Lunica regola è che non ci sono regole: Netflix e la cultura della reinvenzione By Reed Hastings

Non è mai esistita, prima d'ora, un'azienda come Netflix. E non perché ha rivoluzionato l'industria dello spettacolo, o perché è in grado di fatturare miliardi di dollari l'anno, o perché le sue produzioni sono viste da centinaia di milioni di persone in quasi 200 paesi. Quando Reed Hastings ha co-fondato l'azienda, che nel 1997 vendeva e noleggiava DVD per corrispondenza, ha infatti sviluppato anche principi radicalmente nuovi e controintuitivi: a Netflix, gli stipendi sono sempre più alti dei concorrenti. A Netflix, lavorare tanto non è importante. A Netflix, gli impiegati non cercano di accontentare il capo. Questa originale cultura della libertà e della responsabilità ha permesso di crescere costantemente e di innovare fino a diventare il colosso di oggi. In questo libro Reed Hastings, con l'autrice Erin Meyer, descrive la geniale filosofia alla base del suo progetto e della sua vita, narra storie mai raccontate prima su tentativi, passi falsi ed errori compiuti, e offre l'inedita e affascinante immagine di un sogno che non smette mai di reinventarsi. Lunica regola è che non ci sono regole: Netflix e la cultura della reinvenzione


Reed Hastings ä 5 Download

I was hoping No Rules Rules would provide more unique insights into how Netflix scaled to become the global leader in streaming. This book is more focused on the managerial techniques that Hastings and his team applied through Netflix's history. While interesting at times, many of these ideas were not unique to Netflix, although little credit is given to other innovative companies that originated these approaches. At times, I wanted to just hit the escape button with this book for various reasons. In some cases, I found it that it comes across as boastful writing that focuses on team performance above everything else. At other times, I found it a little depressing. There is really no mention of how Netflix has helped shape the world to make it a better place nor does that seem to be on its radar. Instead, it suggests a rather cold approach where individuals are supported until they slip in performance and then encouraged to leave the company so others can take over. That's not to say that I did not find some of the lessons in the book useful. However, these points could be encapsulated in a single chapter. All and all, I expected more and found the book fell far short of my expectations. Italian A masterpiece & MUST read.

Netflix is a UNIQUE company with a unique business model & philosophy. It's obvious that its overpowering leader Reed Hastings runs & scales his business HIS way. Read this book to learn:

- How a business book should be written :) The co-author Erin Meyer adds so much value to the entire narrative.

- Insights on how 'no rules policies' (take vacations, spend company money etc) though so hard to swallow seems to work so well for Netflix. (I say ‘seems’ coz I still can't digest it).

- The real-life examples of staffing & empowering super-sized leaders is amazing. If entrepreneurs can set aside their egos & get 100's of 'better themselves', they will have a Netflix.

- The salary benchmarking & course correction insights are powerful & relevant.

- Lessons in transparency: In 800 BC, Greek merchants whose businesses had failed were forced to sit in the marketplace with a basket over their heads.

- AMAZING lessons in Global business management challenges - dealing with the mannerisms & behaviour of countries.

- The Keeper Test! Simple yet profound!

- The AMAZING lesson that the self-regulating traffic around L’Etoile off the Arc de Triomphe teaches us!

Italian This is a great read for managers and leaders of contemporary midsize to large companies in creative industries. Reed Hastings is the cofounder, CEO and chairman of Netflix. No rules: Netflix and the culture of reinvention introduces the Netflix management system; throughout it is juxtaposed to the classic leadership by control in traditional businesses.

It’s helpful to think of the leadership and management system as the operating system and software for the company. Back in the early days of computers there were IBM PCs, Macs, and a few others. IBM PCs on the one hand ran on DOS/Windows and used software that ran on DOS/Windows operating systems. Macs on the other hand ran on the Mac OS and only allowed software that ran on the Mac OS. At the time there were no crossovers: if you owned a PC you used PC software; if you owned a Mac, you used Mac software. Something similar can be said of companies. As presented by Hastings and Erin Meyer, there are at least two operating systems in today's midsize to large companies: leadership by control and the Netflix leadership with context. Leadership by control has been the primary operating system for businesses since modern corporations grew out of their colonial and pre-industrial predecessors. It remains the primary operating system. Furthermore, in industries where minimization of errors remains paramount the classic leadership with control operating system remains the best fit. The purpose of this book though is to introduce the Netflix system and to introduce readers to leadership with context.

Like a MacBook running MacOS, there must be enough power to run the advanced operating system. Netflix calls this building up talent density. This is their way of saying they recruit the best and brightest. Netflix pays top of market to get the best talent. In many ways, it is just as cut throat as the classic control systems; the emphases are just different. In the Netflix system, the corollary to recruiting top talent is to separate with talent as soon as they stop being useful to the company. The second corollary is that the talented cadre are charged with fulfilling their responsibility to the company. The leaders are to set the context for their cadre from the interview on. The policies and procedures may not be written in manuals and binders, but the rules of the game are to be understood. There is responsibility and freedom to deliver value to the company. After the leaders establish the context, the pressure to conform and deliver comes from horizontal competition and challenges from below. This is 360 evaluations maxed up with radical candor.

With said, the Netflix system does not work for everyone and it does not work in all places. In industries where oversight and error reduction processes remain paramount, the classic leadership with control systems remain indicated. The Netflix system is designed for modern companies prioritizing flexibility and adaptability. The Netflix culture is for smart, talented go-getters with thick skin: adequate performance will be shown the door; once in the door, to fit in and succeed the person who makes it has to be able to give and receive.

Taking bets and chances are encouraged. The outcome of the talented and empowered cadre, that is led more than managed, in a cut throat environment, is a company that is looking to reinvent the market and to deliver a stream of products that win the market. Losses must be followed by eventual wins. Losses are expected, but people who do not learn from their previous losses will be shown the door. These are the 1990s and 2000s Yankees, Patriots, and Lakers. Rebuilds are short. This is Steinbrenner and Jerry and Jeanie Buss. Wins are expected sooner or later.

In all, 4 stars. It's hard to get 5 stars in the management and leadership literature. Like a lot of the management and leadership literature, the concepts are not particularly rigorous. For instance, it's not clear that there are only two leadership and management operating systems. In fact, there may be more of a continuum with the Netflix leadership towards the center left and the more conventional management towards the center right; towards the far left there are probably more democratic operations styles and towards the far right there are definitely more rigid systems based on command and control, caste, and class. With that said, the book provides a useful system to consider and will prove informative for managers and leaders in midsize to large companies. Italian Why do great colleagues leave?

That’s a question that has been on my mind for quite a while. Every case is different, but if you zoom out a bit it often boils down to one or more of the following:

- lacking creative freedom and / or autonomy to do the job in the desired way
- inability to improve the direct work environment
- lack of improvement of the company as a whole
- feeling gagged or stifled by processes or hierarchy
- decisions that make no sense on operational level
- being tired of company politics and intransparency
- inability to get a raise due to performance management and budget constraints

The list could probably be even longer. From what I’ve seen in my now 15 years in the industry, that’s pretty much the norm, not the exception in typical companies.

And now comes Netflix.

This book gives a holistic view on the company culture and hr strategy of Netflix. If outlines on which principles and ideas they grew the company to their now around 7000 multi-national employees, without sacrificing their baseline culture.

It’s written in an unconventional style. The book switches back and forth between two narrators: Reed, the CEO of Netflix, who provides the general ideas and Erin Mayer, an external author, who sort-of fact-checks the arguments and principles by interviewing countless Netflix employees. Both parts together manage to paint a picture of the company that feels authentic, because it also features stories and interviews of people who didn’t fit into the Netflix culture.

What I find remarkable judging by comparison with all the companies I’ve worked for is how different the Netflix approach is from typical standards

- Hire only top people and pay them above market standard (instead of the typical manager worker separation)
- Adjust their salary based on the market demand (instead of individual performance and job changes because of missing salary increases)
- Feedback culture on all levels encouraged and expected (compared to the typical no-go or career end when challenging someone up the hierarchy)
- High transparency in terms of business numbers (over just the management having access or shielding employees from business aspects in order not to distract them)
- Very little processes, high autonomy and freedom of decisions on operational level (instead of governance processes and company standards everywhere)
- Acting in the best interest of the company (instead of pleasing your boss or vanity KPIs)
- The overall idea of treating employees as responsible and accountable adults (over workforce that needs to be managed)
- Managing by context (instead of more detailed guidelines)

Especially the keeper test and the idea of quickly separating from people that don’t manage to live up to Netflix expectations is controversial. I’m not even sure it would be feasible in Germany where I live (given the fairly strict laws we got). But I can definitely see that a high talent depth is the foundation on which everything else stands.

Netflix somehow managed to create a creative persons dream environment. High salary, high stakes, high accountability and lots of creative freedom. Looking at the points at the start of this review, I can definitely imagine that with this strategy a company is able to retain much more of its top performers over the course of several years, compared to their competitors.

And also that this system is ridiculously hard to copy for existing companies with employees who don’t thrive but crumble when the training wheels come of.

I always wanted to work with and learn from the best. I love to have creative freedom in my work and have no trouble with being accountable for my results. As such Netflix sounds like a dream. To be honest though, I’m not sure I’d be good enough for Netflix. The question is a bit hypothetical since I’ve got a family with kids and don’t intend to set a foot into the states in the foreseeable future. But if there was a company like this around in Germany, I know that I would want to get in and work there.

We talk so much about New Work in the recent years, but surprisingly a big American company embodies the values that I associate with New Work the most. Much more than any other company that I know of that flies under the New Work banner.

Highly recommended read! Italian YMMV.

If you have previously read (as I have) both Radical Candor and The Culture Map (both of which are excellent books which I would highly recommend) as well as Powerful (which I would not recommend) then you will find very few new insights in this book. If you have not, I would recommend that you read those first two books instead of this one.

I found the two-author approach, providing an outsider perspective to counter Reed's views, novel and appealing, but I feel Erin could have been much more radically candid. It seemed to me that this book ironically does not practice what it preaches in that regard (but then again, I am Dutch, so I would perhaps be more comfortable with explicit negative feedback than most other readers ...). Italian

As a piece of corporate propaganda the book succeeds in being one that aspiring and corporate managers will love to recommend to one another satisfied that they are lapping up the latest in employee empowerment and HR best practices.  Anyone else not at that level realizes this for what it is: C-level pabulum with examples such as the rule that “employees here have unlimited vacation”, when the reality for the worker bees is that if you’re gone more than 2 weeks a year you’re viewed as a slacker not pulling their weight which will be noted in the yearly rank & yank.  There are so many other examples as well.  What’s never mentioned in all the self congratulatory speak within the book is the acknowledgement of any luck involved in not being just the next Blockbuster (who were unable to transition to a web based model), and developing an early moat with an above average delivery system (mail and then digital).  Italian I was sold on the concept of this book, where a hard-hitting biz author/professor tells the gory behind-the-scenes reality that conflicts with the rosy hindsight bias of the founder/CEO... but sadly no gloves came off whatsoever. And to think I was excited to learn about the inner workings of the streaming darling, only instead to be inundated with a non-buffering stream of vanilla HR policies.

I'm probably jaded, having worked in tech for 15 years... but unlimited vacation, freedom & responsibility, and doing what's best for the company are all pretty basic concepts. To put out a book about this now seems like a quaint yet irrelevant history lesson that magnanimously takes credit for aggressively bare-bones silicon valley perks. Throw in a candy wall and show me to the nap pods. Italian I've experienced bits and bits of Netflix culture, having been one of their first interns before they had an internship program -- Netflix doesn't want people who need handholding. But it wasn't until this book that I got the whole picture (or context as Netflix calls it) as well as the trial-and-error processes that went into creating their unique culture. The concrete examples are also extremely helpful. Italian Unsurprisingly, it was worth waiting for.
First hand message, culture focused, very straightforward - even for values/principles that are controversial and unobvious.

To be honest: this is NOT a hand-book. Many of concepts here did apply in Netflix, but for serveral reasons won't apply in other companies. So the main advantage of reading this book is to learn how Netflix (& its values) have evolved - how executives have learned, how they came up to particular conclusions. Why they've picked this path over another. Don't copy their outcomes, copy their high awareness and how they've paid attention to the meaning of org culture.

What didn't I like? Well, I know it's impossible to cover everything within one book, but it's very clear that NRR is all about 3 things: increasing talent density, candor (& feedback), controls (& autonomy). For a reason - these are probably the 3 focal topics of Netflix'es culture. But still, I find several particular organizational areas that are typically challenging for the high-performing-wannabe organizations: I'm interested in how did Netflix approach them, but there's no info on them in the book. Of course I can't try to guess (knowing the highest level pricipia), but it's just a guess.

To sum it up - it's definitely worth reading. As an inspiration and a proof that it makes sense to be open-minded and carve your own, unique path. Italian When I have mixed feelings about a book, I give it 3 stars.

This was an extremely interesting one, couldn’t stop listening. It was very insightful to understand how companies like Netflix think about their culture.

Still, I find the culture described in the book toxic and dangerous because:
- it praises giving feedback in public. In 9 lies about work authors say that people don’t like feedback, they like attention, and I couldn’t agree more. Imagine how unnatural and pointless giving feedback in public is. The ego gets hurt and that’s as much as we can remember, and there’s nothing wrong with that - self defense mechanism of our consciousness was built for centuries, and no hippies with “cool new culture” can rebuild it overnight.
- at the same time, they speak only about negative direct feedback, no attention to human need of praise is given.
- costs don’t need approval, at the same time employees feel like being tested (rightfully so) or abuse the system completely (rightfully so). They speak about a case when an employee was using company’s money for personal travel across the globe, eating out with the whole family and living in 5 star hotels for over 3 years. I refuse to believe this was cheaper than hiring a team who approves the payments.
- unlimited vacation policy. There’s a story of a developer who says she’s happy she’s working 80 h weeks because she can take 2 months off per year. Well after a few 80 h weeks you don’t really wanna live anymore, left alone any sort of travel.
- they fire people who work well and don’t exceed expectations. No comments here.

The culture of Netflix struck me as arrogant and highly insensitive. It’s curious how organizations want to squeeze human juice and package it nicely, denying human nature.
It also goes against my personal bibles of organizational culture, such as It doesn’t have to be crazy at work, Radical candor and above mentioned 9 lies about work.

On a positive note, again - the book is written very well, and I totally admire how strongly people preach and practice what they do about their culture, even if it’s a totally wrong culture by my subjective standards. Italian