Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Netflix: Non-'A' Players Unworthy of Jobs

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the bring-your-D+-game dept.

Businesses 397

theodp writes "Describing How Netflix Reinvented HR for the Harvard Business Review, ex-Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord describes 'the most basic element of Netflix's talent philosophy: The best thing you can do for employees — a perk better than foosball or free sushi — is hire only "A" players to work alongside them.' Continuing her Scrooge-worthy tale, McCord adds that firing a once-valuable employee instead of finding another way for her to contribute yielded another aha! moment for Netflix: 'If we wanted only "A" players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been. Out of fairness to such people — and, frankly, to help us overcome our discomfort with discharging them — we learned to offer rich severance packages.' It's a sometimes-praised, sometimes-criticized strategy that's straight out of Steve Jobs' early '80s playbook. But, even if you assume your execs are capable of identifying 'A' players, how do you find enough employees if 90% of the country's population is deemed unworthy of jobs? Well, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' support of Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC suggests one possible answer — you get lobbyists to convince Congress you need to hire as many people as you want from outside the country. An article commenter points out that Netflix's 'Culture of Fear' has earned it a 3.2/5.0 rating on Glassdoor."

cancel ×

397 comments

Torrenting hurts these guys... (3, Interesting)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about 6 months ago | (#45781141)

...so I guess there is now another reason to do it!

Re:Torrenting hurts these guys... (5, Interesting)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 6 months ago | (#45781501)

Sort of: they use torrenting stats to work out what's popular and acquire licences to stream it.

this is like (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781151)

Netflix accepting only "A-Players" is exactly the corporate equivalent of some fat greasy obese anime-watching neckbeard putting up his dating profile and going SUPERMODELS ONLY PLEASE.

Re:this is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781185)

Except that in Netflix's case it works.

Re:this is like (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781209)

Correlation with one data point is not causation, idiot.

The alternative explanation is most Netflix employee work is so routine that anyone could do it - you could hire a mediocre, good or brilliant employee and you'd end up with the same result.

They're not a research lab. Aside from the people who do their marketing and negotiate with the film labels, they're not doing anything that anyone else could do - indeed, the pirates are far better at delivering the films I want to watch. They can't even write decent HTML/JS/CSS, but again, it's "good enough", so who cares?

Re:this is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781341)

Yep, when you're the largest player in an oligarchy composed of perhaps four total, you have the least incentive to compete, and the most incentive to crank out the most mediocre work possible.

Netflix has pretty much a lock on streaming movies legally. Their pricing structure pretty much guarantees it, and they obtained a significant momentum.

It would seem Netflix has decided to go the way of Microsoft in the 2000s and rest on its laurels, slowly losing market share, but not in numbers great enough to provoke it into innovation or customer satisfaction.

Re:this is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781555)

Except that in Netflix's case it works.

Not really. The language used in the article suggests that they are spending more resources on trying to quantify the kind of workers they want and probably failing majorly at it.
I give them ten years. Twenty tops.

Re:this is like (2)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 6 months ago | (#45781633)

Really Netflix works? So tell me Einstein how much of a presence does Netflix have outside of America, Canada, and the UK? OH NOT MUCH! If they are so much the A players and A team and best on this planet why on earth are they not in the vast majority of countries? Oh wait in the UK they have competition from Love Film. This is what gets me with "american" thinking. And I don't want to stereotypify here because not all Americans are like this.

It reminds me of Walmart who thought they could tromp into whatever country they wanted because they were the best. HA! They had their head handed to them on a platter in Germany. Netflix reminds me of this.

Their idea that you only hire A players is actually not a good idea. The growth of a company relies on innovation and innovation as much as managers dislike it does not come from conformity or some check mark system. My wife who is a fairly high manager knows this all too well. Innovation is a damm nebulous thing that comes from the oddest corners and from the oddest people. What is needed is a mixture of people who are hardworking, and dedicated to the cause. No more, no less.

Re:this is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781239)

Dating sites are where losers go to be judged solely upon their profile photos. Meanwhile the supermodels already have sex.
Job sites are where losers go to be judged solely upon their resume keywords. Meanwhile the A-players already have jobs.

What's the fucking difference?

Re:this is like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781259)

Except what they call A-players are absolute shit in terms of actual skill.

Sahib (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#45781353)

s/A/H1B/

Re:this is like (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#45781525)

Meanwhile the supermodels already have sex.

link?

Re:this is like (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#45781553)

Oddly enough, many actually are caught in a dating quagmire. There are certain tiers in the modeling world, if you are above a certain level (too exotic for non-elites) but below the level where you are integrated with the elite culture, they kinda end up in a bit of a dateless limbo that only really ends if their career picks up or fails.

Hey. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781523)

Respect the beard.

Well, it is from the bring-your-D+-game dept. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781157)

14 errors in font-awesome.css, over 50 errors in application.css, "Expected media feature name but found 'touch-enabled'" I don't even know what that means, but it came up a dozen times, downloadable font format unrecognized, another 50 errors in providers.css...

Re:Well, it is from the bring-your-D+-game dept. (3, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#45781189)

Yeah, you'd think with all those "A" players they could design a mobile interface that actually worked well instead of sucking.

Re:Well, it is from the bring-your-D+-game dept. (5, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 6 months ago | (#45781319)

And that basically outlines the problems with the "A" players: they are poor team players and they do not like routine mundane work.

Developing a skeleton of the application might be the task suitable for the "A" players. But the rest of it, making it really working for everybody, is very often "too easy" and "boring" for them.

Corollary. From the start on, the "A" players deem many design solutions as not feasible, because they entail lots of routine mundane work which they are unwilling to accept.

But then, Netflix doesn't do anything particularly sophisticated, so the strategy might seem to work. But in a nutshell, they are simply throwing money around.

Re:Well, it is from the bring-your-D+-game dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781493)

The A players that succeed are the ones that can make their 'A' ideas useful.

My gig is hardware crypto, but it wouldn't be worth anything if I didn't make it work with Five bus interfaces, scan, Dfx, randomized validation, fifteen different clocking schemes and keep ahead of the curve on attack vectors and mitigations. Doing A grade work does not mean you get to be lazy. If I just threw out crypto logic and left it to others to do the plumbing, it would never make it to silicon and I'd be looking for a job.

Re:Well, it is from the bring-your-D+-game dept. (4, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 6 months ago | (#45781571)

My gig is hardware crypto, but it wouldn't be worth anything if I didn't make it work [...]

Nothing personal.

Way too often I have seen the following. A cool high-paid consultants comes in, swarmed with managers, lots of buzzwords flying around, and he "makes it work". The "it" being what he/she was hired to do. Shortly after they're gone, the people who work on the system long term find that the "it" works - but the rest of the project is broken, sometimes irreversibly.

Like a quite recent example. There were (perceived) performance problems with the transaction logic: people wanted more TPS, but the software simply couldn't deliver. Managers have invited cool specialist who "fixed" it in record time of one week. Only later, when customers started complaining about inconsistencies in the DB, people took closer look at what he did. His solution turned out to be to simply bypass the transactions completely (AKA rather run multiple actions in parallel in different transactions). And guess what: the consultant still has a perfect record with the managers. Proper solution was to give the full-time developers time/money to comb the software for performance problems and optimize what's possible to. But that can't be done in a week time. Neither would earn any "glory" since that is a mundane work, not a silver bullet solution where in a week you magically double performance.

User interfaces (0)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 6 months ago | (#45781621)

Are you talking about Healthcare.gov? Or are you talking about the virtual-reality helmet for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?

Re:Well, it is from the bring-your-D+-game dept. (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 6 months ago | (#45781347)

those are most likely bugs, but they can also be used as tools for user browser fingerprinting.

streaming media firm has opinion (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781159)

Leaving aside the obvious retort that Patty McCord sounds like she no longer fits, this sort of problem cannot be solved as long as people think they're all such special snowflakes that they don't need no stinkin' union. Work hard enough and you might just win the race to the bottom!

Anyway, they're just a streaming media company who got in there at the right time. It's not as if they do anything particularly remarkable, so when they talk about hiring "'A' players" they really just mean people who are mewly, pukey and subservient enough to fit the corporate culture. And, as summary notes, this is less about innovation in hiring+firing and more about starting the lobbying machine.

This is genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781161)

It's why Netflix has hands-down THE best offering around. Their streaming service would work in a foxhole on a 50kbps satellite connection.

Re:This is genius (4, Funny)

AnttiV (1805624) | about 6 months ago | (#45781401)

Can we please have a "+100 Sarcasm" mod choice? This needs it.

I only work for 'A' Companies ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781171)

Qwikster is not one of them.

But seriously, I don't think this policy is really all that outrageous. If 90% of the country is "unworthy of jobs" as the summary suggests Netflix is implying, there are still about 30 million left ... plenty for NFLX to hire. Even if you restrict that to computer science majors, I'm sure they'll find enough bodies. At companies with lax employment standards, you do sometimes end up with freeloaders that don't pull their weight, but identifying top-talent is not an exact science and people may leave if the environment becomes too toxic (see: IBM).

It does appear, though, that we are moving toward an economy where employment of people is not necessary. What do to about that, and how to feed those people, is a separate issue (but certainly not Netflix's problem).

Re:I only work for 'A' Companies ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781193)

I take that as 90% of the software engineers of the whole country. Adding other restrictions into the equation, they probably have a hiring pool of a few thousand. For fairness, they should employ people on project basis from the beginning, just like the rest of the entertainment industry is doing.

Re:I only work for 'A' Companies ... (2)

torsmo (1301691) | about 6 months ago | (#45781593)

we are moving toward an economy where employment of people is not necessary. What do to about that, and how to feed those people, is a separate issue (but certainly not Netflix's problem).

It will be when that portion of the populace has no money to pay for their service.

Re:I only work for 'A' Companies ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781617)

plenty for NFLX to hire

I've had to job-hunt several times in the last couple of years (working short-term contracts), and I noticed a number of companies advertising for "A-list" talent. Their ads ran for years, apparently without being filled.

My take is that just because you are seeking only "A-list talent" doesn't mean you are the type of "A-list" company that would attract such people.

One more company (2, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 6 months ago | (#45781175)

on my list of too sleazy to deal with...

This is whats wrong in the USA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781177)

Maybe you could just ask people why they're no longer "A players" (which is a crap word in itself) or if they're going through a rough patch in the life?
Work is only 8h to keep you fed, it's not the center of your life. Everyone seeing it different will burn out - and maybe that's what's happening to their former best people. Or they're simply content with their work now because their fondest ideas have been implemented.

You can't force creativity which is the basis of excellent work and great ideas. You can only create a stable basis and trustful environment, so that ideas will flow and will be discussed in a proper manner.

Also perpetual competition within your teams and organization does NOT lead to the best results. It leads to fear, sucking up and everyone's self hidden agenda to keep their seat.

The company's statements are truly the core of what's wrong with the USA and what we in Europe have fought for ages. Still, it's creeping in...

Re:This is whats wrong in the USA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781279)

Work is only 8h to keep you fed, it's not the center of your life.

“You are not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

In other words, without a job, without money in the bank, without a car to drive, without the contents of your wallet, without your fucking khakis, you are crap who doesn't exist. This is what Americans believe.

zynical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781181)

This is just zynical. Oh we just fired somebody because we really want to be nice to other employees - oh and by the way also for his skills.

Society doesnt consist of only 'A players'.

Re:zynical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781313)

Society doesnt consist of only 'A players'.

Yes, it does. If you are not an 'A player' then you are not a part of society. Loser.

Re:zynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781461)

Maybe in Germany things are different, for now. Don't bet on it lasting long, the Harvard Business School approach is corrosive and deadly, and it gets short-term results, just like cancer cells getting a new blood supply.

Well, it worked for so many others (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | about 6 months ago | (#45781183)

Netflix isn't the first business to put all the weight on the players while ignoring the game. It doesn't matter how many A players you hire if your organization has deep structural problems. Microsoft would be a prime example.

In contrast, you can build extremely effective organizations out of ordinary people, if you allow them to organize freely around problems, compete honestly, delegate at will, and so on.

Re:Well, it worked for so many others (5, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 6 months ago | (#45781261)

This has been my experience as well. The best teams and companies are those who have a good mix of people, and who know how to utilize talent. For example, I've worked with an old geezer who was rather over the hill as a designer / analyst. A "D" player at best in his assigned role. However he had a ton of knowledge about the company, projects and people, and in some ways he was the department's "memory". He also had good ideas about how to organise teams and company processes, and he was a brilliant coach. He wasn't good at actual management jobs, so... they left him where he was, and where he was perfectly happy. Adding a ton of value to the company on a daily basis. Freely organizing around problems is exactly what he did.

That's not to say you don't need the right mix of people and skill levels to be successful. A-teams are probably as likely to contain the right mix, and in my experience about as likely to recognize it. Unless of course you stack the deck by saying that your A-team also has an A team lead who knows everything about this, but I've never seen this in practise.

Oh, come on, man (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#45781359)

It's all about da skillz. If you can't measure it, it doesn't exist. MOAR GRAPHS!

Re:Oh, come on, man (1)

Unkl_Shvelven (1002053) | about 6 months ago | (#45781513)

I love your sig.

Re:Well, it worked for so many others (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 months ago | (#45781463)

This has been my experience as well. The best teams and companies are those who have a good mix of people, and who know how to utilize talent. For example, I've worked with an old geezer who was rather over the hill as a designer / analyst. A "D" player at best in his assigned role. However he had a ton of knowledge about the company, projects and people, and in some ways he was the department's "memory". He also had good ideas about how to organise teams and company processes, and he was a brilliant coach. He wasn't good at actual management jobs, so... they left him where he was, and where he was perfectly happy. Adding a ton of value to the company on a daily basis. Freely organizing around problems is exactly what he did. That's not to say you don't need the right mix of people and skill levels to be successful. A-teams are probably as likely to contain the right mix, and in my experience about as likely to recognize it. Unless of course you stack the deck by saying that your A-team also has an A team lead who knows everything about this, but I've never seen this in practise.

That's the problem with identifying an A player - defining what is really valuable to the company. Some things are easy to see , such as sales figures, system reliability etc; even if they really don't necessarily measure what you think they measure. Other things, such as the ability to navigate the company's organizational and power structure are equally valuable but much harder to notice; often they are noticed after the fact when it is to late. So in the end, it becomes a bunch of senior executives crowing about how the have the A-Team while they systematically destroy the things that make the organization function well. I pity the fools...

From experience at MSFT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781297)

I think the key is that being good at management is squishy and managers evaluating managers shoots for mediocre at best. Microsoft is full of politics because politics is all that managers can see in each other. They kill off an insane amount of decent to great projects and lose a ton of awesome people through politics. I was on an awesome startup team that was making traction and we got put under another manager that was trying desperately to have excuses why his team was 3 years late. If anyone with any authority would have spent more than a few hours looking at their branch the whole team would have been out the door, instead he got the go ahead to seek our teams 'help' and merge us under him. So my team was made to fit into where they wanted with a 'new design' that was made by the same team and we had no say, which meant we all had to find another team quick or leave Microsoft. Half the v- were chopped instantly too even though they were great.

I am pretty sure that Netflix is not taking this attitude to the top as Hastings has messed up plenty of times and their strategy is complete crap. So why didn't they fire him and everyone that messed up the Stars negotiation?

Re:Well, it worked for so many others (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45781303)

This sort of thing actually creatures structural and managerial problems. Employees become paranoid, always looking to boost their own image and have a hand in all the successful projects, disowning problems and blaming each other. Anyone else's success is just a threat and chances are the really A players will leave anyway for somewhere with a better work environment and job security.

Looks like Netflix will be the next Yahoo.

Re:Well, it worked for so many others (4, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | about 6 months ago | (#45781411)

Exactly. True A players add value above and beyond their specific discipline, and if they're A* players they'll use non-core skills better than most people could use their primary skills.

"Hire great people" is an expensive employment strategy and possibly overkill for a lot of routine jobs. It can however lead to a very capable, diverse, talented and motivated workforce. All of which you lose if you implement a "Fire specialists" culture shredding policy as you've indicated.

Re:Well, it worked for so many others (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#45781429)

There is nothing wrong with hiring, and retaining, only the "A" players. The problem is that most companies and managers do a poor job of defining who the "A" players are. I will use sports teams as an example. Some ports teams make the mistake of attempting to stock their team with as many players as they can manage who are potential starters. The problem is that many highly talented players only do well when they get sufficient playing time, while other players, who would do poorly if they got a lot of playing time, do very well when they are put in for spot situations. Those "second tier" players are sometime better in certain situations than the guys who excel in every situation. In addition, many "A" players only excel when they are the "star", they are not very good at doing the routine, boring, work that is needed to keep things going.

Re:Well, it worked for so many others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781515)

The number ONE rule in any successful organisation is:
1. Management must know what it wants and communicate this to the workforce. (is that two points?)

I have worked in companies that sucked and had brilliant people and in companies that excelled and had pretty sucky people. The difference has been that in the companies that worked well, people knew what they were supposed to do.

thanks; saved me some money (3, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | about 6 months ago | (#45781191)

I was going to try out Netflix right after the post-Christmas AV rebuild. Not now, though. I was fine with the A-only, but the "we can't (be bothered to) to find (or pay) local talent" is more than enough to offset that.

Bye-Bye, Netflix (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#45781195)

"Continuing her Scrooge-worthy tale, McCord adds that firing a once-valuable employee instead of finding another way for her to contribute yielded another aha! moment for Netflix: 'If we wanted only "A" players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been.'"

Sounds like the epitome of short-term planning.

Congratulations, Netflix. Good (or not so) to know you. Really sorry to see you let it go to your head.

Re:Bye-Bye, Netflix (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 months ago | (#45781443)

"Continuing her Scrooge-worthy tale, McCord adds that firing a once-valuable employee instead of finding another way for her to contribute yielded another aha! moment for Netflix: 'If we wanted only "A" players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been.'"

Sounds like the epitome of short-term planning. Congratulations, Netflix. Good (or not so) to know you. Really sorry to see you let it go to your head.

Of course, if they only truly hire A players then their talent pool will be a worthwhile one for other companies to poach. So unless they find a way to lock in their talent so it can't leave; such as hiring foreign talent under H1B and other visa programs that restrict job mobility. Oh wait...

You want more H1B's? Fine, but change the rules so after say 6 months they can freely quit if they have another offer? After all, if you pay market wages and offer the type of job that is worth keeping then no one will steal your A players whom you paid a lot of money for their visas, right?

Does this apply at all levels ? (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 6 months ago | (#45781197)

Ie does it also apply to the top level of management, or does it only apply to lower level, dispensible, minions ?

Re:Does this apply at all levels ? (4, Interesting)

ajdlinux (913987) | about 6 months ago | (#45781331)

Well, "ex-Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord"...

So easy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781201)

The solution to all this is so simple. (1) Reclassify capital gains as ordinary taxed income. (2) Set a maximum income by setting the top tax bracket to 100% (3) Set a minimum income with no work requirement. Problem solved, economy repaired, middle-class saved. Your welcome.

Re: So easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781251)

This the formula to became a European Country or a Venezuela.

'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decisions (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781207)

Netflix has sure made some foolish decisions for a company consisting of solely 'A' players. Why did they choose VC-1 for video compression, when H.264 is better in most measurable ways (including device compatibility, image quality at a given bitrate, etc.)? Why did they announce separate disc / streaming services (Quickster), and then immediately backtrack? And the reason Reed Hastings gave for the backtrack was, “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.” How in the flying fuck did the A-Team manage to not figure that out in the first place?

I understand that even the best people aren't perfect, but it just doesn't add up. It seems like the mistakes they have made are simply too avoidable for them to be hiring only the "best of the best."

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (5, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 months ago | (#45781301)

I think the choice of VC-1 came because it was supported by Silverlight while H.264 was limited if present at all. VC-1 is also the protocol of choice for Blu-Ray, and the time saved simply copying the files instead of moving them to H.264 may be significant.

They're the largest in their field and have little real competition, so they must be doing something right. They're also in the process of moving away from Silverlight, provide a primary source of more bandwidth across the Internet than perhaps any other single company (not counting CDNs like Akamai), and maintain a customer satisfaction rate that is the envy of most of the entertainment industry. The executives may need to be smacked around a little, but it's hard to argue that the company as a whole has many serious problems.

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#45781345)

Choosing Silverlight based on hollow hype alone is a bit of a symptom IMHO.

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (4, Informative)

guises (2423402) | about 6 months ago | (#45781415)

That didn't choose Silverlight based on "hype," they chose Silverlight because flash didn't offer DRM'd video streaming.

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#45781441)

That sounds like a situation where an inhouse tool is called for. The inability to run on tablets/phones/etc should have been enough of a warning to stay away from a poorly supported emerging technology from a single vendor with a reputation for cutting the cord.

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (3, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 6 months ago | (#45781363)

I think the choice of VC-1 came because it was supported by Silverlight while H.264 was limited if present at all. VC-1 is also the protocol of choice for Blu-Ray, and the time saved simply copying the files instead of moving them to H.264 may be significant.

While VC-1 is part of the mandatory codecs in the BluRay standard due to very heavy lobbying by
Microsoft at the time, I've yet to encounter a single actual disc using it. There are some of them out
there (it is used a lot by Warner Brothers), but "of choice" VC-1 certainly isn't.

And copying files from BDs to directly use as streaming sources? With their double-digit megabit
per second encoding bitrates (the maximum video bitrate alone is 40MBit/s)? Absolutely not.

Re: 'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decisio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781409)

Blu-Ray uses VC-1, H.264, and MPEG-2, depending on what studio released the disc. No clue which is most popular though. However, NetFlix most likely has to do video encoding anyway. The highest quality NetFlix stream is only around 8Mbps, which is far less than would be used on a Blu-Ray.

SilverLight did add H.264 support in version 3 (2009). It's never been clear to me why SilverLight was chosen. Flash offered the same features, but on more platforms and with a much larger existing install base and a larger variety of codecs supported.

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#45781437)

They are like Yahoo used to be. Seemingly the best at what they do, but actually quite primitive and likely to be replaced by something better soon.

Re:'A' Players Make a Lot of Questionable Decision (3)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 months ago | (#45781545)

Replacement is possible though I don't know how likely it actually is. Netflix hasn't seemed to be as content to sit back and enjoy the limelight and instead has been pushing to change how they do things and the customer experience. I don't know who can seriously challenge them; there are at least a dozen competitors, but few if any have the range of content. Maybe Amazon (and I could see them trying to buy Netflix) has the architecture and the content, but I'm not at all happy with their non-rental selection. I don't see Redbox taking over any time soon, much less any of the other competitors.

HR industry is destroying the workforce (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781213)

If 90% of a country's population is deemed unworthy of jobs, the country is doomed. A nation does not survive by allowing its talent to be wasted, and Netflix's philosophy is treasonous.

The best thing people can do to help America die is to sit idle and watch Netflix.

Re:HR industry is destroying the workforce (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 months ago | (#45781311)

At my last job, I participated heavily in the interviewing process. We had a certain perspective and requirements, and would often sift through 50+ resumes to interview perhaps 10 people to pick one person. That suggests that we were looking for the top 10% or top 2%, depending on your perspective. The only difference with Netflix is that they keep that evaluation going. I kind of wish we'd done that where I was and cut some people when it was clear they weren't pulling their weight.

Re:HR industry is destroying the workforce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781535)

It suggests you were looking, out of those who wanted to work for you AND saw themselves as able to comply with your candidate requirements, for those people who best fitted you.

Again, that doesn't mean they're objectively the best at everything - it means they're subjectively the best fit for you.

Re:HR industry is destroying the workforce (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781537)

Nothing in the article is a surprise. Companies expect that you will "act like and adult" and "put the best interests of the company" first. However, as soon as you are not "in the best interests of the company" you are fired. Every company is this way. Many have created long tortuous processes for eliminating unwanted employees. I'd prefer a fantastic severance package to a year of false hope and tortuous "improvement plans" leading to dismissal with cause. Last time I was laid off I got an honest appraisal from the CEO - who admitted frankly that he just did have a spot in the company for my skill set. He gave me a generous severance package, called it a lay off so I could claim unemployment and I found that I was very happy to leave that job. I took that situation and ran with it. Now I have a much better job that matches my skill set and I'm much more satisfied.

Interview test (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | about 6 months ago | (#45781219)

I bet the interview includes this test [channel4.com] .

Only good can come out of this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781225)

Sounds like a great place to work in, when, no matter how much blood you've spilled to get the latest and greatest out the door, you can get let go the very next minute you need to cut back a little to recuperate.

Remember kids: These kinds of people aren't interested in what you've learned or from your experience, not even from within the same company. Why? Because THEY are incompetent, and thus incapable of valuing experience, competence and knowledge. Also, they want to destroy your country for profit.

Psychopaths tend to view life as a game. And to be grossly incompetent. Thus the need to create scapegoats out of their own failings, instead of to ensuring ownership, bringing stakeholders together, make plans together and create organic and agile processes to ensure value.

Captcha: salesmen

Nasty, but true (4, Insightful)

Antonovich (1354565) | about 6 months ago | (#45781229)

Most or all of the people on /. would have to agree with this, at least on some level. I may not, myself, be an A-player but I know that working with them is an absolute pleasure. Worth far more than free lunches or pinball machines. I'm talking about the kind of people that you are constantly learning from - new ideas, new approaches, excitement and passion for what they are doing. I firmly believe that a good (A-player) techie is worth at least 3 average ones, and possibly worth an infinity of them.

What is an A-player though? How do you know one without working with them for a decent period? Do they have to have people skills or are they just a bonus? Do they have to have interests outside tech or are they just a bonus? I also think that the notion of an A-player is actually pretty nebulous, and overall company culture has a lot to do with whether someone will be an A-player or not in any given environment. I was offered the CTO position in a small company I worked in for several years but ended up not taking it for a variety of reasons, one of the main ones being that it would have been impossible to get rid of the D, E and even F players, due to both corporate culture and local employment laws. I am fairly certain the company will eventually die because of the lack of innovation coming out of it, and I think that is because most of the dead wood is taking salaries without contributing anything really valuable back. Then everyone will lose their job...

Re:Nasty, but true (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781265)

I think that the idea of ranking people on a line is meaningless, primitive penis-waving.

There is simply no such thing as an "A player", "C player" or "F player". Different people bring in different ingredients to an organisation. As Einstein said, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it'll spend its life thinking it's thick - the flip side is that if you judge a monkey by its ability to climb a tree, it'll spend its life thinking it's a genius. An organisation needs swimmers and it needs climbers. A good coder can make for a mediocre architect, and vice versa. The marketing department would have a tough time with a command line, but you put the best software project manager in marketing and they produce laughable, amateurish crap (no matter how great they think it is). This reflects not just experience but a variation in underlying abilities.

I've found lots of people a pleasure to work with, and in each case they've had a different skill, but in every case they're honest and co-operative. Indeed, a skilled person without ethical values is more detrimental to an organisation than an ethical person without skills - it's much easier to teach skills than values - though a good employee must have both.

Re:Nasty, but true (3, Insightful)

npetrov (1170273) | about 6 months ago | (#45781277)

There is such a thing as "A player", "B player" "C player" and so on. Some people are simply much more productive at the same tasks and coincidentally have other extracurricular tasks which are a superset of "lower level" players. As the parent noted an A player is easily worth 3-4 B or C players. And he has the same productivity difference as well.

Re:Nasty, but true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781421)

Well, if you're trying to hire a dozed Bill Joys, good luck to you. Let me know how you succeeded.

Re:Nasty, but true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781609)

The "A" player in one field will be a "D" player in another. Here's a real life example. Back in the 90's I worked for a company that spun off several divisions as a part of a merger with another large company. I worked for one of the spun off divisions, so I got see managers who had been safely tucked in middle management suddenly responsible for the operations of a "real" company. They hired a consulting firm to help them improve their management systems. The consulting company wandered around a bit, made recommendations, cashed their checks and were gone. Those of us in the company were left to clean up the mess the consultants created. First recommendation was to reduce the support staff - get rid of the clerks who did the grunt work of purchasing and receiving materials, supplies, and so forth. Have the people who manage each area of the facility order and maintain their own supplies. In order to make that system work, every employee responsible for an area was issued a credit card, and then given a two hour training on what was expected. So, we had engineers and scientists who order equipment, parts, supplies, etc., ordering those not by putting together a purchase requisition getting approval and submitting it to the purchasing department, who would order the stuff, but by getting on the phone with a vender and ordering the stuff. Then when the stuff arrives, the engineer or scientist would have to be the receiving clerk and get the package from the delivery station, get the packing list from the box and keep that along with a list of what was ordered, to reconcile with the credit card statement. For a company whose engineers and scientists were already working 45 hours a week making products, the additional work load proved problematic. Chasing paper receipts and invoices and reconciling invoices to those receipts and turning them in to accounting on a specific schedule is time consuming. Not to mention something that none of the scientist or engineers wanted to do. So while we had a lot of "A" scientists and engineers they made "D" grade clerks and accountants. The system did not really save the company money as it damaged their ability to retain anyone who could get a job elsewhere and reduced the productivity of their A level engineers and scientists, not to mention the fact that the new clerks were now vastly over paid and horrible at their jobs.

Re:Nasty, but true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781611)

Some people seem better than others at specific tasks at a specific moment in time, but that doesn't make them clearly more or less valuable as an employee. Effective training (in no small part a continual stream of good advice from colleagues) and management are far more important to productivity than selection of person. Everyone likes to think they're a special flower with something that few other people have, but the whole superman / manifest destiny thing is as laughable then as it was a century plus ago.

As for "much more" - absolutely not. I am great at knocking something up in a few hours and amazing people who thought it was going to take weeks. But I have to accompany that sort of thing with a disclaimer that it's prototyping, not engineering: for any product worth using is written for robustness, maintenance and extensibility, and accompanied by excellent documentation. My super-productivity trick won't include any of this - and the Rock Stars are invariably those people who do the same thing but won't admit to the corners they're cutting.

It's not important to be the fastest, despite what all the primitive metrics suggest - it's most important to do the best job.

tl;dr I've played the "A player" game, and it's easy bullshittery. It's being able to give all the right answers at the right times, and knowing that I don't have to do anything except tick the boxes. Now I'm what to a dullard would regard as a "C player", but churning out much better products.

Didn't GE have a similar management philosophy? (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#45781257)

For some reason, I think GE had a similar management philosophy tied to the process improvement system Six Sigma. I think the idea was that you fired the bottom 10%(?) of your work force every year, regardless of their absolute performance.

I can't see how this or any other similar system is sustainable, though. There are a lot of transaction costs with hiring new employees; at some point the overall cost of termination and hiring will exceed the differential value of a better employee.

You probably can't do this without statistics and it's not hard to see management and employees quickly learning to work towards statistics rather than results, as well as eliminating creative risk taking. Look at business as an example -- Wall Street is the ultimate version of this and corporations have devoted a lot of time and energy into managing to Wall Street numbers instead of other, longer-term goals that don't deliver the "numbers" in the expected timeline.

I would also think a culture like this would become quite ruthless and unpleasant, with "getting rid of people" becoming a goal and kill a lot of organizational enthusiasm if you spent a lot of time worrying about being gotten rid of.

On the other hand, they are probably trying to deal with real problems -- people who are just good enough to not get fired, and people who "rest on their laurels" after some accomplishment and stop contributing in a meaningful way, although management is often complicit in this by promoting people into mediocrity.

Re:Didn't GE have a similar management philosophy? (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#45781327)

people who are just good enough to not get fired

You swap that problem with people who are actively working on not being fired (eg. spending a lot of time on attention seeking behaviour) instead of whatever job they are supposed to do. I've seen that and it was a horrible environment full of backstabbing and arse kissing with a vast amount of time spent on meetings where the only purpose was to be noticed by as high a level of manager as could be dragged to them.

Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks only? (5, Interesting)

Calibax (151875) | about 6 months ago | (#45781283)

Here's the problem. Grade A people expect to do grade A work. In almost every organization there is a ton of work that doesn't fit into this category but still needs attention. Code gets old and has to be updated, and there's a ton of work that doesn't require the brightest and best but still has to be done.

Now the grade A people don't want to know that. They want to work on the sexy new stuff that makes them look like the superstars they are. They might put up with maintenance coding for a while, but they won't stay there. They will want to move to better things, and if they can't they will move to another company - and because they are grade A, they can do that with relative ease.

Google used to have the same issue with a grade A requirement, and they found that products stayed in beta for years as a result of engineers moving on when the interesting parts of the code was done. They even had to cancel some products because they couldn't get engineering resources that wanted to work on them. So they lowered their standards a little and things improved somewhat.

By the way, I'm not knocking maintenance programming - that's often difficult work. Maintenance guys have to come up to speed quickly on systems they never wrote and then make the code do things it was never designed to do, and finish it in an impossible short deadline, because it's "only" maintenance. But it's not sexy enough for most grade A folks.

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781477)

Code doesn't rot like organic matter.

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781503)

OOOOoooohhhh yes it does! You are either not a developer, or are so green you haven't experienced it yet.

What happens is that the business changes AROUND the code, so the code doesn't reflect current business processes as well as it did when it was originally written. So, someone puts in a "minor fix" to correct something to make it more closely match current reality, and in the process they break two other small bits of functionality that no one knows about for a few months. Wash-rinse-repeat this process for a few years, and what do you have? Code rot.

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781559)

Err...it kind of does. Libraries, third-party dependencies, frameworks, etc. all are versioned, fast become deprecated or unsupported in this day and age.
If you don't manage that and commit time and resources to abating it, perhaps the software doesn't die, but you do have a zombie.

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 6 months ago | (#45781509)

Indeed. Check out Brave New World, the "Cyprus experiment" (or something, it has been a while).

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781541)

It's an 80:20% rule. Most engineers only like to do the first 80% of a project, not the non-sexy last 20%. I don't think that's a problem about A-players, it's a generic problem. Personally I think an A-player who leaves something at 80% is not an A-player. The 20% of "details" is what makes the product shine on another quality level. If someone can't see that, he or she is not so smart, or lazy, and in any case not an A-player. An A-player delivers the whole thing.

The problem MS had with this HR policy what that people get very defensive, and you get a Windows island, an Office island, etc. where they fight for their own island but don't fight for the company or bigger lines.

The problem google has with this HR policy, on some levels (many mediocre people work for google) is that it is a lie and leads to a baffling mono-culture. If you go there to be interviewed for the day, if one person doesn't like you, you won't get in. I firmly believe that you need different people and different characters to make a great product, intellectual conflict is good.

The problem they both have is that they are shitty companies, I wouldn't want to work there. I don't want to work for an evil company which sells our privacy and where I'd become a glorified ad seller. We don't all sell our souls like Vint Cerf, who was someone sometime, and is now a trophy ad seller who argues against privacy. Not an A-player.

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781605)

Then you are defining "grade A" wrong. You need "grade A" in more than one position. What you would talk about are designers that like to deal with big interesting problems and get some architecture up and going. You don't need the same person to finish the details they will be bad at, just hire someone who is "grade A" in the category of producing massive amounts of boring code. There are people out there that can turn out the stuff reliably and in large amounts as needed.

Re:Can you run a Tech Company on Grade A folks onl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781615)

Well put. Some of us get bored with the mundane. Some of us love the mundane. It is best to fit the skills and desires with the job. That way we have all "A" levels in their spot.

I'm not worried. (2)

Azure Flash (2440904) | about 6 months ago | (#45781287)

What's there to be worried about? If you make wise decisions despite ambiguity, identify root causes, think strategically, smartly prioritize, perfectly understand others, speak and write in an articulate yet concise fashion, treat people with unfaltering respect no matter what, never lose your calm, accomplish amazing amounts of important work consistently, somehow focus on great results without thinking about how to do so, are fluent in meaningless buzzwords, learn rapidly and eagerly, know everything and can do everything, understand all about marketing, innovate, quickly find simple and cheap solutions to extremely hard and complex problems, take risks, make tough decisions, emit controversial opinions and criticize other people's bad behaviour without offending anyone or ever failing, inspire others, care deeply about your employer's success, [...], and you take time to help your colleagues and share information openly and proactively, then you'll have no problem.

Netflix have listed all of their criteria for being an A-player, you just have to follow that. What's so hard about that?

Here's one reason why it's stupid (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#45781399)

You can't do anything new and stay as an "A player". Solving problems or learning new skills means less output in the short term than just sticking to a standard operating procedure. In the long term if you have nothing but people good at doing the standard operating procedures then you have nobody that can devise the new ones. Either the place with this stupidity stagnates, you call in consultants or you poach from places with a better procedures and get them to parrot what is done in the other place.
This A-player shit sounds like it came from a 19 year old HR person on cocaine.


The example of the person they fired sounded like just the sort of flexible problem solver needed when changes need to be made. The message is clear - they don't want to change with circumstances but instead stay in their niche until it vanishes or they are displaced by another company prepared to change and be a better fit. Then they will wonder why it all went wrong.

As a non-American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781291)

Let me ask this burning question: WTF IS AN A-PLAYER????

Maybe one who is part of the A-Team? [cloudave.com]
Maybe one who wears A-Style clothes [crasstalk.com] ?

Had an "A player" right here (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#45781307)

Had an "A player" right here. Cut corners everywhere so he'd finish quickly to look like a miracle worker, found other people to blame when the inevitable problems arose from that, then fucked off to a high paying contract in Saudi Arabia before it was obvious to everyone that he wasn't pulling his weight. People who present well and tick all the boxes can sometimes be too good to be true.

Re:Had an "A player" right here (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 6 months ago | (#45781619)

I think it means somebody on the lowest level of professional baseball team. A, AA, AAA, Major League

Sorry, I am not helping you with that. (1)

schrall (1361555) | about 6 months ago | (#45781309)

That's it, I'm cancelling my subscription. While I can understand the need to recruit talents, this so- called "HR-culture" is just awful. Where is the human in HR when you deal with your employees that way? Whatever the quality of the service, I will not help a company who think that employees are a commodity. The consequences of a culture of fear are depressions, suicides and broken families. And it is in no way improving the overall quality of the company. The best discoveries and improvements are generally made in enjoyable working environment.

I gave them a fair hearing... (4, Insightful)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 6 months ago | (#45781315)

From the article:

The second conversation took place in 2002, a few months after our IPO. Laura, our bookkeeper, was bright, hardworking, and creative. She’d been very important to our early growth, having devised a system for accurately tracking movie rentals so that we could pay the correct royalties. But now, as a public company, we needed CPAs and other fully credentialed, deeply experienced accounting professionals—and Laura had only an associate’s degree from a community college. Despite her work ethic, her track record, and the fact that we all really liked her, her skills were no longer adequate. Some of us talked about jury-rigging a new role for her, but we decided that wouldn’t be right.

So I sat down with Laura and explained the situation—and said that in light of her spectacular service, we would give her a spectacular severance package. I’d braced myself for tears or histrionics, but Laura reacted well
[...]

[Talking about another employee that no longer 'fit']

Give her a great severance package—which, when she signs the documents, will dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the chance of a lawsuit.”

Folks - remember the snippets above in your dealings with any company. This is the nature of the employer-employee contract these days.

A spectacular severance supposedly balances out any disquiet at 'pump-and-dump' treatment of employees. Of course, "spectacular" may mean they pay $4,000 instead of $2,330.02 legally due - i.e. 200% of something which probably won't get you very far in the first place. And 'extra' documents they have you sign as a quid pro quo, also sign away review rights regarding unfair dismissal, etc.

Everyone working for someone - and I mean everyone - needs a backup plan to create wealth. Not an MLM - something where you get paid to create actual value. This could be selling cupcakes off your Facebook page, freelancing on guru.com, selling artwork on odesk.com, tutoring math classes, mowing lawns... Even if you make only $10/month, its a skill kept sharp for when you really need to depend on that next arrow in your quiver.

Before doing this, check your work contract - and speak with your attorney. Many jobs - specially IT roles - have a catchall 'all your efforts/patents/ideas/code belong to us' clause. Even for what you do on your own time and dime. Such clauses may or may not be lawful.

Do they offer "A" pay? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781349)

Most companies which want "A" talent seem to offer "C" pay. If anyone offers "A" pay, they'll get "A" people applying.

Re:Do they offer "A" pay? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781635)

Not really. Look at CEO pay and then look at the complete lack of correlation between that "A" level pay and the complete asshattery of their actual performance. A monkey and a dart board could do better. Someone is going to make a MBA thesis on the irrelevance of CEO's and show that companies could save tons of cash by replacing the CEO with a magic 8 ball. Even better would be creating a computer AI that could act as the CEO and make slightly better decisions for way less money.

Little sharing (-1, Troll)

sepatubootsonline (3474777) | about 6 months ago | (#45781369)

Most or all of the people on /. would have to agree with this, at least on some level. I may not, myself, be an A-player but I know that working with them is an absolute pleasure. Worth far more than free lunches or pinball machines.In almost every organization there is a ton of work that doesn't fit into this category but still needs attention. Code gets old and has to be updated, and there's a ton of work that doesn't require the brightest and best but still has to be done. http://sepatubootsonline.net/ [sepatubootsonline.net]

#2 Regret by CEOs: Hiring the wrong person (2)

retroworks (652802) | about 6 months ago | (#45781379)

#1 Regret is "Refusing to admit #2". Those 2 old rules (most common regrets of CEOs) take Netflix's Executive a 127 slide show to present. I think slide #21 and slide #25 say that, and are the only relevant slides out of the first 40.

Then she says some pretty interesting things in slides 45-50 about the way growing companies tend to favor more rules which compromise creative talent, which I find pretty insightful. The "vacation policy" (if you don't track "hourly" pay, why track "vacation days"?) is interesting. Professional sports analogies are good, but pretty common - nothing "Netflixy" about them. There are probably 25 good slides in there. Not bad, but nothing irreplaceable.

Is she fired?

Re:#2 Regret by CEOs: Hiring the wrong person (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781465)

"Don't be evil" fits on one powerpoint slide.

What's so 'A' player great about Netflix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781383)

Netflix moves bits - they're the UPS of bits. Other than putting hardware at ISP sites to cache bits, what's the big challenge? How many 'A' people do they need? It's not like they're doing pure research. Unless there's something I don't know, their problems seem to be network shaping and flow, which are already solved. They're basically managing what amounts to a big DDoS attack. I'm not impressed with their grandiose view of themselves, unless there is some secret to Netflix that I don't know about.

And I wonder, if they only hire 'A' people, who rips the DVDs they stream?

Re:What's so 'A' player great about Netflix? (2)

Cederic (9623) | about 6 months ago | (#45781455)

Other than putting hardware at ISP sites to cache bits, what's the big challenge?

Knowing which hardware. Negotiating with the ISP to let you. Getting the ISP to pay for it, as it reduces their peering costs. Negotiating the peering arrangements to get the data to those servers. Designing the cache mechanism to balance data flow vs storage cost. Designing the security mechanisms to stop the ISP sys admin from copying the entire Netflicks library to his local NAS.

How many 'A' people do they need?

Going for hard minimums, I'd look for around a dozen in each major area of the business. So somewhere between 200 and 500, more if you want to break it down by product area.

Finance, HR, Marketing, Customer Service, Procurement, Collections, Sales, Corporate Comms, Product Development, Change Management, IT, Compliance, Fraud, InfoSecurity.. companies are kind of complex at that scale.

Unless there's something I don't know, their problems seem to be network shaping and flow, which are already solved

There's an awful lot you don't know. Even if the theory behind network shaping is known, you need somebody capable of applying it. Netflix as "the UPS of bits" probably encounter a bunch of edge cases that present genuinely difficult problems to solve even to the guys that developed the theory and solved all the easy problems.

I'm not impressed with their grandiose view of themselves, unless there is some secret to Netflix that I don't know about.

Well, a lot of people aren't impressed by their grandiose view of themselves. You do however seem to have a simplistic view of the technical challenges they face, and the complexities of running a large business. Shit, the article mentions explicitly someone designing a payment collection mechanism. You any good at that?

And I wonder, if they only hire 'A' people, who rips the DVDs they stream?

Without researching, I'd guess they either outsource to cheap offshore labour and/or they negotiate with the studios and get the digital content sent straight to them. The Internet, it works both ways!

a players? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781565)

I take it this does not apply to their media dept. Their collection is stale and unimpressive. Red box is going to eat these guys alive.

Everyone can be an A player in the right job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781569)

Nobody needs to be less than an A player - as long as they are in the right position. Not every position will be required at Netflix; some are at GE, GM, etc. But if every company had only the right people in the appropriate job, things would indeed work out better.

What about diversity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45781623)

Most managers tend to identify A-players as those most like them. Old boys club?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...