Dolby

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Dolby Reviews

Updated April 23, 2014
Updated April 23, 2014
140 Reviews

2.7
140 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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Dolby President and CEO Kevin J. Yeaman
Kevin J. Yeaman
92 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • 9/80 work schedule, with every other Friday off (in 22 reviews)

  • 9/80 work schedule (notice that this listed as a "Pro" in 90% of the reviews (in 32 reviews)


Cons
  • Really bad management; no work life balance, too many consultants and marketing is the worst on the planet (in 6 reviews)

  • Politics, history of consensus-driven decision-making, majority of shares still closely held (in 9 reviews)

More Highlights

23 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 6 people found this helpful  

    From promising to the depths of despair inside 18 months

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    the every-other-friday off is a big thing. free employee parking. the espresso machine. the stock options (sometimes)

    Cons

    Marketing "leadership" is a hot, hot mess of blowhards with few actual skills. This is the result of a drawn-out reorg, in which a lot of external companies were paid a massive amount of money to steer the ship into new waters... much like the Titanic. They saddled us with a hideous brand strategy, and no clear way to execute it, created by people with no real branding experience.

    The top four VPs have one among them who can do actual work, is an inspiring leader, and has real vision. The rest have suspect backgrounds, and appear to be good at talking about themselves and taking credit for others' work, while they themselves sit in their closed offices and issue capricious orders, based on nothing of value.

    The entire area was changed to an open working environment... except for the VPs, who - predictably - get to have a door.

    The mess of the reorg meant that the company has let go anyone who did hands-on work, and anyone who guarded the company's message and branding. Everything is now hired out and decentralized, and it's probably just a matter of time before there is no cohesive message, look, or feel at all. Several existing people were shuffled around into jobs that weren't suited and left last year, some of our last, best hopes to salvage some of the degradation. Tons of work is being given to contractors, who cost a lot more than the previous full-time people, but whose money comes out of different "buckets" that isn't easy to track down, because of the disastrous SAP rollout that was never seen through properly and ran off all the good Finance people.

    At long last, someone was able to lure in a Chief Marketing guy who knows his stuff. Maybe he can stop the train from heading off the cliff entirely? Not so far... but maybe.

    Meanwhile, there's a lot of grumbling from engineering. Ray Dolby hasn't been dead a year, and his way of working, his vision, and his leadership, are all but ghostly remnants. Young, new, hot talent is being brought in...sometimes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If the CEO thinks he's doing a great job by replacing all these departments with absolute fools, then he's the biggest fool of all. The best advice I can give is: maybe it's time to go, Kevin. And by the way, we all did notice when you got rid of all the women from the executive team and replaced them with the archetype 50-something white-ish guy who wears expensive jeans to look hip.

    The Board of Directors ought to get back into the game. David Dolby, we had such high hopes, but you seem to have left us behind... and for what?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lack of vision & character permeates upper management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Design Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Design Engineer in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    There are some smart engineers. There is usually one high profile exciting project going on - be sure to be on that project, as it's the only way to get noticed.

    Cons

    Over political.
    Low morale.
    Working with offshore teams.
    There seems to be a re-org every few months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It may be time to relocate, you can't compete with your neighbors for real talent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    Frustrated to see such a great company unravel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    Mostly smart, friendly co-workers (apart from marketing folks who are either paranoid or psychopathic depending on how high up the management chain they are). Engineers are great and love the off Fridays

    Cons

    E-team and senior management haven't got a clue how to run this company. Lack of vision, strategy and leadership to make sound decisions that push the company forward. It's either stalled or falling backwards. Marketing continues to be a joke despite the new CMO who has not made any smart calls yet. This team has lost some amazing talent over the past 6 months and anyone with any real ability is getting out fast. HR is a mess and favoritism rules.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Bad management (outside engineering) are ruining this company and that starts at the very top. The E-team is a joke and marketing goes from bad to worse. Board of Directors should take action, Dave D, do something before your father's legacy disappears

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    This company has lost its way

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Research Engineer in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    980 Friday's
    Engineers treated very well -we're very much a family - honored to work with so many talented people

    Cons

    Administrative CEO - no vision - poor manager of people
    Marketing just baffles me. Why can't you fix the dysfunction?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior Management has no vision.
    Engineers work hard but given little direction.
    Ray Dolby would be very disappointed - quite sad what they have done to his company.
    CFO makes discriminatory comments about minorities (yes, people can hear you behind closed doors and they tell others).
    Nice job on new building!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Do something smart: Fire the CEO!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Vice President in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    Good benefits
    Great 9/80 schedule
    Many talented colleagues

    Cons

    Mediocre executive team
    No vision
    See Dolby as a cash cow (which is probably what the Dolby family wants)
    Poor track records regarding acquisitions
    Patent portfolio expiring soon
    Expensive and completely inefficient move to SAP

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Everything starts from the CEO. This one is weak, has no vision and no charisma. The quarterly employee meetings are pathetic. Many employees no longer want to attend these meetings: It's total waste of time.
    There is no vision. There are a lot of plans and ideas. It's the "menu du jour" with new directions every quarter, then nothing…

    This CEO should go and be replaced with someone who understands the new economy and how consumer electronics is shifting toward the internet of things. The current CEO is still trying to understand how Windows works. it's that bad!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Very sad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    Every other Friday off and benefits

    Cons

    This reflects only my experience in the Sales and Marketing organization - poor middle/upper management and poor choices in consultants and outside agencies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maybe do an Undercover Boss to get a good look at what the company is up to at the ground level and start recognizing stellar employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Has Been

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Workerbee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Workerbee in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    9/80 work schedule
    Knowledgable coworkers who have great ideas for innovation

    Cons

    Big ego senior management and corporate politics have destroyed this company. A whole bunch of good talent got laid off. Many with over 20 years experience. Call them old guard, dead wood or whatever you want, but they hold the keys to why the company was so successful for so long. Instead of bringing those people up to the new ideas and business thinking, consultants and management pushed a large number of people out the door.
    The company is reactionary. Even their huge success with Dolby Digital was a reaction to outside companies making products to compete with Dolby.
    The general feeling from licensees is that Dolby is there to collect royalties with little effort to earn them.
    The management also believes that the world will bow to their whims because they are Dolby. Sorry, that may have worked in 1975, but not now. Your competition is eating you alive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit kidding yourselves. Your stuff stinks just like everyone. Your customers despise you for the most part. Your employees are unhappy unless they are part of your upper circle of highly compensated management.
    You tossed out some of your best resources as you ousted the person who lived on reorg after reorg with little result. You should have gotten those people to join you in moving into the next phase of business practices, given them the resources and relied on their experiences to further the company goals. Instead you hired incompetent clueless consultants to run the show into the ground.
    There are a lot of common comments here about what the real issues are. You have fallen into the instant gratification trap. Guess what? The instant is over and the long term is suffering because of it. Now the long term is here and you can't fix it. It is time to pay up.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Marketing? Run away

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Director in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    every other Friday off and smart co workers

    Cons

    Recent changes to marketing have been disastrous resulting in a chaotic mess led by inexperienced power mad individuals who are way out of their depth. It was better under the last dictator and that was bad enough. Cannot believe it has got to this and not one of the executive leadership team is asking what is happening, no plans, no budgets and no hope on the horizon.This appalling mess should be scrapped and the marketing leadership fired. After more than a year still no CMO which is another failure by the exec team,by the time they find someone to take the job all the best talent will have gone. Do not take a job in marketing at Dolby. You have been warned. And yes I am interviewing for other gigs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Accept marketing is screwed up and that there is no confidence in the GMLT. Hire a CMO fast. Stop kidding yourselves that this sick mess is working

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Needs some tough love.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    It's in San Francisco.
    9/80 is great for long weekends.

    Cons

    - Overly corporate.
    - Some really terrible middle managers - control freaks to be sure. Maybe just too young and trigger happy. However this is causing employees to leave at a steady rate.
    - Somehow not a good culture for innovation, which is not good for a company that depends on it more than most.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Act boldly - it's sad when you cant do basic things your competitors are doing.
    - There are better management candidates amongst your current employees. Being a good manager is more than telling people what do do and making lots of noise.
    - Also replace employees who leave, or try and improve retention.
    - These corporate re-org's which just re-arrange a few things don't ever seem to have the desired effect. Some real restructuring to a much flatter system might be useful. Does Dolby really need assigned parking?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 8 people found this helpful  

    Sad About this Company....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    A full time job with benefits and salary in the city of San Francisco.

    Cons

    When I first started working at Dolby, I was really proud to tell people that I worked here. The bulk of my discussions and interactions with my colleagues were positive ones.
    Today, on the other hand, I’m somewhat ashamed of our company and the way that we're acting toward one and another - along with the way that we behave within the larger community.

    Our Impact on SF:

    Look for instance at the three blocks that we cover in San Francisco. The hill up to our Potrero parking lot is covered with garbage, shopping carts and homeless encampments. And as far as I can tell, we’ve done nothing to alleviate the suffering for the homeless in this area much less clear the garbage or even put in a security system for our employees trying to get to their cars after dark.

    Walking in the other direction to our building at Brannan, one has to walk through shopping carts, garbage and worse. I know plenty of businesses all over San Francisco who take responsibility for the entire area around their business but we just don’t bother – so our workers and their visitors have to walk through this over and over. And we do nothing to improve the neighborhood for other San Franciscans.

    Now, we have purchased a building on Market Street – what are we planning to do to truly benefit that area when we can’t be bothered to clean up the trash within fifty yards of our current properties?

    Employee Well Being:

    At this point in time, my colleagues and a multitude of workers are simply overworked. I watch as the number of acceptable working hours raises month after month – and as my co-workers become used to 10 and 12 work days. There is no sense that what we do is a “marathon” or that people’s lives outside of work truly matter. Co-workers snap at one another, and the number of times that I’ve heard the words “thank you” has diminished extraordinarily in the last 6 months especially.

    Tearing Down our Workforce:

    I haven’t experienced as much one-upsmanship since my Greek days at university. Someone is “all good” because they do one big deal – but they’re forgotten or even unceremoniously fired as soon as the next person comes in. I’ve watched wonderful employees be stamped upon as the next person and next ideas walk in the door.

    We have the typical gossip – it’s human nature to dwell on the random extramarital affair or drunken gaff at a work function. But the majority of the gossip is about someone’s perceived incompetence – executives (young to be sure) harpooned for being awkward public speakers; outright criticism of a current or former employee in large meetings; one person throwing another under the bus in order to protect themselves during what feels like a really tenuous time (following up on perhaps the 4th or 4 re-orgs in so many years).

    In this most recent round, many employees have been laid off or fired as we bring in “fresh” senior executives and consultants. Does this happen in a lot of companies? Of course. But I cannot imagine why we at Dolby are behaving this way. And I also can’t imagine that Ray Dolby or his son would be pleased to fully understand what we’re doing to people’s lives here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Tell your employees thank you and coach them to say it to one another.

    Insist on 8-9 hour work days - don't let junior employees be bullied by managers who care little for their quality of life.

    Put legalities aside and apologize for 30 year career workers who you've laid off.

    Think considerably about the cultural and historical institutional knowledge that you lose when you push workers out for outside hires & consultants. Weigh out morale and love for this great company versus short-term fears about financial success.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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