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Netflix

Pulling back the curtain at Netflix, the world’s largest streaming platform and one of the most coveted internet companies to work for in the world.

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Netflix has cemented its place as a household name through its overnight success from a DVD mail-order company to streaming service extraordinaire. Twenty-five years ago, two-time founder Reed Hastings and his partner Marc Randolph launched the service in Scotts Valley, California, with personalized recommendations and curated lists at the forefront of their mail-order subscription service.

Today, Netflix ranks seventh in the list of internet companies with the largest market value worldwide ($239 billion) grouping it with Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Alibaba.

It’s headquartered in sunny Los Gatos, California, where the content studio is based, but has 23 office locations across 23 countries globally.

Talking Points
  • list item bullet point
    222 million
    222 million subscribers worldwide as of Q1 2022
  • list item bullet point
    $26.7 billion
    $26.7 billion in revenue in 2021
  • list item bullet point
    11,300
    11,300 full-time employees work for Netflix as of 2021
  • list item bullet point
    $30 million
    That's how much money Netflix spent per episode for the fourth season of its orginal series, Stranger Things, adding up to $270 million for the season. That's double what HBO spent per episode for the final season of Game of Thrones.

But the reason we are putting a looking glass up to Netflix isn’t because of their top-secret streaming algorithm or bingeable reality TV shows (we are looking at you, Love is Blind).

Rather, we are holding Netflix up to the light for its unique company culture and dual-CEO org design. Only 0.55% of companies on The Org have more than one CEO, making it stand out among the rest of its Big Tech peers and tech startups in general.


The streaming giant splits its business up into two chains of command—business operations and studio production. Two co-CEOs, Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, run these units in tandem.

Making Waves
Reed Hastings
Co-CEO & Founder
Reed Hastings runs business operations and finance at Netflix. Departments such as finance, product, engineering, communications, and legal fall under his purview. A two-time founder, Reed’s first business venture was starting Pure Software in 1991, which made tools for software developers. After a 1995 IPO, and several acquisitions, Pure was acquired by Rational Software in 1997.He co-founded the business in 1997 with Marc Randolph and has been serving in the chief executive post for more than 25 years.

Ted Sarandos
Co-CEO & Chief Content Officer
Ted Sarandos runs Netflix’s production studio that produces all of its content. Reporting into Sarandos are all of the content teams, including both film and television, original series, kids & family, as well as CMO Marian Lee Dicus’s team. Sarandos has been responsible for all content operations since 2000, and led the company’s transition into content production in 2013 with the launch of House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black, among numerous others. On July 16, 2020, Netflix announced that Ted would become Co-CEO, along with Reed Hastings, and would retain his current role as Chief Content Officer.


In 2009, the company released its 129-slide culture deck, titled Freedom & Responsibility, outlining the behaviors, values and skills the company is fundamentally looking for in employees and is motivated by when it comes to work.

It created such a stir in HR and technology circles over a decade ago, mainly for its radical transparency and insight into decision making at the company. It is still debated and talked about today.

While the company has moved away from the original slide deck Hastings put together, it still is notorious for cultivating an ever-present work culture for its employees that is a main point to nail for prospective candidate interviews.

Timeline
Follow along with the evolution of Netflix as a DVD rental service, to streaming platform, to full-blown Hollywood studio.
  • 1997

    Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph team up to start a DVD rental business….by mail. They test their idea by mailing themselves a DVD and when it arrives intact, Netflix is born. Netflix.com launches a year later.

  • 1999

    The Netflix subscription model debuts. It offers members unlimited DVD rentals without due dates, late fees or monthly limits.

  • 2000

    Netflix releases its first personalized movie recommendation system on its website, foreshadowing its renowned streaming algorithm to come. It uses member ratings’ on past titles to predict movies they’d like to watch in the future.

  • 2002

    Netflix IPOs on the NASDAQ with a selling price of $1 a share. It’s ticker name is NFLX

  • 2003

    Membership surpasses 1 million. The U.S Patent and Trademark Office issues the company a patent to cover its rental subscription services.

  • 2007

    Streaming is introduced. Members can watch an unlimited number of series and films instantly.

  • 2009

    The infamous Netflix Culture Deck is published. Streaming partnerships expand to internet connected TVs as membership surpasses 10 million.

  • 2011

    Netflix goes worldwide. It expanded to Latin America and the Caribbean after launching in Canada the year prior. The first Netflix button appears on TV remotes.

  • 2013

    Ted Sarandos spearheads initiative into original content. “House of Cards” “Orange is the New Black and “Arrested Development” were all released that year. Profiles and My List debuts on streaming

  • 2016

    Netflix expands to 130 new countries, bringing the service to members in more than 190 countries and 21 languages around the world. The Download feature is added for offline and on-the-go viewing.

  • 2018

    Sarandos' studio becomes the most nominated studio at the Emmys and wins 23. PIN protection is rolled out as a parental control feature.

  • 2021

    Membership surpasses 200 million subscribers. Netflix launches mobile games.

  • 2022

    Netflix is hit by an economic downturn in the stock market and plunging subscriber numbers. It lays off nearly 2% of its 11,000-person workforce. It also expands further into its stand-up comedy bet by launching Netflix as a Joke: The Festival in LA, the biggest live, in-person event in the company’s history.

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