I've been a subscriber to Netflix for some time now. For this reason I was interested to read a behind the scenes feature about Netflix, written by Christopher Borrelli of the Chicago Tribune. Now I know the work involved in sending season two of Barney Miller to my mailbox.
Some interesting parts of the article:
The warehouse is indeed in a random office park, resplendent in shades of gray and cream. (In exchange for a visit, I agreed not to divulge the precise spot or let slip a few trade secrets, none of which struck me as remarkable.) If you work at this warehouse, you have signed a confidentiality agreement that you will not divulge its location. You can tell people where you work, just not exactly where.
They inspect each returned disc. They rip open each envelope, toss it, pull the disc from its sleeve, check that the title matches the sleeve, inspect the disc for cracks or scratches, inspect the sleeve for stains or marks, clean the disc with a quick circular motion on a towel pulled tight across a square block of wood, insert the disc into its sleeve, and file the disc in one of two bins. The bin to the right is for acceptable discs, the bin to the left is for damaged discs or discs not in the proper sleeve.
To a casual observer, this all seems to happen in a single motion, a flurry of fingers. Employees are expected to perform this a minimum of 650 times an hour. Also, customers stuff things into the envelopes. Scribbled movie reviews, complaints, pictures of dogs and kids. That needs sorting too. After 65 minutes of inspection, a bell rings. Everyone stands up.
Read the article here: How Netflix gets your movies to your mailbox so fast
How do you spend your time?
Another fascinating item is this interactive map from the New York Times. The map is based on the American Time Use Survey which asked thousands of American residents to recall every minute of a day.
View the map here: How Different Groups Spend Their Day
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