No Rules Rules


Reed Hastings recounts Netflix's origin story as well as some of the cultural aspects that have made them the dominant media company of the past decade

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Key Takeaways

  1. If you want to build a culture of freedom and responsibility, the first step is to increase your talent density (hire great people, pay them top dollar, cull the mediocre), increase candor, and then remove unnecessary policies and rules (vacation, expense reports, dress codes, treat people as if they were responsible adults with good judgment...)
  2. Removing mediocre performers has a surprisingly large impact on the culture, output, and happiness of everyone who remains, boosting already high performers even higher
  3. Give feedback often start with employees giving the leader ship feedback get rid of jerks understand that you’re trying to leave people feeling optimistic and positive not be down because of your brutal honesty
  4. Netflix's travel and expense policy can be summarized in five words: act in Netflix's interest
  5. You are replacing rules and policies with leadership great people and common sense. For example the unlimited vacation policy must be followed up by the manager talking about what makes sense for the team so that you don’t hurt the company or your colleagues don’t take vacation in certain times we can only have one person out from our team at any given time etc.
  6. For freedom and responsibility to really work there has to be repercussions that are known. For example at Netflix if you’re caught abusing the travel and expense policy you’re immediately fired no one strike you’re just out
  7. Speed in every facet of decision making has tremendous second order effects
  8. Big salaries, not big bonuses, are beat for innovation since people’s minds aren’t preoccupied with their target KPI or whatever metric their bonus is reliant upon. Bonuses and incentives are great for more mechanical and routine work but not so great for the creative. Pay top of salary estimates
  9. Shining sunlight on mistakes, especially made by leaders, builds trust, encouraged others to take risks, and enhances velocity. if you have proven you’re confident and effective admitting your mistakes builds trust and likability whereas ineffective people shining a light on their mistakes only further a Rhodes peoples trust him
  10. Don’t seek to please your boss but seek to do what is best for the company
  11. Only a CEO who is not busy can truly do their job. You need to decentralize decision making as much as possible which enhances peoples accountability and excitement at work and allows the CEO freedom to think and beat the company
  12. Adequate performance receives a generous severance package
  13. The keeper test is important to build talent density. If someone on your team just told you they were leaving for another company would you fight for them? If not probably best to give them a generous severance package
  14. Only say things about people that you’d be comfortable saying to their face
  15. Lead with context, not control
  16. Netflix's north star is to be a company that is adaptable and flexible. They almost always pay more if that means getting additional flexibility
  17. Pyramid and the tree - most organizations are structured like a pyramid but if innovation and creativity are your competitive advantage the structure like a tree is more effective. The boss is like the roots that helps keep the organization grounded and he is at the bottom setting the context rather than at the time controlling everything

What I got out of it

  1. Freedom + Responsibility + Talent Density; candor, trust, shining spotlight on mistakes, do what's best for the company and not for your boss, adaptability/flexibility > plans

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