Decision Making at Netflix - Deepstash
Decision Making at Netflix

Decision Making at Netflix

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Netflix: Then and Now

Netflix was created with the idea of putting consumer choice and control at the centre of the entertainment experience, and as a company, we continuously evolve our product offerings to improve on that value proposition.

Back in 2010, the Netflix UI was static, with limited navigation options and a presentation inspired by displays at a video rental store.

Now, the UI is immersive and video-forward, the navigation options richer but less obtrusive, and the box art presentation takes greater advantage of the digital experience.


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How Netflix Decides

Making decisions is easy — what’s hard is making the right decisions.

There are a number of ways Netflix could make decisions about how to evolve our product to deliver more joy to our members:

  • Let leadership make all the decisions.
  • Hire some experts in design, product management, UX, streaming delivery, and other disciplines — and then go with their best ideas.
  • Have an internal debate and let the viewpoints of our most charismatic colleagues carry the day.
  • Copy the competition.


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The Netflix Way: A/B Testing

At Netflix, we believe there’s a better way to make decisions about how to improve the experience we deliver to our members: we use A/B tests. Experimentation scales. Instead of small groups of executives or experts contributing to a decision, experimentation gives all our members the opportunity to vote, with their actions, on how to continue to evolve their joyful Netflix experience.


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A/B Testing: Details

A/B testing, along with other causal inference methods like quasi-experimentation are ways that Netflix uses the scientific method to inform decision making.

We form hypotheses, gather empirical data, including from experiments, that provide evidence for or against our hypotheses, and then make conclusions and generate new hypotheses.


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Constant Experimentation

Experimentation plays a critical role in the iterative cycle of deduction (drawing specific conclusions from a general principle) and induction (formulating a general principle from specific results and observations) that underpins the scientific method.


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