No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer
I usually steer far clear of business books. They usually are stuffy, poorly written, and humorless affairs, not this one though. Netflix co founder Hastings writes with candor about Netflix's success and failures as they tried to navigate being a creative technology company. There is humour and concrete examples throughout the book. This book feels so genuine and so bereft of bullshit and long sentences filled with academic language. This book is part biography of Netflix, and part useful lessons Netflix has learned along the way in how to run their company, the 'special sauce' if you will.
The main takeaway from the book is that we don't need to run companies like they are factories in the industrial revolution. For companies who are creating creative products, which is many, many companies out there, we need to start ditching the controls of factories.
“If you have a team of five stunning employees and two adequate ones, the adequate ones will sap managers’ energy, so they have less time for the top performers, reduce the quality of group discussions, lowering the team’s overall IQ, force others to develop ways to work around them, reducing efficiency, drive staff who seek excellence to quit, and show the team you accept mediocrity, thus multiplying the problem.”
This is one of the quotes that hit me hard. We have this problem at our workplace. I feel I'm one of the stunning employees and feel demotivated working beside dummies. The problem with my workplace is that we can't afford to hire the best. So, we will have to just trying praying every time we hire a new person, keep them from quitting, and push the others out the door as fast as possible.
This is where a lot of Reed's arguments fall apart. If you can't afford to pay the top dollar for the best employees it will be difficult to implement a lot these points of the Netflix method. The first one is 'high talent density', which is pay your best employees well, and get rid of the just 'OK' employees.
This is not to say the book is useless, you can still take things away from this book, but very few companies would be able to copy every single point in this book. I like his snappy, easy-to-remember catch phrases for a lot of the points they make: the keeper test, the 4 A's, no 'brilliant jerks' and lead with context. I don't want to spoil the book, and I won't be able to explain it adequately so you'll just have to read the book to find out more about these phrases.
Book #69 in my #ReadingChallenge2021
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