Local Interactive Strategies

What Netflix tells us about internal culture

Q: What’s a  tougher challenge for newspapers than their business model?

A: A culture that can’t change fast enough.

A  friend recently shared this slideshow from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. It’s not that hard to find, actually. It’s posted on the Netflix jobs page.

Nothing remarkable about a presentation by the CEO on a company’s jobs page, right? Except this one says things like: “Adequate performance gets a generous severance package.”

And this:

  • As we grow, minimize rules
  • Inhibit chaos with ever more high performance people
  • Flexibility is more important than efficiency in the long term

Click through the presentation (it’s 128 slides but it goes quickly). One grim observation: almost all the elements Netflix rejects are  standard within newspaper cultures: valuing rules and structure, rewarding longevity, encouraging employees to move up the ladder, you name it. Check out slides 49 and 50 for Hastings’ prediction of the outcome of a culture like that.

So:  Is Netflix able to behave this way because it’s still a startup? Or can it behave this way because it chooses to?

Hastings clearly believes the latter: that Netflix can maintain its culture even as it grows and matures.  Which leads to the obvious question: What would a newspaper operation look like if it hired and managed people like Netflix does?


April 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment