Netflix Hack Day

by Daniel Jacobson, Ruslan Meshenberg, Matt McCarthy and Leslie Posada

At Netflix, we pride ourselves in creating a culture of innovation and experimentation. We are constantly running A/B tests on virtually every enhancement to the Netflix experience. There are other ways in which we instill this culture within Netflix, including internal events such as Netflix Hack Day, which was held last week. For Hack Day, our primary goal is to provide a fun, experimental, and creative outlet for our engineers. If something interesting and potentially useful comes from it, that is fine, but the real motivation is fun. With that spirit in mind, most teams started hacking on Thursday morning, hacked through the night, and they wrapped up by Friday morning to present a demo to their peers.

It is not unusual for us to see a lot of really good ideas come from Hack Day, but last week we saw some really spectacular work. The hackers generated a wide range of ideas on just about anything, including ideas to improve developer productivity, ways to help troubleshooting, funky data visualizations, and of course a diversity of product feature ideas. These ideas get categorized, then to determine the winner for each category the audience of Netflix employees rated each hack, in true Netflix fashion, on a 5-star scale. The following are some examples of our favorite hacks and/or videos to give you a taste. Most of these hacks and videos were conceived of and produced in about 24 hours. We should also note that, while we think these hacks are very cool and fun, they may never become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or be used beyond Hack Day. We are surfacing them here publicly to share the spirit of the Netflix Hack Day.

Netflix Beam

by Sassda Chap


by Jia Pu, Aaron Tull, George Campbell

Custom Playlists

by Marco Vinicius Caldiera, Ian Kirk, Adam Excelsior Butterworth, Glenn Cho

Sleep Tracking with Fitbit

by Sam Horner, Rachel Nordman, Arlene Aficial, Sam Park, Bogdan Ciuca

Pin Protected Profiles

by Mike Kim, Dianne Marsh, Nick Ryabov

Thanks to all of the hackers and we look forward to the next one. If you are interested in being a part of our next Hack Day, let us know!

Also, we will be hosting our next Open Source meetup at Netflix HQ in Los Gatos on March 12th at 6:30pm. If you are interested, please sign up while there are still slots.

Originally published at on February 27, 2014.