Zynga

  www.zynga.com
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Zynga Reviews

Updated Jul 13, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.0 330 reviews

56% Approve of the CEO

Zynga CEO Don Mattrick

Don Mattrick

(80 ratings)

47% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free food and snacks are good and did offset some of the salary cut the pre-ipo hired took(in 52 reviews)

  • Benefits, cool office environment, in house Gym, breakfast, lunch and dinner(in 21 reviews)


Cons
  • Most employees have a very poor work-life balance, especially around holidays(in 40 reviews)

  • Low morale coupled with long hours at my studio(in 25 reviews)

66 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Perpetual movement within the company. Feels Unstable. Morale down.

    Senior Software Engineer (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    Pros- Fun people and fun culture.
    - Awesome coffee + culinary team.
    - very helpful HR (People OPs). One of the best HR/payroll teams I worked with. Extremely responsive, helpful and pro-active. Never had an issue.
    - Maternity benefits ( as of mid-2013) : you will get around 14-18 weeks maternity leave of which ~7 weeks would be 100% paid and rest would be ~66% paid. you can also get 6 additional weeks of unpaid leave under the state law. Most of this is supported by CA law.
    - Benefits: good medical/dental. RSUs instead of options (but the stock is not worth much right now).

    Cons- Take vacation anytime.. doesn't feel that open. since there is nothing mandated, some people feel guilty taking time off.
    - too many org changes. I worked for 4 different teams in one year.
    - has quarterly evaluations and priorities. This makes the company very short sighted. projects with highest priority one quarter are cared less the next. or might even be dumped. So all the work on the projects is a waste.
    - have a sense of unpredictability within the company and feel like management is confused about their goals. Don has been the CEO for not long, so have to see if he makes a difference. There have been a lot of ORG changes since he came as well, but not sure if its the last of them.
    - Benefits: NO 401K match

    Advice to Senior Managementrethink your quarterly compensation and OKR policy. Thats making the company very short sighted. or if you think the idea is still good, find a way to implement it better than how it is right now.

    and the good talent is leaving everyday. find a way to keep the morale by not making too many changes and make the current employees feel more stable about their jobs. unless you find a way to do this, you will lose more good talent since we don't know if we'll have a job tomorrow.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    almost everything wrong with Zynga

    Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    Pros* Perks and benefits;
    * free meals (but they were much better couple of years ago);
    * still a lot of bright engineers and artists

    Cons* top and mid management (they just don't know what they want, no long term vision, nobody wants to take responsibility);
    * strategy changing every time;
    * permanent reorg (probably good if you want new manager every month);
    * Pincus: he ruined a lot of good games. His smartest decision was resignation;
    * leadership principles just don't work;
    * fast follow approach for new games, no original IP;
    * no central tech (almost all central tech attempts, including zcloud, failed, thanks to Cadir);
    * stupid strategic decisions (zynga.com disconnected from facebook, 2nd version of everything)
    * best engineers leaving;
    * lack of execution, some games in development for years without any results;

    Advice to Senior ManagementZynga has some chances to survive with Don Mattrick.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Life as an Artist at Zynga.

    Artist (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsFree meals: Friday Breakfast, Lunch (M-F), and Dinner (M-Thurs). Free Snacks: snack area, snack room, snack lounge; candy, trail mix, nori, gluten free gummies, cereal, chips, cookies, did I say candy?, CANDY. Free beverages: soft drinks, tea (cold/hot), coffee (Starbucks dispenser). Onsite Arcade, and Gym. Massage Therapy. Acupuncture. Full medical, dental, and vision coverage. Equity offer. Competitive hourly/salary .

    ConsLong hours. Often belittled by management. Useful commentary is often ignored, or deferred. When sh_t hits the fan, the solution is to throw more people at the problem, and spend more hours onsite. Weekend work is expected. The moment you say you can't be in on the weekends, you are instantly on the sh_t list. Favoritism is just your everyday thing. Disorganized. Management would prefer to layoff, or put people on performance improvement plans, rather than find the root of the problem, and solve it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhen you have a team member who is capable of wearing many hats, and you hand him off to an Art Director who only wears one hat, don't get rid of the guy who wears many hats, just because the Art Director doesn't know what to do with him. The proper solution would've been to move the jack of all trades to a team that could've better utilized their talents, shifted them to a role they feel comfortable sticking to, or train the Art Director up on his animation skill. Get your sh_t straight, Zynga.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    3 people found this helpful  

    Great learning opportunity at the time but disorganized with a very abrasive culture

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsYou get to work with very intelligent, ambitious and driven colleagues (and get to build a network with these folks). You will most likely have the opportunity to learn a lot in your field. The perks (free food, snacks, happy hours etc...) were not bad either.

    The best aspect for working for Zynga was the career opportunities it opened up. However, I feel this is diminishing as the company continues to decline.

    ConsThe company is very disorganized and so political that the environment has often been described as a modern day "Game of Thrones." Incentives across cross-functional teams are horribly misaligned, and lead to a lot of internal confrontation.

    The environment is currently very very unstable with high levels of attrition across the entire organization. Most employees have been at the company for less than a year since experienced employees often leave for greener pastures. To make things worse, it has become difficult to attract domain experts as they have more attractive options elsewhere.

    I should emphasize there is a lot of infighting between teams, which is extremely counter-productive and leads to lots of daily stress

    You will run into employees with absurdly high-egos, the company does not believe in the "no a**hole" rule.

    Given the disorganized structure, political infighting across teams, and high levels of attrition...the company is the pinnacle of the "everyone for themselves" organization...it truly is a free for all. Do not look for mentorship or expect to see great leadership here, you will find neither.

    Lastly, there is zero work-life balance - you will be overworked (churn and burn).

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart over.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Future does not seem too bright

    Project Manager On Workplace Team (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsSome great people, especially old timers who have been with the company a long time.

    ConsVery disorganized, political environment. "Meritocracy" philosophy only applies to engineers and devs, everyone else is second-class.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPractice what you preach!!!!!!! Stop worrying about the legal ramifications of every little thing and do right by your employees.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Employees treated great - but no vision and all talk of innovation is just noise

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsCatered meals every day, great benefits, decent pay, good creative people with a lot of talent, good workstations, not too much crunch

    Consmost good ideas are ignored, high turnover, company says it needs to innovate yet it slams the door in the face of any actual unproven innovation. The company seems to like the buzz words but not the actual meaning behind any of them.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou can talk the talk, but you don't seem to have any one in charge who actually is willing to walk the walk. Figure out who is stifling the innovation and get rid of them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    You can work with very talented colleagues, but very difficult to find experienced and solid mentors and managers.

    Senior QA Lead (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsYou are surrounded with very very talented and motivated colleagues who inspires to work more and achieve more! As long as you bring strong work ethic, quality work, and collaborative attitude, you will meet amazing talents and get to be part of great team.

    ConsVery very hard to find good mentors and managers. I personally had a horrible management experience at Zynga which basically made me look elsewhere and got a job. A company that puts "Be your own CEO" and "Meritocracy" should eward on employee on performance. I sadly saw lots of politics which made things harder to make things happen.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Dinosaur game making process.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat benefits along with some great people you meet along the way.

    ConsThe game making process is not evolving fast enough. Too much following of what's trending right now instead of being innovative and unique. Management seems to think there is a formula to make a successful game but they forget the number one factor of a successful game is the fun factor. Too much focus is made on their amazing ability to gather data, which makes them over reliant on it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou have some great teams over there, start believing that they can make games without all the ridiculous approval proccess. It stifles creativity and just makes teams cater games to what you guys want instead of the players.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    A Learning experience

    Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee)

    ProsAs the title said it was a learning experience. The scale of the games gives you immense opportunity to learn if you are on the back end services team. We used relatively new tech stack such as redis, node.js, coffeescript while it was still a up and coming thing. Free food and snacks are good and did offset some of the salary cut the pre-ipo hired took. No limits on hardware and quality equipment to work with.

    ConsI personally felt the cons outweighed the pros and thats why I decided to leave.

    * While the learnings were fun, it was a short lived experience. The learnings stopped once I realized that the company tends to repeat itself again and again and is not keen on taking a step back to realize what might or might not be working.
    * Company is risk averse w.r.t technology. Proven numbers around performance with modern stack was dismissed in favor of PHP only because the company had lots of PHP developers/ops and thought they OPS might not be able to support it.
    * Working in a remote studio was absolutely painful as we got work that SFO didnt want or didnt care(this was fatal as it meant your quarterly bonus was non existant)
    * Merit increases were highly political. It went to SFO people always and unless your manager had good impressions about you, you end up getting nothing.
    * Product managers and directors can be extremely political. Our remote office clearly felt the directory preferred young engineers as they put more time at work that than the ones that had families.
    * Not all perks werent matched as SFO even for a US satellite office. No parking match.
    * Zynga does not value engineers at all. I would be surprised if any thing like a Spanner, Hive, HipHop, Kafka or any such innovative tech stack come out of Zynga as its just not valued or rewarded. If you did a quick fix that ticked unique users up in a month then you will be recognized as a star or an atlas or whatever crap they paraded in company meeting. On the other hand you spent weeks to improve a bad PHP code base and reduced server count, you get nothing.
    * unprofessional executives - The way the chief people officer behaved was shocking. Their on stage interactions with other executives on quarterly company meetings was awkward and embarrassing.
    * Mark Pincus - Extremely reactive founder. It doesnt take much to spook him and he will quickly change directions. For instance when the Sims took off he killed projects to put those folks on "the Ville" game only to realize in a month Sims dying off. Ville met the same end.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart valuing engineers..you spend a lot to hire the best yet you dont listen to them. Product managers run the ship and their focus on short term returns is coming back to hurt you.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Some solid people, but not solid practices

    QA Engineer II (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsFree gym, food, snacks, enough soda to turn you diabetic.
    A lot of people are willing to teach you things if you ask.

    ConsRaises and bonuses are based loosely on a merit system that is reliant on goals set by your manager (who might or might not even understand what you do). Even meeting and surpassing goals can you get nothing.
    Internal structure is designed to keep you in your job you were hired for, almost impossible to get into another department.
    There is always lots of churn, hard to keep anything stable for more than a 3 month time frame.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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