Motley Fool Reviews

Updated February 19, 2015
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4.6
111 Reviews
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Approve of CEO
Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner
Tom Gardner
83 Ratings

Pros
  • There is good work/life balance (in 7 reviews)

  • The open office work environment allows you to communicate with and learn from different aspects of the company (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • Also, if you want a linear career path with clean and tidy lines from one role to the next, that management philosophy is not embraced here (in 6 reviews)

  • s hard to keep everyone informed about everything all the time (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. 12 people found this helpful

    Great people, good ideas, poor execution, weak leadership.

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Fool houses some of the brightest, most talented people with whom I've ever worked. The employees truly aspire to greatness, and I've never been a part of a team that didn't collaborate effectively and from which I didn't learn tremendously.

    The company does not have clear career paths, and I consider that a major plus. If you are curious and driven, you can develop a variety of skills and sculpt nearly any role you can think of for yourself within the business.

    The benefits, mentioned in many reviews, are certainly wonderful. For smart, hard-working people (including many Fool employees), though, such benefits have become commoditized. Nearly any company I'd consider working for has comparable benefits. They are not the draw.

    Cons

    The leadership team oscillates between providing a top-down vision for the company and empowering teams to craft a strategy of their own. Either approach is valid, but oscillating between the two is dangerous, demoralizing, and ineffective. It is difficult to maintain a sense of ownership over your work when its direction -- and your role in shaping it -- frequently change.

    Foolish leaders have a strong case of "not invented here" syndrome, which manifests itself in both new product ideas (partnerships, in which we'd give up some control, are anathema) and how we allocate people. Our executive team seems to believe that, for any possible new business or project on which we embark, we already have within the company the ideal set of employees for it. Promoting from within, when the desired skill set is available, is surely preferable -- but when the desired skill set is not, top-tier companies go out and hire the best. This TMF does not.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Apply a critical eye to the composition of the leadership team and board. Is each group structured to seek disconfirming evidence and empowered to play devil's advocate? Is each member well-suited to lead the company over the coming ten years (rather than the past ten)?

    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 18 people found this helpful

    Outgrown the CEO's ability to lead.

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazing people to work with. If you're in an administrative, tech-support, or HR role this is a great place to work because you'll be relatively over compensated and you'll be valued.

    Cons

    If you like working toward a longterm vision or developing a career, this is not the right place for you. Expect to "reorg'd" often and without input even if you are leading a team. Most leaders spend most of their emotional energy "protecting", "blocking", or "shielding" their direct reports from the vacillating whims of a passionate and disconnected CEO and leadership team. Your 1st year here will be amazing, but disillusionment follows as you climb the ranks. Most managers joke that they won't have a team or job to return to after they take vacation --better monitor email at night and when away.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    We need a heart to heart conversation with our CEO and Board of Directors. In fact, we've out grown his ability to lead. A strong co-CEO might work, (works for Whole Foods) but that CEO would need real support from the board or that will become a revolving door too. It's telling that our CEO is in NYC while we're in Alexandria, VA... AND we fear when "Tom's in town" no matter how fun the randomness is.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 13 people found this helpful

    Great, if you drink the Kool-Aid

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Definitely no shortage on perks, whether you are in house or a contractor. The company encourages a casual, fun-first atmosphere. Freedom to chase down your own ideas and initiatives.

    Cons

    The culture here is cult-ish, and if you show anything less than undying love for all things 'Fool,' you are met with the antithesis of what the company claims to represent. Though the Motley Fool encourages a wide range of opinions, it is not the case if you are an employee. You must bow down to the chosen darlings and blindly champion the rhetoric they consistently ooze. Egos are a problem here, and management seems to support it fully. The company's ultimate goals are to capture email addresses for the marketing department.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get back to focusing on the best investment advice possible, and take a close look at the editorial staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 10 people found this helpful

    Needs to improve overall employee satisfaction and morale

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

    I worked at Motley Fool full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    During the honeymoon period (first 2 months of starting the position), everything is wonderful. They bend over backwards to help you, and most of all they talk up how great Motley Fool is to work for, and how fortunate you are for them to have chosen you to be with them. It makes you feel very special to be the "chosen one".

    Cons

    After about 2 months to a year, you start to realize who you are truly working for. The managers personalities finally reveal themselves and the culture creeps up on you. Unfortunately, it wasn't positive for me. Since the culture is "play as much as you like", and the desks with no cubicle walls to separate you from hundreds of others, you begin to realize how unprofessional this place really is. It was like a huge playground, with very poor management emotional intelligence (speaking of my three direct managers). Absolutely zero privacy, and every single phone call to your spouse, doctor and friend, was overheard by 10's of people, including your strange managers, who then all asked you about what you talked about on the phone with your spouse and doctor! I was horrified each time. When I was working on certain projects and needed a few others to complete their part of the project in order for me to continue on with my portion of the project, those other people were consistently no were to be found. Where were they each time I went look for them? In the game room, or "running late" for work. Sometimes they showed up at 1pm, sometimes at 11am. No one knew. It was especially frustrating for a professional like myself. I could go on about all of the problems with this company, but there isn't enough time and space. They desperately want you to believe it's the best company to work for (and continually tell you that while you work there) but in reality, it was the one of the worst. (I found it disturbing to have been told repeatedly that I'm "...lucky to have been chosen to work at the Motley Fool," etc., etc.)
    I quickly severed my employment with the Mostly Fool when I found an established professional company to work for. I'm still working for the same established professional company to this day. "Professional" makes all the difference.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Perhaps hire a professional firm to oversee your management staff. You need to foster a professional level atmosphere. Hire not just intellectually competent management staff, but also hire emotionally intelligent individuals too. The "play as much as you want" culture is very disconcerting when you're working there and trying to be a professional. You wouldn't need to continually try and convince employees that it's "the best place to work in the world", if it truly was the best place to work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 11 people found this helpful

    Don't be fooled by this place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at Motley Fool

    Pros

    You can obtain valuable knowledge about investing while working for this company. The company tries really hard to make it a cool and hip place to work, after awhile it does get weird.

    Cons

    Management at the company is like working from within a concentration camp. Everything is very top-down and your input will be ridiculed constantly by you management. There's a lot of nepotism within the organization making politics a very big part of everyday.

    Privacy is not an option at this company. Desks are right up against each other, so that the company can pack as many people possible onto a single floor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'm sorry that things didn't work out for you at AOL.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 6 people found this helpful

    the story has changed

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool

    Pros

    tmf is still a great place to work, but only if you work at the alexandria hq. there you will find good pay and excellent fringe benefits. compensation however for the large minority of workers classed as outside contractors and freelancers took a big hit this year. if you want to get a job at tmf, make sure to get a "job-job" as an official employee. do not take a job as a contractor

    Cons

    the business model suffered a recent shakeup. the result is huge disruption internally, and a paycut for outside contractors. contractors are increasingly deemed secondclass citizens at tmf, suffering paycuts that do not affect workers at the alexandria hq. cut off from internal policymaking, their input is not sought, even as they bear the brunt of increasingly onerous rules from alexandria. more work and less pay is the order of the day

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    we used to be close, but as tmf has gotten bigger, it's gotten harder to manage through channels. you don't realize it, but you're starting to lose touch. reach out to your contractors from time to time. in many cases they are "the face of the fool" -- and it's a frowney face

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Change is on the horizon or so they say...

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool

    Pros

    Motley Fool is an awesome company to work for. For the most part, they value their people and ethics. More importantly, they believe in their mission and goal, which is to help the world invest better. Their determination is solid and they tirelessly finds ways to be better everyday.

    Cons

    They have policies that help and invest in their employees. Unfortunately, leadership is absent in some areas. For example, my department has lost their value in teamwork. It has become more of a working group. Both aspects have a shared goal; however, there is contrast. Working groups share ideas but are not interdependent. Furthermore, they still help each other but their focus is on individual results, goals and accountability. This type of practice is conducive to employees becoming part of an out-group. It's clear, at most times, who the favorites are. It almost seems tangible but when a group of people share the same feelings, it becomes real and palpable. No one wants to feel abandoned, alone or even neglected.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Effective leadership needs to be revisited and employed at every level. Leadership is about inspiring others and enabling others to act. Being part of an out-group is uninspiring but worse, having tenure and feeling unwanted, disrespected and unappreciated affects all levels of the organization. Compliment and give thanks to all employees daily. Leaders need to smile.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. Contractors make the business but they aren't always treated fairly.

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

    I worked at Motley Fool as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    The Motley Fool really takes their mission and core values seriously, and for the most part, they tend to deliver. While on-campus, you are allowed pretty much free reign over your schedule, and it got to the point that we would only come in when we had a meeting or some other event scheduled. Not too shabby.

    Free pizza, cake, and other foodstuffs are always a bonus too.

    Cons

    As a contractor, I felt that I was never given an accurate picture of what my deliverables were for the company, other than a target number of articles to hit each month. "Coaching" to correct deficiencies often felt more negative than positive, and only made me question my ability as a writer, instead of encouraging me to do better. It got to a point where I would stress after hitting the submit button, that my article would have to undergo numerous additional revisions before publication, and therefore I would not be able to move onto other articles and increase my productivity.

    I'll admit that most of this was perhaps my failure to adapt to the life of a freelance writer, but I also felt like my particular bureau had favorites among their stable of writers, and if you weren't among the handful of favorites, it was harder to get your stuff published in a timely manner. Furthermore, comparisons to the "favorites" seemed to do the opposite of building a strong bureau, instead pitting each writer against the others in a battle for top favorite.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    With a strong stable of contract writers, maybe it is not necessary to give all the same boilerplate contract? If some are more comfortable writing less, and producing good product, maybe let them dictate the amount they write (and get paid for) instead.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Motley Fool Response

    Oct 24, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your experiences at The Motley Fool. We’re very proud of our mission and core values, as well as an environment of trust that permits Fools to set their own schedule. We have been ... More

  10. 2 people found this helpful

    All the glitters isn't necessarily gold.

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The benefits are beyond what other companies offer. The company seems to live up to most of its core values. Having tenure can increase professional possibilities. Professional growth is imminent.

    Cons

    Not all departments are treated fairly. Job duties can change at a moments notice without any collaboration with team, which is a core value. Financial/stock market uncertainties leads to desperate and aggressive changes in order to sustain membership. Keep the core value 'honest' at bay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust your employees and cease the micro-managing. Management here are simply managers not leaders. They know how to get things done but not necessarily the right way. Genuine leadership are suppose to inspire and enhance the heart, which has been replaced by fear and triviality .

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Motley Fool Response

    Oct 24, 2014

    Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. We are always looking for ways to provide great benefits in conjunction with our trust in our dedicated and passionate employees. It’s true ... More

  11. great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst
    Former Employee - Analyst

    I worked at Motley Fool

    Pros

    Motley fool can be a great company to work for. they staff is nice and helpful and editors are quick in turning around your completed work papers.

    Cons

    The one downside to the job i did was that it was online mostly and the metrics drove the job. If you no make metrics then no more job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior management is very nice and sweet. they play fun games with employees. we like it alot and handball fund also

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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