Critical Mass

  www.criticalmass.com
  www.criticalmass.com

Critical Mass Reviews

Updated December 11, 2014
Updated December 11, 2014
86 Reviews
2.9
86 Reviews
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Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins
Dianne Wilkins
58 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Most people are great to work with (in 13 reviews)

  • Offers a very good work life balance as employees are rarely required to put in late hours at the office (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • A willingness to bend over backwards on projects with little to no reward (in 4 reviews)

  • This company likes to exploit younger professionals who are less likely to complain about a work life balance (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Fantastic company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great leadership, compassionate, helpful and smart

    Cons

    None, this was a great place to work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great times, Good people but little Growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Support Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Technical Support Analyst in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    -Great atmosphere/ culture.
    -Good people.
    -Always free food.

    Cons

    -No non-billable love.
    -Little to no growth in Chicago IT (no next level to move to).
    -A few cliques run the whole operation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make non-billable a priority.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Talented People, Agency Capable of More

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Really good clients, some super talented people, nice people, Calgary is ridiculously cold so it is nice to be able to work for the company in other cities, some projects are very exciting, overall management is good, although my manager was a world class douche. Some reviews say hours are crazy but I've worked at various agencies and CM's hours are nothing compared to much of the industry. Definitely some very long hours at times but nothing consistently crazy.

    Cons

    Lack of big ideas, big thinking, not enough of a creative agency. Much of leadership aspires to more but it seems to fall a part at some part in the process. Unfortunately I think the agency cannot attract the required talent to Calgary to change this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't give up on becoming more of a creative big idea agency. CM started and grew utilizing talented designers because that's what drove digital work in the late 90s but the agency has grown and the world has changed and it'd be nice to see CM creating bigger and better ideas, not just pretty web sites. I think CM can get there but management needs to fight for it.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good tactical digital agency, but you'll be limited

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Great culture of recognition and transparency.
    Very "Canadian" agency--the people are nice and they like to drink.
    Good place to get your hands dirty building stuff that works.
    Pretty good work/life balance.

    Cons

    You have to fight for a seat at the big kids' table with lead creative agencies.
    Strategy is not taken seriously. This is not a good place for planners unless your definition of planning is "wireframes and usability testing. (Leadership within the discipline is trying hard to build it out and professionalize it, but clients don't want to pay for planning. They just want their websites built, and agency leadership is happy to oblige.)
    Uneven project managers--some are awesome, some are unprofessional.
    The agency talks about creating "extraordinary experiences." The creative is decent, but it's not extraordinary. You're making websites.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing, it seems to be working for you. There's a good living to be made building websites.

    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great For Entry Level

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    If you are just trying to get your foot into the door in the online space this is a great place to do it.
    The salaries are fine for the jobs.
    The culture is weird in that by 5:30 the office is -empty-. I've never seen a digital agency where everyone fled so quickly.

    Cons

    Honestly, the people you are working with are kind of idiots. Everyone I met was eager to jump ship during the 18 months I worked there. The programmers are overworked (and are frankly too skilled for the sweat shop conditions they are given), the designers are good but not great, and everyone else is just...a worthless parasite.
    it is an office filled with marketers that go around calling other marketers douche bags (without realizing they belong in that same category) .

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have created an interesting business. People pay you a boatload of money for moderately interesting web experiences. There will ALWAYS be a place for that...so why change a thing?

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work, few small problems

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

    I have been working at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Very encouraging place to work, great for junior and senior staff alike. Innovation is part of the life's blood here and management will back you if you're doing something to make the work better. Good, long-term relationships with many clients.

    Cons

    Weak project and account management. Get second-billing to home office in Calgary (sometimes deserved, especially in regards to creative output; often not deserved though - envy, jealousy, etc).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be willing to turn down production work or resign business with terrible clients. This is the only way to earn the respect our output would otherwise deserve.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great place

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

    I have been working at Critical Mass

    Pros

    - decent pay
    - advancement opportunities (promotions within)
    - social aspect, many events and gatherings
    - multiple forms of individual recognition
    - casual atmosphere
    - execs are open with employees about what's going on
    - individual funds offered towards career growth (conventions, classes, etc)
    - career development programs
    - decently updated equipment, software
    - multiple offices worldwide
    - decent mix of big name clients

    Cons

    - size - office is a bit small for amount of employees, although it's expanding soon to accomodate
    - lack of process
    - chicago office seems to be growing, but not gaining the more fun/interesting clients that some of the other offices seem to get

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - spread the more desirable clients across all offices
    - make sure people understand the career development process
    - offer more support to employees during a pitch

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Regular experience, could be better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    - Great people
    - Office in downtown, with nice view
    - Lots of social events
    - Good clients for resume
    - Typical American company

    Cons

    -Office is open space, sometimes too noisy
    -Work is like a consulting for clients, no clients - no work
    -Very bad management planning for projects and recourses (people), overtimes for employees
    -Not much challenge from technical point of view, all the projects typical and rather simple sites to display/save to DB something
    -Work with offshore services in Costa Rica
    -Lots of games around projects with Canadian guys (they have offices there), sometimes it's annoying, aka family with top management as parents, and teams as siblings hating each other.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Improve planning for projects
    -Try not to share work among different offices
    -Provide employees with performance review on a regular basis

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

    Good place to work for a couple of years, then move on for career growth and opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Very good salary, competitive health benefits and vacation time. Critical Mass has solid clients with recognizable company names that can really enhance a resume. The creative work and programs that the company produces is terrific.

    Cons

    The company structure was pretty shallow, which at a certain point you feel like there is no upward movement you can make in your career. Director-level positions and higher have an excellent thing going and they are not going to vacate those positions. I felt that the office had their favorite employees who receive all of the credit for good work done, regardless of who actually did the work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I liked the company top leadership - solid, experienced, capable. Working with all of the staff in the Calgary HQ was a pleasure - really good and nice people.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Bad management

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

    I have been working at Critical Mass

    Pros

    great pay, flexible work schedule

    Cons

    no direction/leadership, lots of cliques

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    better recruiting

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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