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They might pay a lot but the apartments next to their HQ cost $3300 for a 1 bedroom apartment. That only works if they don't have a family. Housing near Netflix is going to be $5k per month. Employees also have to factor in the cost of unemployment and job search, self paid insurance and medical when between jobs, self paid retirement, relocation to and away from Netflix, etc. I would put the total extra cost for the opportunity of a 12 month stint at Netflix at $50k. Maybe they pay $200-220, but they don't give stock, don't give bonuses, and you won't be taking any vacation during those 12 months.

One thing where the Netflix system breaks down is for some reason managers are never found to be useless or relevant. It becomes a small number of individual contributors trying to support a larger and larger management base. The real reason is political. The people at the top fear people rising through the ranks so they execute people like a dictatorship. At my previous job everyone with more than 15 years of experience was pushed out and people with no experience at all were brought in. Now, no one can make the case that people with no experience were not useless. They had no skills. If it were a pro sports team, it would be like bringing in little league players. The idea is the little league-ers are so excited about being in the big leagues they don't complain about the inept coaches.

It makes perfect political sense to have high turnover. What managers will typically do is turn over the workforce, but also scale down the thing they are trying to accomplish to meet the capabilities of their little league-ers. All they want is to be able to claim a 'success' so they can get promoted. They cut the workforce down, cut the work down, but when they build the n-millionth + 1 music service or chat app they claim it is a revolution. Executive management says, "wow you created a music service, here have $500k" and the process starts again. No one has the cojones to point out that the company has inadvertently started to play little league because the executives are trying to ride successes as well.


>>The real reason is political. The people at the top fear people rising through the ranks so they execute people like a dictatorship. At my previous job everyone with more than 15 years of experience was pushed out and people with no experience at all were brought in.

Actually, the real reason is usually financial. People with 15 years of experience tend to cost a lot more than new hires fresh out of college.


Assuming that both groups are competent for their level of experience: If you can't make more profit out of someone with 15 years experience than you can out of someone who is fresh out of college, then I really question how good you are at running a team. Sure, they're more expensive, but they can get a lot more done a lot faster.

Many companies are inefficient at evaluating people right. Someone could be very experienced, but in very wrong ways (e.g. playing politics); not all, or maybe even most, ICs aspire to get better and better at their craft over time. There is plenty of dead weight.

So in a sense you are right; it's just management is not very sure which experienced persons are worth it or not. Whereas that new grad is all potential: it's an opportunity to start over again and do it right this time (but they never do of course....).


I think we'd mostly agree. Though, I'd note that it's not just a consequence of some people having limited aspirations. If you're interested in working with good people, you should be coaching your staff to develop their skills. That process makes it fairly apparent to you who's a good performer and who isn't, and who wants to improve and who doesn't.

If someone's getting to fifteen years, for example, and only then discovering that they've got to make cuts and don't know who to keep. Jesus Christ. That almost implies that they've made no investment, beyond money, in that relationship whatsoever. Which, considering people are expensive, is a bit like saying they've spent fifteen years burning the company's money.


Most big corps are exactly like that though: they don't really invest in their people beyond the paycheck, they sort of go with the flow until something traumatic happens and they need to cut people. What is even worse is that the high performers get tired of the flow and will simply leave, leaving behind what is more likely to be dead weight. Much of the performance management regimes that come from HR are to avoid these problems, but it really takes good people managers with continuous clear goals from above...and good luck with that!

Frankly, it's amazing that the system works at all.


Sounds like a nice stress free, paid 12 hour break lounging in first class to me.

What makes you think it would be stress free? That time is likely filled with frantic emails, phone calls, presentation building, spreadsheet analysis, etc. to make sure once you are there, things happen quickly and the way you need them to.

First: "I'm sorry I'm on a plane right now." Second: executives don't build presentations. Lower level managers build presentations for executives. Same with spreadsheet analysis. Third: The only reason an executive would make a trip is to threaten people and to choose who to fire. Mere presence alone is all that is required.

Management usually thinks engineers are expendable, re-hire-able, and fungible. They think they will just hire some new ones if a need arises.

You have to understand that the company makes most of its money by selling stuff. One of the easiest ways to get your project approved there is to say "we'll increase sales by xx million." If you just tell the executives that you want to make a speaker voice thing or reorder button thing that customers will probably want a whole lot you won't get approval.

That's exactly what this whole thread is about: doing things that please the top level of the company but are hard to sell to actual customers.

If jobs involving coding did not pay as much money as they do, you would see no interest in promoting diversity in coding. There are no 'diversity in construction', or 'girls who pour concrete', or 'hispanic ladies who sell used cars' initiatives yet these jobs are almost exclusively done by men. People see the money and their social justice switches start flipping. Surely it is because white and asian men are taking all the good jobs for themselves! It's funny how no one cares about social justice when there's no money involved. The other ridiculous assertion is that one just 'learns to code' in 10 weeks and then they are ready for that high paying coding job. If justice warriors are unhappy about the demographics of software professionals then they are wrongly trying to treat the symptoms. The demographics match the group of people who go through four year CS programs, so maybe that money would be better spent for CS scholarships. I don't say minority CS scholarships because now they are talking about excluding Asian people and it is still non-PC to label Asian people as part of the majority however correct as it is in the academic and professional world.

Uh, fine? 2008 was banks and people with money sweating. I remember seeing a report that the company's 401k accounts had lost two thirds of their value. Oops. Developers are the plant matter of the business world. Developers create value if given a little bit of sunlight. 2008 was a forest fire that didn't burn down the entire forest. If you were at the right kind of company you just kept on coding. I bought some puts on Lehman Brothers but was about a month or two too early to really cash out on their collapse.

The only thing I would consider a PhD level question would be something that one would see on a qualifier exam. Usually they require specific and deep knowledge that goes beyond what one could get out of textbooks in the field.

Well, businesses are not as honest as you think. Google would be reading Microsoft emails in a microsecond. The only reason individual people allow a third party to maintain their data is that they usually don't have anything of monetary value in there. Certain Microsoft emails are worth millions of dollars in the wrong hands. That and there is public trust of the brand that they won't do anything stupid.

Who is stupid enough to give away all their financial information into a random web form for nothing.

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