CouchSurfing Reviews

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23 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    A good company to work for.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at CouchSurfing full-time (More than a year)

    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 Management

    You 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.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Fabulous people & meaningful work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

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

    Cons

    You'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.


  3. Helpful (19)

    Management is cold & clueless. The food is good.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time

    Pros

    1) The office furniture is nice 2) Ping-pong table 3) The chef is a very good chef. 4) Good health benefits to balance the stress and hostility from Management. 5) Mediocre severance

    Cons

    1) Co-workers disappear from the office and you don't know until weeks later that they were not on vacation. This happens monthly! 2) Company relies heavily on a media façade to spin the negative comments of the Community regarding the Corporate take-over of the company and the deletion of website features. 3) Product & Management has background in games and doesn't understand the CouchSurfing community or why the product (which they inherit) was successful in the past. This leads to poor design decisions, wasted engineering hours, and lots of last-minute pressure to deliver last-minute changes. 4) "Unlimited vacation" is NOT good like it may sound. Unlimited vacation mean you only take vacation if your manager lets you (even if you earned the vacation). State of California requires employer to pay you untaken vacation hours when you are terminated but unlimited vacation avoids this because you do not earn any vacation hours. Basically it is a trick to avoid having to pay for unused vacation hours when they fire you. Note: They are writing 5-star reviews on Glassdoor to balance out the negative reviews. Read the positive and negative ones and make decision yourself. It is the media propaganda game like all the internet is! My recommendation: Don't work too hard, don't work overtime, and be prepared for termination regardless of how good your performance is.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with respect. Don't rely on media to pretend that you are a respectful & cultural company. You clearly doesn't care about employees or about the people in the Community. Don't see the Community and your employees as data points. Also, Stop lying. In another review a person wrote "Couchsurfing has (finally) completed planned lay-offs of low-performing staff" which is just trying to create a scapegoat for the management's poor performance and mistakes. For example, the latest website updates which took much longer than anticipated, and look & perform poorly.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    Future not looking good for this company.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at CouchSurfing part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to Management

    Transparency rules all.


  6. Helpful (6)

    Lack of certainty and direction.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The 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

    Cons

    More 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


  7. Helpful (6)

    Amazing company, idea and office. But poorly managed

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - DevOps Eng in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - DevOps Eng in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing company culture, people, love, team. Work is really interesting, and there was a lot to improve, and build why was really exciting! The office is really cozy, feels like a huge living room with couches everywhere Company retreat every year

    Cons

    Really poorly managed by people that did NOT understand what CouchSurfing culture and idea really is. They're managing it heartlessly and kept firing and hiring all the time.

    Advice to Management

    Good benefits package, dental health vision Lunch & dinner every weekday Unlimited paid time off (based on agreement with manager)


  8. Helpful (15)

    Mismanaged startup with big issues

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Company culture, unique headquarters, on site chef, travel benefits.

    Cons

    Low salaries, top-down management, frequent unexpected firings/layoffs, lack of direction or leadership, unwilling to be honest with themselves about poor results, lost touch with product's core community/beginnings. Nearly every original employee of CouchSurfing has quit or been laid off in a very short period of time in 2012 (since the organizational transition that took place in April 2012) due to either poor engineering management and disenchantment with how much the organization's lost touch with its roots.


  9. Helpful (15)

    A great idea going quickly down the drain

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at CouchSurfing full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Group meals and fun office space.

    Cons

    Gross mis-management issues destroying the unique vibe and replacing it with a culture of fear and "Yes Men". When I started, this seemed like the best job ever. Even in just the year or so that I've been here I've seen the company rapidly decline. Any sort of mission or vision focus has been completely erased. Most of the original people have quit or been let go through regular mass layoffs. Those who have managed to hang on to their jobs have learned to do whatever the head guy tells them to and not to ask questions. My job is no longer about making decisions or creating, it's about pushing buttons. I just hope I can hang on to it long enough to find a new one elsewhere. There's no passion here any longer. I hope the Couchsurfing community finds a way to survive with CS or without.

    Advice to Management

    Best of luck to you. I hope I can leap frog onto the next job before you fire me.


  10. Helpful (16)

    What was once a user-centric, hospitality-driven trusted community is quickly turning into just another travel website

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Many of the people who work at CouchSurfing are wonderful, but leadership leaves much to be desired. Members of CouchSurfing are extremely passionate and committed; that kind of consumer engagement is hard to come by. That said, many of the most engaged members have become disenchanted and frustrated with recent changes to the website, and some of the best community leaders are leaving the site.

    Cons

    I agree with another reviewer who said that this has turned into a hierarchical organization run by a culture of fear. There have been several rounds of layoffs in the past 18 months, with little to no explanation given. Highly skilled and talented people have chosen to leave. CouchSurfing is losing its soul.

    Advice to Management

    It's one thing to talk about having a strong culture, and another thing to practice what you preach. Diversity in perspectives, skills, nationality, background makes a team stronger, not weaker. Finally, I worry about safety issues when you have men in many countries who perceive CouchSurfing to be a dating website.


  11. Helpful (19)

    Hire and fire

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mobile Applications Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Mobile Applications Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at CouchSurfing full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The couches in our giant sky-lit office in San Francisco are comfy. Top-of-the-line medical, dental, and vision. 100% company-sponsored for employees. 50% for spouses and dependents. Extra time off to surf on members’ couches and experience Couchsurfing firsthand. Travel expenses. Equity stake in a start-up that’s already had eight years of success as a former non-profit. And a salary that rewards my creativity. Free healthy lunch, dinner, and snacks. Friday happy hour. Caffeine on tap. Safe parking for bicycles. Weekly ping pong turnaments. No dress code.

    Cons

    There's no strategy and no vision. A lot of stress and panic lately, resulting in last minute cancellations. If they don't fire me soon, like most of the people who worked here when I started, I'll have to quit before I go crazy or get an ulcer.

    Advice to Management

    Start telling the truth and listen to our customers.



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