Overstock.com

www.overstock.com
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Overstock.com Reviews

Updated February 23, 2015
Updated February 23, 2015
79 Reviews
3.0
79 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne
Patrick M. Byrne
79 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Just like some of the other reviews mention, there is a great work/life balance here (in 32 reviews)

  • They pay well and the work environment is very diverse and accepting (in 27 reviews)


Cons
  • Previous reviews on here are obviously from within the company and upper management (in 31 reviews)

  • Senior Management - CEO and current President - have no interest in building a profitable business (in 17 reviews)

More Highlights

79 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good people/learning opportunities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Front End Software Tester in Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Former Employee - Front End Software Tester in Cottonwood Heights, UT

    I worked at Overstock.com full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great employees. Very intelligent software engineers. Beautiful location (Old Mill). Constant learning/training opportunities for techies. They let you take the initiative if you want to. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Upper management is uncomfortably political. Compensation is below industry standard. Health benefits & bonuses were lowered recently. Difficult to advance in career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leave politics at home. Pay employees better.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    A mixed bag.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Copywriter in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Copywriter in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com

    Pros

    The best thing about working at Overstock are the friends you'll make. Lots of interesting, genuine people with varied interests. Many teams feel like families and many of my dear friends are former Overstock coworkers. I also appreciate that they take chances on good people and big ideas. And the company overall is progressive, tolerant, and multicultural.

    Cons

    There is very little structure within the departments. Groups and whole departments are restructured several times a year. In five years there, I had 13 different desk locations, 8 different directors, and 7 different managers. At the time of my termination, I didn't have a manager or directors. I didn't have a job description or general process guidelines. Turnover is painfully high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The instability throughout the company (constant desk shuffling, new creative directors every few months) is contributing to a gigantic morale problem (people are constantly scared).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    Not a Netflix or Amazon or Facebook

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technology in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Technology in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    work/life balance, interesting projects motivated more by making the world a better place and less by $$, charismatic CEO

    Cons

    immature program management (project prioritization, measurable success metrics), brittle architecture and absence of design phase in software development, serial business processes, lack of trusted data to run the business, poor collaboration between business & IT, senior leadership advancement based on loyalty to company instead of comprehensive work experience (just look at their LinkedIn profiles)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - instead of trying to superficially emulate the companies you aspire to be, hire and listen to talent who have been there
    - embrace reality by fixing the engine instead of re-skinning with a shiny exterior
    - allow technology and business leaders to jointly contribute to program/project management (ROI analyses, how to build it, the time it will take)
    - evangelize enterprise architecture that is the hallmark of innovative technology companies well down the CMM path instead of shoveling "tech debt" under the rug
    - surround yourself with brilliant people instead of just "smart" people (it's all relative)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Better than its reputation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Overstock.com full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people who work at Overstock are creative, fun, dedicated, and smart. It's an exciting team to be a part of.

    Cons

    Everyone above a certain level has gotten there by being friends with the owner, not by being qualified. There's definitely a limit to how far you can advance if you're not already one of the crowd.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Appreciate the employees you have. Invest in career planning, and help those who are interested advance in the company.

  6. 28 people found this helpful  

    Which way is the wind blowing?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Cottonwood Heights, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    -Not usually asked to work long hours. I often get in around 10, and have only worked till or past 7 a couple times in over two years. I have never been required to work a weekend (some are, and often for little reason, however).
    -Dev teams are integrated QA and dev, with the tech lead coming from either track. Team mates usually look after each other.
    -All but one person on the team I started with has since been promoted significantly (and that one person doesn't seem to want a promotion). If you're on a team in the sunny side of management, advancement is easy. Some people even get custom made-for-them positions doing whatever they want.
    -The CEO is a passionate ideologue who follows his personal moral code and tries to promote his idea of good in the world. I don't always agree with his priorities, but I respect people who try to make a difference even when I don't always agree with them. And since I do agree with some of his things, I get to feel like we're doing some good in the world and not solely promoting overconsumption in order to trade environmental health in for temporary material profit like most retailers.
    -Sometimes your ideas as a dev for improving business ideas are listened to. I proposed an idea to a VP in a rare meeting I had with him once, and later found out another team had implemented it. There are also hackathons which you may or may not enjoy, but the ideas in them are often productionized as well.
    -There's an entire team dedicated to "Enterpise 2.0"--building platforms for the employees to communicate their ideas to senior management. The biggest outcome of this that I've seen is our now-amazing 401k (100% match to a percentage of salary with no vesting period), but there are also smaller things, like the construction of a staircase on a hill where many people slip trying to enter the building from a parking garage which was apparently positioned to serve other offices.
    -Obviously YMMV, but my manager genuinely cares about me and works to promote the personal and career interests of all of his direct reports.
    -Laidback culture where you don't need to wear formal clothes or act professional all the time. Overstock once did a commercial with Snoop and employees were invited to dress up and lip sync like the artist for the chance to meet him after a private performance he did for the company. Dressing up was cheesy and a little questionable given that the majority of employees are white, but nice to break up the monotony and be creative in a completely non-work related way.
    -I've been able to stay on the same team my whole time here and work on improving our product and code base--I'm quite passionate about that stuff, but unfortunately progress is treacle-slow due to tech debt and constantly changing priorities.
    -If you're lucky enough to work at Old Mill and not get transferred to Castle, the location is beautiful, with a creek and nature trail wrapping around the building and a clear view of stunning mountains from your window.

    Cons

    -The very worst is an extremely inconsistent work environment. Part of why I don't move teams is I'm afraid to. Some people are called in to work weekends for a senior executive's ego (even when there are known reasons the project can't deploy earlier even if they make this sacrifice). Others get chewed out by middle- or upper-management even when they're doing an excellent job. Still others get sidelined without enough work to do, put on projects that don't use the skills they were told they were being hired for, or stuck on dead-end, nightmarishly poorly managed long-term failures of projects. Not to mention all the people who buy houses or sign long-term leases only to be told they have to transfer to the other site on the far side of the valley.
    -Even without getting on a nightmare team, it's quite possible that senior management will decide that their horribly-managed project really just needs more "resources," and you'll get pulled into that letting all your hopes and dreams for both your continued employment at Overstock and the stuff you're actually supposed to be working on languish.
    -Many of upper management's (especially the CEO's) pet projects are pushed through at an absurd rate, sometimes multiple at once that are all top priority and all blocking each other at the same organizational bottlenecks that management is only very slowly and reluctantly willing to allocate resources to fix. The CEO has done things like commit publicly to the world that international Bitcoin integration will be live on a certain impossible date, and also bragged to the press about supposedly locking 40 developers in a room and sliding pizza under the door to get the original Coinbase integration out. You can imagine that those of us in dev have all been very leery about that.
    -Monday's #1 priority for your team that absolutely has to be dev-complete by Friday may be canceled Tuesday, revived on Wednesday with new requirements, revised on Thursday with tentative new completely different requirements that will be finalized by EOB, and then put on hold once it's deployed and is ready to flip on because business isn't really sure they got the requirements right.
    -Nepotism, brownnosers, politics, and firing those who aren't yes-men. I think these problems are the main reason for all the really poor judgment calls management makes, both in running projects and deciding what to do. You're frequently asked to implement something that's obviously a bad idea or that's just copying someone else long after they've cornered the market for that product, etc. You can't push back against that with any consistent degree of effectiveness (though if someone above you catches wind of it the bad decision may suddenly be un-scheduled after all), and you can't push back against the endless string of decisions to build up tech debt in order to get something out sooner, either.
    -Speaking of tech debt, yeah. There's areas of code that reliably make your skin crawl, and a monolithic app that takes over an hour to build. Any project to upgrade the code or eliminate an old framework usually takes years to complete, and most projects to restructure it are just never finished, and hang around cluttering up the code even more. Don't expect to be using cutting-edge technology because it just takes many years to get to the point where we can use it.
    -Working on projects that are constantly changed or canceled and that are of dubious value in the first place is dispiriting.
    -Some tech-stack decisions are awful, either because business wants to integrate with another Microsoft project, someone's convinced they need to buy a third EBI warehouse, or the architect in charge of a project has personality/ego issues.
    -Talent is getting weaker as the company expands, experienced people leave, and Java devs become vanishingly rare in Salt Lake. The onboarding/mentoring process is close to non-existent, and many who don't know code standards check in code unsupervised. Many teams of short-term contractors leave behind weak work that someone else has to maintain, or are simply incompetent and flounder unable to complete their projects.
    -While senior management is LGBT supportive, the dominant local culture is Mormon, so it isn't necessarily safe or comfortable to be yourself at work.
    -Almost all developers are white or Asian men. There are many comments, including from senior management, that create a hostile environment based on gender, race, or religion. For instance, there was a party at the Old Mill headquarters today with vacation giveaways. The CEO was joking at some winner that he should see his wife as back-up and pursue other women. I find this very uncomfortable. At a recent standup, a 15-year employee was given a hug by one of the senior executives, and the President made loud (misleading) comments about how they were kissing and getting all over each other and stuff like that. Once she told a story about how the CEO was having a conversation with Snoop and kept exclaiming in surprise about how he knew various educated-person facts/ideas. People with dietary restrictions are frequently harassed by their team mates even though those restrictions are religion-based. There was a "beard contest" with gift card prizes last November, and the directors running it refused to answer inquiries from employees about how that wasn't discriminatory, or about expanding it to be more inclusive. Every female development team lead I've ever heard about has been spoken badly of by the male devs, and the female President (who is herself a gender essentialist and has promoted gender stereotypes in the local news) is often accused in gossip circles of having slept her way to the top, even though her strong friendship with the CEO is more than enough to explain any perceived favoritism. Luckily microaggressions aren't something I witness every single day, but they've been happening a lot this week so it's on my mind.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create a personal IT sandbox team again so you can get your pet projects (like pets and bitcoin) worked on consistently without throwing the rest of the development organization into chaos. I know you want to move quickly to keep up, but make sure you have a good idea first and actively solicit criticism of any idea you have to see whether the issue can be shored up, or we should scrap the idea or leave it for a time when it's more feasible before the damage is done. Get IT to really organize together and work out bottlenecks, techdebt, and consistent dysfunctions like the way the internationalization effort has been conducted. Make sure resources devoted to high-value core functions aren't deterred on pet projects. Realize that devs aren't really interchangeable "resources" and throwing more at a project isn't necessarily better. Stop making sexual comments at stand ups and company parties.

    Fire that one guy in senior management who's been yelling at people and refusing to accept realistic project estimates. Build more trust--you are mostly very charismatic people but many employees fear that you're not honest with us. Moving people between locations against their will is a good way to lose trust. Not respecting us as professionals who will go as fast as we reasonably can without intimidation, and not respecting our weekends and evenings because you want to meet some date you committed to publicly without our buy-in are other good trust-losing strategies.

    Get IT to create a strong mentorship and onboarding process, tailored to the existing strengths of new hires and contractors.

    Keep innovating, borrowing the best innovations of others, and trying hard to run a company ethically and with input from the employees.

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    No direction

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

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time

    Pros

    Laid back environment, corporate sponsored events, training, working remotely encouraged sometimes

    Cons

    Below market value salary, no clear direction from the upper management, so many changes that no one understands why and where anymore, no growth opportunities.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Applications Administrator

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Valley, UT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Valley, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - Smart People
    - Innovative Technology
    - October concert/ Lagoon day
    - Work/Life balance

    Cons

    - Salary below market value
    - Favoritism
    - Education is not recognized
    - Lots of empty promises
    - Health Insurance is very bad

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please take a look at the Dev world management structure and get arrogance level down. Listen more to the employees and make change for better.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    A lot of potential, but always seems to fall short.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Information Technology Professional in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Information Technology Professional in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    All the parts are here to make amazing things happen. Super intelligent people. Fun atmosphere. Interesting challenges in both business and tech. Very progressive CEO. Lots of opportunity to move around the organization and learn new parts of the business.

    Cons

    Nepotism runs rampant. Politics play more into promotions then merit. Very progressive CEO. Always looking for the next Golden Goose to kill. Timelines and dates are mandated before ideas are fully realized. Very dysfunctional priority resolution. Too reactionary and not enough long term strategy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Build and organize cross functional (business & tech) teams that support the long term needs and goals rather then the short projects. Hire a Senior Executive that understands technology and is able to represent the technical needs of the company to the executive team. Make the bonus a percentage of profit.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Overstock.com Response

    Aug 30, 2014CEO

    Thanks for the advice. I am all in favor of building more cross-functional teams. There is some push-back from some folks who prefer conventional org structures, which I understand. I think where I ... More

  10. 20 people found this helpful  

    Great place to learn ecommerce. Dangerous place to build a career.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Director in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Director in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Overstock.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Overstock is the last of a dying breed. It is the last broad-line etailer left that makes all of its money from e-commerce. While Ebay and Amazon make most of their profits from enterprise products, Overstock soldiers along making every dollar selling sheets, shoes and DVDs. As a result, you have to be good at etail because that's all there is at Overstock. And there are / were some good employees that know it well. Working at Overstock will help you learn ecommerce inside and out.

    Cons

    Senior Management - CEO and current President - have no interest in building a profitable business. There is a strange desire to follow a dream that will never come to fruition. Unlike Amazon's CEO, who is an engineer and a "doer", Overstock CEO is a philosopher, so majority of strategy or ideas follow the path of philosophy - words, but no clear actions. There is no real strategy, no real interest in pursuing a clear path to long-term profitability. The goal is to play in any sandbox the CEO is interested in - its a fun game for him, and he doesn't care because he has inherited hundreds of millions from his father. Executives who oppose this approach are terminated or pushed out. During my time there I saw some of the best leaders and executives walked out the door for opposing the CEO in even the most subtle ways. Pay is relatively low - it is Utah, so people are willing to take a cut to work there. Work-life balance is amazing - no reason to work hard when there is not real incentive to deliver results, or your own projects are killed. Politics are rampant - but they are easy to understand - they all center around doing exactly what the CEO and President say, no matter how inane.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not much to say. I don't think management really cares - CEO and President have all their comp coming outside of Overstock, so driving long term profitability, value and employee satisfaction is not interesting to them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    A lot of promise without much action

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Overstock.com full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good flexible company. Relaxed but challenging environment. Interesting work.

    Cons

    There's always the promise of more this, better that, etc but yet rarely does any of it ever happen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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