The rule is have no rules: What we have learned from the culture of reinvention at Netflix.

August 1, 2022

The rule is not having rules. This is the title of one of the books that has most impacted me professionally in recent times. And yes, I am writing in first person because this is one of the most authorial texts I have written so far for the MAVERICK 360 blog. But believe me, the reading is worth it, come with me to the end.

The book (from September 2020) is written by Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman and CEO of the company, partnering with business expert Erin Meyer to speak for the first time about the culture of reinvention that has transformed the brand into what it is and, moreover, an example of creativity, success and adaptation (really, buy the book here and dive into this reading).

I have a story to tell here: everyone who works at MAVERICK 360, or almost everyone, is traumatized by previous experiences in the communication job market. I include myself in this. This was one of the main reasons I joined the already established MAVERICK 360, with the founder and my partner, Rick Garcia. We have in our hearts and minds the goal of always trying to do things differently.

Okay, but how different? Of course, I am not saying here that we have taken the Netflix system and replicated it entirely at the agency. Even because, we are an advertising agency that was born in southern Brazil and Netflix, well, it needs no introduction, right? After all, the company has over 180 million subscribers in 190 different countries, with an annual revenue of billions of dollars. However, we consider ourselves an agency ahead of our time for exactly that reason: we reinvented ourselves and, given the necessary proportions, we changed the traditional (and sometimes controversial) way of working practiced in the communication business.

First, since its foundation, back in 2014, MAVERICK 360 has been digital. This means that we do not have a fixed headquarters and our staff work from anywhere in the world, to all parts of the planet (here is a curiosity: when we met, Rick and I, I lived in the country of good food: Italy). We have, in our portfolio and customer list, international companies, export companies that ship products to Asia, and all of this, always valuing the quality of our service, commitment and, above all, humanity.

When we talk about the internal environment, my desire is really to replicate the Netflix philosophy 100%, but we have not reached that level yet (we are on the way). In the streaming company, the rule is simple: we don't have rules. The company only hires exceptional people and they have to remain that way for the entire period they remain: deliveries, targets and quality. Is it cruel? Not at all. When you offer a salary much higher than the market average, employees have complete freedom to create the way they want and wherever they want, they have no schedule and, on top of that, there is no budget ceiling for travel expenses, materials for the work environment, daily, etc. That is right, Netflix has done away with bureaucracy. What does the company ask in return? Excellence, commitment and quality. And oh, it pays well. Very well.

Is it simple? Of course not, when you struggle with a work system that, although there are variations from country to country, is, in general, traditionalist and outdated. Little by little, Rick and I want to apply more and more of this culture within MAVERICK 360. Today and always we are and have been digital. We highly value excellence and try to be very fair with the people who work with us: each one in their own space. Here you will not see a designer copywriting, an intern programming a website or a journalist doing arts. Each one performs its function in a superior way: journalists and copywriters write, designers create arts and concepts within their area, performance specialists and ADS do online campaigns, programmers program and so on... In this way, we achieve what we always seek in the final result of the work: superior quality and excellence.

Another differential: the employees here at MAVERICK 30 do not clock in and do not have working hours. Everyone works from home, or wherever they want. Of course, there is an agreed number of hours between the agency and each employee, which is calculated based on the demand that we believe fits within those hours. But each of them is committed to delivering quality and on time, that's all. In addition, we always try to recognize the people who are with us (and believe me, I'm damn proud of this team and everything that, in less than two years I've been in charge with Rick and now with our manager, Guta Bolzan, we managed to conquer): fair payment to do your expertise with excellence, without annoying the staff and with freedom.

A lot has changed, in general, in society, for a while: pandemic, digitalization, screens narrowing distances, social distance and a "new normal" that is not very normal for most people. Although here at MAVERICK 360 we are very much in favor of hugs, dates and end of year meetings in pubs and good laughs at happy hour, the way of working and relating in companies needs to be reinvented.

The pandemic came to show that 20 hours a day working is not fair, it is not good and makes you stop enjoying what matters most in life: family, friends and loves. So should we not work anymore? Not, that is not the point. I am here talking about balance, a pleasant work environment, definitively excluding any type of harassment, talking about humanity, believing and putting into practice the maxim that we are made of people, for people. And if we do not value the people who are with us, we do not have a company, we do not have a job and, in the end, we have nothing.


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