Thursday, November 30, 2006

Employment opportunities

Most people think of Netflix as either a movie company, or a logisitics company, because on the surface, we appear to buy DVDs from the studios and just mail a bunch of plastic around the country.

However, the secret sauce to the business is that we're really a software company. We're solving problems in how to scale the website to serve 20 million members (Java, Oracle). We're working on machine learning problems (like the Netflix Prize) and scaling problems with our recommendations engine (C++, mysql). I'm most closely involvd in figuring out how quality fits in to all of these development processes. I'm changing the role of a QA engineer from someone who pokes at a browser to someone who writes software to test software.

Then there's all the stuff that the back end teams do (logisitics, inventory, order generation). Once all the software's figured out, it has to run somewhere, and we need good system admins, DBAs and managers for those people that can plan for growth and install, configure and deploy to that plan.

The key thing is that we aren't doing this with an army of developers like an eBay, Yahoo or Google. We've got a relatively small team of really smart software engineers solving problems in an efficient and clever manner. A very deeply ingrained cultural value here is to only hire very senior people who understand how to solve problems, and then go and solve them. It's how we've been able to scale from just over 1MM customers when I joined 3.5 years ago to nearly 6MM customers today. The team that builds the website hasn't grown by more than 10-15% over that time, and we've added a ton of new stuff to the site. It's all because we don't scale the business by doing what we were doing just with more people; we scale through clever automation.

There's a list of what's open at our jobs page, but if there's something that anyone's specifically interested in, let me know. We're always looking for the right kind of person more than we're looking for a particular technology or skill.