The Netflix 100M party in 2017 was held regionally, with the bulk of the attendees traveling in buses from all over the Bay Area to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (because the majority of the employees work in Los Gatos).
Guests were encouraged to dress to reflect Netflix’s expanded worldwide market – a relatively easy assignment for Brendan and me as we are both comfortable in Indian clothing and had some formalwear from our trips to India together. Many of the Indian women wore saris, and their consorts, seeing Brendan, regretted that they had dressed in western suits instead of churidar-kurta!
There was big-name entertainment again, but this time it was comedians rather than musicians. And there were themed areas dedicated to popular shows where you could get special effects photos and videos done:
^ Now I know how these whirling romantic shots are done: we were standing on a circular pedestal with a camera mounted near the floor spinning around us very fast!
Some of the most fun tech events I have attended were two epic parties thrown by Netflix for its employees, to celebrate hitting the 50 million (in 2014) and 100 million (in 2017) customers marks. Netflix now has over 200 million customers, but alas there have been no further parties Brendan reminds me that there was a 200M party, virtually, in 2021.
The 50M party involved EVERY Netflix employee (and a date) worldwide being flown to LA for an evening themed around its then-current hits (yes, House of Cards was the biggie – another thing that has changed), featuring the stars of said shows plus a bunch of other notables.
We were not hobbing and nobbing with the balcony people, but nevertheless had fun. Just having an occasion to dress up and admire others dressed up is always fun!
Once upon a time, a company that many – especially those who worked there – felt to be nice, good, and generally on the right side of tech history was acquired by a company that many – including some who worked there – felt to be evil, rapacious, soulless, and in other ways reflective of its founder.
The pandemic has changed attitudes towards work in many or most parts of the world. The experts are now debating why this is but, as the battle for talent rages, more and more employers are having to reconsider the terms of their relationships with employees.
For white-collar workers, companies are coming around to the idea of working “hybrid” (part office, part remote). Some are going beyond this to become fully remote-friendly or even remote-first or remote-only. “We’re happy for you to work from anywhere” is increasingly a lure that companies can use to attract top talent.
I like big server rooms, I cannot lie. One of the things Dan Maslowski showed me on my first tour of Sun’s Broomfield campus in 2007 was the server room – an entire floor of a large building, chock full of Sun hardware, with thousands of fans whirring and lights blinking (data centers are LOUD). I was enthralled, and continued to be every time I got near big hardware in my subsequent career.