I worked at Plivo full-time (Less than a year)
Disclosure: I gave 5 stars to balance off some reviews that I think are unfairly skewing the overall review. I may have given 4 stars otherwise, acknowledging no startup is perfect and also that there's a reason only a fraction of newly-founded technology startups ever survives for years. One of the reviews mentions the core members who left the company on a bad note. The comment is largely gratuitous. (I am one of the members mentioned there and I had to leave to graduate from my university.) Among many, I want to drive home the two strengths of the company which would be very useful for the kind of people who are ambitious, intellectually curious and determined to create success. If your profile does not highly correlate in those three dimensions, you may not thrive in the company. And I doubt you will anywhere else in the world of startups. Meritocratic culture - Working at Plivo was challenging for me in the sense that I felt there was no upper bound on how much responsibility I could assume and in turn how large impact I can have on the company's performance. If you work hard and get things right, you will be graciously rewarded by both external and internal incentives. Admittedly I have made not a few mistakes along the way. However I have never been treated unfairly or unfavorably by the team for these mistakes. Of course, you will have to own your mistakes by being willing to hear negative feedback. Hey, honest feeback is certainly bitter to swallow but that's the only way for you to grow and get better at what you want to be excellent at. Growth of technical expertise - The technical front Plivo is interfacing with is not a joke. The company has a very strong technical backbone/culture which has sustained itself for years. Even if you're an engineer coming from strong network/signaling or back-end backgrounds, there will be enough non-trivial and interesting challenges for you to work on. Even if you're not an engineer, you will naturally grow your technical understanding, interacting with highly skilled engineers. Tip: I did not mind asking questions. None has given me the impression "why are you wasting our time by asking such silly questions?". Hint: after a year's worth of stint at the company, I decided to minor in CS in my university. Even though my major was Business, pulling the straight A's from the CS study was fairly straightforward. I even won an award from an app development competition organized by a global technology company. All thanks to the skills and experiences I had acquired at the company. Some minor things: No office politics or BS - the culture does not encourage office politics. The management team has made concious efforts to crowd out any political or simply unfair behaviors that may affect the moral of other members. Open culture - the culture well accomodates benign eccentricity of members. i.e. rarely have I been at "hey that's politically incorrect" situations. Brutal honesty and transparency - If taken emotionally and personally, honest feedback might hurt you. If taken professionally, which takes time and some getting used to, you will ever more appreciate it. I realized pretty soon it is in MY best interest to seek honest feedback whether it's negative or positive.
The company shares challenges other high growth companies, run by a team of ambitious, smart and relatively young people face. For anyone who knows at least a bit about how startups look deep inside, this fact should come as no surprise. high expectation/pressure for performance - for those who just want to work somehwere, this characteristic might be a no-no.
Advice to Management
continue promoting people determined to take the company forward. continue building on the company's strength. continue obsesssing over growth.