Netflix FMR Product VP on Building an Innovative Culture (Part 3)

The DEL Model: Design, Edit, Live

When you’re out there trying to create your own company culture, do not copy the Netflix culture deck! It will go poorly for you. I say this because you should try to create a unique culture for your company. In addition, your company is in a different stage and has its own unique missions. Thus, you can’t expect that the Netflix culture deck will work for you, but the DEL model will. 

The DEL model is something you can use at your company. The DEL model is broken down into 3 parts. The first part of the model is to define it. The second part is to edit it. Finally, the third part is to live it!

DEL: Design It

The designing it part requires you to do a few things. First, you need to make sure that you are creating culture at the right time for your company. If you’re an early-stage startup, you should be prioritizing your products above culture. Next, you need to take ownership of the culture you want at the company. At Netflix, the culture deck was owned by Reed Hastings and Patty McCord before it was given to everyone else. Also, in this phase, you need to keep track of star behaviors/skills and be able to make hard choices. Lastly, in order to create a unique culture, you must keep track of your company’s magnets and repellants.

DEL: Edit It

After you finish defining your culture, you can then begin to edit it. This part of the DEL model it is crucial to always reflect back on your first principles. This helps guide you as you make changes to your own culture deck. Here you are free to experiment and find those other values that align with your mission. In addition, practice making future hard decisions by going through cases. This way if something happens, you’ll act in alignment with your company’s culture and values. 

DEL: Live it

Finally, the last thing to do in the DEL model is to live it! Start implementing all your hard work by using mechanisms at your company. Furthermore, begin to have those hire, fire, and promote conversations. It helps you understand who is thriving in your culture, what areas need to be improved, and what parts of the culture you are not willing to compromise on. Regardless, as you continue to live it, make sure you celebrate it. 

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2 

About the speaker
Gibson Biddle NerdWallet, Board Observer, Executive-In-Residence Product Member

Gib Biddle is the fmr Netflix VP Product Management and is currently the NerdWallet Board Observer and Executive-in-Residence for Product. He joined Netflix as VP of Product in 2005. In 2010 Gib became the Chief Product Officer of his next startup, Chegg, a textbook rental and homework help company that went public in 2014. Today he’s an adviser, speaker and guest lecturer at both Stanford and INSEAD.