CouchSurfing
3.0 of 5 27 reviews
www.couchsurfing.org San Francisco, CA 16 to 50 Employees

CouchSurfing Reviews

Updated May 24, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.0 27 reviews

                             

60% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

Tony Espinoza

(5 ratings)

54% of employees recommend this company to a friend
27 Employee Reviews
in

    1 person found this helpful  

    Fabulous people & meaningful work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsWonderful co-workers, great pay & benefits, excellent food, puppy-friendly, great warehouse space in Potrero Hill.

    ConsYou'll put on weight due to the excellent food!
    A smaller team means that there is a lot of work to be done - work / life balance can sometimes suffer.

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Lack of certainty and direction.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe food is phenomenal

    The office is open and airy, with swings, ping pong table, and plants/trees

    A really cool platform that creates a great community

    ConsMore than one mass layoff and several other firings made for a company culture where employees wonder whether they would also suddenly find themselves unemployed one day

    Revenue model ideas that changed on a weekly basis made for uncertainty

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

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Time to go back to the roots that created this awesome community

    Programmer (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsHere are some of the good things about this company:
    Great Chef
    Great Office
    Good Pay
    Awesome product
    Talented Team
    Phenomenal Passionate Community

    ConsHere are some of the things I did not like:
    Lack of Clear direction
    Upper Management takes no Responsibility: blames, fire and rehire.
    The last two years the new Management TOTALLY 'missed the boat'

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake responsibility of your fault and stop blaming all us employees that had trouble keeping up with lack of direction all the time.

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

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Speechless...

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsNice people, handmade chef meal for lunch and dinner, spacious fun office, competitive compensation.

    ConsDefinitely capital ruined this place. Bunch of employees got fired suddenly including people just got hired within a month. I don't think this company has clear vision and strategy to generate revenue to pay back to VC unfortunately.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease do not forget there are actual people who love doing Couchsurfing all over the world. This is about being curious, making a connection and giving them more than you took.

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

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Future not looking good for this company.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros- Great food
    - Friendly people
    - Didn't feel like you were a slave to the man
    - Chill, open vibe

    ConsAll of the pros were remnants of the previous regime. Capital ruined this place.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTransparency rules all.

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

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Learned a lot in a short amount of time

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsMy coworkers were passionate, intelligent and committed to solving challenging problems that affect millions of people's everyday lives.

    ConsThere was a difficult period in the team's integrity when the new CEO, Tony Espinoza, came on board and adopted a higher set of standards and expectations of everyone. Some of the veteran employees didn't adapt to the cultural shift and there were some bitter endings.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    A Short Experience

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    Pros-Great Perks
    -Inspiring Office Environment
    -Good Food
    -Great Balance Between Work and Play
    -Flat Structure
    -Skilled Fantastic People Working There
    -Tony the CEO is a very Cool Guy!

    It was fantastic to work at Couchsurfing. However, my whole team got laid off due to change of focus. Couchsurfing in itself is a very cool concept that I believe is making a significant change in this world!

    Cons-Lack of Direction
    -Recent Change from the Original Founders to a new CEO created Massive Layoffs and I think they lost trust and momentum.
    -Uncertain Future
    -Reliant on Investors to operate at current capacity
    -Lost the passion that shined from the Original Crew

    The new management was not honest with the employees. And it seemed that the managements solution to problems was always to hire or fire, rather than effectively directing and managing the current staff. In my short time there, I saw people come and go on a weekly basis.

    They also favored a particular culture or skill sets rather than embracing different types of employees, which the original Couchsurfing was all about.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGood luck! You need it...

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    4 people found this helpful  

    A Company that Lost its Soul

    Engineer (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    Pros-Great benefits
    -A typical Generic Silicon Valley Company
    -Lots of Employees from reputable companies such as Apple etc.
    -Many great talents
    -The CEO Tony is a very nice guy and a joy to work with.

    Cons-If you looking for a different company with extraordinary values and the diversity Couchsurfing community represented, this is not your company. Don’t get fooled by their ‘we are different’ marketing. However, if you looking for a crowd that all think a like. Go for it!

    -There are a lot of “know it all” and big Egos in the middle management that will quickly resign their ideas to blame others for the failures they constantly make. Lots of Politics here!

    -As you can see from reviews the new management was not happy with the old employees. They are also bad mouthing their performance. How can you bad mouth someone who created the biggest social travel site in the world with over 5 million members? Did any of you new employees do that? Any takers?

    -You can read from these reviews the new crew seem very intolerant to what they call hippies? That’s showing a very intolerant attitude towards a diverse culture Couchsurfing is, and if you read reviews online you will find upset previous members that feel the new management is very incompetent.

    -Yes, they were “hippies”, that didn’t know what they were doing and got screwed by the investors. They worked for free for many years and had real passion for this community.

    -Take away the salary lets see how much time the “new crew” is putting out.

    Advice to Senior Management-The management is very insecure and not flexible to understand other types of values than numbers on a spreadsheet. (I guess thats what you’re hired to do)

    -Stop blaming the old system for errors. That is getting old. You have had 1 1/2 Years to change things around. Your “new” product such as place pages is worse than the old one. Thats just to show how “bad” job the old members did.

    -I understand a new management wanted to hire their own crew. However, it could have been done in a less sneaky way. You could have communicated directly to people instead of giving them no indication of what was going on. I think that’s why it created such resentment. This could have gone down very differently.

    -And if you fail to reach your goal don’t blame the hippies and don’t give the investors the copout “8 of 10 Startups fail.. not our fault, we did the best we could. Lets find another job!” Couchsurfing has been around for over 7 years and it’s not a startup.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    new and awesome challenges everyday that keep me learning and growing as an engineer

    Engineer (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsI really love the people I work with. The other engineers are extremely talented and I learn from them every single day. The work is challenging and I constantly feel like I'm pushing the limits of my abilities and growing professionally as a result. The swings in the office are a great place to meditate on a hard problem you're chewing on, and if that doesn't do it surely a game of ping pong will. Most people in the office have a standing desk and we also have a 'living room' full of couches, so you never have to sit at the same boring desk day after day. We've started doing Tech Talk Tuesdays twice a month where someone presents a new language/framework/concept during lunch. The food is great. Like most people here, our chef is really, really good at what he does.

    ConsI love my work so much, that sometimes its hard to balance out other parts of my life. I find myself staying up through the night and hacking gleefully away on weekends to nail the projects I'm working on. Let me be completely clear: This is NOT because I feel pressure from management to work a lot. Its because the management creates an environment where the engineers are encouraged to build stuff, and to take pride in what you've built. The work-life balance thing is important though, so I guess this is a Con. But I can think of worse problems to have.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up the good work. Its going to be an amazing year for Couchsurfing =]

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    A good company to work for.

    Engineer (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    Pros- Every day that I step through the front doors of the office, I feel relaxed. I can genuinely say that I *enjoy* working here.

    - The people that I work with are talented, interesting, and fun. No exceptions.

    - The food is high quality.

    - We are working on a product that is creating genuine, real-life connections between strangers. That's core to Couchsurfing's mission. Despite the drastic changes that I've witnessed in the past few years at this company, I haven't seen our focus on that mission waver.

    - Couchsurfing's users are awesome. The majority of them are appreciative, involved, and caring. I feel so lucky to be working on a product that my friends love and use every day.

    - Management has successfully rejuvenated a company that was stagnating a few years ago. While the firings that have happened here since I arrived make me sad, it's clear that CS is doing very well with the new direction it has taken.

    - As an engineer, I have lots of opportunities to learn and grow at Couchsurfing. I have the opportunity to work on interesting, unique, and challenging projects with extremely talented colleagues.

    - My coworkers are very knowledgable and the managers are excellent mentors.

    ----

    Many of the reviews I've read on this page are very unbalanced -- either they're raving about how CS has changed their lives completely and how this is the best place in the world, or they're complaining about how completely screwed everyone is and that management is Evil.

    I think it's best to step back, take a deep breath, and think about things from a logical place instead of an emotional one. Couchsurfing isn't a work-utopia where everything's perfect. No company is like that. Layoffs will happen from time to time, and they're not ever going to be fun.

    As an engineer, I haven't experienced the "culture of fear" that other reviewers allude to. It might have something to do with the economy in Silicon Valley right now -- there are many many choices out there for engineers. Getting fired isn't a massive setback, and it's difficult to find and retain good engineers. We get treated well. My non-engineering colleagues, however, also seem happy and satisfied with their jobs.

    Cons- Couchsurfing is undergoing a painful transition from not-for-profit to silicon-valley startup. In my time here, there have been three rounds of layoffs. They weren't fun. People that I have a lot of respect for got fired. (Thankfully, I still get to see them often, and in most cases, they have moved on to other interesting things. They are all still leading happy lives.)

    - Some members of the Couchsurfing community (the people that we make the website for!) are very loud and grumpy about the changes we make. This is inevitable when you have an engaged community, but sometimes it's difficult to watch a feature you've worked on get torn apart by angry users.

    - Like one of the other reviewers mentioned, I'm not a big fan of the fact that we recently removed the community postcards from the walls. Also, I liked the "live your dream, share your passion" poster. It'd be nice if we put those back. (To be fair, though, we replaced both with pictures of our community at Couchsurfing events. So we still get to see people in our community doing awesome things, which I find somewhat inspiring.)

    - Occasionally I feel that there is a communication barrier between management and employees. It goes both ways: When someone gets fired, the rest of the company doesn't get much warning and I feel blindsided. In the other direction, sometimes people get upset or confused about things and gossip about it with each other instead of bringing it up to management. I want to be careful to say that this is not the norm, just something that I've seen happen from time to time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou have a very difficult job, and I think you're doing it well. Please be careful to not surprise employees with big changes. And please encourage us to tell you ASAP if we aren't satisfied with something.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at CouchSurfing reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for CouchSurfing CEO Tony Espinoza. All 27 reviews posted anonymously by CouchSurfing employees.