Vishal Biyani

02 Jan 2021

No Rules Rules - Netflix System

Finally finished reading the book from Netflix founder and Erin Meyer - “No Rules Rules”. The book is great no doubt and offers a lot of insights into the working of much celebrated organization.


Finished @reedhastings & @ErinMeyerINSEAD ’s wonderful book “No Rules Rules”A lot is out abt Netflix culture & things like “Unlimited vacation” but I think most things are oversimplified & miss the “devil is in details” which the book covers in-depth. Thread on “Netflix System”


Let’s start with the most popular one: “unlimited vacation”! What is less understood as you can notice from the highlighted text is: 1) The detailed context relevant to each team 2) Decentralized decision making. In Short: “Freedom is not the opposite of accountability”


Another favorite one: “No Travel and Expense Approvals”. There is a really good chapter on how this evolved through many hiccups within Netflix too but any freedom comes with accountability.


The lack of accountability has clear ramifications. Now you might say - this is too harsh - well that’s where these are more than just some “rules”, it’s a system!


Another one about pay scale - while they pay top of your personal market to everyone, the pay is not at all linked to appraisals. Again it is a system and not a set of rules that will suddenly make a workplace great.


So what is the Netflix system: 1) At the company level almost no hard rules - they slow down organizations & add no value 2) Radically open feedback across the company and in both directions (Ex. Live360s, Keeper’s test & prompt)


3) Managers at various levels spending substantial time to build detailed context and then let the decision happen locally (This needs even more work across cultures) - resulting in Loosely coupled but highly aligned teams 4) Choosing Flexibility/Detailed Plan as appropriate


5) Encourage experimentation at all levels with room for making errors. 6) Finally - the MOST important - leadership living the system and open/vulnerable to their areas of improvement!

I will do another thread on the 4A feedback framework - I found it super useful.

A Tweetstorm on same topic here: