621 Employee Reviews (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date

3 people found this helpful  

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Vice President  in  Dulles, VA
Current Employee - Vice President in Dulles, VA

I have been working at AOL full-time

Pros

Work/life balance. You're expected to work your tail off while here and accomplish more than should be humanly possible. And man does that feel good when you do. If you do, you're generally allowed flexible working time/location. The vacation/sick/family sick days are generous, even if you don't get to use them all. Time your vacations for good solid stretches/breaks between major deliverables and you can likely make use of it.

There are big challenges ahead for AOL to grow two new business while the cash cow slowly dies, so there always a chance to learn and find success somewhere in the company.

Embracing new technologies is encouraged where they provide the right technical solution to a problem. Learning how to deal with mountains of technical debt while adding to the pile of debt is also a learning challenge, but since upper-upper management doesn't care about really investing in paying that debt down, you might as well see how big of a funereal pyre you can make by adding some more things on top. At least you get to learn the technology as you heave it on top.

While the constant change is mostly a negative, frankly if you can handle the change (or learn to) it will make you an extremely nimble person that is invaluable for your ability react quickly and appropriately and not spend time wondering who and where your cheese moved to. If you don't like change and a fast paced environment or can't understand why this is a valuable skill to obtain, then this clearly this is not a pro.

Cons

While change and the ability to react quickly is vital for a companies success, unreasoned change based on the cool new thing upper-upper management just read or heard about can be a recipe for doom. Not enough time is given to find success. Instead new mantras are chased on a regular basis without reasoning or fact. Then the next mantra comes along and a lot of work is abandoned. It is discouraging to everyone working on things, and while it teaches people how to react quickly, there is no other perceived benefit to the constant change.

For a company where change is so very important to, there is an old guard (especially in technology) that refuses to change. They are a definite minority at this point, but there are enough of them that it hinders forward movement when we actually are given enough of a timeline to find success. That sabotaging is very unfortunate, as there is enough of pressure from the constant change management style from above, that we shouldn't fail when given the time needed to do the right thing due to "well that never worked for AIM".

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Understand you cannot cut your way to success. You MUST invest and try to win, continuing cutting cost gives no capacity to ever have a chance of winning beyond luck. Stay focused for a good 3-6 months on something. Stop changing direction weekly based on the latest thing that was read/heard or talked about in the elevator. Rah-rah works for sales people (and probably designers), it does nothing but demotivate logical people whether in editorial, product, legal, finance, or tech.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Other Reviews for AOL

  1.  

    Great People but not so interesting products!

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

    I worked at AOL

    Pros

    Productive work environment.Great mentorship from senior management. Good internship experience. Open to new ideas and thinking.

    Cons

    Declining products and constant layoffs. Most products have legacy code that makes it difficult to maintain and introduce new features. Pay is moderate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve transparency and collaboration across the company

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    Great people in the trenches, idiots in the C Suite

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Dulles, VA

    I worked at AOL full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Really smart people at the individual contributor level
    Good compensation, nice facilities

    Work-life balance WAS good until they got carried away with the layoffs and doubled employee workload.

    Cons

    Too many to list. The executive leadership is utterly clueless and without direction. Multiple rounds of layoffs have left the "lucky" survivors seriously overworked.

     AOL's portfolio is littered with the wrecks of companies they've acquired and run into the ground. They had an early leadership position in multiple market segments which they squandered.

    Let's look at some of the casualties and lost opportunities:
    - Bebo. Purchased for $850M, flaming wreckage sold back to the founder for $1M
    - Netscape. Once the top site on the internet and a technical leader in browser technology. At least the world got Firefox out of the deal. AOL shareholders got nothing.
    - Mapquest. Had a solid 3 year lead on Google Maps. Zero reinvestment and treating it like a cash cow squandered that lead and invaluable customer goodwill.
    - X-Drive: an early pioneer in cloud-based storage. Another leadership position lost, more goodwill flushed away
    - Time-Warner. Was supposed to move AOL into broadband via TW cable and bring TW media content online. All of the natural synergies were completely torpedoed due to boardroom bickering between billion-dollar egos.
    - Advertising.com - had an early lead over Google adwords, multiple opportunities to compete squandered, little reinvestment or innovation, misguided strategy that was doggedly pursued despite copious evidence they were hemorrhaging market share.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    First off, lose the AOL name. There is no goodwill left in the brand (if there ever was any to begin with)

    Second, resign in favor of people who actually understand the technology and the market you're competing in.

    Third, listen to the people in the trenches regardless of what their job title is. They know more than you think.

    Stop copying and start innovating again. That means competing against Google and Facebook to hire top-tier talent, and then actually listening to those people and giving them the freedom to create.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
There are newer employer reviews for AOL.

Worked for AOL? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.