Gooru Reviews

Updated August 29, 2015
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Prasad Ram
13 Ratings

17 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (8)

    Overall a rough experience. Went in with high hopes and left without much direction in terms of my personal career.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Content Producer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Content Producer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Gooru part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You're able to meet a wide variety of dynamic individuals from a variety of backgrounds.

    Cons

    Leadership is ineffective, lack of an overall vision and growth is minimal.

    Advice to Management

    Please reconsider your leadership structure, overall goals and values.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Believed in what Gooru could have been, but couldn't believe in the CEO.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Gooru full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    While overall morale was low, the people I met and worked with were an amazing bunch, excluding management (which was the CEO and someone who now seems to have been rebranded as Co-Founder after the original Co-Founder left). My coworkers were from diverse backgrounds and were go-getters, and I could tell that people were genuinely devoted to creating a platform that could help many educators and students. I was very grateful to have been able to meet these people, a mix of former teachers, school administrators, recent college grads, and a smattering of other backgrounds. The company mission clearly attracted some inspirational people. Similarly, the idea of the product is fantastic - aggregating the world’s free education resources into one search engine so that all schools can take advantage of these resources was an exciting proposition; teachers need help preparing class lessons, and students enjoy using these web resources. But I think along the way, the CEO forgot who he was building this for - the students and the teachers, not his for his own ego. What turned people off constantly were the product decisions that didn’t make sense if you had the end-user as your priority.

    Cons

    It took me some time to realize a few things. 1) The CEO believes that if you want a work-life balance, you are "not dedicated to the mission." This is a terrible thing to believe (and unfortunately is not just isolated to Gooru in the Bay Area). The people I worked with were dedicated human beings who worked very hard and often late hours (for instance, to make calls with our engineering team in India), but in the end we are all HUMAN. We needed to be treated with far more empathy and it was clear that our health and well-being were not important. We were considered disposable labor. I would also argue that most of his employees were far more dedicated to the mission than he himself was, and that was the reason why everyone left - to find a place where they could create a product under someone who could make actual impact. One of the things the CEO seemed to adhere to was to hire people straight out of college. These people didn’t know what “real world” work was like and he could take advantage of that fact, working them hard with low pay and benefits, and they wouldn’t know to ask for better. If they burned out, then he could replace them with new people. Another example was how the CEO treated our overseas engineers in India. He would demand that they deliver a feature in a short deadline, expecting them to not sleep, and then change his mind after they had pulled a week of all-nighters without so much as a sorry, then turn around and ask for another feature and expect all-nighters again. Sure, the CEO loves to tout his phrase “Education is a human right,” but he didn’t seem to believe in good health for his own employees. 2) Product decisions were poor and many, if not all, of the Gooru product presentations were lies. Presentations or mockups were tweaked or filled with fake data so that it looked like we had a working, exciting product. I wish this weren’t true, but it was, and it would happen during presentations to potential partners and existing funders. The CEO would make promises to too many people and couldn’t end up fulfilling any of the promises because we didn’t have enough human power to build everything, and so the fake product presentations continued. It was frustrating. We all wanted Gooru to succeed, and yet here we were, constantly trying to fulfill these random promises the CEO made that were not improving the main, core product of Gooru, the reason we were all there. The CEO tried to take too many short cuts with the product and made too many promises that had nothing to do with the product. 3) On the surface, everyone was jovial, but when you spoke earnestly with everyone, there was clear dissatisfaction with management. People constantly left; at its peak, I believe Gooru was perhaps 40+ people, and at a quit rate of 5 or so people per month, that number quickly dwindled despite rapid hires. New hires would come and go. 4) Management likes to say fancy things, but doesn't take action. When employee turnaround was very high and there was clearly something wrong, management asked everyone to have an open discussion about what was going on. People were honest, possibly at the risk of losing their jobs. This happened multiple times, repeating every few months, and while management claimed to be taking everyone's words to heart, nothing changed. I remember thinking, this time it will finally change, they really heard everything! Unfortunately I was disappointed every time.

    Advice to Management

    I’d like to point out a 5-star review (the only review on this glass door so far above 3 stars, by the way) that I see posted from August 8, 2014, titled “From teacher to tech geek. Couldn’t be happier.” While the post is anonymous and I can’t be sure that it wasn’t an actual, happy employee who wrote it, I have to call it out because it sounds to me like the type of thing our CEO/management would write, and I would not put it past them to stick a 5-star rating on to try and improve their glassdoor rating. This review in particular sounds like a defense that management would often use against the things that employees would complain about. The sentence “Great people, AMAZING mission statement and people actually believe it: Education is a Human Right” seems particularly fake to me - not because Gooru employees don’t believe in education for all, but because this sentence was a perfect example of how leadership would make up fancy phrases like “education is a human right” (with all the specific capitalizations, I might add), continue to push it, but not make the right decisions toward it, and so the phrase became something of a self-mockery. Another sentence: “Sometimes it is difficult to quantify innovation, so being flexible and adaptable is essential" - I think every Gooru employee exemplifies the spirit of flexibility and adaptability, actually, because they put up with the CEO’s constant product roadmap changes, made phone calls late at night to India, and still showed up to work on time in the morning. This sentence is a clear example of the lack of empathy for his employees’ complaints. His employees are extremely flexible and adaptable, yet here the sentence is claiming that they don’t appreciate innovation and won’t work hard for it. On the contrary. And because the CEO can’t recognize that, they move on and leave Gooru. If this is indeed written by management, I have some advice: you can create as many fake accounts and write as many 5-star reviews as you’d like, but ultimately, the change has to come from you inside the company, and you need to actually implement the changes you say you will, rather than simply talk about them. You have to respect your employees as human beings, and you also need to remember that your product is for the students and teachers around the world who need quality education resources - yes, you have to secure funding, but if you continuously fake presentations and your end users can’t use the product, what is the point of this entire project? Perhaps then you will see your ratings improve.


  3. Helpful (4)

    All they do is cheat

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are no pros of working here!

    Cons

    If you want to learn how to cheat your employees, partners and vendors, please join!


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  5. Helpful (4)

    This was truly a depressing organization

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Gooru full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The organization has attracted talented staff even though it hasn't decided what to do to take advantage of their expertise.

    Cons

    This organization is really wasting funder dollars. Grants are not being complied with. Metrics are invented. Leadership changes course every other day.

    Advice to Management

    Need a strong President to set this ship on the right course.


  6. Helpful (8)

    Worst Company Ever

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Gooru full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I'm usually good at spotting the silver lining, but it's pretty tough with this one. I guess the work space is decent and there is free lunch. With that said, neither of those are enough to offset the poison that is pervasive throughout the rest of the company.

    Cons

    Gooru is an ill-resourced, poorly managed, unscrupulous company. They have lost all of their best employees, and they struggle (rightfully so) to attract new talent. The senior leadership team is so immoral--and the product so incomplete and buggy--that I'm actually embarrassed to put the organization on my resume.

    Advice to Management

    Try to hire at least one person who knows even an iota of business strategy, and maybe you'll last another year.


  7. Helpful (6)

    Bad experience

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Gooru full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Free lunch(Do not know if that is still being continued as there were talks about stopping it) -Loaded kitchen

    Cons

    -I worked here for more than 6 months and realized that the company is on a downward trajectory. -Terrible work-life balance;Employees are expected to put their noses to the grindstone 24*7. Further, employees are not-recognized for their hard work. The current employees have been institutionalized. Instead of finding a solution, their idea is to subtly convey this message to prospective employees through their career page so as to prepare them for their impending doom. -Discussions that happen during meetings go into a black-hole. I have been a part of many meetings where there have been talks about establishing a culture, improving benefits for employees, bringing in new talent etc but have not seen any of these being incorporated anytime. -New employees realize what they have gotten themselves into and resign soon. There has been a major attrition in the company and it has now been reduced to merely 10-14 people slogging it out. -Employees are underpaid. They try to get away with most things under the garb of 'non-profit'. Their main 'mission' is to outsource work to other cheaper countries, make them slog while the employees in the US criticize them and load them with more issues and bugs.

    Advice to Management

    -Respect your existing employees. The fact that they are here while they might as well be working in a far far better place in the Silicon Valley definitely says something and the management should definitely treat them better than they are. -Stop misleading employees and customers with false data. -Invest in your employees and it sure will bear returns for the company. Existing employees are passionate about making a difference and that should be channelized well. -Make an effort to up your game, get processes in place and hiring. This way you can improve the state of the existing employees who are overworked and underpaid.


  8. Helpful (5)

    Gooru has failed..

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Gooru full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Great Mission - Snacks - Work with schools is rewarding - 401k match for upto $2k - Health Insurance

    Cons

    - CEO does not care about employees - CEO is dishonest with employees, customers, and teachers/students - CEO has very inappropriate infatuation with certain employees - CEO constantly lies to board about usage numbers, clients in Board Meetings. When we had our first signed client, and he told the board, one member of the board asked to be shown the signed physical contract just to make sure he was not lying. - CEO has run this company to the ground. Please consider this and the 10+ other negative reviews before even thinking about applying to Gooru.


  9. Helpful (13)

    Its worse than it looks, think hard about working here.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Gooru full-time

    Pros

    some wonderful super sharp colleagues, great technology, plenty of real student programs in districts using the product. Great opportunities to connect with organizations and changemakers at the top of the field.

    Cons

    These are the things that make it hard to work at Gooru: The CEO is a boss, not a leader. A classic industrial revolution style boss. As with most of this set, he is threatened rather than empowered by talent. He relies on a rapid churn cycle of people he learns to emulate and then treats as worthless. He refers frequently to Gooru’s “execution bias,” a focus on data-driven action. Problematically, in practice this execution bias is impulse-driven, informed by his waxing and waning moods and whatever odd conversation he has with someone in the field on a given day. Process improvements put in place by the dedicated team are often turned on their head based on his eureka moments, only to revert entirely a week later. Real data on how things are going, such as the insights gathered here, are considered irrelevant. He prefers to hire young workers directly out of college who are unfamiliar with healthy work environments and can function as pupils. The current strategy is to hire as few senior people and education specialists as possible, rather have them consult on an hourly basis at arms length where they see little of the internal strife and won’t cry foul. Disclaimer: this strategy may have changed 5 times since I've written this. Raising a red flag about how things are going is considered taboo and often punished rapidly. You are likely to be shamed within 24 hours, lose responsibilities, and receive blank stares from the knowing eyes of colleagues too intimidated to confirm the elephants in the room. Those who know how to play the game do ok. The trust level across teams is very low with high levels of internal competition that seem misplaced in a nonprofit context. Much has been said in these reviews about the existing leadership structure. The organization has a two-person leadership team that co-creates key performance indicators with a faux leadership team designed to look like they are an extension of said team.As has been indicated by many, the second in command has little education expertise and is universally regarded as poorly suited to her position. A mass human resources exodus now counting over 40 in less than 3 years is their joint legacy. It is difficult to claim you are honoring the human right to education in an institution that’s built on a core of distrust and a foundation of manipulation. This organization is resurrecting the darkest corners of the past its product so hopes to reform.

    Advice to Management

    wake up. education is not high tech, there are consequences for unethical business practices in this field. The brand you are creating on a personal level matters. You've got a great product but your operations are a disaster. This market is crowded. Don't make your differentiator a terrible reputation. The great people that still work for you deserve better.


  10. Helpful (8)

    Sinking ship

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Gooru full-time

    Pros

    Introduction to an exciting field Smart, idealistic colleagues Room for lateral movement within company

    Cons

    Other reviews have already done a thorough job describing the toxic culture, abysmal work-life balance, and borderline-abusive leadership of this company. To these legitimate gripes I'd add one more: questionable values. Employees are regularly encouraged to engage in ethically questionable behavior, and then pressured into a code of silence. Although the company is ostensibly committed to "honoring the human right to education" there is remarkably little curiosity about the field of education. Ideas that do not jibe with the CEO's vague vision are ignored, and anyone with real expertise in the field is marginalized. It's telling that the two-person leadership team is hardly ever seen within 100 yards of a real classroom. If you're considering working at Gooru, please take the time to read the rest of the Glassdoor reviews.

    Advice to Management

    Sadly, it didn't have to be this way. Gooru started out with a surplus of talented, excited employees intrinsically motivated to do a great job. However, several years of poor management have completely squandered these human resources. Over-reliance on intra-team competition, verbal abuse, and monetary rewards have not made your employees more motivated. Instead, its led to a massive exodus of burnt-out, miserable employees. My advice? Start treating your employees like adults before everyone is gone.


  11. Helpful (4)

    From teacher to tech geek. Couldn't be happier.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Academics/Tech in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Academics/Tech in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Gooru full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I am relieved to move from teaching in public schools (where innovation is often resisted or actively discouraged) to the start up world where it is valued ant encouraged. Great people, AMAZING mission statement and people actually believe it: Education is a Human Right. Lastly, every Friday there is a chance to celebrate successes and share visions for our product. I feel that all ideas are embraced and visionary goals are welcome.

    Cons

    I read some of the other reviews. I must say that my interactions with leadership have all been very positive. Sometimes it is difficult to quantify innovation, so being flexible and adaptable is essential. It is true that this is more than a 9-5 clock in/out job, so if you don't really believe in the vision, you may feel strained.

    Advice to Management

    Keep dreaming big! As the product gains more and more traction continue to consider scalability. Because we are a non-profit, consider if all the money we spend on food is really the best investment... In terms of some of the other reviews, it sounds like the kitchen actually is really important.



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