Notes for Week 12 of 2021

I’ve been wrapping up writing a major feature. It was finally “just coding” with most risks resolved during the previous week, thus not much to report. The sync protocol hasn’t managed to do any major data corruption, which always comes as a surprise.


  • Although not shown the tutorial, next.js supports dynamic route segments in the middle of the path. Just create corresponding directory: pages/api/[user-id]/[post-id].js

    • Query parameters with the same name will be ignored: for [pages]/api/[var]/[id].js, var in query string will be ignored. /api/xoxo/123?var=xixi will cause var to be xoxo
  • I haven’t figured out why, but when I saved full-formed UUIDs (with -s) into IndexedDB as keys, they got shortened on save. I just gave up and started using short-formed UUIDs everywhere since Django UUIDField has the same property

  • On Vercel, .env overwrites all system shared variables, so you don’t get variables like VERCEL_REGION. Support says:

    We recommend using a .env.local file for local development and .gitignore’ing that file. For the Production and Preview Environment, using the Environment Variables UI is recommended.

Book Finished

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

I have to begrudgingly admit I’ve enjoyed this book.

I was biased towards rolling my eyes the whole way. For one, I have sufficient insider information from Netflix to know it really isn’t a place for me. Second, I read a few other “Silicon Valley culture books,” and they all read like glorified hiring pitch run havoc. But I got enough recommendations to give it a try.

It feels like the book was written mainly by Erin Meyer, with Reed Hastings being in as an interviewee and giving a sales boost. Nothing wrong with that; I am saying that because I think most of the credit for this book should go to Erin. I was not thrilled by Erin and Reed’s structure having a written sort-of-dialogue, but it was not a complete turn-off.

There is one single thing that I really enjoyed about this book which I think also translates to Reed being a great leader. There is an explicit acceptance of the downsides of the culture. It shows up the most in the section about trust and honesty about uncertainty.

A lady from Netflix shares her story: she was told there is a 50:50 chance of her job being on the chopping block, and she hated it. She dreaded living in uncertainty for a year, avoiding buying a house, and having significant background stress. “Why ruin your employees' lives for no reason?” Isabella asks.

Reeds response? “I believe her story only boosts the argument for share.” (Because not sharing would end up worse for her if they decided to part with her in the end.)

If this sounds slightly sociopathic to you, I have bad news. The absolute majority of large companies are very sociopathic. The difference is that they don’t admit it. Instead, they advertise feel-good values (Transparency! Trust! Family!) instead of their culture. True culture is defined as “what do you fire for,” and I think the book describes it well.

Yes, the book was written by the CEO. But from what I know about Netflix, they actually seem to use their explicit culture as guidance; more than in other companies. This alone is worth exploring.

It also seems to me that the outlined culture framework is consistent. It outlines a structure of “dots” that connect to each other and explicitly explains how they depend on each other. I am pretty sure that when I see people cherry-picking from this book, this will be conveniently skimmed over, the same way people applying Scrum look over the context it was developed in. But the described gradual build-up makes sense to me.

Erin wrote this as an inquiry into “How is it possible that Netflix works this way. She hasn’t meant it as “how to create a culture in your company,” a context I see assumed in some reviews. And I think it did a better job than most books I’ve read.

Rating: 4/5. Book’s homepage

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