October 25, 2006

A Netflix Blog?

Gary showed me today a post on Netflix Fan asking Why no corporate blog for Netflix? and, as it happens, including a link to my Work & Research blog category. I'm not particularly surprised, as I've received a few emails at my work address from Netflix customers asking various questions. The poster at Netflix Fan, Becky, asks if there is a company policy regarding our blogs.

Well, for starters, this is my personal blog, where I happen to have a work category. So anything I post on here is not something said on behalf of Netflix. My blog also includes posts from when I worked at IBM and also lots of entries concerning research I conducted while attending UNC Chapel Hill. If I worked for company XYZ, you'd also see posts on there that are my personal statements and opinions (e.g. I had fun at the company celebration) and don't in any way represent the company in an official capacity.

With that in mind....

When you ask about official policy, I don't think it's any secret that Netflix is a company that heavily trusts its employees.

At IBM, there were corporate policies that I didn't like because I felt they had a negative impact on the culture. I won't go into details because I don't know if those policies are considered secret or not, although I don't think they are. Other people I talked to about those policies found them perfectly reasonable, especially given the large size of the company where you don't know everyone else and where there are a fair number of contractors moving in and out.

In comparison, Netflix is a small company. A few hundred employees, and each of us can pretty much recognize by sight the other people that work at headquarters (maybe not by name). It's a company that emphasizes personal judgement and mutual trust. You are trusted to exercise good judgement in what you do. So I can have this blog, and it's my responsibility not to reveal secrets or information that might be harmful to the company (assuming it is ethical to withhold that information), and to make it clear that this is my personal opinion and not a company statement.

What I think is really important is that I can trust everyone else at Netflix. I'm not worrying about leaving my iPod out on my desk while I attend meetings, or that someone might try to get ahead at my expense. And it's equally important that this trust extends between all employees, from the CEO to the code monkey (me).

On a technical note, it appears the trackback server used by Netflix Fan doesn't support pings from sites that begin with https:// instead of http://. I couldn't find any contact info for Becky, and didn't want to sign up for an account, and their comment system didn't like my Google account even though it claims to support it. So maybe someone who reads this can let them know all those things aren't working. :P

Posted by josuah at October 25, 2006 3:15 AM UTC+00:00

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Author Profile PageBecky says at October 26, 2006 7:12 PM

I'm sorry about the trackback problem. I'll do better than trackback: I'll blog your response. Thank you for providing such a thoughtful answer. My reason for linking to you and other Netflix employees is that I and my readers are quite curious about and love Netflix arcana, and the more entry points we can find into the company, the better.

Author Profile PageJosuah says at October 31, 2006 2:48 AM

I think it's funny that there's this cycle of blog posts about blog posts about blogging. :D Thanks for stopping by and posting a reply.

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