Rocket Fuel

www.rocketfuel.com
Employer Engaged

Rocket Fuel Reviews

Updated February 19, 2015
Updated February 19, 2015
81 Reviews
3.2
81 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Rocket Fuel CEO & Founder George John
George John
58 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free food, okay benefits (when HR finally decides to set you up) (in 12 reviews)

  • Company is growing extremely fast (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Typical growing pains of a fast-growing company, but nothing glaring (in 6 reviews)

  • If your in sales or ops, enjoy the work/life balance (or lack there-of) (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 16 people found this helpful  

    What goes up must and will come down

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

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    This company has potential but all of the breathless hyping of results has made it a bit of a joke. One only need look at the cratered stock post IPO, down by 75% and sporting a Very Bearish 0.2 overall rating by all analysts on a 0-10 scale. You can't get much lower than that. Throw in a class action lawsuit over fraudulent practices regarding inventory and this isn't quite the visionary winner management makes it out to be.

    Cons

    Really difficult and nasty office politics, major favoritism played by senior sales management. Everyone is expected to drink the Rocket Fuel flavored Kool Aid and not question poor management practices or god help you disagree with thin skinned middle management. If you're young and moldable and don't mind being a yes man you'll likely do ok here. If you have a spine and a mind of your own and any meaningful experience in the industry, steer well clear of this company, there are many other great alternatives

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do some long overdue house cleaning on bloated management ranks

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company with a unique culture. Plenty of smart people, a great product, and a solid work life balance.

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

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel

    Pros

    Lots of perks, great people, and a great technology and makes clients happy. This means a thriving culture with lots of smart people.

    Cons

    Lack of organization that needs to catch up with the company's growth at hyper speed.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place for sales

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Sales in New York, NY

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great product that works, positive name within the marketplace, fun group to work with, FOOD, awesome industry parties.

    Cons

    They're not significant enough to list.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As we grow continue to keep us nerdy and loveable.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Nerdy but Lovable: Full of brilliant minds

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Rocket Scientist in Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Rocket Scientist in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    1.You are assumed to be smart enough to take decisions so you enjoy lots of autonomy.
    2. Brilliant minds at work. You love it when you work with them and see how good they are at what they do. It's a great learning experience working at Rocket Fuel, given the kind of problems you work on and the people you work with.
    3. Lovely work culture and great work-life balance. Engineers are revered for what they do and are considered valuable assets.
    4. The company is growing very fast. The year-on-year revenue growth can give an example to that regard.

    Cons

    1. As the company is growing at a very rapid pace, interaction with senior management is less.
    2. Lack of coordination between teams due to very rapid pace of growth.
    3. Most employees don't have a clear picture of how they fit into the broad company vision.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work of maintaining autonomy for engineers in decisions, that is what that took the company to this level. However, try to be maintain better coordination between teams and create better interaction of employees with management.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 8 people found this helpful  

    Short-term challenges are likely insurmountable

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

    I worked at Rocket Fuel full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    1. Fast dwindling, but significant mass of intelligent employees
    2. Agency relations and a strong service culture
    3. Pixel footprint on advertiser pages
    4. Technology - real-time bidding, AI, data infrastructure
    5. Small number of outstanding shares and tight insider control

    Cons

    1. Conflicted business model - What's good for Rocket Fuel is not good for its customers. Agencies add value in fragmenting advertiser budgets. Rocket Fuel scales business by de-fragmenting the same budgets. Need more direct relationships with large advertisers.
    2. Toxic environment and a lack of strategic alignment among key leaders
    3. Because of fast growth, some key execs are out of their depth, but have been slow to cede control
    4. Because of insecurity caused by 3, some key execs did not build a strong bench and now have to hire from outside with a high likelihood of failure
    5. The business model leads to expensive and high-touch repetitive sales and service cycles. Operational discipline needed to scale this model profitably is lacking.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix 1-5.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 10 people found this helpful  

    Out of control growth

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

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Salary and benefits are great. Daily catered lunch, tons of snacks and the office is beautiful. Weekly happy hours in the kitchen. Work/life balance is decent - there will be some late nights but it won't take over your life. Everyone working here is really smart and motivated.

    Cons

    - Truly explosive growth means that there are very few processes in place. Management does not invest in internal infrastructure or gives it lip service, bandaid solutions. What you basically have is a bunch of 1 year or less tenured employees all dashing haphazardly towards a goal. Very common to find 4-5 people unknowingly working on the same project, trying to achieve the same thing. Maddening to find that management didn't communicate to each other that they had these large scale projects going and therefore missing an opportunity to combine efforts. Everyone trying to earn credit for their ideas without sharing the limelight, from lower levels up to management.

    - Career growth is basically nil. No investment in learning about other teams, developing skills, emerging products, or our industry at large. I actually believe that management is proud of siloing teams out to prevent cross-learning. Engineering is placed on a very tall, very untouchable pedestal. Frequently you need to ask the same question 3-4 times to make sure that you are getting an accurate answer.

    - HQ-centric view. There are a number of "satellite" offices around the globe, but everyone is pointed towards HQ - teams don't interact cross-functionally, and the outer offices are treated second-class. No effort has been made to foster an on-the-ground culture. After acquiring [x+1], very little work has been done to integrate these teams socially to make them feel included.

    - Terrible downwards communication. While top level announcements are made at townhall meetings monthly, changes in best practice, process, outages or product are never communicated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sincerely dedicate resources to building infrastructure. Force communication of changes to the team. Invest heavily in your employee's career, in ALL offices.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 18 people found this helpful  

    High hopes and advanced tech derailed by poor management

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

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Over the course of its growth spurt, the company has attracted a number of talented and smart employees, particularly in engineering & analytical roles, who are nice to work with. With that said, the most talented ones are leaving in droves for better opportunities.

    When you start out, expect a steep learning curve, but within your first 6 months, you should pick up valuable knowledge and in-demand skills that are applicable within the adtech or big data space.

    Cons

    When you start, you’ll probably feel right at home. Between the impressive facilities, break rooms fully stocked with snacks, catered meals, and elaborate company events, what’s there not to like? But like the boiling frog story, gradually, you realize just how toxic the environment is. The company grew too fast without the right processes and leadership in place, and what’s left now is an unhealthy culture built around sales calling the shots.

    The management team, particularly at the VP-level and up, is pretty appalling. Many have huge egos and are responsible for rampant favoritism, sexual harassment, and discrimination, but are strangely not held accountable. Most of the management team seem out of touch with reality, because they care most about driving topline revenue and appeasing sales, when they should be more focused on building a sustainable, scalable business. Non-sales management are always traveling to client meetings, so they are essentially never in the office and they are only quick to award their direct line employees who are most ingratiated with sales. In addition, they blatantly overlook the need to measure organizational success, host departmental all-hands, or meet with frontline employees. Instead, they approach decision-making with a lack of strategy, transparency, and communication. The real scary thing is that they appear to think that the status quo is working fine and that everyone should be happy with the sales-driven growth of the business. But in reality, there’s no clear guidance of a vision or strategy for fixing a broken operating model, scaling the business, or developing talent, and employee morale and happiness is quite low.

    Lastly, even though there's a lot you can learn, there’s virtually no emphasis or investment made in encouraging employee career growth. As has been well-documented, HR is pretty useless, but the real sad thing is that management’s idea of career growth is to give you a random rotation of accounts/assignments and reward those who are most proficient at sucking up to VPs and sales. Most people work pretty hard to start, but then end up either bored with repetition or frustrated that their efforts go unnoticed. Unless you’re a maestro at tooting your horn, expect a slow boil until you reach your breaking point.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Given the bizarre level of inaction and lack of adaptivity and strategy within many departments, the company clearly needs some leadership overhaul. Egotistical managers/VPs, particularly from the old boys network, need to be accountable if they lack the leadership qualities and humility needed to drive positive change and create a healthier culture within their departments or teams. We don’t need 30 VPs politicking amongst themselves, especially for a company this size, but what we do need is a leadership team that actually has empathy and experience growing and scaling companies of this size. If you stay the course, expect a downward spiral and for morale to cripple. After all, what got you here won't get you there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Best Company to Work For

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel

    Pros

    Independence, perks, brilliant minds. I love coming to work every day, and plan on staying at the company for as long as possible. We're growing fast, and the employees are able to adapt to all the curve balls that this industry throws at us. A very fun and rewarding experience.

    Cons

    The simple startup days are over...the bigger we get, the more people want to bring us down. It is hard to hear such negative things in the press (most of which are untrue), but we keep our heads up and work through it all. We take criticism as a compliment...the better you are the more people will try to make you second guess your mission.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep staying transparent with us, not matter how big we get.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Its a good company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Analyst in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Analyst in New York, NY

    I have been working at Rocket Fuel full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Strong position for growth, great understanding of artificial technology, strong leadership and great work environment

    Cons

    lackluster financial performance after a terrible IPO. Purchasing practices for internet buying are a few years behind the cutting edge offers available.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 9 people found this helpful  

    Loved the company, hated the continuous mis-management and derogatory behavior by management

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

    I worked at Rocket Fuel

    Pros

    Smart colleagues, specially in the core areas of the company they are very helpful to help you get your job done. Very interesting and complex business environment, lots of opportunity to learn.

    Cons

    I got this question from someone as quoted: “A friend told me exciting opportunity that RocketFuel has jobs for 5-6 ... in Q1, but another have said it because 6 people left ... Division in last two months. That make me puzzle, what happen two months back in ... department? But not so many people can suddenly get job, it takes time, so make me think what going on until then also? The people who left were many years and of different groups, so maybe problem in the upper management of ... department? Also what questions to ask in interview to find out work situation?”
    All I can say is, good questions! Agree that any large company would have some dissatisfaction, however, does not mean that it is the experience of the people who should be ignored, and the big question for you is how to find out where the big problem is long-term. There are many differences in the management culture and capabilities in the company, a lot of people have got the reward and gone up without skills or interest in development of the management skills, thereby negatively effecting large numbers of people a long time without solution. With criticism on Glassdoor, leaders asked the employees to give the positive feedback instead of addressing core issues, which raises doubts about the positive reviews here.
    Also, when the anonymous feedback is solicited, the first reaction of the head of the department is to try find out who said it from language and details in the comments. Employee feedback is not acted on, so many people don't bother responding.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ask your "boots on the ground" in safe anonymous form what they think of their management without relaying on what management sends up via surveys. Make it public so employees know that top people care.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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