Dolby Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated September 4, 2014
Updated September 4, 2014
139 Reviews
2.8
139 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Dolby President and CEO Kevin J. Yeaman
Kevin J. Yeaman
92 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • 9/80 work schedule, with every other Friday off (in 22 reviews)

  • 9/80 work schedule (notice that this listed as a "Pro" in 90% of the reviews (in 32 reviews)


Cons
  • Really bad management; no work life balance, too many consultants and marketing is the worst on the planet (in 6 reviews)

  • Politics, history of consensus-driven decision-making, majority of shares still closely held (in 9 reviews)

More Highlights

84 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    A special place

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The company is true R&D company, researching how we process light and sound and then applying that to entertainment and communication products. If you are an expert in audio and video, this is the secret pinnacle of employment. The company has successfully transitioned past its internet disruption period and is working on exciting new stuff.

    The people are extremely smart - awe inspiringly so, but also thoughtful and highly considerate of each other. It is small enough that you can know just about everyone who works here.

    Work/life mix is excellent for those who manage their time well. The every other Friday off perk is a life changer.

    Cons

    Dolby does things with a thoroughness that doesn't suit everyone. The company is playing a long game and the people who do best here are really invested in solving really gnarly problems with products that take years to fully realize. Those looking for shortcuts or quick wins might find themselves frustrated. However, that same thoroughness is what makes Dolby great (and highly profitable) and it is only a 'con' if you personally need a faster cycle time of gratification.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep playing the long game and continue to aggressively invest in our new products.

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

    I work with brilliant people!

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good work life balance. The company/groups are small enough where the work you do REALLY matters. I get to make an impact on the projects I work on and have access to projects that might outside of my job scope. I'm encouraged to push the boundaries.

    Currently we are working in 3 buildings in San Francisco ... makes face time hard with some groups (looking forward to the move at the end of 2014 to our new building).

    The marketing department was a mess for a very long time, but it really appears they are making HUGE strides in the right direction with the recent hire of the new CMO Bob Borchers. I'm experiencing a more friendly and effective group than I had in the first 4 years of working here.

    Dolby is also making a very conscious effort to get us involved in the local community with volunteer opportunities.

    Competitive benefits. The 9/80 schedule is the best!

    Cons

    Slow to make decisions. Tends to be an introverted company (expected when working with engineers and scientist??)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Engineering-driven company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Marketing Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Dolby full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fun if you like tech
    Hands-on experience with lots of responsibility since there are many business lines that require each function

    Cons

    Marketing and sales dept is a bit disorganized
    Favoritism among management of employees can prevail when employee doesn't earn it

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Marketing organization

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good salary and basic benefits. (Every other Friday off is a joke!)

    Cons

    Worst marketing organization in the industry, leaders have no clue and they will fire anyone who gets in the way and in the process will be made responsible for their own ridiculous actions. Very self centered and only looking out for themselves, promotion can only be attained if one says yes to every stupid suggestion ever brought to the table. 90% of the time people spend their time in conference calls doing nothing more than playing on their phone. Very little respect to partners and industry related groups or the community in general, most VPs are very arrogant and after looking at their background it shows 0 knowledge about the products and how it can be marketed. Dolby is NOT APPLE or Coca Cola but like these companies think globally not just San Francisco. ( 0 international culture and respect)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of VPs of marketing and rebuild a group that actually know the products and understand why they are important to consumers and professionals; hire more people that know the industry inside and out and are proud of the products. Right now most VPs are more interested in their expensive jeans than actually making a difference. One more comment: Look into the actual employees and you'll figure out that most don't show up to the office; working from home is unacceptable when putting large marketing campaigns together, rows of empty cubes is a sign that no one is actually working.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Challenging projects, but not always for the right reasons.

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Scientists and engineers are wicked smart. Old-school business values - little burn-out, slow but steady growth, investment in people. Salary, benefits, vacation schedule better than average. Every other Friday off. Generally very few egos, at least in the rank-and-file.

    Cons

    Executives are young and somewhat unproven at high level - rock stars that have enjoyed meteoric rises. Significant churn in some departments (e.g., Marketing), often lacking clear direction. Since IPO, company wants to be like IBM from the 80s - tons of VPs, faceless bureaucracy, one-way information flow, lack of transparency, increasing numbers of layoffs, horrible processes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more visible, transparent. Talk about failures as well as success. Show people your real vision and passion. I can only follow what I can see.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Dolby is going places,

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great non political work enviroment,
    Strong work life balance, (9/80)
    Amazing technologies about to come to market,
    One foot in hi tech the other in the entertainment industry,
    Dolbys new San Francisco HQ is going to be amazing.

    Cons

    Slow to change, though that is evolving,
    A formerly weak Marketing org, but new leadership is changing that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keeping fixing what is broken.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great relaxed culture

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Innovative, Relaxed, Great location, Great people, 5/5 work life balance

    Cons

    Not much room to grow, not big benefits like bigger companies

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lack of vision & character permeates upper management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Design Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Design Engineer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Dolby full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    There are some smart engineers. There is usually one high profile exciting project going on - be sure to be on that project, as it's the only way to get noticed.

    Cons

    Over political.
    Low morale.
    Working with offshore teams.
    There seems to be a re-org every few months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It may be time to relocate, you can't compete with your neighbors for real talent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Once Great Company, Losing Relevance

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

    I have been working at Dolby full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Every other Friday off
    - Good core technologies
    - Strong engineering talent

    Cons

    - Lack of vision
    - No clear strategy
    - Poor leadership
    - Conflict between business groups
    - Declining market share in core business
    - No real traction in new business areas
    - Constant talent churn

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - It's time for new leadership
    - Define a strategic vision for the future, and stick to it
    - Quit the politics and get down to business

    Dolby is a company in decline. Core technology patents are expiring, and new technologies are not being effectively brought to market. The segregated structure between business units creates lack of cooperation, and creates barriers for success. Ineffective leadership at the top is leading to chaos and confusion. The vision is lacking and strategy changes every six months. This has led to a lack of credibility, both inside and outside of the company. Marketing is in disarray. Talented employees with lots to contribute have been cast aside in a political struggle that is creating a middle layer of followers, not leaders. Senior leaders seem held to a different standard than general staff, leading to a lack of respect among their reports. It is time for the board to act and return this company to greatness.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great People, ADD Management, Changing Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Product Manager  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Product Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Dolby full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    9/80 Work schedule, San Francisco Location, good salary and benefits, interesting work.

    Cons

    Excessive feudalism amongst upper management, systematic dismantling the "old guard" and corporate culture that made Dolby successful, WAY TO MANY V.P.s/ Decision Makers. Excessive Political Favoritism, Attempts to reinvent the company without understanding the long-term implications.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior V.P.s should not be allowed excessive autonomy.
    Every team in every business unit should be judged on how well they execute their plans and meet their commitments to schedule and product. Favorite projects and teams have carte blanche to spend and dawdle, while other teams are starved of money, resources and support.
    This company could use an actual board of directors rather than a bunch of passive retirees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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