Samasource Reviews

Updated June 13, 2015
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3.7
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Samasource Founder & CEO Leila Janah
Leila Janah
12 Ratings

16 Employee Reviews

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  1. Unique experience for software engineers

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Samasource full-time

    Pros

    I'd like to focus on the engineering team at Samasource. I'd strongly encourage any software engineer that is interested in building technology that makes a deep impact on people's lives to spend time at this organization. The SamaHub is a mturk-like task distribution system, so there are plenty of transactional processing, data-science and scaling problems to solve. Certainly beyond your typical non-profit engineering challenges.

    But the real meat of what you'll learn with the wonderful people that work on this team is how to create a product that assists people in taking their first step into the digital jobs economy. You'll learn where technology can create opportunities that would otherwise be unimaginable, but more importantly, you'll learn the ways that technology falls frustratingly short. This is a humbling experience in a city where the virtue of humility is in short supply.

    Cons

    Fundraising in the non-profit space is still very activities-focused instead of outcomes-focused, and generally speaking, funding rolls in steady but incremental chunks rather than in the large rounds you might be familiar with having worked in the private sector. What this means for your experience on the engineering team is a challenge that resembles an intense established-but-growing bootstrapped business rather than "ride the rocketship" startup growth. You'll need patience.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to bet heavily on R&D. Lead the way in helping funders understand how innovation works so they can know how and when to measure the outcomes of technology investments for social good.

    Samasource Response

    Jun 28, 2015HR and Operations Manager

    Thank you for your review and feedback.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Great People, Managed Terribly

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

    I worked at Samasource full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Almost everyone on the first one or two rungs at Samasource is hardworking, interesting, and fun to be around. I plan to keep in touch with many. Also, the "startup" environment permits lots of "step-up" opportunities. This is a good and a bad thing.

    Cons

    CEO is self absorbed and motivated by fame. Lacks focus on core business Samasource and starts new ones, leading to distractions from mission and values. Lacks attention to detail, which has lead to misalignment between teams.

    Advice to Management

    Replace the CEO. Reduce employees covered by shared services model* especially for Engineering. Hire higher performing developers. Focus on project management hires with client experience. Re-align sales and project management teams.

    * (Where finance, engineering, HR etc are shared among affiliated businesses).

    Samasource Response

    Jun 25, 2015HR and Operations Manager

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about your experience at Samasource. We are always looking for ways to make our company an engaging and meaningful place to work and your feedback ... More


  3. A social enterprise that has matured its overall management without stagnating its impact growth.

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Everyone is super nice with an array of talents from different backgrounds. The company still feels small enough where I feel like I'm making a significant contribution. And there are lots of exciting things to work on throughout the Sama Group.

    Cons

    Pay is still below market, and hiring can be a challenge with such a competitive market in San Francisco.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused on impact and don't diverge too much on time-consuming distractions.

    Samasource Response

    Jun 28, 2015HR and Operations Manager

    Thank you for your review and feedback. We will share your comments with our management team.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. An exciting, innovative place to work.

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of new perks and policies committed to employees. Fun place to work. Probably the biggest perk are the people at Sama. Everyone is incredibly smart, accomplished, and motivated by our mission. The mission and values are pervasive at Sama and are incorporated into everything we do. Managers are great, a culture of open feedback. The direction the company is heading is very exciting and I expect a lot of growth as we continue to move forward with our mission. Open office space, no one is stuck at their desk, there are lots of couches and other areas to work. Plenty of activities to encourage office bonding and cross-team interactions.

    Cons

    Not enough space! We have outgrown our space and its starting to get crowded. Also, it can get very hot inside of the office and there are not enough windows.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you've been doing! Things have really changed in the past year for the better and there have been many improvements.


  6. Great mission, sometimes needs help with execution

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Samasource is full of smart and enthusiastic people. People are generally eager to help you when you need it. There's tons of room for growth. For a non-profit, their compensation packages are pretty competitive.

    Cons

    While there may be tons of room for growth, the path for that growth is not always well defined. Also, the passion about the mission can actually lead to burn out quickly. The company needs to be more proactive in not allowing its people to get to that point.

    Advice to Management

    More focus in priorities and projects -- just like you can't change the world in a day, you can't do all you'd like to do to end poverty and its effects "right now". Sometimes doing really well on a project will mean saying "no" to another equally powerful initiative. That's just the economics of time and energy.


  7. Growing company doing great work.

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

    I have been working at Samasource

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people - lots of talented, interesting people. Rewarding work that makes a difference in peoples lives. Open start up culture. Strong management team that is working hard to build relationships. Company looking at different ways to improve the employee experience and continue doing meaningful work.

    Cons

    Location - right in the heart of the mission and can be a difficult place to come to work. But the company knows that and is addressing it. Also, because it is a start up, it is sometimes easy to get pulled into something with very little notice. This can make it stressful to stay on track and get everything done. And there can be some hostility between certain departments that needs to be addressed.

    Advice to Management

    Work towards transparent communication, sharing information between departments and addressing issues as they come up. Growing causes growing pains and adjustments have to be made to accommodate that.


  8. Helpful (3)

    Fabulous Working Environment, With a Few Kinks!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -The people here are by and large the most intelligent, hardest working, and wonderful you could hope for. It feels like a family much of the time!
    -The office itself is quite nice, with fun amenities like lots of snacks, beverages, and it's dog-friendly!
    -The mission of the organization is fantastic, as are the people we work with overseas.
    -Schedules are very flexible, and though there is a ton of work to be done, you are still able to work around your other commitments.
    -Benefits are more than adequate, and include full health, dental, vision, life, plus little bonuses like cell phone and gym stipends.

    Cons

    -Leadership can be garbled at times. Individual teams are wonderful, but there is sometimes friction between teams and C-Level staff is often too distant or ill-informed to provide any assistance.
    -The actual building that houses the office and the area of the Mission are pretty awful and scary. Once you get off Mission St there are lots of wonderful restaurants and shops, but the immediate area is gritty and dangerous.
    -The CEO is a visionary and very intelligent, educated, and hard working, but extremely difficult to relate to. I think this is typical for big-idea people, but it can be grating on an interpersonal level. Most frustratingly, you can expect that it will always appear that Sama is a one-woman show (it's not, really, there are dozens of incredible people behind the scenes who make it happen!). Of course, we wouldn't exist without her, but it would be nice to feel a little more valued by her for making Sama what it is today.

    Advice to Management

    Overall, management is hard at work scaling the organization, improving processes, recruiting fantastic people, and making the organization all that it has the potential to be.


  9. An innovative social enterprise and a great place to work!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Chief of Staff in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Junior Chief of Staff in San Francisco, CA

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Sama is one of the best young, innovative social enterprises to work at today, having been one of major organizations contributing to the early growth of impact sourcing as an industry. Unlike other organizations in the space, the leadership is truly working to create a sustainable, break even business that has a huge social impact globally. The team is fun and passionate - all with diverse, unique world views, and most with previous experience working in developing countries in the field. The Founder and CEO, Leila Janah, is able to clearly and passionately communicate her vision and mission in a way that compels people from all backgrounds to contribute to the cause: providing opportunity to those born into poverty. I highly recommend working at Sama, especially if you want to have a career in social enterprise or social entrepreneurship.

    Cons

    Because the organization is still relatively young, it operates like a startup. For some from big corporate and traditional non-profit backgrounds, this can be a little shocking not having a lot of established processes or certainty in strategy. For others, it's a dream. You need to have a complete sense of accountability and transparency with your work to be able to fit in with the culture, and for some, that can be an adjustment. Because the organization is still firmly registered non-profit legally, salary packages are not reflective of the for-profit rates, although they're able to recruit some of the best talent from the for-profit world regardless. The organization has a tough application and interview process, and has a tendency to offer contract to hire positions instead of immediately providing a job offer. This works well to find a good cultural match internally for the longer term, but can be stressful and irritating to new hires initially.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to recruit mainly for-profit and technology background experience, especially in more senior roles. Avoid hiring for experience in political fundraising and traditional non-profit management.


  10. Run away

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Social Cause which great concept

    Cons

    Terrible CEO
    Good at MARKETING
    Good in self promotion only

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with respect the way you sell your services


  11. Helpful (4)

    Promising mission but not executing properly

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - CEO is inspiring, hard-working and highly visible leader that has brought significant attention and funding to the business
    - Tackling a real problem and making a tiny, but genuinely helpful, impact
    - Non CEO employees are nice, hard-working and aligned

    Cons

    - For all her benefits, the CEO is the biggest issue. Quite simply, the company will never succeed until they replace her
    - Turnover has probably been 75% in the past year, and includes entry-level employees all the way to the COO and board of directors
    - Low morale in an environment that should be the opposite; people don't seem to enjoy coming to work, and that starts at the top
    - Talented employees are not incentivized to stay or to work on other things; without high pay or stock options, the company needs to give them other reasons to stick around
    - CEO has unreasonably high expectations which not only frustrates employees but in turn affects current clients



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