23andMe Reviews

Updated August 15, 2014
Updated August 15, 2014
11 Reviews
3.1
11 Reviews
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Anne Wojcicki
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Amazing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Interaction/Visual Designer  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Interaction/Visual Designer in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at 23andMe as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Free lunch, snacks, very positive and great upper management. Openwork environment. Good work-life balance. LOVE the PUPPY friendly atmosphere.

    Cons

    If you're a contractor or part timer, be prepared to be excluded.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Best environment I've ever worked in

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at 23andMe full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    No matter what area of the company, colleagues tend to be *highly* talented and capable in what they do. People tend to be almost over-qualified (educationally) for their job titles, with JDs, PhDs, MDs, MBAs, etc. spread throughout all the different divisions (and often where you wouldn't expect them). My observation has been that management takes its time in hiring the best of the best, and then follows with a hands-off approach to trust that those they hire are motivated and capable.

    Cons

    Because the organization is so flat, it's been hard for me to make out what a career path might look like over the coming years. That may or may not be an issue though.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful  

    Loved Working There!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at 23andMe

    Pros

    - 23andMe is trying to fundamentally alter health care to improve care and outcomes, and they have a real shot at doing it. Who wouldn't want to be a part of making that happen?

    - You get to work with exceptionally talented people. It raises everyone's game.

    - Great benefits and a workplace that is highly accommodating to needs and personal preferences. I will admit I packed on a few extra pounds from the free food, but had I made better use of the exercise facilities and services that needn't have happened.

    - 23andMe is an increasingly recognizable brand and it's not only been very valuable to me professionally to have worked there, but also the source of many fun and stimulating conversations.

    - What 23andMe does is disruptive to several flawed but entrenched fields (ex. inefficient models of funding and misaligned incentives in academic research) and that isn't always easy but it is the future and you get to experience that from the inside. Perhaps I'm not typical in viewing that as a perk, but I do!

    - It's a start-up, and that means lots of opportunity. In my two years at 23andMe I worked on numerous exciting and worthwhile projects and had a chance to participate in or observe activities in all departments and at all levels. Some have shared concerns about the way decisions were made at the leadership level, but my experience was one of being highly empowered and encouraged to take even more ownership over the current shape and future direction of the projects I managed.

    - Lastly, I do want to mention that I can understand why some of the other reviewers would rate their overall experiences as poor, but think it's important to note that not all work environments are a good fit for everyone. In my two years at 23andMe, there were some employees for whom it was not a great fit. They all eventually left; not all left voluntarily. While it's not fun to experience reductions in force, I think it's a very important thing for a company to be willing and able to do, when necessary.

    Cons

    - It's a small start-up and that means that there is little in the way of middle management. For those who are comfortable working independently and don't need or want to spend a lot of time on performance feedback and career planning this might not be a con, but if you are not one of those people, 23andMe might not be a great fit (nor would many start-up companies).

    - Genetics in general and DTC genetics in particular is an incredibly fast-paced, at times volatile industry. If you're someone who doesn't like surprises, likes setting and adhering to long-term plans and would be very frustrated if a project you were working on was tabled, then no, this might not be your ideal work environment. On the flip side, it's always relevant and never boring. Never.

    - 23andMe doesn't hold all of the keys to its own success and it's most definitely a riskier industry than many others. It is subject to intense scrutiny and there are people who would like to see it fail.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Re-hire me when I finish grad school!

    More seriously, there is a big discrepancy between the actual progress and accomplishments of the company and the general awareness of those advances by the public. It would behoove you to think of more ways to share how far you've come in terms of the amount of data in an account, the interactive tools available to understand and engage with your data, and the research accomplishments -- both evidence in support of your research model and the novel discoveries you've made.

    Also, it will be very important to figure out how to lower the financial barrier to entry as I've met countless people who would love to be customers but for whom the price of the service is still too high.

    Recommends
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great Culture and People, but decisions made on the fly and change constantly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at 23andMe

    Pros

    People!! Benefits Product Pioneering new industry

    Cons

    Decisions about positions change on the fly and that can affect people already hired

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more transparent

    Recommends
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great employer!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at 23andMe

    Pros

    Exciting project which may lead to somewhere big. The industry is still in it's infancy, but has promise. The question is whether or not investors will hold out until a profit can be made.

    Cons

    Small group of people, some of whom are eccentric, but who can be dealt with if you truly do have good people skills.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on marketing and business development over product. At this point, the customer experience is awesome. A focus on gaining consumer awareness and upping sales will really help ensure company survival.

    Recommends
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Failure waiting to happen

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at 23andMe

    Pros

    Great team, smart people, lots of perks thanks to the google connection, talked-about industry and company hence good for the resume

    Cons

    Lack of focus and direction.
    Extremely poor management skills especially of the new COO.
    Excessive money spend on unclear projects and employee perks.
    Complete disregard for the end-user. Smart people too absorbed in their own intellect to value or appreciate the over-helming and thus useless nature of the product for the paying customers.
    Great concept but extremely poor execution thanks to a snobbish attitude toward the public.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to customers or shut down.

    Doesn't Recommend
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    23andMe is a fox in a world where hedgehogs succeed.

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

    I have been working at 23andMe

    Pros

    * Unique synthesis of Web 2.0, social networking, and genetics.
    * Non-traditional, outside-the-box problem-solving.
    * Cooperative attitude among employees and in approach to external parties.
    * Novel space: personalized medicine.
    * Company's efforts have influenced policy and dialogue at an international level.
    * Excellent networking connections with key opinion leaders and academic researchers.
    * Fun, intelligent co-workers.
    * Casual work environment.
    * Flexible work schedules.

    Cons

    * The scientists have little or no corporate experience.
    * People with corporate experience (management, BD) have little or no biotech/research experience.
    * No medical knowledge/experience in company.
    * Peer feedback, review process, and career advancement paths unclear.
    * Lack of focus in company direction and in how projects connect to company goals.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    23andMe's non-traditional approach is a strength in building new and interesting products and in attracting a very savvy group of customers. 23andMe has done a lot for genetics--making a complex topic accessible and fun, bringing genetics to a wide audience, and also influencing important discussions at very high levels.

    The non-traditional approach is also a weakness, because the company's lack of corporate biotech experience at nearly all levels of the company has created major blind spots. As a result, 23andMe has stumbled into barriers that a more experienced company would have been aware of and taken the necessary steps to mitigate--which can require major commitments in resources and incorporation into the long-term business plan.

    23andMe also made an early choice to pursue several different, non-overlapping goals at once, and although it has achieved some success--excellent content, unique website, novel research platform, recognition in the space--continued growth will start to cause these functions to overlap less and less, potentially creating resource conflict and mission creep in the future.

    The lack of biotech and research experience in the executive management and BD teams also creates an attitude of taking research for granted. Biology is hard; finding discoveries that can provide a foundation for profitability is by no means guaranteed. Improving the chance of medically useful discoveries means thoroughly understanding a clinical question and conducting the best research possible--which may directly conflict with making the web service as customer-friendly as possible. But the lack of direct research knowledge and experience has led 23andMe to avoid focusing on specific areas, which means that specific expertise has never been brought on board and that research quality continually compromises with (and is compromised by) the needs of the web-based service.

    My advice is to build a company that focuses on doing one thing very well. If that thing is a web portal for genetics content, then set aside the research goal. If that thing is research, then set aside the web portal. If it is a genome-wide diagnostics company, then do whatever it takes to succeed in the increasingly difficult diagnostics world. In terms of both science and profitability, quality scientific research requires a much larger commitment of time, resources, and discipline than management has been able to show thus far. Hiring people with clinical knowledge and with experience at running a successful biotech or molecular diagnostics company will keep 23andMe from having to constantly reinvent the wheel.

    Doesn't Recommend
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    Terrible Place to Work

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

    I worked at 23andMe full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Do interesting work at the cutting edge of science, technology and society.
    Meet people who are passionate about what they do.
    Flexible hours and good work/life balance.

    Cons

    No support from management.
    No career development.
    Nepotism is rampant, if you don't already have a sponsor in the executive team, don't bother joining the company.
    No rewards for good work done.
    A lot of inexperienced employees who think they are still working in academia.
    Lack of a clear business model.
    Scientists are valued above all other employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in the people who work at the company and recognize good work done.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Insensitive and cold Hr Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at 23andMe

    Pros

    Flexible Hours
    Growing Industry
    Close to Free Way
    Great shuttle

    Cons

    Brief Training
    Poor communication from management
    Let go for no reason with no warning five days before Christmas

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer more intense training.
    Don't have a potential employee go through a rigorous hiring process only to decide you don't need their position after all after one week.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Not good.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at 23andMe

    Pros

    Work out equipment and bootcamp style training.Free snacks and food all day every day.They have a nice, newer office. Pretty good benefits.

    Cons

    All decisions came down to one person, and it was NOT the ceo. Senior managers made some grave mistakes and many employees suffered. Managers and co-workers inexperienced. Did not value customer satisfaction. Vague product definition with very little marketing support.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't layoff people and then three months later hire people for the positions you laid off. That's just not good.

    Doesn't Recommend

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