- So many good people
- Such a great service
I have been working for a year at Netflix.
I've seen what was supposed to be very mature people, sharing absolutely almost no contact that anyone would qualify as "human".
Sure, that sounds... hyperbolic, let me develop (and maybe cherry-pick a little).
Have you heard about our culture? The one about giving candid feedback? - I have seen people complaining of behavior they literally demonstrated themselves in the following days.
But I have also seen these feedbacks resulting in tears both in the eyes of HR persons or fellow engineers. How human does that sound?
Have you heard about our culture? The one about not tolerating brilliant jerks? I have nonetheless seen angriness and frustration, expressed in private, public and meeting. People rejecting new ideas by default, like, any ideas they wouldn't have worked themselves on for days wouldn't count. Even if those ideas are from the best examples in the industry or academics. How many publications/contributions have you seen from Netflix to computer science in general? How does it compare against any other company of that size in the Bay Area? Can you imagine either the real insecurity (x)or the lack of innovation that could lead to this situation?
Except for a few managers, directors or VPs feeling free enough to behave at work in the same way than how they live, almost every engineer I have been interacting with, have shared as little as possible about their private life.
The rare exceptions of interpersonal exchange ends up around some sort of competitive behavior: Who is the most geeky, sportive, owns the fastest car/biggest house/visited the strangest place.
I've heard workaholic people complaining about ambitious peers who were over-managing, over-working to get even more work to do after. I feel like we're past workaholism at this point.
Maybe there are a lot of shy people! Maybe there is a culture of fear, not only of being fired, but also a fear of interacting with people going to be fired.
Maybe it's all in my head, maybe people giving 5 stars to their experience here don't care the human aspect of a company. And maybe they're right.
What about your crush, your fears, your desires for the future, your appetite for life? I've been blessed to work in enough large companies to know that the behavior that I'm seeing in Netflix is not a healthy one. I've also been lucky enough to work in other industries more socializing than tech and I can tell that Netflix has a lot to do on that side, and off-sites or team meeting won't solve that problem.
I am afraid about the tragic, but inevitable consequences of the ways people operate in this company: I guess that the day the worst will happen, it will be addressed in an impersonal memo by Reed; followed-up by 1 or 2 reminders during offsites. Possibly commented by HR in a Q&A document. And move on. This company seems as reactive in its management of people as it is proactive in its business operations.
I still work at Netflix though, not only for the paycheck, but because I hope. I hope it will change. The needed change can't happen from a candid feedback, a Q&A, or only from inside.
Change has to come from everyone, including people who take time to read comments like this one. Netflix has so many good people and offers such a great service.
As a curious Netflix employee reading this review: think about your past, isn't there a big human thing that you would love to feel again in your current company that you've felt in the past?
As a candidate: think about what would be a good question to ask to that HR partner once your package is almost here to be offered to you, think about that comment you make at the end of an interview when you're being asked by an engineer: "Do you have any question for me?"
What Netflix needs is an inception, something that anyone and everyone would think about after leaving the call or the room they were sharing with you.
Ask yourself, and then the others, the question you should ask if you think you want to spend a good amount of your life and energy in the place you're applying for.
- Will I learn and contribute to the knowledge of other's? Even outside the company?
- Will I see emotional responses from my peers? Will that be for other reasons than being fired or bluntly criticized?
- Will I find a friendly environment that will nurture my appetite for life?
- What is the amount of emotional interaction (celebrating, sharing, playing) to expect from a company whose service is the best to "entertain"?
- Do androids dream of electric sheep?