FindTheBest.com Reviews

Updated July 20, 2015
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FindTheBest.com CEO Kevin O'Connor
Kevin O'Connor
42 Ratings

47 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (27)

    Work Hard, Surf Hard: Ambitious Company Tackling Challenging Problems

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Group Product Manager in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Group Product Manager in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at FindTheBest.com full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There is a TON of opportunity if you’re willing to work hard and develop yourself. During my time at FindTheBest I launched countless products that were definitely considered “unconventional” relative to some of the other products being rolled out. It’s true that initially you face some tough criticism when you’re trying something new and experimental (as you should - you’re investing company resources in doing so), but if you get it right you will be rewarded. I can’t count the number of times I was told “that’s crazy” or even just had to spin up my own server to build an MVP, but when the products hit I was rewarded and promoted for my contributions. Even if a product flops, it’s understood not every swing will be a grand slam - just move on to the next one and make something that works. After you get a few wins on the board you will be respected and given even more freedom to build. The caliber of people you will meet here is fantastic. FindTheBest only recruits from top tier universities, so everyone in the office is smart. I am very happy with the network I was able to develop during my time here. This is a very high performing team, so if an individual isn’t performing they will stick out like a sore thumb and feel uncomfortable due the high levels of transparency. If you aren’t doing your job well, everyone around you will know. That said, management is very focused on talent development and would much rather improve a current employee than source a new one. FindTheBest even has weekly FTBu’s (FindTheBest University) aimed at developing the less experienced employees. Some of the guest speakers during my time at FindTheBest included Steve Blank, Randy Komisar, and Bing Gordon. If you’re looking for real world exposure to Sand Hill Road it doesn’t get much better than that. If you don’t know where Sand Hill Road is, don’t worry - there’s an FTBu for that. The location is amazing. The office sits on an oceanside bluff with a 270 degree ocean view about 15 minutes south of downtown Santa Barbara. This location results in a “reverse commute”, meaning you never have to sit in traffic as most of the city is driving in the opposite direction as you come to and from work. Santa Barbara is not a big city, but that’s what I think it makes it so great. The city is small enough to get just about anywhere in less than 20 minutes and after only a few months of living there you will start to feel a real sense of community as you can’t help but see people you know out and about. Santa Barbara also has an awesome array of outdoor activities, whether you’re into surfing, golf, hiking, or beach volleyball, this place is great. The one exception is that the surf dies down in the summer, so buy a wetsuit and get ready for some cold water.

    Cons

    This is NOT Google or Facebook. You don’t have a 1 billion users to roll a new product out to. It is 100% on you to make a product people want, but if you’re smart, scrappy, and willing to work hard you will achieve success, get some great experience, and have an awesome time doing it. Management will give you a lot of rope to try new things and develop yourself. If you’re not careful, you can hang yourself with it. Santa Barbara isn’t for everyone. If you want a fast paced, concrete jungle/urban lifestyle, you probably won’t be feeling this mellow beach town’s laid back vibe. You might even find yourself wondering why you never get to sit in traffic or inhale a nice cloud of bus fumes. In all seriousness, Santa Barbara can be a little quiet which is understandably not for everyone. This isn’t a 10 person startup anymore and breaking into management can be tough. It’s almost 6 years old and there is a management team in place. Most of management has been with the company for 4+ years (85% of the company's existence), so if you want to break into this group you will need be a very fast learner and extremely good at your job. It’s not easy but I’ve seen it done here, so it’d definitely possible.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to invest heavily in your entry and mid-level of employees. It will attract more talent, make your current workforce better, and increase the overall quality of the company. Don’t get hung up negative reviews on here. Sure, you should definitely try to improve the company and take any and all feedback, but the VAST majority of employees love working at FindTheBest. Unfortunately, you can’t escape the reality that underperforming employees are the first to leave and quick to bad mouth the company.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Hey “Work Hard, Surf Hard,” thanks for the feedback! Our marketing team may be reaching out to ask for the rights to that tagline… but really, thank you for the thorough review. While we can't say we ... More


  2. Helpful (11)

    No Hand Holding; Crazy Autonomy

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editor in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Editor in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FindTheBest.com full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    A friend of mine worked in an LA banking job for over two years. He had a great salary. He worked with smart people. His managers never really criticized him, at least not directly. When he made a mistake, his boss would apologize for not properly preparing him for the assignment, then quietly scale back his responsibilities. As he described it to me, the company held his hand through every process, task and project, afraid to let him screw anything up. FindTheBest is the opposite. FindTheBest does not hold your hand. Instead, FindTheBest gives you autonomy within a few hours of your first day. You are allowed to fail. But more importantly, you are allowed to try tons of stuff, and if you’re smart, driven and capable, eventually you will succeed. You will receive direct feedback. You will be forced to defend decisions with data. If you can do that, you will be given insanely interesting projects, and you will get to do it over and over, in new ways, every month. Our engineers are creating super cool data visualizations, building architecture to support billions upon billions of entities. We’re collaborating with writers, data scientists and product managers to produce killer articles. We’re working with the web’s biggest publishers, flying out to SF and NYC to close huge deals. I’ve been at this company for over five years, and I’ve gotten to do at least four vastly different jobs.

    Cons

    I’ve seen a few negative reviews on this board, some of which have legitimate criticisms. We’re still a little too white, too young, too male. This is true, although we’re far better than where we were in 2010. When strictly considering salary, we don’t pay as much as Google and Facebook (although we do pay more than several of the non-tech jobs I looked into before starting here). But some of the criticisms are bizarre. A lot of reviewers talk about a culture that “requires” super long hours. This is simply not true. I will leave for 5:30pm happy hours with friends, for a 6pm kickball match. I get in at 8:30 am, maybe 9 am if I was out late the night before. I think some people get this sense because people actually like working here for long hours. In my previous jobs and internships, the office would be mousefart quiet at 5:15pm. At FindTheBest, the office is buzzing at 8 pm. But many of those people who are still buzzing got in at 10. The point is that you will always have enthusiastic colleagues around, at any time of the day. But by no means do you need to be here for 12 hours. Critical reviews have spoken about some sort of weird, cult-like politicking, where friends and favorites are promoted, while hard workers are ignored. This actually just makes me laugh. Too many people have been reading Dan Brown (although, let’s be honest, The Da Vinci Code was a fun, fast read.) I have been here for many years. I am not on the corp team. But I have been treated 100% fairly; I have been promoted based upon merit. I just don’t get all the conspiracy theorizing. If you want super high job security, a predictable routine, and clear steps toward a biannual promotion and eventual retirement, do not work here (and hey, I respect this! Really. Some people have four kids and parents to support.) If you want to solve big problems in a super lively culture, all while being given tons of space to do it YOUR way, come work with us.

    Advice to Management

    - Keep dreaming big - Keep soliciting both anonymous and in-person feedback through TINYpulse and office hours. This is great for airing things out if anyone is feeling disgruntled. - Keep in mind a data-first, debate-first mentality works really well in some contexts, but less effectively with certain personality types. Continue to make room for the feelers and the introverts. - Work on your ping pong game. Most of you are passable at best.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Wow, thanks for the thorough response! We love hearing from people who value the autonomy we give employees here at FindTheBest. We believe it’s a huge part of what makes us special and what allows ... More


  3. Helpful (10)

    Empowers you to determine and run product strategy

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Product in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FindTheBest.com full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    FindTheBest lets every employee to make strategic decisions. We're given a large amount of responsibility and ownership. At FindTheBest, product managers are not told what to do. You're taught the skills you need and empowered to set the strategy for your product. I'm given the freedom to work on projects I'm passionate about. Yes, we do work really, really hard. But it would be impossible to do if we weren't extremely motivated to solve the problem we address. The company is extremely transparent about every decision they make. Board decisions and their rationale are communicated clearly to the entire company. Employees are encouraged to share criticism. FindTheBest is a great way to develop professionally. Effective employees are recognized and given the opportunity to work on more impactful projects. It may not be for everyone. But I absolutely love Santa Barbara. Its really easy to be happy here. Finally, one quirk of FindTheBest culture: we're a very young and social company. I personally love being close with the people I spend all day with. I would never want to work at a company where my co-workers didn't know me because I'd feel like I was just another cog in the machine. The company does a great job of sponsoring fun events for the team. You can find us playing kickball at the beach on Thursday nights, at Pure Order brewery for company-wide luaus or playing soccer during our lunch break. For me, this is a perk.

    Cons

    Some parts of our business feel out of touch with our customers. For some time, our company focused too heavily on quantity and SEO instead of product quality. This resulted in a large amount of content we had limited ability to maintain. In the past few months, we've taken steps to address quality issues. However, I would like to see the company define a process for ensuring users love our product, instead of focusing too heavily on traffic and engagement metrics. On a typical week, we do work long hours. That being said, managers are extremely accommodating if you need to take time off for leisure or out of necessity.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Thanks for the feedback! We love hearing that you’re enjoying your time at FindTheBest and are passionate about the projects you’re working on. It’s also great to see that you recognize our shift in ... More


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  5. Helpful (18)

    Incredible Opportunity with a few flaws

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at FindTheBest.com (More than a year)

    Pros

    FindTheBest is the ideal opportunity for someone who wants to work their butt off, learn a lot, and have some fun while doing it. I know a lot of people would put the fact that people work long hours as a con; that being said it was a breath of fresh air seeing everybody really committed to the long-term goals of the company. As far as the work goes, FindTheBest is solving a pretty difficult problem of providing insight to consumers of data. With that comes some great engineering problems (analysis, visual representation of data, normalizing data sets, etc..) as well as non-engineering problems (product management, sales opportunities/monetization). FindTheBest also holds "FTB University", where every other Friday or so somebody who has found success comes in to speak about their story, background, how they got to be so successful, and what they think of FindTheBest. It could be somebody from a VC firm or someone from the entertainment industry. Having the opportunity to hear from those people and pick their brains is difficult to find elsewhere. Management was also pretty good as well. It's easy to get facetime with your manager as nobody has an office and schedules are always pretty open. For the most part you know how you're performing and how you can improve. Perfomance reviews occurred twice a year and raises/promotions were normally handed around that time (with some in between as well). Kevin O'Connor (CEO) knows what he's doing. I cannot speak enough on how lucky I was to have him as the CEO of my first job coming out of college. I compare every manager/CEO I have had since to Kevin. Not only is he wildly intelligent, he is engaged with his employees. He's out there playing volleyball, working more hours than most people (even though he has a family), and is dedicated to helping his employees reach their potential and advance their careers. As far as the culture goes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Catered food a couple times a week. Full gym in the office (squat rack included!). Yoga classes. Crossfit trainers at lunch. An office on a cliff overlooking the beach. Volleyball/dodgeball/whatever you want to do almost daily. There were times when it was difficult for me to get used to the work hard/play hard culture, but everyone is always so welcoming and up for hanging out on the beach on the weekends (or even during lunch since the office is next to a beach) or getting food and drinks. Santa Barbara is also a beautiful town with a good amount to do. FindTheBest is very much about owning your own career. If you think something should be changed, change it. If you disagree, speak up. If you don't have that attitude then it will be difficult to find success.

    Cons

    While I thoroughly enjoyed my time at FindTheBest, there were times when I struggled on whether or not I wanted to continue at the company. It felt at times that favorites were being played and that it was harder for me to advance because I would disagree with how some features or a part of the team was moving forward. I don't think disagreement is a negative thing, but there were times where I felt like it was directly hurting my career. While I love Santa Barbara, after a couple of years you do run out of things to do. There aren't many engineering events (or companies in general), so I felt like I was missing out on a big chunk of the tech scene. I saw someone left a comment earlier about all the managers being mid-20s white males. That's factually incorrect. That being said, there were times when it felt like management was kind of, I don't know if this is the best word, immature? I think it would help to bring in more senior level advisors to help the more inexperienced managers out. The pay was also not the best when I got there. When I left FindTheBest I saw about an 80% - 90% increase in my salary.

    Advice to Management

    When I left FindTheBest I had a different gauge on how I was doing than how management thought I was doing. Close that gap and identify which employees are doing well or struggling and make sure to be on top of it.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Wow, thanks for the thorough review! It’s great to hear that you enjoyed your time at FindTheBest and felt you were able to own your career here. I’m saddened to hear that at times you felt it ... More


  6. Helpful (1)

    Venture-Backed Startup with Tons of Autonomy

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Publishing and Performance Marketing in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Publishing and Performance Marketing in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FindTheBest.com full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I've been working at FindTheBest for almost a year. Six months in, having been hired to do one thing, I identified an opportunity in an under-utilized channel. I pitched some key stakeholders on letting me transition to focus full time on that new initiative, and then I went off and started working on it. I've learned more in the past few months than I did in the entire length of my first job out of college before this. And that's FindTheBest in an anecdote. This place doesn't have all the bells and whistles. You have to understand what you're working with, understand what can be done today and what can be achieved by tomorrow, and then find ways to make complicated things work. If you like challenges, or being given the power to fail (and therefore to succeed), you'll love it here. With autonomy comes the freedom to get your work done as you see fit. FindTheBest is a fairly active, young community, and it's not at all uncommon to see 90% of people work out at lunch. While we have hours we keep, for the most part, you have the freedom and flexibility to set your own schedule, so long as you're getting your work done. For me, this generally translates into more than 40 hours per week. On the other hand, if a friend is coming through town and wants to meet for a drink at 5 pm one evening, I don't think twice about making that happen. Finally, location. I worked in New York and in a medium-sized city abroad before joining FindTheBest. While Santa Barbara may not be ideal for everyone, I'm really enjoying it. There's plenty to do, whether or not you like playing in the outdoors. And if you do like playing in the outdoors, well--the city is nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Go bananas.

    Cons

    In a lot of ways, this company is still very much a startup even as it continues to mature. You get the freedom to experiment and pitch your ideas, but that requires an immense amount of organization and focus. This freedom can get frustrating, and there aren't many ways around it. Frustrating because it can feel like you're not making progress or you feel like what you're doing has no visibility within the company at large or isn't moving the needle as quickly as you'd like it to. I've found that the only remedy here is just to keep chipping away, keep communicating your progress and how the data suggest you can take something to x point or beyond. It's not always pretty, but that freedom--and the occasional frustration that goes with--will push you in formative ways that will surprise you. This is the ultimate on-the-job learning experience for those willing to think on their feet and hustle.

    Advice to Management

    As opportunities present themselves, use in-house experts to run more trainings on everything from ETL to Excel to financial modeling. We have talent who can share some pretty incredible tools. While you can and do learn a lot on the job as a matter of necessity, it'd be nice to see more consistent reinforcement here.


  7. Helpful (6)

    Truly Unique Start-Up Environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Management
    Current Employee - Product Management
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FindTheBest.com full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    FindTheBest is a big data company with the ambitious goal of collecting, structuring and delivering the world's data. The company invests heavily in it's employees success and happiness, making an effort to align employee interests with the work they do and continually eliciting feedback. The company culture is youthful, competitive and highly optimistic. Strong performers quickly earn autonomy in the projects and initiatives they work on and creativity and fast paced innovation is always encouraged and rewarded. You'll find very little red tape or office politics at this company, transparency and altruism are a sewn into the culture's fabric.

    Cons

    The location of the company is a paradise for many employees, but Santa Barbara can feel small for those interested in living in a more metropolitan area.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Thanks for the feedback! We're glad to see that you're enjoying your position at FindTheBest and feel that we work hard to invest in employee success -- it’s true! Our employees are our number one ... More


  8. Unique, growing company with a ton of potential

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A lot of companies brag about being a "meritocracy" - a place where promotions and success are purely dictated by your merit without the influence of any political factors, favoritism, etc. In my experience, this is a truly rare environment to find but FindTheBest has it. If you are hard working and ambitious, this company allows you to grow your own career as fast you can handle. After only working at FindTheBest for a few years I was been put in situations that someone with my age and experience would never get to experience at other places. The culture is super fun and energetic, Santa Barbara is a beautiful city, etc. but for me it's the trust and responsibility that the leaders of the company place in younger employees hands that makes working at FindTheBest truly satisfying and unique.

    Cons

    Being an ambitious, young start-up means that people are expected to work fast and hard. This means that there are times when you will be expected to work more than 8 hours a day if you want to do well. The hours you work are totally up to you, and face time is not at all required or looked at, but if you want to do well you're going to have to put in the work which can sometimes mean getting in early and staying late to prove yourself.

    Advice to Management

    Change can be a good thing, especially at an agile start-up, but the main goals and direction of the company wavered throughout my time there. A big reason for that were external factors, and we had to shift strategy in order to respond. But once recovered, a clear and concise goal would help all employees focus and move the company forward.


  9. Helpful (12)

    Great environment with lots of opportunities if you truly are great at your job.

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

    I have been working at FindTheBest.com full-time

    Pros

    Great people, great perks, great location. Overall a great place to work if you want to be challenged and learn new things.

    Cons

    Kind of a weird culture where you're told face-time doesn't matter, but implicitly everyone is expected to work 60+ hours/week.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure managers encourage work-life balance better. It shouldn't be so much of a contest.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 25, 2015 – Community Manager

    Thanks for the feedback! We're glad to see that you're enjoying your position at FindTheBest, and we love hearing that you feel there are an abundance of learning opportunities, that's so important ... More


  10. Helpful (6)

    Pretty tiresome, but you get the opportunity to learn a decent amount and be in a good environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Development in Santa Barbara, CA
    Former Employee - Business Development in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Relatively close to management, and easy to talk to everyone.

    Cons

    Fairly cut-throat on the sales process, and it is hard to sell/make major progress of biz dev.

    Advice to Management

    Take more advice from the interns, sales people, etc. But more QUALITY into search results. Some are plain poor.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Thanks for the feedback! We'll definitely take your feedback and suggestions back to our management team and if you have anything else you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you. You can ... More


  11. Helpful (14)

    A good fit for my interests, with the opportunities and pace to make personal development possible.

    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Santa Barbara, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FindTheBest.com full-time

    Pros

    - Plenty of opportunities to take on responsibility. For engineers, there are a lot of different technologies in the platform, and you’ll have the opportunity to be as full-stack as you’d like. Or, focus on specifics like front-end development or data scaling. One of my major reasons for choosing FindTheBest over a larger organization was the freedom to determine my own focuses, or even to avoid specializing right away. - Projects move fast (three weeks each, max), and teams are fluid. Very little dogma in terms of how problems can and can’t be solved. - You’ll be pushed to build features in robust ways – most code will affect each of several thousand datasets on the site. - Perks are great: ask about them. Most employees enjoy one another and stay involved in the many (optional) events and activities. - It’s something to be aware of when considering FindTheBest, because it may not fit your needs, but in my case the long hours have been a plus. I wanted an environment where I could push myself and learn very transferrable skills, even if that meant a lot of work in the short term. That said, hours are flexible and have generally decreased over time.

    Cons

    - Team workflows leave little time for perfection. Internal QA is quite effective, for various reasons, but as a result formal testing is largely skipped. This has worked well for staying agile and building quickly, but may frustrate engineers and designers who prefer testing their work or who are hoping to develop that skillset. - Location. Yes, Santa Barbara is beautiful, and the area makes it easy to keep an active lifestyle. That said, I would choose a larger city if I could, for the purposes of meeting other developers and for personal reasons.

    FindTheBest.com Response

    Jun 29, 2015 – Community Manager

    Thanks for the feedback! It's great to see that you feel there are an abundance of opportunities here, especially in the engineering realm! We'll definitely take your feedback and suggestions ... More



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