Reed Hastings Doesn't Like "Work From Home" And Believes In Teamwork


As a founder and co-CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings has reshaped entertainment and business in a way only the pandemic can

When Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph launched Netflix in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail movie-rental service they saw before anyone else that the internet was the future of distribution. Along the way, Mr. Hastings has created a sports teams model with the Netflix culture. The Netflix way encourages staff to take big risks without approval and to communicate with blunt candor.

One aspect, now infamous is the "keeper test,” in which they ask themselves: If a staffer were offered a job elsewhere, would you fight to keep that employee? If the answer is no, the person is let go.

Mr. Hastings spoke with The Wall Street Journal recently. Below are the highlights.

When asked about the positives of working from home, he responded.

"No. I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative. I’ve been super impressed at people’s sacrifices."

He stated jokingly that Netflix employees will be in the office "Twelve hours after a vaccine is approved....It’s probably six months after a vaccine. Once we can get a majority of people vaccinated, then it’s probably back in the office."

He likened his management style to the coach of a sports team that rewards big talent with high salaries and will cut those who don't preform. He loves collaboration and wants the employees to give each other feedback that improves their co-workers and is candid but not mean. In fact he is a true team player in his co-CEO role. When asked about that he said.

" Co-CEOs are an unusual thing, for sure. It only works well when two people really work well together. Ted and I have been working together for more than 20 years. He’s been a virtual co-CEO for a couple of years, and we just decided to make it official."

When asked about politics....

He said, "Politics is tough because in many ways people elect people who lie a lot. In business, we really try to avoid that. The skills to succeed in politics are really quite different than in business."

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Economics, Finance and Investing