Netflix went live in Australia today, and right now, huddled down in one of their so-called war rooms for new region launches are Netflix engineers. We checked out the offices a while ago, and can now take you inside the Los Gatos headquarters.
Los Gatos is nestled in Santa Clara County, and reeks of Silicon Valley chic. It’s an odd town, to be honest. It’s tiny and relatively sleepy, but in the middle of the town you’ll find hallmarks of Silicon Valley opulence like an Aston Martin and McLaren dealership, and high-end retail brands and restaurants across the road.
About a 15-minute drive from the town centre is the Netflix HQ. It’s an unassuming building, to be honest. Compared to the offices of Facebook, Google and Apple elsewhere in the Valley, Netflix’s office is actually pretty subtle. The architecture is clean and not bonkers; everything is modern but not Space Age and the whole place just looks like a sensible place to work with a few cinematic embellishments here and there.
You know, just subtle embellishments like the Emmy Awards Netflix has won for itself sitting in the lobby. The ones you can see to the top-right of this photo are the ones Netflix has won for technical achievement. The Emmys it has won for its shows live at its Beverley Hills office.
Beyond the front desk is the amphitheatre, where Netflix invites its employees to view new Original programming. The first ever episode of House of Cards was streamed here, and company all-hands meetings are also held here. These days it won’t fit Netflix’s thousands of employees, but it still comes in handy every now and then.
Every major staff meeting brings with it a new pseudo-hazing ritual of new staffers. Those who have recently come on board must act out some sort of performance or skit for their fellow employees. This hazardous materials suit is a souvenir from a recent “induction” performance where staffers played out scenes from Breaking Bad.
Then there are the testing facilities. Netflix is currently rolling out its app to just about every smart TV, console and tablet ever made, so it needs to have them all on hand to test.
I almost want to buy their engineers a universal remote to make the process easier.
One way the Netflix geeks are making their own lives easier is by putting common IT supplies in a vending machine that staff can just go and select chargers, USB keys and other accessories from. Nifty.
Netflix’s shielded testing room is named after the solitary confinement cell from Orange Is The New Black, and it’s just as creepy inside.
While the amphitheatre may be used for staff meetings, the big wigs adjourn upstairs to a meeting room known as “The Towering Inferno” (they’re all named after movies, you see). Despite it only being a few storeys high, it’s still the tallest point in the sleepy town of Los Gatos.
Luke Hopewell travelled to Los Gatos as a guest of Netflix.