Culture of Code

In 2009 Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, made public a 124 slide deck of the values behind Netflix. It is not just the one-word sentiments like honesty, respect, innovation you find in the ‘about us’ on most sites, which in their own rights are well placed. It was about the actions of the company and therefore the people that show the truth of those values.

So as leaders how we fire, promote, reward is the start of living or/and informing the companies values.

You often hear that to change a company’s culture is so hard to do that it would be easier to start again. However what this statement does not account for is an individual’s ability to change – and ultimately cultural change comes from an individual level – through incremental even nuanced changes in day to day behaviour.

There are six levers to enable change identified by PWC, split into two categories. What Reed Hastings spoke about is exactly the primary category list:


  • Leadership Policies
  • Role Definitions
  • People Processes

The Zappos family is renowned as deconstruction of the traditional business structure. What Zappo’s does is create network (belonging, family), with statements like ‘work hard, play hard’ being the key behaviour and Tony Hsieh publicly showcases and promotes the Zappos culture – he is the role model.


  • Key Behaviour
  • Role Models
  • Network

Culture is integral to a company’s brand, products, services – it runs through everything. There are many innovative examples out there and not one fits all, but as a starting point for transformation look at what people are actually doing not what your corporate website is saying.

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