Future US

  www.futureus.com
  www.futureus.com

Future US Reviews

Updated October 13, 2014
Updated October 13, 2014
39 Reviews
2.6
39 Reviews
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Zillah Byng-Maddick
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Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Is there a future at Future U.S.?

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

    I worked at Future US full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The benefits were great as far as the full health coverage, 10 sick days, accruing vacation days, and the week off between Christmas and New Year's. The culture is casual yet professional when need be. And no clicks like you might experience at other companies. Everyone is pretty nice and welcoming in the U.S. office. It's also a great "starter" company if you just got out of college and need to get your feet wet in the working world.

    Cons

    Since magazines are being phased out more and more from their business model and have moved a significant number of jobs over to the UK, one has to wonder if there's a future for the U.S. office? From my experience it appeared they're slowly whittling down the U.S. division to eventually transition all their operations to the UK. I mean, experiencing twenty or so different rounds of lay-offs isn't a good sign, is it?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to the new CEO, Zillah Byng-Maddick, would be the following: Before making wide-spread decisions strictly based on bottom-line dollar figures, you might want to research who does what before laying them off. Find out who they knew and what relationships they helped build that were going to be of great value in the years ahead. It's like shooting yourself in the foot when you make blind decisions based solely on short-term fiscal gain. You totally overlooked what made Future successful in the first place? The people, the "human" aspect of your business. By the way, just to clarify, Rachelle Considine was the best CEO Future ever had while she was there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Maybe good for really young inexperienced people?

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

    I worked at Future US full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    young environment, fun, some good content, some big thinkers

    Cons

    It's been awhile since I'v been there but my sense is that they don't attract high profile, really smart management--which trickles down.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Nice people who don't have a clear idea of how to go forward.

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

    I have been working at Future US full-time

    Pros

    People are nice, work hours and work from home policies are very flexible (maybe too flexible). Very casual atmosphere. Can work normal hours and take vacations. Week off between Christmas and New Years.

    Cons

    The company is constantly trying to find new strategies to make money and nothing really sticks. Staff is shrinking and there is a sense of doom overshadowing the place. That said, there is new US leadership which *might* be able to turn things around. Being part of a UK company a constant source of frustration since the "real" decision makers are rarely seen, and there is a feeling that the US can't make its own decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership talks about being more open and communicating better but does not follow through. Nobody knows what the strategy is and suspects there is no strategy. Leadership too often off site to lead at home.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    One of the beat places to work.

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

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

    Pros

    Feels like family, great work environment, amazing culture

    Cons

    Not enough opportunities to move up

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    better direction

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Associate Photographer

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

    I worked at Future US full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    When I was there, the studio was amazing and the lead photographers were mindful and very professional. There was very little that a budding photographer could ask for in a working and learning environment.

    Cons

    multiple publications under one roof makes for interesting positions on workflows.
    no one buys print anymore :(

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Valuable brands (and experienced staff) are shed as company stumbles to find audience and profit

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Editor In Chief in South San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Editor In Chief in South San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Future US full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Mostly, the employees care about what they're creating and the people with whom they're collaborating despite regular doom-and-gloom forecasts and constant belt-tightening. And most of people left there are highly creative, resourceful and good at their jobs. (They have to be, given the tight budgets and small staff sizes in each department.)

    Not that it adds all that much considering the negatives, the office location is nice, being right on the water along the San Francisco Bay. To many, that's offset by its relative seclusion--away from restaurants and shops, and away from San Francisco proper and with a limited shuttle schedule if you want to take the train.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, after numerous reductions in the job benefits, forced furloughs and a shrinking workspace over the past few years, if you stick around you become numb to how dire the situation truly is--especially when the UK parent keeps telling you that it's "turning the corner." And when headcount cuts happen (repeatedly), there's a potential for higher-ups to throw staff under the bus to save themselves, so you always feel like your job is sitting on the edge of a razor. In an Internet age, media business is evolving and companies/executives need to adapt, but Future can't seem to find its way to keep readership and find profit, so it loses (or kills off) great, established brands, and with that, loses lots of good, qualified people.

    I'm not sure the management--especially if there are new people regularly brought in to try to effect positive change--knows what it has to do to change with the landscape, so there's a lot of "let's try this...okay, now let's try this..." strategy shifting. It's sad, because the company successfully redefined itself a number of years ago (as it went from Imagine to Snowball, then to Future) and built its business back up, only to stumble badly as it seemingly missed seeing how the Internet was forcing it to radically change its business. Right now, I'm not sure it'll maintain relevance and find a good business model before its emperors discover they're not wearing any clothes...or more that the investors will discover the clothes they bought for the emperors aren't being worn.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As noted previously, taking the company private might be a good way to survive, where some time can be spent to truly fix the entire company, not just make some interim moves to get the investors to calm down. The roller-coaster cycle of brand/staff cuts followed by creation of new brands/staff and products (such as the Future Folio digital-publishing platform) is throwing a bunch of things against the wall in hopes that some will stick. The company is losing its identity, and it's hard to build a loyal audience when you're schizophrenic.

    Also, continually thinning the ranks of "worker bees" without also pruning some high-level managers has resulted in a top-heavy company with a lot of directors and too few creators to be the authoritative content company that Future claims it wants to be.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Love the people, but they lack a big picture plan

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

    I have been working at Future US full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great, talented people work here. They're passionate about what they do. Laid back office atmosphere. Open door policy.

    Cons

    Lack of any type of plan from upper management. It's like being on a ship without a captain. They're laying off people left and right without any consideration for anyone. The office morale is awful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the layoffs. Invest in the people that got you here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Fun place to work.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Future US

    Pros

    Great environment and fun place to work. Not any real office politics.People like to work hard and play hard. Great kicked back office environment. Open minded and liberal employees for the most part.

    Cons

    Magazines are dying but they're doing well with content and some of the digital properties. Have had layoffs because the company was so heavily magazine focused.

  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Craven, incompetent UK overlords bowing to institutional investors have killed this company

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

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

    Pros

    Future US still retains a small handful of people who are creative and maintain professional/editorial integrity. Salaries are in line with the rest of the tech media industry, though if that's a "pro," I'm stretching the definition. At the best of times, the Future US work environment was loose, casual and fun. This helped compensate for the overall feeling of dread and contempt employees felt about the company.

    Cons

    I worked at Future US for more than a decade, rose up the management chain, and quit when it became clear the UK-based leadership was incapable of making a successful transition from print magazines to online. The company seems to believe that digital magazines will be its salvation--which defies all conventional wisdom about the future of games, tech and enthusiast media. Digital magazine editions do nothing more than bandage print magazine wounds. They're an exit strategy. Not a growth strategy.

    The most fatal series of decisions involved the UK leadership pouring investment into internationalized online start-ups (Gamesradar, Techradar) instead of helping established US-based magazine brands (Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, Maximum PC and Maclife) make the transition from print to web. The two "radar" properties have zero name recognition in the US market, and employ some of the most craven strategies you'll find online to monetize content. They blur the lines between advertising and editorial, and use obscene search-engine tricks to garner page clicks. The two radars may eek out revenue for the UK parent company, but they will never be major players with their current content plans.

    Meanwhile, the magazine brands have been gutted, and so the world watches to see these once-proud brands fade off into nothingness. Future would call this putting a brand into "maintenance mode": not investing, grabbing what revenue it can, and waiting for a war of attrition to come to an end.

    Other cons: Incompetent US management (though it appears they have all been sacked, and the UK runs everything now). Widespread employee contempt for the company. A building location in the middle of nowhere, accessible only by car and shuttle, and miles away from San Francisco's thriving games and tech media center. Finally, the company has zero name recognition. It means nothing on a resume.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take the company private again. Future has no business being a public company, making short-sighted decisions to appease institutional investors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Company is trying to find its way in the digital media space

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

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

    Pros

    Editorial teams are passionate about their content areas, whether gaming, tech, or crafts. They are extremely knowledgeable and produce great content. Also, the engineers are smart and highly capable.

    Cons

    The UK leadership doesn't understand the US market and seems to be behind market trends in general. Consequently, a strategic vision falls short and is unsustained, more reactionary and playing catch-up. The company is having a difficult time transitioning from print magazines to digital content. There have been a series of layoffs to adjust the resource mix, but there needs to be more of an idea of where things are to head. Finally, the sales team is more concerned with closing small immediate deals than with building major lucrative accounts. There needs to be more unification of goals among sales, editorial, and product teams.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be more unification of goals among sales, editorial, and product teams.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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