I was recently reintroduced to the Netflix slide deck. If your reading this and don’t know what the slide deck is, it’s a power point presentation that all new hires at Netflix have to experience. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg praised as the most important document ever to come out of Silicon Valley.
I thought I’d take a revised look at it and discuss this from the Professional Individual Contributors point of view. It’s not all bad, but it’s got some serious warts.
Seems to be honest, i.e. it’s not designed to sugar coat anything, there is no pixie dust here.
It’s refreshing in it’s honesty.. What it’s saying is that the company only wants you around as long as you are a superstar performer.
It really has a good grasp on the challenges that companies face when they grow.
It seems to have the stink of entrepreneur on it even though the company is no longer a startup.
It communicates very clearly that no matter who you are, your going to get laid off, fired, etc.. it’s going to happen.. just get used to it.
The ugliest aspect of the slide deck is the hubris. It communicates quite clearly and cleanly that the company is the most important thing. Human beings exist for the benefit of the company. you exist to produce at the highest possible level for the company, and when you are are not at the peak of efficiency or not perceived as needed any more your ‘moved on’.
What happens when life happens and you fall into that grey area.. back issues, brain damage, addition, interpersonal challenges? Just enough to not be on disability but enough life happening where you aren’t a ‘superstar’. You loose everything. It’s a humanless system.. Even drug dealers take care of their own.
The problem isn’t Netlfix, it’s the system Netflix lives in.
The problem isn’t a a company.. it’s the world the company lives in. In a world where your health care is provided by someone who says “if I don’t think your a superstar I’m going to eliminate your healthcare” or “if our business changes then your ability to provide a home for your family is going to be severely constrained”.
The Netflix attitude works in one of two ways: 1) In a highly competitive job market where people can jump from organization to organization with little loss to their personal livelihood. Sort of like the market that currently exists in North Carolina for CDL drivers or 2) where the guild mentality reasserts itself, and the more complex life needs are tied to the job, not to the organization (More on this in future posts). Then it doesn’t matter.. you can jump around until you find the right fit and your life needs are taken care of.
The Netflix philosophy of business exists for the benefit of Netflix, not the people who make up The Netflix culture and dealing with it is ripe with stories to be told, someone should make a movie about it.. I’d stream it if I had good bandwidth.