Cycorp

  www.cyc.com
  www.cyc.com

Cycorp Reviews

6 Reviews
3.1
6 Reviews
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Douglas Lenat
4 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A unique company and a unique workplace

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

    I have been working at Cycorp full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Chance to work on a potentially ground-breaking technology; smart and fun colleagues; opportunity to make an impact if you have the conviction and fortitude to do so.

    Cons

    Company is run by some very strong personalities, and if you don't fit in with them, it can be a challenging place to work. Also, company has grand ambitions but insufficient resources to make them all happen, so focus can be a real challenge.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus your efforts and staff to meet those objectives.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Participating in Realizing the Dream of a True AI

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Analyst in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Analyst in Austin, TX

    I worked at Cycorp full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    After reading about the company's work in a computer magazine article, I joined the company in the Fall of 1998 and stayed there until the summer of 2013.
    Every piece of software I had written up to that point contained a little expert system of common sense in disguise (leap years, anyone?), and here was finally someone who was going to pull it out, make it declarative, and solve the reasoning problem once and for all.
    It was the only place I wanted to work at then and it still is.
    The place is chock full of smart people who are true to their word and who pull their own weight. Most people have been there for a decade or more.
    Management and the development staff are committed to making a dent in the AI problem, and they are willing to use every tool and trick in the book.
    During my fourteen years there, I got to use almost every piece of knowledge I learned in my CS undergrad days. In the last eighteen months before I left the company, I worked with many technologies considered "hip" these days, ranging from parallel frameworks (Hadoop, Akka, Gpars) to cloud computing (AWS, VMWare) to nonSQL (SimpleDB, Cassandra, Cloudbase). If it will make a true AI work, they will at least try to use it.
    (Disclaimer: I am still consulting for Cycorp.)

    Cons

    Because the company as a small number of people, everyone needs to be able to do a little bit of everything. That can sometimes distract from the work one likes to do (a bit like having to clean your room or wash the dishes).
    There are deadlines, and people will get anxious during those times.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire more folks so that people can focus on what they are good at over what needs to be done.

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

    Most employees are great, company as a whole is often dysfunctional

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

    I worked at Cycorp full-time

    Pros

    * Brilliiant, highly-educated colleagues
    * HR is very helpful and sympathetic
    * "Big Data" before Big Data was cool
    * If you like logic, this is one of the only places you'll use it on the job
    * I do believe the original big idea behind the Cyc project is still sound
    * They've been around for 19 years so they must be doing something right
    * Many of the employees have been there for more than a decade

    Cons

    * Upper management is unpleasant; it's usually only when they're upset about something and have only harsh criticism to offer that they interact with most employees. Personally, I got to the point where I would leave my desk to go to the bathroom or something if I heard them coming.

    * Working there often reminded me of the dynamic one sees in a family where one of the parents is an alcoholic or an unmedicated bipolar; there's a lot of walking on eggshells, denial, going privately to the latest victim of upper management's tirades to make sure they're OK, etc.

    * Ultimately, with management: in life one runs into people who are brilliant, driven, willing to destroy anything and anyone in their path towards their goals, and are generally complete hell to have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. You've probably met a few. Some people think it's worth putting up with people like that to learn from their ideas and share in their accomplishments. Other people think life is too short to be miserable. I'm the latter. I can only assume all the people who have been happy working there for a decade are the former.

    * Technology: It's very difficult to reconcile a project which is 30 years old, with a codebase that probably still has some original 30-year-old code in it, with the needs of modern software consumers, especially with a staff that has been doing things the same way for 10 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Really Mean Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Knowledge Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Knowledge Engineer in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    Austin is a very nice city to live in, despite the fact that Cycorp is there.

    Cons

    Very, very creepy upper management. Nasty tricks are played on employees targeted by the weirdos at the top. The pay if very poor. The office is tiny. The furniture is uncomfortable. Personnel files are not well protected from snooping eyes. Lot's of bullying. The technology is nothing like they hype it to be. This place is a real career killer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management should retire, all of them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Strange, awkward, and unpleasant.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX

    I worked at Cycorp

    Pros

    Austin, Texas is a wonderful place to live. Nice restaurants are nearby. The name of the corporation sounds great. That's about it.

    Cons

    Management is mean. Mobbing in the workplace. The technology is outdated and of little use. The pay is low. Few rewards for hard work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would recommend selling your company to someone who knows something about Artificial Intelligence, has integrity, and shows respect for their workers.

    Doesn't Recommend
  7.  

    Invigorating cutting-edge AI work

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

    I have been working at Cycorp

    Pros

    Cycorp provides a highly collaborative work environment. There is a pervasive shared dedication to achieving the truly thrilling corporate goal of producing the world's first genuine artificial intelligence. The highest possible standards of excellence are maintained. There are great opportunities to develop unique solutions for clients.

    Cons

    People who are not accustomed to being held to high standards can be overwhelmed by the requirements of excellence. Sometimes work can become very intense, e.g. when a client's deliverable is close to being due. There is a constant struggle to balance the requirements of clients with the corporate vision of delivering a true AI to the world.

    Recommends

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