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A look inside Netflix and how Reed Hastings built a streaming empire

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hastings netflix
hastings netflix

Bloomberg Businessweek today ran a feature story on Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings, providing perhaps the best look yet at the inner workings of the streaming service. Among the interesting tidbits, we now have a definitive number for just how large Netflix's content catalog is; the company's movies and TV shows currently add up to 3.14 petabytes. That number comes down to 2.75 after content is compressed and optimized for various devices (tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, etc.), but it's still a staggering footprint understood by a relatively short list of Silicon Valley players like Dropbox, Facebook, and Google.

Reed Hastings owns a lot of gadgets

We also find hints of corporate culture at Netflix: CEO Reed Hastings doesn't have a proper office — or even a desk. Instead, the chief executive is constantly on the move in Netflix's Los Gatos, California headquarters. Hastings reveals that each month, he'll limit his personal devices to those made by a single company or which run the same operating system. It's a revolving list, so one month may find the CEO using only Apple products, whereas another will be Google-based hardware. (Hastings owns a Chromebook Pixel, the profile reveals.)

Netflix's dependance on Amazon's cloud services (which has caused interruptions in the past) is also examined. Despite those rare incidents — and the fact that both companies compete in the video-on-demand arena — Netflix executives remain appreciative of the infrastructure and flexibility Amazon offers. Likewise, Amazon credits Netflix for making suggestions that have improved its cloud offering for other clients (including President Obama's re-election campaign). Of course, Netflix's laser focus on original content is also a major aspect of the story, and we learn that Hemlock Grove has so far enjoyed a larger audience than House of Cards, despite its mediocre reception among critics. For the full story — including the company's obessive approach to beta testing, content discovery, and user interface — head over to Bloomberg Businessweek.