Dolby Reviews

Updated July 25, 2014
Updated July 25, 2014
140 Reviews
3.0
140 Reviews
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Dolby President and CEO Kevin J. Yeaman
Kevin J. Yeaman
93 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • 9/80 work schedule (notice that this listed as a "Pro" in 90% of the reviews (in 33 reviews)

  • Innovative, Relaxed, Great location, Great people, 5/5 work life balance (in 15 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 10 reviews)

More Highlights

32 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Fun at times but bad execs, constantly changing priorities and politics are ruining this industry-icon

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

    I worked at Dolby full-time

    Pros

    9/80 schedule, brilliant co-workers, culture of excellence, and annual IdeaQuest design contest are really outstanding.

    Cons

    Politics, shifting priorities and constant re-orgs make it a risky place for career and skill development.
    Influx of bad execs eroding the culture.
    Poor stock compensation for engineers.
    Bad place to develop new skills as the company is pretty old-school.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop hiring executives who nearly ruined other companies. Address the issues with Marketing Also kick some stock or options over to the engineers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Disorganized Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Dolby full-time

    Pros

    Like the 9/80 schedule . Some people are nice and friendly. Compensation was good compare to other companies.

    Cons

    too political I might say! If you are not the favorite person within that department good luck to you. Department that I used to worked is sooo disorganized ,management don't know what they are doing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    think very carefully before making a drastic decision not everything is possible !

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great engineers, terrible management.

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

    I worked at Dolby full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    None really, patents running out, new projects that have no compelling attributes or future, and a management that is promoting cutthroat behaviors across the board.

    Cons

    Ray Dolby would be terribly unhappy with what has become of his legacy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would begin with a top down overhaul of the company, looking at the misaligned goals generated by upper management with respect to the area of expertise of the company and the engineers. Already, a good amount of talent has left or has been forced to leave due to this decision making as well as the hostile environment particularly created by the middle to lower management.

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

    Once Great Company, Losing Relevance

    • 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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Every other Friday off
    - Good core technologies
    - Strong engineering talent

    Cons

    - Lack of vision
    - No clear strategy
    - Poor leadership
    - Conflict between business groups
    - Declining market share in core business
    - No real traction in new business areas
    - Constant talent churn

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - It's time for new leadership
    - Define a strategic vision for the future, and stick to it
    - Quit the politics and get down to business

    Dolby is a company in decline. Core technology patents are expiring, and new technologies are not being effectively brought to market. The segregated structure between business units creates lack of cooperation, and creates barriers for success. Ineffective leadership at the top is leading to chaos and confusion. The vision is lacking and strategy changes every six months. This has led to a lack of credibility, both inside and outside of the company. Marketing is in disarray. Talented employees with lots to contribute have been cast aside in a political struggle that is creating a middle layer of followers, not leaders. Senior leaders seem held to a different standard than general staff, leading to a lack of respect among their reports. It is time for the board to act and return this company to greatness.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great People, ADD Management, Changing Culture

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

    I worked at Dolby full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    9/80 Work schedule, San Francisco Location, good salary and benefits, interesting work.

    Cons

    Excessive feudalism amongst upper management, systematic dismantling the "old guard" and corporate culture that made Dolby successful, WAY TO MANY V.P.s/ Decision Makers. Excessive Political Favoritism, Attempts to reinvent the company without understanding the long-term implications.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior V.P.s should not be allowed excessive autonomy.
    Every team in every business unit should be judged on how well they execute their plans and meet their commitments to schedule and product. Favorite projects and teams have carte blanche to spend and dawdle, while other teams are starved of money, resources and support.
    This company could use an actual board of directors rather than a bunch of passive retirees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Inertia at the top

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

    I worked at Dolby full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    off fridays; generous 401K match; future mid market office; nice colleagues

    Cons

    exec team doesn't inspire much confidence - seem to be B players. feels like we are forever in limbo on just about everything. management team is really slow to make decisions and makes you wonder about their ability. general communication is absent within the company despite having a PR department, HR department and an exec team that should be communicating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop being so shy and passive.

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

    Every team has a rebuilding year/stage...

    • 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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Motivated middle-management, 9/80 work schedule, SMART people, many loyal employees that have been at Dolby for 5+ years

    Cons

    The Marketing re-org that happened in early Spring 2013 is still a mess. We're under-resourced, stressed and hardly get to take advantage of the every other Friday off (or even weekends at times). Maybe we're just in a "rebuilding year" as is common when a historically engineering company shifts real focus into marketing, but it remains to be seen. High-level engineering seems to be happy though I wouldn't recommend Dolby for marketing positions at this time. There's still a lot transition that's going on and maybe the exec level management, VPs and Director levels need to have a clearer understanding of the pressure on those at lower levels to execute on marketing objectives with LITTLE internal resources and direction. Dolby is still in the midst of proving value in E-Media (mobile/OTT/streaming industries) and it's apparent that not everyone agrees on the direction and industry approach. (Another commonly stated problem on glassdoor which I agree - EVERYTHING is consensus decision making. It's not uncommon for large public companies to have a lot of cooks in the kitchen to make sure we're supporting business objectives that have been communicated to shareholders but too many global cross-functional representatives have to have final feedback in the smallest of tactical executions, which is not feasible for the mobile industry pace.)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make it a priority to introduce new internal hires and even contractors in marketing to help with the team atmosphere and morale. Get more in sync with your lower-level contributors to evaluate firing/hiring decisions and resource evaluations with context vs. what seems like is currently being done in a silo.)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Sadly diminishing formerly stellar brand, clueless management

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

    I worked at Dolby full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazingly smart, nice people with only a few standout exceptions, product development, some excellent products, good benefits, old-school, pre-public employees and culture were amazing, and some of that still lingers.

    Cons

    Most of the highest managers do not know anything about the businesses Dolby serves and focus on stock prices and tax-collecting licensing fees. Goals, and, hence roles, are ever-changing (as often as daily.) Management and staff lacking industry experience and knowledge. Quarterly-results focus at expense of running a successful business

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Set attainable, concrete goals. Care about the customer, not Wall Street. Hire talent that understands the markets served. Respond to clients as Ray would have done.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    No focus, vision, or strategy

    • 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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Smart engineers, scientists and salespeople.

    Cons

    No sense of marketing at all. It's all tactics and absolutely no leadership, vision, or strategy. So many consultants weighing in on what to do and what not to do and the execs listen to all of them, pay them ridiculous amounts, then try to execute on every tactic they suggest.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Never having one in place, please hire a marketing leadership team and hire our first ever CMO and perhaps from the entertainment industry. And please create a marketing plan with specific budgets, goals, and measurement plans.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Is this Kodak in 2002? Bright, wonderful people in an unfocused politics-laden top-heavy mess

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    --very, very bright research and (to a lessor degree) development
    --few employees under 35 is not good, but it means the culture is mature, adult, high-functioning, and respectful. I enjoy working with (most of) my co-workers more than any position in my career.
    --excellent pay and benefits, especially every other Friday off
    --periodic educational presentations on various audio topics
    --fascinating audio research in a number of areas, though little of it turns into products or revenue

    Cons

    --stagnating company means politics (land grabs and maneuvering to secure ongoing roles)
    --heavy internal promotion of under-qualified employees who have been here for years, and have no outside perspective or experience to help bring positive change. The result: frustrated top talent steadily leaves (or is pushed out) to work at companies which actually build products. Remaining management turns into group-thinkers overseeing disspirited "yes men".
    --long-tenured mediocre performers not removed
    --inconsistent and often poor people management, with nearly no management training or monitoring by HR
    --vast majority of revenue from a single product (Dolby Digital Plus surround sound), which is increasingly irrelevant because of stereo devices like tablets and smartphones.
    --near total failure to execute in mobile (public information)
    --key underlying patents are expiring (also public information)
    --few employees under 35, and just as few customers under 35 who know or care about the company
    --consumer marketing is a muddled mess, and partners aren't marketing on behalf of the company
    --multiple acquisitions with no clear on-boarding process, and little-to-no resulting revenue

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I appreciate that the business problem of weaning a company off huge revenue from one product is seriously difficult. But retaining top talent would appear to be the most-likely path forward. The company has to train managers, institute universal 360 reviews, find out why provocative voices are leaving or being fired, and get an organizational expert to turn down the volume on the political climate.

    These changes could lead to talent retention, professional development, necessary risk-taking, and hopefully revenue-generating innovation.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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