devlife: The Netflix Culture

I’ve been listening to a podcast called Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman was the founder of LinkedIn (Interestingly I believe I am 4 degrees of separation away!).

In Episode 8 Reid talks to Reed Hastings from Netflix, they mentioned Netflix’s culture deck, so I thought I would take a look.

There is an older version on SlideShare, this also links to a more up-to-date one on the Netflix job website. I found the SlideShare one easier to read (but is obviously a bit out of date). The job site version was easier to steal quotes from, sorry plagiarise, sorry I mean reference.

Initially this deck was shown to new hires on their first day, but they soon learnt it best to be sent it out to prospective candidates, as they might not fit with the culture and dealing with that after hiring someone was very expensive.

Netflix have spent a lot of time working on this document (I believe it is still being evolved to this day), to be clear enough for anyone to follow; this is possibly why they posted this external, this isn’t something that should be a protected company secret, this is something that companies who work in the Software Development should aspire to.

I’ll just add the beginning; I could happily write the whole thing out, but I hope this might entice you to go off and read the rest.


We connect people with stories. Lots of people, and lots of stories. Our hundred million global members are a good start, but someday, we hope to entertain everyone. Entertainment, like friendship, is a core human need. No matter how big or small, dramatic or satiric, entertainment stimulates us, changes the way we feel, and gives us common ground.

Our culture is how we work together as employees to serve our members and grow. Our culture has been instrumental to our success and we keep improving it; our culture helps us attract and retain stunning colleagues; our culture makes working here more satisfying.

Like many companies, we strive to hire the best and we value integrity, excellence, respect, and collaboration.

What is unique and special about Netflix is how much we:

  • encourage independent decision-making by employees
  • share information openly, broadly, and deliberately
  • are extraordinarily candid with each other
  • keep only our highly effective people
  • avoid rules

Our core philosophy is people over process.

More specifically, we have great people working together as a dream team. With this approach, we are a more flexible, fun, inventive, stimulating, creative, and successful organisation.

This is an interesting opening, and flows thought the rest of the culture document.


They go on to list specific values that DON’T SPELL OUT A WORD! that is amazing, all too much things must spell out a word (unless JCCICPSIII is a word?).

This culture needs YOU

The bullet points all start with You, this doesn’t feel like someone forcing the company’s will on you else it would say The Company wish it that you, by simply saying you they play on the psyche a bit, the culture comes from you; you work for us, but these point are what we expect from you; if you can follow and behave like this (see bullets) you will be working with like-minded people, work well with other people at our company and you will enjoy your work.

We, not I

They work on the WE rather than the I, it is all very well and good to see the I, but as the saying goes, there is no I in team (there is a ME, but definitely no I). People can be the most brilliant software developer in the word, but if they don’t fit the culture they won’t get employed.

Work like a Sports Team

They use an analogy to describe Netflix as a sports team, rather than a family and use internal collaboration to drive external competitiveness. “For teams that succeed, there is often warmth between players, so this culture emphasising those aspects, when people come in the team will help them, but it is about performance, where as a family is about unconditional love.”.

How to end this post…

To be honest I am not sure how to finish this post, I am not going to be providing any TLDR version of the culture doc, as I think what they have written is quite a succinct document. I cannot think of anything very poignant that isn’t covered really well by the culture document itself, so I think I will just say go read it now, if you haven’t already.