Subscribe! It's free.

Join >666 folks who get a not-so-regular newsletter from me.

Netflix, Democracy, and ~Operational Excellence
By Clay Parker Jones profile image Clay Parker Jones
5 min read

Netflix, Democracy, and ~Operational Excellence

Why Netflix's approach to complexity – going all the way back to 2001 – creates better results.

This morning, Jordan (founder of Parabol) sent me a PowerPoint slide that looked like this:

Alongside the chart was a phrase that I've now learned was apocryphal:

The reason the American Army does so well in war is because war is chaos and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.

So: democracy underperforms dictatorship under simple conditions. As complexity increases, democracy gains a relative advantage. (I've written about this here, here and here.)

Of course, very few organizations operate with anything close to democracy; the most common mode is something like a patchwork of dictatorships with decent trade agreements. And most versions of organizational democracy feel Kafka-esque.

This all made me think of The Netflix Culture Deck from 2001 – specifically these three slides:

By Clay Parker Jones profile image Clay Parker Jones
Updated on
Organization Design Examples