A9.com Reviews

Updated April 15, 2015
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3.7
22 Reviews
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Brian Pinkerton
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    One of the best companies in Silicon Valley, highly recommend

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

    I worked at A9.com full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    1) very friendly and family-like atmosphere (not everyone feels this way, your mileage may vary, but it was true for me and it's true for many people)
    2) location allows for lunch in Palo Alto downtown restaurants
    3) 2 minutes walking from Palo Alto caltrain
    4) very healthy work life balance for OK performers, also plenty of opportunities for running extra mile but unlike some other companies there's no peer pressure to actually run extra mile, people do it behind the scenes thanks to flexibility (next point)
    5) a lot of flexibility in schedule: 80% of people work 9:30-6, but core business hours when meetings are scheduled are normally 11-4 (depending on a team). many teams allow working from home 1-2 days a week, depending on a project, etc.
    6) unique high scale projects executed by very small workforce relative to how other companies solve similar problems (really an opportunity to contribute a lot and put cool stuff on your resume), little overhead and a lot of freedoms in getting things done, smart engineers.
    7) local culture is different from Amazon's Seattle, there's some layer of isolation (good thing)

    Cons

    (some of it didn't apply to me personally, but I should highlight it anyway)
    8) salary is competitive only to some point, it's bigger than most startups and mid-range companies but may be smaller than some large tech competitors can offer,
    9) Amazon's motivation system (which unfortunately in place with the subsidiaries as well) is screwed in various ways:
    9.1) reward loop may be anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 years from the moment you did something cool to the moment you actually receive that extra stock (annual perf process with new stock grant given with half a year delay, and this stock grant only vests in a year),
    9.2) there's a punishment if Amazon stock goes up, your pending unvested shares seem to be regularly re-evaluated at current market rate, and for a new grant you only get a delta of how much you deserve minus how much you're already getting (this may be zero for high performers if stock has grew by a lot),
    9.3) there's also a punishment if Amazon stock goes down - you just get less that year, because any new compensation for the difference will vest only a year later;
    based on my general observations, A9 probably does some tweaks to soften the effect of this stupid system, but it cannot completely dismiss the system;
    10) probably due to the fact A9 is small and family-like, there's some notable variety in skills and personalities of managers in various groups; this, depending on your own personality and skills, may be beneficial for you or not so.
    11) there are some gaps in common infrastructure such as source, build and deployment systems, which are outside of A9's control, and they either hurt productivity or require unwanted hacks or home-grown solutions, where instead the common infrastructure should get fixed.

    Advice to Management

    Jeff Bezos should read p.9 and fix the compensation system. This will be a major win.
    After that is done, Jeff Bezos should read p.11 and give more love (and headcount?) to the common Amazon infrastructure teams.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Lots of interesting stuff at extremely fast pace that can tire you down

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at A9.com

    Pros

    Not as bad work life balance as rest of Amazon
    Smart people from advertising field in the Bay

    Cons

    Its Amazon - so still very fast paced and can tire you down

    Advice to Management

    Work life balance needs to exist

  3. Helpful (1)

    Great technologies

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at A9.com

    Pros

    Get to use cool technologies like Amazon EC2

    Cons

    there is no annual bonus

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Good working environment

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

    I worked at A9.com as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good environment, a lot of interesting projects, nice cooperation among colleagues.

    Cons

    Not so flexible when you want to do some extra interesting stuff

  6. Excellent company making some bold moves

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

    I worked at A9.com full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    An entreprenurial spirit within a large organization. Numerous opportunities within the organization and room for growth.

    Cons

    Mostly engineering focused and lighter on the business side.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing. Stay the course and keep on track.

  7. Helpful (4)

    Better than Amazon, challenging work, great pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineering Intern in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineering Intern in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at A9.com full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    - Work is really good and challenging. Projects involving distributed systems, AWS, machine learning, ad technology, graphics (visual search team)
    - Work with Amazon infrastructure and internal tools
    - Coworkers are very knowledgeable and professional
    - Great location, right beside Caltrain in Palo Alto, so you can live anywhere in Bay Area and commute
    - Decent office space, its not open office like most tech companies, which I preferred
    - Good compensation, better than amazon

    Cons

    - Not enough perks compared to other tech companies
    - Office space is too crammed, only 2 buildings near each other in Palo Alto, sharing one office room with 3-4 people
    - Frugality of Amazon (less frugal though, you get cereal pop etc)

    Advice to Management

    Try to have more team spirit

  8. Helpful (5)

    Worst one compared with other giant Intenet companies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at A9.com full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Can work on exciting technologies, AWS, DynamoDB, EC2.
    -Be well trained to work on well-built infrastructure and cloud. Have deep understanding of distributed and Internet technologies.

    Cons

    -Worst pay compared with other public Internet companies. Little RSU in the first 3 years. Almost work for no bonus.
    -No free lunch, no snacks (though some cheap nuts, no one wants to touch), no gym, no team event (cut budget), no engineering offsite, only work, release, rollout then work, move fast
    -Worst middle level management, no vision, no technical skills, no understanding of Internet business, arrogant, doing nothing, except slave people to work.
    -Employee turn over rate is very short.

    Advice to Management

    Engineers are the most valuable assets in the company. Instead of wasting money on hiring a bunch of highly paid, doing nothing managers from nowhere, why not give out more to people who actually are doing the work.

  9. Helpful (3)

    Great atmosphere

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at A9.com

    Pros

    fun
    nice people
    nice place to work
    cool technology
    better paid than amazon

    Cons

    bad green card policy and so on

  10. Helpful (1)

    Good team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Product Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Product Manager in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at A9.com full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good team, deep talented engineer, a lot to learn.

    Cons

    Remote site of Amazon, hard to align roadmap.

  11. Helpful (1)

    Wonderful company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Software Development Intern in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Intern - Software Development Intern in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at A9.com as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great coworkers and management. Very flexible, good starting salary. Great opportunity to grow as a person.

    Cons

    You have to work quite hard in this company, it's hard to maintain a great work life balance.

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