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Why Reed Hastings Had to Send Everyone Home From Munich

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos
Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
November 18, 2021

Here’s a Netflix-sized cautionary tale for media executives thinking about restarting in-person offsite meetings: Co-C.E.O. Reed Hastings summoned his top 100 or so global executives to Munich on Monday for one of his famous brainstorm sessions. Hastings is big on these gatherings, and one of his big laments of the pandemic shutdowns was the lack of face-to-face time with colleagues. “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative,” he said last fall.

This week’s Germany confab was set to last three days, but Covid had other plans. Someone tested positive, I’m told, so the proceedings were abruptly shut down, the executives were tested, quarantined, and are being sent home. I guess this is why almost all big media companies have declined to reinstate these kinds of large, in-person off-sites.