On Leaving Netflix .:. kentbrewster.com

After many fine adventures at Netflix, I'm off to do the next thing. While I was there, I made:

  • a few mildly entertaining Hack Day projects, which will never see the light of day
  • the Facebook Connect thingie, which lets you broadcast your Neflix ratings to your Facebook wall
  • the Oauth Walk-Through for developer.netflix.com
  • the new-and-improved Netflix Widgets, which may be seen on Hacking Netflix whenever they do a New Releases post
  • the first proofs-of-concept for the "Trickplay" feature--those cool little thumbnails that stream by as you're fast-forwarding and reversing--using nothing but CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and the open APIs. (You can see this now in Canada and on the discless PS3 version.)
  • the front-end UI for Netflix for the iPhone plus (ahem) several other mobile devices that may or may not ship in the future, all on the open Web and API stack.

What I'm happiest about isn't a specific project, however. During my time at Netflix I was an unrelenting pain in the ass to anyone who would listen to me saying "Dude! We should ditch that monstrous hunk of Java and just build everything as a Web app using our own open APIs!" It seems to have worked; iPhone shipped as a Web app, Canada shipped as a Web app, and the new discless PS3 product shipped as a Web app. (And I never had to write a single line of steenkin' Java.)

I strongly recommend the Web-stack/use-your-own-APIs approach to anyone contemplating building a consumer Web service, and will be happy to consult or come speak on the topic, if requested.

Anybody Want My Old Job?

It (well, actually one just like it, which has been open for a while) is on the Netflix career board, under Senior User Interface Engineer, Mobile Platforms. If you have the chops, Netflix is an awesome place to work: it's a universally-loved product built in spectacular surroundings by the smartest people in the business, and they pay you what you're worth and don't make you keep track of your time off.

What's Next?

I'll be up in San Francisco on November 4th at Mashery's Business of APIs conference, talking about the pitfalls of building a product on your own APIs. Look for me next spring at South By Southwest, where I will present Mistakes I Made Building Netflix for the iPhone, which promises to be extra-awesome now that I don't have to worry about reactions from management. :)

In the meantime, I'm going to help out with Vurve. Stay tuned!

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