The Data Chief | Episode 70

Netflix on Balancing Data with Intuition for Better Insights

Elizabeth Stone

VP, Data & Insights


Current EpisodeEP70: Netflix on Balancing Data with Intuition for Better Insights

Episode Overview

Using data to gain customer insights can be difficult. Using data to gain customer insights from an ever-growing, ever-changing entertainment audience presents a much steeper challenge. In this episode, Elizabeth Stone, VP, Data & Insights at Netflix, explains how her dedicated team reflects the larger Netflix culture, balancing hard data with a mindset of learning and experimentation to make decisions that improves the Netflix experience.

Key Moments: 

  • Elizabeth’s role as head of Netflix’s data and insights team (2:46)
  • How Netflix is leveraging AI and machine learning (11:13)
  • The continued culture of innovation at Netflix (13:44)
  • Using data to inform intuition and choice (18:00)
  • How the data and insights team engages with other stakeholders (22:30)
  • How Elizabeth obtains the resources she needs (25:37)
  • The importance of cross-functional understanding and collaboration (32:13)


Key Quotes

Our role is to…help creative leaders make even better decisions.

You can't predict which title's gonna be a hit as much as we wish we could. There are things that are just always imperfect about it. And so the Netflix culture also expects a lot of judgment and we expect that at every level of the organization.

People at every level of the organization are thinking, am I working on the most impactful thing I could be working on right now? And they feel that same pull from partners saying, can we have more here? And then we all have to ask ourselves, well, if we did that, would that be higher impact for the business than what we're already doing?

We don't want be fearful of placing big bets. We want to be constantly pushing ourselves to be more innovative and certainly more excellent over time. And we want to use data and analytical thinking to really try to make the best decisions we can.




Elizabeth Stone leads Netflix’s Data & Insights org. Data & Insights is a centralized and globally distributed team that includes: data engineering, metrics development, analytic insights and tooling, research and development of machine learning algorithms, optimization and automation, experimentation and causal inference, and consumer research. The Data & Insights team applies this functional expertise to improve and evolve all parts of Netflix's business including the member-facing product, streaming delivery, content, studio production, games, ads, business operations, and growth. Elizabeth previously worked in finance, both as a trader and as an economic consultant, before transitioning to the tech industry, where she led teams at Nuna and Lyft. She is a graduate of MIT and Stanford University.

Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Dr. Borek on The Data Chief.