Netflix seems to have an unusually open culture in general, including topics such as salary - they put their money where their mouth is and basically egg everyone on to beat them. Gotta respect that a company is willing to do that (I don’t work for them, but I do work for one of the big public tech companies listed in those charts)
(Most people have trouble wrapping their heads around just how huge consumer markets are. If you have 300M users - a la Whatsapp when Facebook acquired them - and charge them just $1/year, that's $300M/year in revenue, or enough to afford 1000 $300K/year engineers [or actually more like 1000 $200K/year engineers once you figure in overhead]. Similarly, if just one person out of every 100 acquaintances you know uses a product but they spend $10/month on it, that's about $400M/year. The challenge for consumer businesses is usually that they have to spend more to reach those customers and get them to open up their wallets than they make from each one, not that there aren't enough customers.)
Of course out of those $12bn, 7-8 will go to cost-of-goods-sold (buying or making the content they serve up). Still, 3-4bn of gross income pays for quite a few engineers.
$2.98 billion sales, $991m gross profit, $208m operating income
Tracking toward $11.75b - $12b in sales for fiscal 2017, with a mere ~3,400 employees or so.
They've historically had relatively slim margins (especially in the streaming business), probably explains the very thin employee base versus the sales.
I think you're massively underestimating overhead. Each person who works on a product should make a max of 15-25% of what they bring in. If you have a repair shop and you charge $100/h, you should be paying your techs $15-25.
$1 billion a month is about $1.4 million an hour 24/7.
$300,000 + ~$50,000 in benefits / 260 working days yearly / 8 hour work days is about $170 an hour.
That works out to earning about 0.012% of what they bring in.
Netflix is a bad example because, like most media companies, the vast majority of their expenses go towards media licensing and production. So while it's easy to paint their engineers as overpaid compared to the labor market, it's very difficult to paint their engineers as overpaid relative to their product.
Netflix has other perks of course. But they also have a pretty crazy layoff policy and they brag about how awesome their severance package is.
Employment as Netflix is really a mixture of the income premium and lack of stability that a contractor would have, with a compensation structure closer to a startup (base salary only, no formalized bonuses).
Note, ever since IC Engineers started getting significant bonus/stock grants (Which, I think, is something that has been a thing for less than a decade, at least for grants of publicly traded stock.) From what I've seen? Contractors have lost their income premium.
I mean, contractors still make more than what they'd make full time for base salary, but base salary is now a relatively small portion of total comp for FTEs at most places.
Just my observation; I'm also talking about the sort of contractors who go through body shops and essentially do the same jobs as the regular employees.
When you look at that world, contractors still win by a very wide margin: They are organizations where HR will not allow a hire for a competitive salary, but a department head can spend their budget on contractors any way they want. This leads to gigantic pro-contractor differences: As recently as last year, I made three times as much as someone sitting next to me that had Architect in their title, and the contract was for many hundreds of hours, so it's not as if there was non-billable overhead.
Now, the big tech companies can compete with contractor billing rates, just as long as it's either Netflix, or someone with good-as-money stock grants, but if you live in, say, Kansas City, you won't smell those companies anyway, and chances are that, barring remote work for a giant, the best you can hope for without contracting is salary that isa little bit below Google's, but no stock.
Those jobs with the as good as money stock grants are interesting because they represent the top of the market not just locally, but globally. If you want to maximize income in this industry and you are not good enough to move markets to you, you move to silicon valley and interview.
Content should be amortized as it will generate revenue for years. It's essentially being treated as a capital expense, which isn't unreasonable.
Intuitionistically, it makes total sense that you get a clearer picture of the true state of the finances of Netflix as a going concern if they recognize the costs of a show on their balance sheet over five years when they expect subscribers to still be watching it for the first (or second, or third) time several years on.
EDIT: Sorry, I misunderstood something. Netflix has indeed been making a profit.
A company with a positive cashflow and GAAP profitable is in the best spot, followed by a company with a positive cashflow and losing money in GAAP-land, followed by a negative cashflow and positive GAAP-land, followed by a negative cashflow and negative GAAP.
Netflix has high salaries but doesn't (for normal employees anyway) give equity. The other big tech companies do. And equity can be a significant part of your total compensation especially given tech stock performance. I think there's no bonus either but I'm not certain of that part.
Note that some will consider paying straight salary an advantage. It's certainly more straightforward.
Also $300K a year is definitely in the "nice problem to have" category.
Given that stock was like half my compensation, I wasn't going to give it up to avoid the hassle. But next time, no thanks.
edit: just noticed your username, hah.
According to Paysa's self-reported survey data (which, for all I know, is hogwash):
Netflix, senior software engineer, $323k ($323k cash)
Google, senior software engineer, $340k ($220k cash)
Facebook, software engineer, $317k ($190k cash)
Google, software engineer, $281k ($180k cash)
I would suspect and hope that, given such high salaries, their retain-or-fire decision is more sophisticated than that.
I think that software engineering productivity is a fairly difficult thing to measure quantitatively. Any simple objective quantitative measure (like hours spent working, lines of code contributed, or tickets resolved) is bound to be too naive.
Software engineering seems like one of those things where it’s easy to subjectively identify very good and very poor performers, but difficult to draw a hard line or even compare two similarly productive programmers.
Or am I reading too much into the quotations? I'm honestly just interested in hearing more about what the culture at Netflix is like.
It's not just marketing fluff. It really does a good job of reflecting what it's like to work there, and is taken seriously by everyone from the top down.
As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, it's not a competitive environment, and I've experience very little politics and drama. Those things are explicitly counter to the culture.
As for long hours, while the work day can be pretty intense, the office is usually empty by 5-6pm.
Hope that helps.
"Today, Netflix offers unlimited vacation time, high salaries. This company doesn't care how long you're in the office, but they do care about what you produce. And you have to produce. Here's another slide. We are a team, not a family. We are a pro sports team, not a kids recreational team.
Netflix fires people, even hard-working people.
HENN: How many people have you moved on?
MCCORD: Oh, hundreds.
HENN: I talked to a lot of former employees were OK with this deal. I mean, after all, Netflix pays well. But some talked about a culture of fear - always been worried about being fired. Patty says the company's culture is a big reason for its success. She says it keeps Netflix lean and nimble."
Do you have any kind of remote working allowance? Or are you expected to be in office all the time?
(because the bus to San Francisco leaves at 4:30pm)
At what point do you tell your employees that they live in the wrong city? Sacramento?
Top Tier in the sense that they have very good technical skills, paired with the right attitude for Netflix’s culture. I haven’t them be unreasonable for the standards they set but they want the very best and want you to work hard everyday. The difference is they don’t seem to stockpile talent, they cut when someone doesn’t meet that bar and have paid them incredibly well till that point.
Netflix is known for a few things: They pay really well. They don't tolerate drops in performance. The two go hand in hand (they're open about it). And as someone else mentioned, they encourage their employees to interview elsewhere, and they make it their goal to try to match any higher offer the employee gets.
I think their culture is the type that self-selects. People who don't want the stress of being a top performer all the time tend not to apply, or leave very quickly.
For example, from our culture page:
"We have no bell curves or rankings or quotas such as “cut the bottom 10% every year.” That would be detrimental to fostering collaboration, and is a simplistic, rules-based approach we would never support."
Our culture can feel intimidating, especially if you have any degree of imposter syndrome, but with very few exceptions, my colleagues and managers have always been supportive and really great to work with.
This is possible in companies growing rapidly or bringing in lots of money.
In 1990s, It was very common in Indian IT services firms to openly talk about salaries and promotions, as getting the best of both was easy for every one. Enter 2000s and all of this came to an abrupt end, stack ranking emerged out of nothing as people competing for limited resources compared themselves with each other.
Its not that hard to pay and promote when things are going well. Its only when the scarcity kicks when the real issues start.
I'm glad to hear that may not be true as it's always put me off from attempting to work there.
Contrasted to a friend who heard something passing on information that they were not expecting to be held accountable for.
I might trust my friends more, if my friend and someone on the internet had the same information, but might trust someone on the internet more if they had better knowledge.
Also, they did say "might not be true", and it certainly makes sense to use new knowledge to adjust the probabilities of belief.
No and yes? The problem is I didn't have any friends who worked directly for Netflix this is mostly what they had heard from others and what one supposedly asked about during his interview a few years back.
So yeah I trust them but they also got their information second hand which, when compared to "stranger on the internet claiming to be working at Netflix" I don't see a huge difference in.
Could you elaborate?
Is the management aware that because of this you're missing some great talent out there? Maybe they should consider changing a stance a bit...
I feel like a lot of big tech companies these days pay engineers to sound smart rather than for doing actual work. The interview processes at these companies would certainly indicate that.
I think that's some studly work, so much so that I'm sitting at the FreeBSD conference at Netflix right now.
I'm retired but some people got me interested in this stuff and I asked netflix for some hardware to look at numa performance issues. I showed up and they just handed me a 2U server, 2 Haswell sockets, 14 cpus (unthreaded) per socket, 256GB, 26TB of SSD. Neat machine :)
So far, from what I've seen, Netflix seems like they are close to what they describe on their culture page (that's been linked on this page) but it's early on for me.
I can say that playing with the hardware, learning about the issues, talking to people about kernel work has got me pretty pumped. Fun problems, fun people.
note how with Lyft, Uber and Apple there's no overlap between the percentage that feel compensated fairly and the percentage that would leave (yes I realise the two aren't orthogonal, but it's still indicative).
and linkedIn only overlap slightly.
Looking at it another way: https://i.imgur.com/vnMtd3r.png
If you want to reduce the percentage of your employees that want to leave there's two ways to do it: increase compensation, or do whatever Lyft, Uber, Apple and linkedIn are doing.
Netflix has some shady stuff like DRM going on, while pretending it's not their fault it was pushed into HTML standard.
Want a happy life? Stay out of any sort of video or music related business. It just isn't worth the trouble.
Where can we get their own films and shows DRM-free?
Music sells just fine DRM-free on Bandcamp. Games sell fine DRM-free on GOG. So I don't see any reason for films to be different. Lack of DRM-free video has nothing to do with lack of demand, but more with paranoia and backwards thinking of some legacy media execs.
In any case, DRM is one of those things that I don't see going away. It might change its form. People have gotten used to the convenience of not owning digital goods and merely renting them, and companies have gotten used to making money off of keeping users running on their subscription treadmill.
The easiest way to combat DRM is to start gofundme / indie gogo campaigns, where the developer gets paid upfront, and that way they don't care about DRM since they already made money.
My point is, that releasing for more people = more profit. And the opposite - not serving the demand = lost sales. It's pretty straightforward. DRM-free markets show there is demand. And those who refuse to release DRM-free show they don't do it not because of money, but for some side, shady reasons.
Not sure what your EMI example shows. They offered with DRM and without DRM, and then just with DRM, but it sounds like they didn't address the audience right. I.e. they should offer in all stores, not in one place exclusively.
> The easiest way to combat DRM is to start gofundme / indie gogo campaigns, where the developer gets paid upfront, and that way they don't care about DRM since they already made money.
DRM is not about money, it's about control (i.e. power). A different kind of urge some have. That's why using rational business arguments often doesn't work with such people. Control freaks don't care about lost profits, if in the end they feel "we are in charge".
> In any case, DRM is one of those things that I don't see going away.
It was broken through for music and games. Film industry is the one most plagued by it. And I agree - I see no sign of progress in it. It's too backwards thinking.
> sadly once we released DRM Free for The Banner Saga we saw our game get pirated like wildfire. Which is something we're keen to avoid as much possible. We haven't given it much thought at this point to be honest when it comes to GoG.
Until you provide a single source you're not saying anything worth responding to.
But piracy is naturally increased by limiting legal sources for buying something. Other developers commented on this very issue, saying that existing DRM increased piracy.
It was also not bought by people who see this obtrusive nonsense which drains CPU resources and degrades performance as something to avoid. In the end, they only lost sales. I wouldn't call Ubisoft or any other legacy publisher rational. Rather irrational control freaks.
Besides, Ubisoft's DRM will be broken, same as all others.
It's boring that you support anti-user methodology like DRM and try to justify it. It's been debunked multiple times.
There was a time when you couldn't find most games in a physical store, and sketchy cracked versions on PirateBay or your favorite tracker were the alternative. Of course, I have orders of magnitude more disposable income now than I used to, as well.
Some do it for sport, especially DRMed ones. I.e. they see DRM as something to break. So the mere presence of DRM is an incentive to pirate for them.
And this claim is a pile of trash:
> This is a requirement for any premium subscription video service.
DRM isn't a requirement. It's pushed by paranoid media execs, and Netflix should have control over it for their own video.
I highly doubt that anyone has been persuaded to buy a Netflix subscription because of Netflix's use of DRM.
As for 'shady' -- well, not a word I'd necessarily use, but there's plenty of examples where DRM has blocked access to legitimately purchased content.
That doesn't for their own video. Whom are they using it for in that case?
> It isn't there job to fix the rest of the Internet
Apparently it's their job to break it though, by pushing this garbage into he standard.
2. Netflix claimed it's not their intent to use DRM, but demand comes from film publishers who distribute content through them.
3. Netflix make their own films now, but you can't find them DRM-free (legally).
Ergo, it's also their fault DRM was pushed into HTML. Q.E.D.
So tell me again how Netflix subscribers, who are only purchasing the right to be able to stream videos on a limited release cycle, are hurt by Netflix's use of DRM? I followed the massive draconian DRM push by the gaming industry, MPAA and RIAA during the 00s and let me tell you son - this ain't nothing close.
Okay, I'm old, but we watched movies on VHS and it was a lot better than broadcast signal in a rural area. DVD's are very clear in comparison. HDTV is just icing on the cake.
Two other areas I find it really critical are sports (not a favorite topic around these parts), watching the silky smooth world cup stream in 1080p a few years was breathtaking, another one is animated shows. It seems unintuitive and I have no idea why, but something like futurama is much better in 1080p.
>So tell me again how Netflix subscribers, who are only purchasing the right to be able to stream videos on a limited release cycle, are hurt by Netflix's use of DRM?
Others already brought examples above with this DRM limiting usability of where videos can be watched. But that's a minor damage in comparison with damage done by DRM pushed into HTML standard itself, in which Netflix is complicit.
Whether making a copy of a sequence of numbers without depriving the "owner" of those numbers of anything is theft is debatable.
Just because our economic models are out of date doesn't mean we need to change the way we behave to keep shoe-horning them in. It means we need to change our models to reflect reality.
This is a big issue and our economy is largely suffering for it, but old-world thinking about treating digital goods like physical goods is a poor response.
A proper example would be something like Kung Fury.
There was a story where a woman who worked herself sick for the company and was on sick leave. Netflix essentially said don't worry, take as much time off as you want but really it was about making her post redundant and moving on without her.
It "ask them the kinds of sensitive questions that you normally can't ask: Do you think you are paid fairly? Are you interested in leaving your job?"
The sample size is 4174 people across ~40+ companies. So I am not really sure this can be trusted, looks more like a click bait article.
Funny how they don't mention how many people answered the other questions.
The survey, as well as the article, is bullshit clickbait.
To me it reads like barely-disguised native advertising, with every single chart having both the company's logo embedded in it and a direct link to their homepage right below it.
It's sad to see such content appear so prominently on HN.
Obviously Glassdoor isn't completely reliable since anyone can write a review, but Blind is also subject to selection bias.
From our culture page:
"...there are no “brilliant jerks.” The cost to teamwork is just too high. Our view is that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions, and we insist upon that."
Keep in mind that "the job" I'm referring to is more complex that regular jobs, but they hire people that can do the job that they need them to.
Netflix - 3.5k
Facebook - 17k
Google - 60k
Some background. I wrote Netflix's recommendation system. Netflix later went on to take part in fraud against USPTO which now led to Netflix with no ownership of it's "most important technology". Xavier Amatrain https://www.linkedin.com/in/xamatriain/ was my boss. Xavier went on to hire lots of staff to try and replace my system and was unable to do so. In the end he started claiming credit for systems I had written without understanding the technology. He still presents his incorrect knowledge in public conferences. The result is that for 5 years Netflix has been running my alpha system without improving the technology (various techniques that Xavier tried and k-means, LDA and deep-learning). Netflix never did push a version I had written with 40% greater "click-through" rate, 3 times greater speed and order of magnitude less memory.
One example conversation I had with Xavier after he left Netflix (para-phrasing of course):
Me: How is my system doing?
Xavier: We don't use it anymore. We stopped using your system 1 week after you left.
Me: Really what do you use?
Xavier: I cannot tell you it is secret.
Me: Who wrote it?
Xavier: You don't know him. We hired him after you and he wrote and pushed the new algorithm.
Me: So that new person, wrote a new recommendation system; pushed it into A/B test; got test results and then pushed it into production in 1 week.
Xavier: Yes - he is better than you.
All was this is a lie (and not out of character), because I have been in touch with other engineers post-Netflix and in fact I've talked with Justin on a number of occasions on the phone about how to keep my system running.
Later Xavier invited me to work for him at Quora. He offered in his own words "an unbelievable salary". I of course refused. I met Xavier sometime later and tried to talk to him about a particular bad presentation of his. He got upset and shouted "Fuck Off, I'm not interested in listening to anything you have to say" multiple times. We were on the Facebook campus at the time. He left at that point.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Always remember https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/65213-briefly-stated-the-ge...
That is, however, really nice confirmation that Netflix does in fact live what I was told when I interviewed there, that Netflix prides itself on offering the best comp package in industry. (They followed that by casually offering to more than triple my salary, so I had some inkling they weren't just making that up, but it's easy to write off one data point in a high-demand field as an anomaly.)
I'm most impressed that Amazon is doing as well as it is in those rankings, given how much shit they've gotten in the press over the last few years.
Black bars surrounding all four sides of the video (only with ultrawide content on ultrawide browser) because their app can't properly apply video dimension to the user screen dimension is kind of sad.
It's a little hard to believe they don't know about it, because I'm not the only one affected. There are even some compromise-options users contribute through use of Chrome extensions like this one:
Even this is not a good solution, because Chrome is limited to 720p (Edge goes to 4k).
So.. users can either get a smaller video in a box centered on their screen, but with higher resolution, or they can get actual fullscreen with a poorly supported browser at penalty of a lower resolution.
I know, not the best place for bug reports, but customer support, Twitter, other social media all have failed to solve this for a good year and a half.. Hopefully one of their engineers can read this and think "I feel empowered enough at my job to be able to pursue a solution to this."
FreeBSD is used because they can get their work into the kernel, Linux is harder to change.
The Linux use appears to me to just be VMs in AWS, it's just a service.
But... if they also require you to "be happy" and otherwise put yourself in the required company emotional state... that makes them a lot less attractive. Generally speaking, I lose a lot of respect for companies or people who value "culture fit" over productivity, and I generally have a hard time "singing the company anthem" as it were.
(Note, some people confuse 'politeness' with culture fit. Being polite, being able to avoid spilling your bad feelings inappropriately is part of working with other people. But being part of a culture is not.)
But I wasn’t really thinking about what’s good for Netflix. I was actually thinking about the employees. If you are unhappy at an employer : is it bad if you are fired for not being happy?