Every once in a while, the team at Netflix get together and have a hack day where they come up with all sorts of goofy ideas. Most won’t turn into real features. Some – like the self-explanatory Jump to Shark – really should.
There are real, practical ideas being thrown around too. None of them are Jump to Shark.
Hack days are an on-going tradition at many tech companies. They let the team get together and throw ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Sometimes the ideas thrown about turn into minor improvements to the product or major new additions. Sometimes the ideas let you skip to the good bits of Sharknado.
Netflix’s most recent hack day had a mix of both.
Jump to Shark builds on the much-used Skip Intro feature of Netflix and let’s you skip all of the boring bits of a movie. In this case, you go straight from shark to shark in Sharknado.
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a feature like this rolled out on Netflix but just imagine being able to watch an Adam Sandler movie, hitting Skip To Funny and have Netflix start playing Life of Brian instead. That’s a world I want to live in.
Other, more practical, hacks thrown around include eye navigation that uses eye-tracking to let people effortlessly browse Netflix without lifting a finger. Stopping videos is the only tricky bit, requiring people to stick out their tongue.
The overall idea of hack days is to bring people from different teams together. To help build a social cohesion between the people at Netflix by having them step outside of their usual roles. In that spirit, the winner of this hack day was not a new Netflix feature at all but a Slack bot that invites a random group of co-workers to have lunch together.
Team spirit and building a positive world environment are all well and good, I just want to be more efficient while watching sharks gore people in the schlockiest possible ways.