back to article In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy

In 2009, Netflix published what became an influential slide deck explaining its culture, including a policy of not hiring “brilliant jerks” because the benefit of their moments of excellence are outweighed by the cost of their other behaviours. Now Netflix has updated the document with a new explanation of how it aims to make …

  1. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

    For many developers, particularly in the higher class, Netflixs insistence on DRM is a no-go. It's just no a very ethical company.

    They could at least drop the DRM for their own productions.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      Really? Not an ethical company because they use DRM? Really?

      Is the Netflix DRM that bad? Does it make it difficult to watch the shows you donwload from them? Millions of subscribers would tend to say No.

      You might have a personal dislike of DRM, and you are free not to give them your money, but they have obviously down the calculations and they think they need the DRM to avoid losing Money to pirating. So long as they keep the DRM unobtrusive, I dont get the hate. This isnt the days of SecurROM anymore, after all.

      But claiming this makes them unethical is ridiculous.

      1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

        DRM has always been unethical. Have we learned nothing from the 2000's?

        "Hey Netflix, the year 2001 called and wants its Restrictions Management mentality back" comes to mind.

        If DRM is to be used, we need to reform copyright. Thanks to some greedy people in the US who had no idea how to survive without Mickey Mouse we now have the common people having to wait almost 100 years before the public domain can see new works. It gets really mind bending when you realise that copyright created to prevent this, by protecting the right for someone to COPY a work for personal uses AGAINST any backlash from the creator of said work or publisher.

        Imagine if this was applied to the use of forks. It being illegal to buy a fork, eat with it then wash it for further use the next day. Oh the humanity, how much money lost to the makers of forks because the everyday people "hijack" the cutlery instead of buying a new one for the next day.

        Yes, a fork is physical so must be "Hijacked" like a plane. Fork hijackers are the fork equivalents to digital pirates.

        Clever really as pirates typically attack ships. What nice mind control these corporations invented by calling someone who does the future generations a service in protecting a work, a pirate. Kids know pirates attack ships and kill people while wearing eye patches so its bad to be someone who share a film that should be shared with friends after 10 years (and not 70+). Its bad to share a fork, or anything really. Sharing is bad. How dare little Sarah bring in ONE BAG of sweets to school for everyone to share on her birthday. Thats illegal. Thats hijacking a sweet. The kids should be ashamed.

        This is crazy talk dont you think? The artistic treasures of our generation and generations before, locked up in perpetual limbo for ever thanks to increasing terms of copyright and DRM designed to prevent the freeing of such works in protest.

        Even I use netflix and that does not make me a hypocrite. Why is this? Well think about it. I either not watch these new works in protest, or I enjoy them while I can. Yet I am maddened knowing that the generations that follow me wont.

        We are really, seriously, right now entering the beginnings of what future societies will know as the second dark ages. Only thanks to the continued existence of printed books and newspapers plus some digital works that are freed thanks for the efforts of the Creative Commons these ages will not be completely dark.

        I will watch Netflix and enjoy what I can while I exist in this world. I will also find ways to try and further the cause of freeing our generations treasures from dark deep vaults. I will rip my DVD's to open formats when I want. If I have a blu-ray I will re-record it in realtime (I grew up in the 90's so real time recording does not scare me one bit) via analogue means if I can not rip it. I will keep the DVD and blu-ray too as better ripping methods may be possible in the future and players will work for many years and dont tend to "phone home".

        To anyone who managed to read all this: Well done lol I do go on.

        To anyone who disagrees with DRM being unethical and copyright being a "copyblight" on our generation then I say, go and take action like me. Find a library and lock it up nice and tight. Destroy the key and when people complain tell them about the evils of information sharing and freedom. Tell them that our descendants centuries to come have no right to know anything of our works or knowledge without perpetual payments. Ask them to join you in the fight against the public domain!

        But you wont will you? ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

        The Netflix managers do seem like jerks. They were the people who came up with the idea of 'unlimited vacation' as a ploy to not have to pay people for unused vacation balances when they left the company... obviously there is no such thing as unlimited vacation. You can't tell them on your first day that you will be on vacation until further notice.

    2. Guus Leeuw

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      Dear Mr Berger,

      DRM, by definition, protects copyrighted works (amongst others) using a large quantity of different methods.

      Your insistence that Netflix does away with its version of DRM basically implies that Netflix could remove the paywall they have in place. I understand that you want to view Netflix movies in your player-of-choice. However, Mr Berger, ultimately we (is it 8 billion these days?) only need 1 person to pay Netflix, upload everything to putlocker.is or piratebay.cr, and all the others (8 billion - 1) can now freely watch Netflix' stuff.

      Even Netflix-produced material needs to be paid. Kevin Spacy (President Underwood) isn't going to survive without Netflix paying him. Orange won't happen (which is *massively* upsetting since I'm Dutch).

      An alternative would be to levy Netflix membership payments onto everybody's individual internet connection subscription. Where I currently pay Netflix once, I will end up paying them twice albeit possibly at a lower rate. If you never watch Netflix you still have to pay. That's the same scheme as a tax, so would be rather disturbing...

      Would you work full-time without pay? Forever? Then why should others?

      Regards,

      Guus

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

        Would you work once for full pay forever?

    3. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      For downloads, I'd agree. But actually, they're a streaming service, not a download service. Essentially it's like cable companies encrypting their content before it hits the set top box - they're trying to stop freeloaders piggybacking a free ride off people like myself who are paying for it.

      And yes, I know, there is DRM on DVDs and BluRays. It's not very good and easy bypass tools are available, and some of the commercial DVDs I buy are unencrypted. Heck, ALL the vinyl I buy is unencrypted, but that doesn't mean I want to go back to vinyl for all my music needs (Id have trouble fitting a turntable and a dozen LPs into the iPod pocket in my coat, for example).

      I think DRM for streaming is fine. For media I've purchased, not cool.

      1. theN8

        Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

        But when you buy a CD/DVD/BluRay/Vinyl/Book etc - you are buying a physical item which becomes your property to do with as you wish (copyright case law long ago established that you can take a "backup" of physical media as long as you still own the original and are not distributing or reselling that copy).

        But when you download a film from Netfilx - they still retain ownership of that material.

        You pay for a streaming subscription - the option to download and view offline is simply an added bonus. If they had a pay-per-download model like Amazon, then that might be a different matter.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      They could at least drop the DRM for their own productions.

      DRM is not, of itself, inherently evil (like quite a lot of other things). However, like a lot of other things, it can be used in an evil manner (Hollywood and games manufacturers, I'm looking at you.

      It's also worthwhile keeping in mind that NF are required to use DRM on stuff they buy from other people and (I suspect) trying to exclude their stuff from the DRM of the stream would be a technical challenge..

      EDIT: And anyway - I suspect that in using DRM they are protecting themselves from the MAFIAA and all its little goblins and, were they to remove it, even only from their own stuff, they would get sued for the total world GDP by said eveil organisations.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      "They could at least drop the DRM for their own productions."

      Netflix is not about owning what you view.

      Given that you can stop with a month's notice if you're no longer able to access their content on a device of your choice, without being denied any 'property' as no ownership was ever offered, the issue of DRM is absolutely irrelevant.

      And I speak as someone who will only buy DRM-free ebooks, so am usually biased in your favour.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      "For many developers, particularly in the higher class, Netflixs insistence on DRM is a no-go. It's just no a very ethical company."

      Dude. It's a streaming service. If you cancel your service, or the company collapses you have nothing left that could be inaccessible.

    7. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      Really?

      They run a subscription service, how long would that last if you could fire off a bot to download and entire genre of movies over the course of a few days?

      I know what younger me would have done.. 30 day trial, download the lot and watch at leisure.

    8. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Well they already cut themselves off from a big portion of the "market"

      Alright, Christian, I'll bite.

      What's your point, exactly? They are not selling you products and limiting your use of them. They are renting digital products and making sure you can't use them outside of the rental context. Why would they risk having rentals be duplicated? For what purpose? Which of your rights, exactly, are being infringed, outside of you not agreeing to rent their products on their terms?

      This is very different from buying a digital product outright and then finding out that you, as the owner, cannot use it on your terms. Yes, we are all familiar with that crap, including the music industry exec some decades back who was trying to argue you'd have to rebuy your music on tapes/mp3s to listen in your car, even though you had bought the CDs. Or Sony's rootkit DRM. Or sundry others. Yes, that's crap. Doesn't make your complaint any more relevant, in the specific case of a rental. Which you can terminate at any time and does not afford you any rights past that termination.

      I'd somewhat get it if you specifically stated you were concerned about the problems their approach causes when customers want to use Linux as a viewing platform and the clash between that chosen platform and DRM. But you give no indication that you are anywhere as nuanced as that in your reasoning.

      Oh, and, btw, this article had nothing to do with DRM, so you're just being tiresome, as per usual ;-) Me, I rather like Netflix and I also think their IT approach has been quite innovative and they don't mind sharing (ex: https://github.com/Netflix/SimianArmy/wiki/Chaos-Monkey, https://github.com/Netflix).

      p.s. >particularly in the higher class

      Not full of yourself in any way, are you?

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    worked its way into many-an-HR-person's strategies.

    You mean "pretend worked", surely. Such things are not set in an HR strategy - they are set from the CEO and board down and the CEO and the board have to live by them. When an HR droid tries to imitate them within the scope of what is allowed to an HR droid the results are laughable.

  3. Bump in the night
    Holmes

    Jerks need not apply

    I applaud no brilliant jerks, but they also are wanting everyone to be a star. I don't know if you can have it both ways. But perhaps with a culture of maturity you could.

    Personally I would settle for no jerks brilliant or otherwise, but I'm the type who hopes to just do a decent job with out eff'ing up.

    1. Little_Crow
      Coat

      Re: Jerks need not apply

      It says No Brilliant JerkS, we're allowed to have one

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Jerks need not apply

        The problem is they tend to breed or infect when you let one in.

        Shame there is no blood test for being an arsehole.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Jerks need not apply

          Shame there is no blood test for being an arsehole.

          I take a different approach. "I'm glad there's no blood test for being an arsehole". There's way too many places would actively seek them out.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Jerks need not apply

          Indeed.

          In one of his TED Talks (https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_grant_are_you_a_giver_or_a_taker?language=en) Adam Grant (an organizational psychologist) talks about people as Givers, Takers and the mass of people in between His view is that it's way more important to keep out the Takers than it is to hire lots of Givers. The really dangerous ones are the pleasant Takers. People can avoid the loud jerks, but the backstabbers just make people suspicious and uncooperative.

          "No brilliant jerks" is just another way of saying "No takers".

    2. Naselus

      Re: Jerks need not apply

      " I don't know if you can have it both ways. But perhaps with a culture of maturity you could."

      You can, yes. Being an absolute arse to people you work with isn't necessary, and making excuses for it due to talent is daft - especially when it turns out that the Brilliant Jerk usually isn't that brilliant, but just enough of a jerk to shamelessly steal credit wherever possible. Actually, that sounds like an exact description of Steve Jobs, thinking about it.

    3. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: Jerks need not apply

      brilliant jerks or the other name - "playboy millionaire project managers with nothing to lose"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "time-servers, ladder-climbers, or those who figure if they do a decent job without f*cking up they'll have a safe job".

    So, don't expect job security, career advancement and do more than you're paid for.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It does seem they don't tolerate discrimination, they end up firing everyone. The only question is if they fire you sooner or later.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The only question is if they fire you sooner or later."

        This applies to pretty much every IT company, particularly the larger ones.

    2. robin thakur 1

      In theory it all sounds like a lovely Utopia. However, reading between the lines, it basically means free overtime for the company as everybody is too scared to do the hours they are paid to do, lest they not be seen as a team player with a good attitude. Plus lots of people like Sushi and big parties, there's nothing wrong with that, and Netflix certainly makes enough money to afford both.

      Not everybody is nice all the time, it's not how humans work and I can't imagine anything worse than working amongst a sea of fake smiles and fake niceness especially if it's being enforced by HR. Besides which, for example, though it might be a stereotype, the sort of person who makes a brilliant developer is the sort of person who spends all their time coding, to the detriment of social connections in the real world, and they aren't going to be that well adjusted 99% of the time, in my experience.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: it basically means free overtime for the company

        I once had an interview for a company (Eversheds) where the manager made a *big* point of "we're a pie and pint sort of culture."

        He seemed taken aback when I asked him what that actually meant, and translated it into

        "we all work over our hours 'when the project needs it'".

        He then asked if that was a problem. I replied that as a one-off it was never a problem. If it happened every day then I wan't prepared to be a backstop to bad project management.

        The rejection was on my voicemail before I left the building.

        1. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: re: it basically means free overtime for the company

          Excellent! That's just the type of thing I would have said.

          I once in an interview used the phrase "Well a cock-up on your part doesn't constitute a crisis for me!"

          The face in front of me went through a kaleidoscope. I'd already decided to back out of that job application so was just enjoying the ride at that point.

        2. Nuff Said

          Re: re: it basically means free overtime for the company

          The one I had at interview was "We run a lean organisation". In other words we're too stingy to employ enough people so you'll have to do the work of more than person.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: re: it basically means free overtime for the company

          I said the same thing in an interview. I already knew that the company had all of the salaried engineers working 60ish hours/week and told them that I am willing to put in the extra time to hit goals I thought were reasonably set or to finish something that only need a bit more to complete rather than leaving 20 minutes of work for the next day but, I would not wish to consistently work more than 8/40 although I might work up to 50 for the right compensation. I never heard back from them. During the interview I found that I wasn't all that interested in working for the company so handing out the ultimatum didn't bother me.

          Companies that need their workforce for more than 40/week all of the time don't have viable business plan or are selling their product far too cheap. Working 60 hours a week is a 50% pay cut if your annual salary isn't 50% more than somebody else in a comparable job where they are only working 40/week.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "make 'sushi lunches, great gyms, big offices, or frequent parties' unnecessary."

        Those are not for the plebs and the serfs. Those are just for the noble executives. You have to learn to work more and longer for less, to allow the noble executives to spend the billions you allow them to make in lavish expenditures in beautiful places around the world.

        If you ask too much, they won't be able to spend those money and sew their golden parachutes. If you want a promotion, you could take the comfy chair of one of them.

        "We make a good-faith estimate of the highest compensation each employee could make at peer firms, and pay them that max"

        So you don't pay them on performance and added value - just calculate what they could expect from a competitor?

        And then you say you act as a sport team (which are usually among the worst example of "bro culture" and overpaid jerks, BTW)?

        What an ugly company to work for....

        PS: I hate sushi...

      3. StheD

        In theory it all sounds like a lovely Utopia. However, reading between the lines, it basically means free overtime for the company as everybody is too scared to do the hours they are paid to do, lest they not be seen as a team player with a good attitude.

        In Silicon Valley everyone salaried does free overtime, for one reason or another, and most of these companies pay in the middle range of the market, not the top. So paying top dollar for working overtime is pretty good.

        The place I just retired from, which is (quite rightly) despised by most Reg readers, got very pissy when people stopped working free overtime after not getting raises for a couple of years. So Netflix sounds pretty good.

        Parties are fine, but some people would rather go home to their families.

        1. Wensleydale Cheese
          Unhappy

          "Parties are fine, but some people would rather go home to their families."

          I experienced this free overtime lark in the eighties, plus they'd created a culture where you were "being antisocial" if you didn't go to the pub and maybe on to a restaurant with them after work. All out of your own pocket of course.

          I would have much preferred to be spending that money on doing up my house, holidays, or heavens, actually saving up for a rainy day.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Dream teams therefore make “sushi lunches, great gyms, big offices, or frequent parties” unnecessary."

    What if I like Sushi?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Buy your own and don't expect the company to fund your sushi cravings to make up for the fact your colleagues are arseholes?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The sentiment was more that if I like Sushi does that make me an arsehole?

        I also enjoy great gyms and frequent parties, not that fussed about big offices.

        So 3/4, I guess I'm an arsehole then.

        Back to the article and a thought has occurred to me, maybe it's down to management not to breed a culture where jerks can survive rather than trying to label someone a jerk before you have even employed them. It's just lazy to say rather than work on man management were just not going to employ anyone who could be a jerk.

        1. nijam

          > I like Sushi does that make me an arsehole?

          Probably so.

          > I also enjoy great gyms and frequent parties

          Very probably so.

          1. jason 7 Silver badge

            Most folks over the age of 28 want the money, not the silly perks.

          2. Wensleydale Cheese

            "> I like Sushi does that make me an arsehole?"

            Two key words in that sentence trigger an awful memory...

            The last time I had Sushi it gave me a sore arsehole.

            A very sore arsehole.

            Well, it could have been the beer in that dive of a pub afterwards, but it was a very sore arsehole nevertheless.

  6. Whitter
    WTF?

    Parsing error

    "Brilliant jerks are still not welcome, because Netflix believes “that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions, and we insist upon that.”"

    Does anyone understand what this means? Typo? Misspeak? nothing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Parsing error

      that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions

      Translation: "Being brilliant does not entitle you to be an arse(hole)".

      Definitely a good principle, but it has to be augmented by: "Being a mediocre pointed hair greasy pole climber does not entitle you to be an arse(hole) either. Neither does an MBA".

      1. Whitter

        Re: Parsing error

        Got you: thanks!

        Puts a lot on negative inference on "are also" to essentially mean "could but don't" (with the appropriate grammatical corrections to fit the sentence).

      2. nijam

        Re: Parsing error

        > "Being a mediocre pointy-hair greasy-pole climber does not entitle you to be an arse(hole) either. Neither does an MBA".

        Entitle, no. Pretty much guarantee, yes.

  7. Whitter
    Paris Hilton

    What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

    Just wondering.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

      Scaling while staying with a well defined metrics envelope for jitter, latency, etc.

      It is quite tough actually. In fact, extremely tough. If it was not that tough everyone and their dog would be able to run a video service.

      1. Whitter
        Thumb Up

        Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

        Cheers! I have heard it said in my office that Netflix does a very good job of not intermittently pausing on a bad connection when iPlayer (for example) would pause almost every other minute. That's the only reason I've considered them at all (mainly, to watch iPlayer via Netflix - does that work?)

        1. Ian 55

          Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

          Netflix degrades the quality of the stream to fit the connection if that has problems. iPlayer doesn't, hence it can pause.

          No, it doesn't.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

            "Netflix degrades the quality of the stream [...] iPlayer doesn't,"

            It surely does, although I think it only goes between HD and SD quality, whereas I think Netflix has more different resolutions to step through, so I guess it's less noticeable.

            Amazon also have multiple quality levels, although because they start on the lowest and it seems to take several minutes before they'll go up to HD, the first couple of minutes of the program are in fuzz-o-vision.

        2. cambsukguy

          Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

          Netflix is not a platform, like Amazon Fire, it is a service, like iPlayer.

          So, no, there is no iPlayer available on Netflix.

          Having tried, via my gf's Prime membership to occasionally find and watch something on Amazon Video, I can safely say it is garbage.

          Hardly anything available for the 'Prime included' service, always offers up a price to view.

          A rubbish interface, the same web page as Amazon shopping, just tripe.

          No elegant Apps for lots of platforms like Netflix.

          Almost no home-grown series.

          I have a Netflix App in Win10 and WinPhone 10 (the same app).

          It runs happily in Edge and (I think Firefox). Almost certainly Chrome (never checked).

          It has an app on my kids' WinPhone 8.1 which still works just fine.

          The Surface RT App (Win8.1) still works, and very nice it is too.

          It even ran on the WP7.5, no longer used though.

          It didn't run on my older Samsung smart TV but runs on Chromecast, fire sticks etc.

          Basically Netflix wipes the floor with the other services so, as long as you are not requiring the latest movie releases (they went away from that to spend the money on making their own shows, they have a huge number of them these days) then you will be well satisfied..

          I also share, quite acceptably, my login with my kids and gf, even on the cheapest service option, so it is damn good value for money too.

          (Not being paid to plug Netflix...).

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

            Dude, you used edge for something other than downloading Chrome/FireFox?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

              Dude, you download Chrome?

              1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

                I installed it from the demo disc on PC Mag.

          2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

            Basically Netflix wipes the floor with the other services so, as long as you are not requiring the latest movie releases (they went away from that to spend the money on making their own shows, they have a huge number of them these days) then you will be well satisfied..

            Yes, I would say in technical terms Netflix beats something like Crunchyroll. Of course, CR is a much smaller company, and as I understand it they do have occasional issues with their hosting service. The main difference is content: Netflix is a general-content service, covering all their bases to give a little of something to every interest, while CR is for a targeted audience.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

        "f it was not that tough everyone and their dog would be able to run a video service."

        One only has to spend a few minutes with some of the second tier streaming services (or the Video On Demand service of your cable provider) and their crappy interfaces and poor delivery to be reminded how good Netflix is at what it does.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Naselus

    So does this mean

    That Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson are never going to be getting their own Netflix Original series, then?

  9. Ian 55

    I'd consider paying for Netflix but

    I have a bigger collection of DVDs than it has films available to watch (not particularly hard, because the choice on Netflix is shockingly bad..)

    Take away the genuine 'Netflix originals' and the 'we stick our credit over another company's 'Netflix (not very) originals' and there's barely anything there.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: I'd consider paying for Netflix but

      I will bet serious money that you don't have a bigger collection of DVDs that their movie selection - despite the fact that you are right, it is small.

      They decided against just making movies available because, quite rightly, they realise that anyone can do that and compete with them (Now TV for instance).

      So, they make of lot of their own shows - and many of them of are pretty good.

      As a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I am particularly are well served.

      And, as a holder of a Cinema pass, I watch the movies you no doubt buy on DVD, at the cinema. It is better - no matter what your system is - and cheaper, I watch most adult releases so it costs about 2 quid a movie, excellent value really. And, of course, I see them earlier, which costs a serious premium with streaming services and DVDs.

      1. Nuff Said

        Re: I'd consider paying for Netflix but

        "I watch most adult releases" - not something I personally would proclaim publicly, but each to their own.

    2. Pete 2

      Re: I'd consider paying for Netflix but

      > I have a bigger collection of DVDs than it has films available to watch

      It's not the number that matters (OK, it is to some extent) but the quality. Many years ago we took out a subscription to an online video service. They advertised the thousands of films they had available as being a major draw. It probably was if you were willing to waste your life on the sort of dross that is available from Sky Movies. However, going through a significant proportion of the list we discovered that only 4% of their films sparked any interest at all.

      Given that a person will only accumulate DVDs they like, or choose, I'd want any online service today to offer at least 25 times as many movies as we have DVDs. And that would only get them to parity. The sad thing is that there probably aren't enough (good) films made in a year to supply 1 a week that we'd actually want to spend time watching.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd consider paying for Netflix but

        The sad thing is that there probably aren't enough (good) films made in a year to supply 1 a week

        Well, there's about 750 recognised Hollywood features released each year, and a similar number of largely overlapping films released in UK cinemas. Applying a suggested 4% worth watching to the 750 big screen releases, you've got 30 a year that might be worth watching for an individual of given tastes (the "worth watching" criteria varies from person to person, I suspect that the actual total they select would be tightly clustered around that 4% number.

        However, if you go down to the indie film level, there's around 50,000 or so released each year. Which means that if there's nothing to watch, either the vast majority of Indie releases are dross, or alternatively there's plenty of brilliance there, it just has to be searched for. Worth thinking that Mad Max, Trainspotting, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Bad Lieutenant and many other top films started out as Indies, and there's earlier works directed by George Lucas, the Cohen brothers, Spike Lee, Peter Jackson etc etc. And plenty of John Carpenter.

        So perhaps the problem is that Netflix, Amazon, Sky and the rest is that they're just focused on big platform rebroadcast of major studio stuff. Making it all work is a great feat, but if the new content is fairly thin then its not much of a deal. I wonder why they don't do a better job of offering indie content? Having built the platform to sling blockbusters in high volume, surely adding a whole load of low-viewing films doesn't cost much more than the storage and a few dollars for updating the database and billing systems?

  10. Pete 2

    developing developers development

    > “that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions, and we insist upon that.”

    I wonder if they would be willing to apply their non-jerk attitude to management and administrative roles, too?

    1. Immenseness
      Flame

      Re: developing developers development

      "I wonder if they would be willing to apply their non-jerk attitude to management and administrative roles, too?"

      I'd settle for them applying it to a "screensaver" that actually saves the screen burning rather than displaying a dim static picture with searing static white bits that never move while on pause.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: developing developers development

        I'd settle for them applying it to a "screensaver" that actually saves the screen burning rather

        You are aware that screensavers are not actually needed on LED/LCD displays? And, if you are still using a CRT then it's probably time to switch to something slightly newer..

        1. Mark #255

          Re: screensavers

          You are aware that screensavers are not actually needed on LED/LCD displays? And, if you are still using a CRT then it's probably time to switch to something slightly newer..

          Plasma screens, innit.

          1. Missing Semicolon

            Re: screensavers

            .. and OLED screens. My LG G4 is looking very blotchy, now

        2. King Jack
          Headmaster

          Re: developing developers development

          @ CrazyOldCatMan sorry mate but you can burn images into LCD screens by displaying static images for long periods. I ruined a screen because the browser I use always is in the same place. Agree the CRTs should be replaced, but because of space and power saving. Screen-savers suck because the screen remains on using power. A blank screen is preferable.

  11. Seajay#

    Brilliant jerks

    I find this idea quite interesting. The history of great companies would suggest that brilliant jerks are required, at least in the early days. We might all wish that weren't the case but just stating "Our view is that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions" doesn't make it true. Very very good people are capable of decent human interactions but real brilliance, especially in technical areas, normally requires a laser focus on the task and a thick-skinned determination to drive the project to completion by any means. Both of those traits have a cost in terms of decent human interactions.

    Netflix of course are now a huge established company that doesn't really require stunning brilliance from its employees. It just needs to keep slightly ahead of the competition and not fuck up too badly. In those circumstances brilliant jerks aren't required and are probably counter-productive.

    1. StheD

      Re: Brilliant jerks

      Very very good people are capable of decent human interactions but real brilliance, especially in technical areas, normally requires a laser focus on the task and a thick-skinned determination to drive the project to completion by any means. Both of those traits have a cost in terms of decent human interactions.

      I went to MIT with more than a smattering of really brilliant people, and maybe 10% of them were jerks. The people who struggled tended to be jerkier than those who didn't.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant jerks

      Netflix has lots of job positions that are doing things that require getting stuff done but not necessarily creativity or design expertise. If the person in one of those roles shows up on time, gets along with their workmates and competently performs their job, they shouldn't have to worry about getting fired for not being a "high flyer". Netflix is sending out a message to their employees that their jobs are on the line every day even if they are doing what other companies would consider satisfactory work. Given that, I'd find another job if I could.

      I cut the TV cord 10 years ago. No cable, no Netflix, no satellite. I rent a movie from time to time and that's about it. This means that instead of paying those companies every month, I am adding stamps to my passport. I spent some time with a friend in Wales this year. I'm visiting friends in the US in August and we'll be there for the total eclipse and I'll be in Prague around Christmas. Next year I have a trip planned to visit Iceland and Dubai. I could skip all that and pay for 500 channels of nothing on, but on balance, I think I'll keep seeing the world in person, thank you very much.

  12. 0laf Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    I'm an Amazon subscriber and although the video selection is not great it seems to be pretty much on a par with Netflix. 95% shite. Especially now they've started importing YouTube type dross to pump up the figures. There is probably still enough to justify the subscription.

    I stuck with Amazon becasue I make a lot of use out of the Amazon Prime Music and the improved delivery option. I normally opt for slow delivery and take the £1 credit the often hand out for that.

    As for the dippy hippy culture in Netflix. Sounds like a way to pay well for a short time, overwork talented graduates to disillusionment before throwing their hollowed out husks out the door.

    What't the alternative? Work in the public sector. Get paid less, overworked if you have talent and enthusiasms, have to work with jaded arseholes left right and centre, before having your hollowed out husk thrown out the door when the incumbent government cuts funding or priorities on the whim of some twat that's never stepped foot in the region.

    Netflix doesn't sound so bad after all.

  13. David Nash Silver badge

    fair dismissal?

    So they'll fire " those who figure if they do a decent job without f*cking up they'll have a safe job"

    IANAL but I'm not sure they can get away with that in Europe.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That 'brilliant jerk' thing

    Sounds a lot like a Westpondian sort of thing. In Eastpond, my experience has been that in our culture admiration more often betides the 'brilliant grey man'.

  15. DougS Silver badge

    Who are they talking about here?

    Do they consider the Uber CEO to be "brilliant"? He's just a typical thug businessman screwing over anyone and everyone to get to the top. He's had a history of ignoring laws - his previous startups were both file sharing related. He failed to pay withholding on his employees in one of them, which the IRS considers worse than simply not paying your own taxes.

    Uber wasn't even his idea, it was his partner's. He may be a jerk, but certainly isn't brilliant.

  16. Starace Silver badge

    Monoculture

    The problem with their idea is you build a monoculture, maybe not the same one their competitors build (like Google) but a monoculture all the same. And those are never healthy.

    You need a mix of people to really get things done; the mercurial type who comes up with the radical new idea and the slogger who'll do the boring bits to get it to production.

    And while it's reasonable to go looking for the brilliant but nice type I'm not sure they exist, at least not if you want someone who will get their idea to fruition. At best you'll find someone who just does a really good job of hiding what they really think and does a good line in making the team believe they've achieved consensus when it was really a skillful sell/tell job seeding their thoughts.

  17. Weiss_von_Nichts

    The problem with corporate self-understanding

    The one important thing about humans is that we always want to be what we are not. We also want to do exactly the things we can't do. Like fly, go to other planets, create self-conscious minds. That's totally fine, it's called "progress" or "pursuit of happyness".

    Facts about corporations are that they consist of humans and their mottos always reflect the way they wish they were instead of the way they actually are. Which might lead us to the assumption that a company usually is just the opposite of what they claim (or whish) to be. But who wanted to work for someone with a motto like "We're a bunch of backstabbing, broke dilletants but we honestly hope to get better"?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Netflix?

    The one viewpoint we haven't had is from an actual Netflix employee - I'd be interested in hearing an insiders view of things. I've got to say, I subscribe to the sentiment and would like to hear how it plays out in practice.

    And I'll try to be less of a jerk going forward, but......

  19. rodc

    If the Jerk at Blockbuster had accepted that Netflix offer, no one would give a sh!t what Netflix think...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I clicked on the link....

    They say a lot, which seems at odds with the ethos they espouse...

  21. Sirius Lee

    It's easy to apply the 'no jerks' rule once your business is up and running and jerks have created the technology you need to conduct business. Once the business is up and running you need the team players to keep the business rolling.

    But when the business hits competition and the consensual culture supporting the current business model no longer works, as eventually it surely will, lets see if the consensual culture can adapt. History suggests that such a culture will not be able to change because there will be no consensus on the change required.

    So an interpretation of this position by the management of Netflix is a statement to potential competitors that they are not in a position to meet radically new market challenges should such challenges arise.

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