SmartBrief Reviews

31 Reviews
3.6
31 Reviews
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SmartBrief President & CEO Rick Stamberger
Rick Stamberger
13 Ratings

7 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Like being on drugs

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

    I worked at SmartBrief

    Pros

    Working at SmartBrief is like being on drugs. It's fun, especially if you're younger. The people are genuinely nice and hang out together, the office is pretty, there's free beer, and the CEO can be quite inspiring, actually. Also, to stay there, all you really need to do is just go along with the program (not so terrible, really, not like they're manufacturing anthrax or something); you don't really need to try very hard. If having an easy, pleasant, work environment is more important to you than making money, it's a good place to be.

    Cons

    Working at SmartBrief is like being on drugs. It's bad for you, especially if you're older, and really, you probably shouldn't do it. Telling other people about your experiences doing it makes them bored, at best, and respect you a little less, at worst. It feels bad to stop doing it, but after a day or two you realize your life is better for it. After I left, I discovered a lot of my more casual acquaintances had thought that I had been working for a non-profit. Must've been the "working for the experience, not the paycheck" vibe that I was giving off. If you prefer making money, building your resume, and accomplishing difficult tasks to having an easy time at work, and you could care less about having free beer at work (not at all a shameless ploy to make recent college grads work for less money, right?), maybe you should look elsewhere.

    SmartBrief is a real businessman's business (not necessarily a "Con", depending on who you are). It is very much a marketing and sales organization. Let's face it, E-mail newsletters for trade associations are boring. This is good if you're a businessman, because you have less competition. But do you really want to just write summaries of others' articles if you want a career in journalism? Do you really want to just work with e-mail and websites if you love technology? This doesn't mean it's a terrible place, it just means that senior management does best what it knows best.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To be honest, watching management in action was one of the highlights of working at SmartBrief for me, because I would probably do some of the same things they do if I were to start my own business. They certainly know how to get good value for the talent they acquire. Also, SmartBrief seems like a solid business. But hey, so is Starbucks; just because I want to be a shareholder doesn't mean I want to work there.

    So, the advice: I think the majority of SmartBrief employees are vaguely dissatisfied, but are comfortable enough that they don't want to bother finding something else. Some like their jobs, but not as many as you seem to think. Maybe more really liked their jobs in the past? Was there a great start-up culture that isn't surviving big business bureaucrats moving into management positions? I'm not sure. I think maybe SmartBrief tries to hire ugly ducklings, and I think maybe, deep down, the CEO thinks everyone has a bit of the ugly duckling inside them. But what if they're mostly just ducks after all? Then you end up with a duck pond, not Swan Lake.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Disorganized environment which rarely has goals but does have talented people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at SmartBrief

    Pros

    Fun people make working at SmartBrief worthwhile. The culture is quite relaxed and most people do not take themselves too seriously yet they remain professional.

    Cons

    SmartBrief really doesn't have a business model and has little idea of how to communicate what it is attempting to accomplish both within and outside of the organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership at SmartBrief should really sit down and think about what the business is trying to accomplish. While working there there was rarely a sense of moving forward and it felt as if employees were simply there to get a paycheck but were never really engaged nor could they be because the company has little vision.

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

    Nice People with No Direction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at SmartBrief

    Pros

    Beer machine, nice/smart people, casual work environment

    Cons

    zero leadership from senior staff.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please understand that betting on a short term exit strategy can backfire when all long term prospects haven't been made priorities.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    SmartBrief is a good company with a good product, but is a very poorly managed company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at SmartBrief

    Pros

    Very relaxed environment and a great work-life balance in terms of expectations. They have a very good benefits package there as well.

    Cons

    Poor communication from management in terms of the direction of the company. It is very easy to get lost and caught on the outside of being one of managements favorites...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice would be to be more transparent to your employees and to treat all employees fair.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    SmartBrief has great potential that needs to be realized.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at SmartBrief

    Pros

    -Flat culture
    -Nice people
    -Company does a great service and produces a quality product
    -You can innovate and push ideas forward
    -Tremendous opportunity to be highly involved at an entry level and learn from experience

    Cons

    -There is minimal development or career advancement unless one threatens to quit, has a competitive offer, or does everything themselves
    -Poor motivation/communication from leadership--there is no mission.
    -Little leadership awareness of workplace issues
    -Extremely poor top down communication skills from leadership

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Focus on Professional Development (in education, communication about career advancement, and recruiting, ect.)
    -Hire smarter people--recruit more widely and raise bases to become competitive in the marketplace. We are losing excellent candidates we are lucky to have apply because salaries are so much lower than competitive comparisons.
    -Address workplace issues effectively and efficiently.
    -HR should read SmartBrief on Workforce

    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lots of internal issues, moving nowhere.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Client Services  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Client Services in Washington, DC

    I worked at SmartBrief

    Pros

    It's an online media company; within the publishing word, online & digital media is the place to be. Whether or not email is really progressive within online/media is up to you...

    Work/life balance is feasible at SmartBrief, but only because people leave at 5pm and don't want to work late. It's not something that is really promoted but something an employee just stumbles on.

    Oh, another good thing is the awesome office manager, and there is a beer machine.

    Cons

    There is no innovation, desire to develop & compete. Management is satisfied with mediocrity, probably just enough to get the company bought (which these days is all they care about). There is absolutely NO focus on career development for individuals. The only way to move up is to make a big stink, threaten to quit or beg. Employees that have been there a while fall into the same mentality as the senior management and don't care to move the company forward.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    INNOVATE, EVOLVE, TAKE RISKS, COMPETE WITH OTHER COMPANIES OUT THERE! And try to retain your employees by listening to what they want and caring about their careers.

    Doesn't Recommend
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good work life balance for a company going nowhere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technology
    Former Employee - Technology

    I worked at SmartBrief

    Pros

    SmartBrief was a quirky place to work from its people to their product. Easy to take time off and days off were allowed as were days working at home. They had a beer machine and cheap soda too, and location of the office downtown was good.

    Cons

    Company lacks organization and product development. Management seemed to know little about what to do and each group does their own thing. This company is a one hit wonder and is missing the boat on the way tech media is going. Benefits aren't great either.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Innovate and bring in experienced successful people to manage. Don't be so secretive.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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