Zynga

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7 people found this helpful  

Fun / Flexible / Great Compensation

Principal Software Engineer (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

ProsFun / flexible place to work. I think they spend $16 / head on us for lunch and drinks / snacks (remote office) - which if true, is a fantastic value for what we get. I'm not super happy with our (remote office) food provider, but the San Francisco food is phenomenal. I'd list the snack available, heathy and otherwise, but there really isn't space in this box. Outside of lunch which is frequently skip (not a huge fan of this office's caterer) I mostly stick with the "talking rain" waters, coffee, peanut butter pretzels, and the deli sandwich stuff. So it's pretty comfy. I've got the computer equipment needed to get my job done, access to spinning up servers if I need them, plenty of food / water / coffee. It's how I'd run an office because it lets people focus on work, not tactical BS.

You don't get hassled over stupid stuff. No one counts how many "vacation hours" you have accrued. I had a bunch of trips pending when I joined, and ended up taking 4 weeks in the first 6 months (this is a lot - way above the norm), and as long as I get my stuff done - "have fun, see you in a week". It's a good policy and it's slightly self interested, as there's no pent up vacation balance to cash out if you leave the company. Again, I'd probably run my company the same way.

Fun people - we go out for drinks every week or so, though SF drinks a lot harder. :). Lots of bikers, skiiers, gamers, runners, hikers, etc. Genuinely like most of the people I work with - which isn't true at all companies (ever worked with a "boring" engineer). And I'm not a huge gamer, but I play a few games -- my game is Starcraft, which we play at work at least once a week. We also had a whole-office TeamFortress match once which was pretty cool.

Yesterday, we went bowling. Don't really like bowling, but went along for the beer and BS. We ended up betting pushups on the outcome, and the losing team had to do public exercise at the next day's stand-up.

Professionally, I've learned a ton of new stuff here. I've always been a backend guy, and I got lots of exposure to modern front-end design patterns. The upside of my team flipping priorities a few too many times is that I've spent a huge fraction of my time here learning stuff that, in the end, grows my skillset and makes me more valuable. Zynga has a huge scaled out datacenter footprint - massive services and problems of scale, and all that jazz. Having worked on AWS, that's normal to me, but it's still pretty cool.

Quarterly reviews. Also great. After a year-long review cycle, who really remembers what you did 9 months ago, if you even have the same manager. Again, I'd run my own company the exact same way. Also, with quarterly reviews, if you are "killing it", you can fly up the levels and get wild sums of cash / stock dumped on you. Seems fair to me.

Overall, not a bad place to work. No one hassles you over BS, they do everything possible to enable you to get your job done. Social games isn't my cup of tea, but there plenty of technical challenges here to keep me from getting bored. Good people. Good pay. Good times.

Oh, I almost forgot - there's almost always a case or two of beer in the fridge - I heard that's not normal other places.

ConsMost of the negative stuff written about Zynga is BS or blown way out of proportion. eg, the whole "stock takeback" thing - if anything happened it was politics between 3 or 4 of the original founders. After all the bad PR, my (overly generous, way beyond market value) stock grants are more safe here than at any other company. what else? Pincus does NOT have 3 heads - he's actually pretty nice and a fun guy - though he will rip you a new one of you are in need of a "course correction" - so what? Have a thick skin, take the feedback, and move on. Oh, and Pincus DOES read and respond to EVER SINGLE email that is sent to him, typically within minutes. It's scary ... I think he may be a cyborg. But seriously, it's pretty goddamned impressive (just as a human feat), and I guess it lets you know that "management is listening", which is good.

Nowhere is perfect. Lots of people in the main office and in the game studios pull crazy hours. But lots of them love it too, and most of those guys have eye-popping stock grants. There's also plenty of people who _successfully_ work a 40 hour week. Hours are flexible.

Biggest con, and this might be related to my division, - there is some level of confusion / randomization on mission - things can change rapidly, one thing this week, a new thing next week. Though, in balance, I'll take that any day versus being back at Microsoft where a broken team could spend 5 years (literally, was there for 2 of them) doing something that was obviously never going to succeed. Less of that happens at Zynga, but it does happen. And in my case, it seems to have gotten much better .... at least for now.

It's not a 30 person company anymore (not been for some time). There's a ton of studios, a ton of infrastructure teams, and several thousand employees. Same downsides as any big company. Politics and interest alignment issues do exist. Getting visibility for your work matters as much as how much you did. Same story. No worse than any other company of this size ... and perhaps a bit better... I haven't really seen any truly cynical politics like I've seen at other large companies; just the standard stuff of a ton of people semi-chaotically trying to figure out what things should get built and by whom. Only way to escape that is to work at a company of 1.

Advice to Senior ManagementI think they are doing a decent job. Standard boilerplate advice about figuring out how to align a 3-4k person company and avoid organizational chaos. Not sure I could do much better, or that other companies do it any better.

I would like to see more "long-term" focus. Much decision making happens on a "what makes me money tomorrow" basis. This is beginning to shift, but we have a ways to go.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    No growth

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Zynga

    Pros: Great CEO. Great Management Team. Diluted value as you go down… Cons: More poaching from companies like eBay, Google and other small players in and around the bay area. This has only polluted the internal environment. Serious… Advice to Senior Management: Ensure you provide some management training to the ones below… No, I would not recommend this company to a friend More

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Zynga is a fast-paced and rewarding company.

    Senior Manager, Engineering (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Zynga

    Pros: Challenging, fast-paced issues to tackle every day and almost everyone here is committed to what we're… Cons: Sometimes finding myself working more hours than I intended. It's a competitive environment with lots of young… Advice to Senior Management: Once the massive stock apple goes away I think people will evaluate competitive opportunities. Zynga needs… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend More

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