Blue Acorn

www.blueacorn.com
Employer Engaged

Blue Acorn Reviews

Updated February 20, 2015
Updated February 20, 2015
16 Reviews
4.5
16 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Kevin Eichelberger
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    The most supportive, caring, challenging, and rewarding company ever!

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

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    We are treated like adults, responsible for our work, flexible schedule, work-life balance, fun culture and work environment, extremely caring owner and management, community service oriented, family oriented. Each employee has an Independent Development Plan where we work with our manager on our goals and professional development. Very collaborative and team oriented, CEO and COO have an open door policy and you can share your honest opinions. We are encouraged to disagree and challenge each other. We do anonymous employee surveys and management makes improvements and changes according to the findings.

    Cons

    The pro and con is that we are growing at a fast pace and this can be challenging and frustrating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you are doing. Don't let the environment and culture change as we grow. Always maintain your open door policy.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Fantastic Business and Definitely A Company You Want To Work For!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - LAMP Developer in Charleston, SC
    Former Employee - LAMP Developer in Charleston, SC

    I worked at Blue Acorn full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Employee's are friendly and helpful.
    They pay for you to take the Magento Certification Exam (of and depending on your occupation).
    They train you when you first arrive so you can quickly be brought up to speed.
    There will be room to grow depending on the occupation your are applying for.
    Suppose you are fresh out of college, to Blue Acorn you are still considered. If not for that position, then definitely for either an internship or apprenticeship.

    Cons

    The business currently (as of early 2015) specializes in work done on client sites with the Magento platform, this platform can be at times very intense as far as difficulty so this is definitely not a company you can slack off at. As long as you are willing to put the time and effort in as well as ask question, you will be able to go far and do well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I definitely loved the amount of training and help that I received and I believe you should absolutely keep it up.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Great Place If You Have The Right Job

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

    I have been working at Blue Acorn

    Pros

    Blue Acorn prides itself in providing a fun work environment, great employee benefits and some the best eCommerce development. Overall, if you are a recent computer science graduate looking to get eCommerce web development experience Blue Acorn would likely be a great place for you!

    In addition to providing Blue Acorn atmosphere, senior management is very accessible and open to listening to employee ideas! I think this is a really huge pro and not something you would often find in companies of this size.

    Despite not being 100% happy at work, I still really enjoyed working with my team and other Blue Acorn employees. The employees themselves are great and really help provide a fun Blue Acorn atmosphere.

    Cons

    Blue Acorn employs software task management techniques across the board no matter your job role. I often felt very micromanaged by this process. This was one of the most frustrating aspects of my job.

    There are few career paths available at Blue Acorn and perhaps no career paths if you are not a developer.

    Working in a job role other than a developer may be problematic as other departments are less well developed and less profitable.

    I often felt micromanaged and unfulfilled in my job role, however I do think this can be a great company to work for especially if you are looking to start an eCommerce web development career! If instead you are more mid-career and not a developer, make sure this is the right fit for your life/career before accepting an offer.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Innovative, supportive and fun environment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - UI Developer in Charleston, SC
    Current Employee - UI Developer in Charleston, SC

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Management is here to support us do our work. The CEO advocates making mistakes and learning from them. There are ample opportunities to learn and grow while working. The culture fosters collaboration, not politics.

    Cons

    Growing fast and the work/play life balance philosophy is being challenged. Attask task management software.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work your butt's off to not loose the working environment here, even if it means a little less income. Let us hang some of our own art on the walls!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Fun company - Innovative & challenging work

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

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I've been with Blue Acorn for several years now, and have seen firsthand the company grow quite dramatically. Which I think is a result of the company's stellar reputation for doing great work We're not out do the same thing everyone else does or even the same way, and everyone gets an opportunity to provide input and say on how we can make things better. We get to work with some incredible brands, and do some really fun things with each of them - so there's a lot of variety to the work.

    The people here are amazing to work with - and generally everyone gets along really well. Most of the people love it here, they care about the work and the clients, and it's a pleasure to work alongside them.

    There is a focus on continually improving which means there are lots of opportunities to learn. They invest heavily into training (especially for developers), and as the company has grown it has introduced professional development opportunities and growth for many of us here. I've seen several "rockstars" come into the organization that are recognized, rewarded, and promoted in the company - and I know of several that have seen dramatic raises based on their performance.

    Leadership genuinely cares about the people here and it shows - it's one of the first companies I've worked for that I feel like they empathize with the team and value our contributions. Kevin has the respect of everyone here and takes the time to talk to us, recognize us, and thank us - which means a lot. Everyone will find room to critique - but balancing out the needs of the team, our clients, and the company I could imagine being rather difficult - especially during periods of growth - and I've always been impressed with how they have managed that.

    Cons

    With growth comes challenges, and while I think management has done a great job at managing that growth, it can be difficult to adjust to the changes as we constantly seek to improve on what we're doing. There is also some seasonality to the industry which means there are periods of time where lots of clients want lots of things around the same time - so there are times when we have to pull in a little extra effort. Right now, in particular, we're busier than I've ever seen us so we could use some additional people to manage the workload.

    The management team is focused on being financially conservative - they've grown the company without any investment or debt, which means at times we have to do more with less, and some people appreciate that more than others. The people I hear complaining mostly about their compensation are often the poorer performers in the company - so I take that with a grain of salt.

    The "rockstars" I mentioned above carry a heavier burden than others in the organization and it's important for management to recognize this and not burn those people out.

    They've been a little slow to address negative influencers or "cancers" in the organization - which can work against them as I've seen some of those people "campaigning" against them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You've created something great here - don't lose the heart of what makes Blue Acorn unique as it continues to grow

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    One of the Better Companies in Charleston

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - LAMP Developer in Charleston, SC
    Current Employee - LAMP Developer in Charleston, SC

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    I have been with Blue Acorn for almost a year. As a long time self employed individual and somewhat apprehensive about returning to the work force working for someone else, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. The company has a great culture that feels very much like family and there has been too many instances to count where the company has been 100% supportive of life events that can sometimes be counter productive for work.

    While it is known that the pay is on the lower end of salaries for the positions in Charleston, I have been compensated fairly considering the front loaded investment the company makes into making someone an expert in Magento. With the rapid growth, there are plenty of opportunities to advance within the company. I have been given a clear path to advance and with the constant praise and support, I never come to work feeling like a number.

    Sure you could say that compensation can be higher, but no matter where you go, going forward I think it is only natural to wan to receive more compensation. The trade off isn't just in the keg-orator or catered lunches. The trade off is in the peaceful rewarding environment, where you don't hate going to work. And I have seen in my own efforts and those around me, they don't hesitate to recognize and reward dedication and hard work.

    Cons

    The only con I can really think of is that as a developer, the non stop Magento 100% of the time tends to feel monotonous . If you are not pursuing personal growth in development outside of the company, you scan start to feel like you are becoming outdated with development trends. While there nothing wrong with becoming an expert in the one particular field as it applies to your job, this is truly the only thing that bothers me.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you are doing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good or Bad, Depends on the job role

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

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time

    Pros

    If you're one of the developers (either PHP or UI), life is generally good. There's a reasonable expectation for work - you'll need to bill 30 hours per week. Doesn't sound like too much, but a lot of your time is taken up by meetings and sometimes you won't be able to bill for the work that you do. But generally it's workable. It's rare that you need to come in on the weekends or stay late - the standard working hours of 8:30-5:30 are enough to do what you need to do, then you get to go home and live your life.

    The works isn't easy - Magento is hard and it takes several months before you start really understanding it, and several more before you're actually good at it. You'll be frustrated during the day and go home at night dreaming of Magento, but it gets better. All developers are required to get a Magento certification after being employed for a few months. One thing is certain - you'll not get bored. You will continually be pushed to learn more about what you're doing. You could be here for years and still not know everything about Magento.

    Everyone is really friendly. It's pretty common to go our for beers with your co workers at the end of the day (if you aren't already filled up from the free kegerator in the kitchen). There's a great culture of recognizing people for their accomplishments. There are small committees you can voluntarily join that help to determine how we do our work and use our tools, so everyone has a way to voice their opinions and suggest/implement improvements for the company.

    Professional development is focused on. Everyone gets a budget per year that they can use for training, conferences, or whatever they feel would help them. No tuition reimbursement, but there's still a good emphasis on continuous improvement. It's really nice.

    People do get fired from time to time, but they always deserve it and you see it coming a mile away. There's a progressive discipline system where you get verbal warning, written warning, suspension, etc before you're fired. Every person who's been fired has had plenty of chances to change the problem and chose not to. Nobody gets fired for a single event. They try hard to not fire people, seeing as how long it takes to train them in Magento.

    Cons

    If you're a Technical Account Manager or a Systems Architect, prepare for long hours. Most of the people in those roles routinely work in the evenings and weekends. It's never stated that you are expected to work these hours (and in fact management says that you shouldn't have to), but the fact is that you are responsible for too much. Stress and burnout is a real problem with these jobs. I wouldn't recommend anybody take them. If you're a TAM, prepare to be answering calls from clients at all hours of the day and night. The hours that used to be your free time will now be spent managing projects. If you're an Architect, prepare to spend half your day fighting fires on sites and the other half handholding with people on the team. The hours that used to be your free tiem will now be spent doing Requirements and Estimations.

    Pay is low. Everyone knows it. Management has been promising that salaries will be increased for a long time, and nothing has come of it. There's a bonus system in place, but it's hit or miss. Things outside of your control can completely remove a quarterly bonus that you've worked hard for, and frankly it would be better just to increase salaries than dangle the carrot that people can't ever get no matter how hard they work. The general speech is that Blue Acorn compensates you in more than just salary, but it's honestly laughable that they think a kegerator in the kitchen and a catered lunch once a month is a good replacement for that $10-15k extra that other companies are offering.

    PHP Developers do have the opportunity to advance to a Systems Architect, but UI Developers don't have anything. They tend to just make up roles at will, so it's possible there will be something in the future, but for now anybody who works on the UI side isn't moving anywhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your people what they deserve.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Frustrating Experience

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

    I worked at Blue Acorn full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great Place to start out if you need experience otherwise you could probably do better

    They did choose a pretty blue.

    Cons

    Bipolar environment
    - Most of the fun things that are there...you aren't actually supposed to use them. You're supposed to stare at them throughout the day or be annoyed as other less productive (but higher paid) employes use them.
    - The management wants feedback...but they really don't. ex: Had a conference about concerns with the company. They agreed with everything said. 3 months later...things got worse.

    High Turnover
    -In 2 years (9/12 - 9/14) there are maybe 15 of the same employees still working there. in 2012 there were maybe 50 employees and several more have come and gone since then.

    Mediocre Pay
    - I noticed someone had posted that PHP devs are paid in excess of 60k...this is incorrect. Starting devs only make about 40k. My architect was only making maybe 45-50k. They could pay more, but they generally throw the money away on low-yield or poorly considered projects.

    Potential Stress
    - The management of really bad about double speak. They'll tell you to do something and then come back later and yell at you for having done it. You have to keep copious notes of what they'ce told you to do or just grin and bare it when/if they come after you.
    - A poorly designed and slow work cycle will keep the clients angry with you from start to finish of a project. Both they and you will wonder why changing a word on their website took 3 or more days to achieve.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'd share adivse to the management, but it's not like they listen so I'll save time :P

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great culture and rewarding work

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

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Catered lunches, kegerator, new office, benefits, cool clients, great training, professional development budgets, new computers and extra monitors for all, monthly birthday celebrations

    Cons

    We're growing and implementing process. This means change! People hate change. This isn't a con for new hires!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Open environment is productive, but loud and distracting to those not on the agile teams.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great Company Culture and Career Stepping Stone

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

    I have been working at Blue Acorn full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Blue Acorn has a great company culture. They make an effort to make the workplace fun. It's a relatively stress free environment with great people to work with.

    Cons

    They tend to hire employees that are on a junior to middle level point in their career and thus compensation tends to be a little lower than industry standard. New hires are trained before they can work on client projects and then are expected to become certified within a specific time period. This may put some pressure on those that don't learn quickly. Not much room for potential growth into senior positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No employee handbook is a concern. This has been promised to employees for what seems like a long time.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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