Startup Culture: 23 Insights From The NetFlix Culture Deck

Written By: Dharmesh Shah April 19, 2010

If you have time to read one document on the topic of startup culture, you should read through the NetFlix “culture deck”.  If you have time for two, read through the NetFlix deck twice — it’s that good.  It is so good, in fact, that I’m surprised when I come across entrepreneurs that haven’t seen the deck yet.  These are people that read all sorts of great material on the web to help their startups. 

So, as a public service, I’m sharing with you the best presentation on startup culture I’ve ever seen (including one we’ve created ourselves at HubSpot — more on that in a future article).

Insights From The NetFlix Startup Culture Presentation

These are just some of the points that jumped out at me.  I’m sure you’ll have your favorite parts too. 

1. Comes right out and says who the “freedoms and responsibilities” applies to.  In their case, salaried employees only.

2. Lots of companies have nice sounding values, but real values are defined by who gets rewarded and who gets let go.

3. You can articulate what you are, and are not trying to do.

4. You can separate what must be done well now, and what can be improved later.

5. You treat people with respect, independent of their status.

6. You accomplish amazing amounts of important work.

7. You focus on great results, rather than process.

8. You have a bias-to-action rather and avoid “analysis paralysis”

9. You create new ideas that prove useful.

10. You find the time to simplify so we can stay nimble.

11. You are quick to admit mistakes.

12. We’re a team, not a family. 

13. A great workplace is stunning colleagues.

14. You behave like an owner of the company.

15. Prevent irrevocable disaster.

16. “There’s no clothing policy at NetFlix, but no one has come work to naked lately.”

17. Act in the company’s best interests.

18. Flexibility is more important than efficiency in the long term.

19. Best managers focus on context rather than control.

20. Titles are not very helpful.

21. Compensation should be about external market value, not internal parity.

22. In some groups, there may not be enough growth opportunity for everyone.

23. Individuals should manage their career paths — not the company.

Which ones do you like?  What did you like that you would have included?  Which parts of the presentation do you disagree with? 

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