content with ads in the stream and with some premium content that you can pay for to subscribe

    • And then someone does it all for free and takes the market.Not being easy is no reason not to do it , that’s what separates the winner from everybody else, being able to do more. Ads are fine as long as they don’t overdo it. The internet has an advantage over TV , targeted ads and smart product placement (where you can check out the details/specs/price and click to buy for just about anything in a movie).
      On demand content is not separated into premium and ,well, not premium.When you can watch anything you want at any time there are no such distinctions. Exclusive content might help one company or the other but it’s not a good trend for consumers.
      At this point everybody sells media (it’s a disease) and everybody is doing the same thing.Music, movies, books and soon, most likely, streaming games but nobody is doing anything special.
      Someone has to aim higher. “Can’t do it” is not the way the tech industry works.
      Sure copyright is a nasty thing and makes dealing with the content owners (they aren’t the creators, just the middle man) a nightmare and the ISP and carriers are another drag.

    • With virtually infinite internet content, ads can clutter the content selection process rather than the content itself, so free content without imbedded ads can indeed be achieved. Just clutter the content selection, which is what content providers want anyway … content for contents sake … less alterior advertising. What does soap have to do with daytime drama anyway?

  3. I wonder if this CEO applied his company’s presentation to his own performance. I see he didn’t fire himself after the debacle of the last two years.. Interesting to see how he talks about these values but failed to live up to them over the past few years….

  4. Smart guy, that Reed Hastings. Good policies for a limited policies company.

    Another sign of how smart he is is how he doesn’t listen to Wall St. analysts. You need to listen to customers (he does) but not speculators who only know how to measure profits, not generate them.

  5. The news item about youtube payed channels made me think about payed content and ,i guess, the winner will have to be free. Over the air TV is free (in the end cable is another absurdity) so Netflix should figure out how to offer the content for free.