Best Places to Work: 2009 (#3)
I worked at Netflix full-time (More than 3 years)
I really enjoyed my time at Netflix, it's a bold company to work for and you are surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do. I always say the health of the company starts at the top and Reed Hastings is someone I highly respect as he can see through people's BS and keeps those around him honest. He's the kind of person that will give you personal and professional advice even at an all hands with hundreds of people in attendance. The work will feel like you're being 'thrown to the fire' due to the culture of high performance and no subscribed process, but if you know what you're doing and stay dedicated to your team's goals in a productive manner, you should be fine.
While there are incredibly bright and talented designers at Netflix, I learned through my time there that this company was an engineering-first company. I mean, look at how long it took them to change the logo and get some design standards going. Design often times felt like a luxury than a necessity and there was a bit too much dependency on A/B testing to make decisions. I swear, I heard "have we A/B tested this yet?" in my dreams. A few times, I would point out that the results of the A/B test resulted in bad design solutions. It just seemed like upper management didn't understand design. As long as people are watching content and streaming patterns are on the up, then don't rock the boat. Also, watch out for those who play politics, sometimes the drama that plays out on projects or team dynamics is just unreal and some people just want to be the hero and get Reed Hasting's blessing. Unfortunately, there are some "brilliant jerks" in the company, learn to work around them and get stuff done right! Lastly, if you want a more life/work balance, this is probably not the place for you. I had some coworkers who didn't see their kids for days.
Advice to Management
Everyone looks so serious at work, address this lack of fun or effect on morale. Also, make design matter more to the business.
I interviewed in person with 4 recruiters and a senior manager in the group I would be recruiting for. Almost everyone I met is very new to Netflix and barely there for a year. I got the sense that each person interpreted "freedom and responsibility" differently. They emphasized the work atmosphere as high performing, non micro-managing, and an active feedback culture. However when I asked each of them to give me examples of feedback they have received, the responses appeared to show a "micromanaged" environment. One recruiter said another teammate told him to not reply all to emails because he was stepping on her toes. I received feedback as well, noting that I should respond to all recruiting emails with "a thank you and that I received the email". My understanding was that I would receive feedback that would help me improve as a recruiter, i.e. providing context about the bigger picture, not about irrelevant day to day issues. They boast a year long maternity leave policy, but 2 interviewers, who were pregnant were both taking less than 6 months. My assumption is that the benefit is all for branding and that anyone that actually takes the full time off would probably get blacklisted in the firm. The senior manager had an impressive background, and he definitely showed it. He came in late and didn't make a ton of eye contact. He said he partners with recruiting but acted like I was wasting his time. He loved to interrupt the interview process with his own thoughts and would stop me mid way to ask follow up questions when I hadn't even finished my initial answers. He basically told me so far they've tried everything possible to recruit and it's still very difficult to attract talent. Overall, the recruiting process was a bit disjointed, but that isn't out of the ordinary for a firm with so many new people. I would be surprised if any of these people will still be at Netflix in a year. I decided not to move forward in the process after this interview because it was clearly not a fit for me.
How do we find our next #StunningColleague? There is no one way that people come to be a part of Netflix. Here, one of our teammates from our Cloud Platform Engineering department shows how he and a friend both came to say #WeAreNetflix
Our Content Distribution team packaging dry goods to be distributed locally and globally to those in need. #TeamBuilding #WeAreNetflix