Voicebox Technologies Reviews

Updated November 11, 2014
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3.7
18 Reviews
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Mike Kennewick
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great stuff, everyone works very hard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA

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

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Everybody is part of the company and works very hard. The company definitely has a culture. The company is growing fast. CEO is great.

    Cons

    It's not very work-life balanced, as the company is always rushing to meet new deadlines.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Great speech tech company to work for

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

    I have been working at Voicebox Technologies full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    * This is an exciting field to work in, and I'm saying this as a general statement. Think of how many similar companies are doing similar work, and you'll quickly realize how unique VoiceBox Technologies is in their success. They must be doing something right after all!
    * Flexible hours, to a reasonable degree. Don't count on being able to work from home every day, but the managers are generally willing to work around any issues with schedule you might have, and you can always take random hours off to go to the doctor, wait for repair crew at home, what have you. Taking days off is pretty easy too, just say what you want off and 99.9% of the time you got it, even on very short notice.
    * Friendly people. Enough said!
    * Open-door policy with the execs. People really need to take more advantage of that, the execs are very open to listening to people's concerns/suggestions, and making changes whenever possible. You can actually see an impact from your suggestions!
    * Many opportunities for advancement if you wish to take advantage of them. I've seen people go up from an average QA tester to a program manager, and I've seen people switch departments completely to suit new skills and/or interests they might have acquired. Within reason, of course--if you want to go from QA to software developer, you should have all the requisite skills.
    * Seriously, the work is really interesting! It's worth it to love what you do.
    * Always learning something new from other people. Goes in hand with the "friendly people" point, people are encouraged to share knowledge, tips, tricks, etc.
    * Good health benefits. Seriously, better than in most place, especially for a pretty small company.
    * A full-sized kitchen! Go ahead and use the stove if you want to.
    * If you don't park on the premises, the company will pay for your bus pass if you need it.
    * The location of the Bellevue office is pretty convenient.

    Cons

    * I think most people's salaries are somewhat below the industry standard, especially considering the hours.
    * The hours can be rough, 50 hours a week is normal, and 80 hours a week is not unheard of. Those deadlines must be met...
    * As always, some management positions are occupied by annoying micromanager specialists. Well, I think that's a con that applies to every workplace... Still, it sucks when you put that together with working well over 40 hours a week most weeks out of the year and being somewhat undercompensated.
    * Too much rides on the leadership/management skills of each individual project manager. I've worked on projects where I feel like I know exactly what I'm doing, what the goals are, what the short-term goals are, and what the schedule looks like. I've worked on projects where i have no freakin' clue because the manager sucks at looping all the involved people in.
    * Documentation sucks. There's never enough time to do it, all the time is sucked up by project work.
    * Some projects are given a disproportionate amount of attention at the expense of others, which really eats away at the sanity of the people who work on those "other" projects. These "big" projects are like a giant black hole for resources, and it smells more of bad management than a resource issue, honestly.
    * Parking and office space. Parking especially, it sucks. Office space is supposed to be getting better soon (maybe...), parking isn't. Aside for the bus pass compensation, nothing else is really done to encourage people to not park in the lot.

    Advice to Management

    * Pay people better, so many are working their butts off for your rather than working fewer hours for more money at some of the bigger software employers in the area.
    * Allow the non-management employees to have a way to voice their opinions about their managers in a more structured way (e.g. a "performance review" type of deal, but upward)
    * Don't forget that you have more than one customer, don't direct 90% of the resources toward one type of project and just assume that the others will get figured out!
    * It's a small company still, so would be nice to get more communication from senior management!

  3. Helpful (4)

    Don't waist your time!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Language Expert in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Language Expert in Bellevue, WA

    I have been working at Voicebox Technologies part-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    It is fun to work on voice recognition technology.

    Cons

    I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits. Company has to pay more to its good, hardworking, smart associates with computer science/engineering background. Here, nannies get more pay than almost everyone. Don't worry. If you are French or Chinese, you are off the hook.

    Advice to Management

    Change middle management! watch out for people! Some people say they are working on several languages/projects such as; NL, EN, FR, GR, SV. Just watch out, they don't even come to work!!! They have been able to do this. Thanks to friendly HR!!!

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  5. Very stimulating and interesting work, in the right place in the right time

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

    I have been working at Voicebox Technologies full-time

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

    Pros

    Cutting edge scenarios that the company is working on in speech recognition, natural language understanding and cloud services provide very exciting and stimulating work environment. Above average engineering team. Great vision. Opportunity to make huge difference. Very diverse and friendly environment. Open door policy with execs. Opportunity to collaborate with top companies in various market segments.

    Cons

    Not enough training opportunities, tough schedules, non liquid equity compensation. Some commitments to customers are very challenging to satisfy within the budget and available timeline.

    Advice to Management

    In response to great growth that the company had, please hire experienced COO or create similar position so that the company is more professionally run. Modernize HR. Pay attention to office space and parking. Do frequent company surveys, communicate results and follow up on areas for improvements.

  6. Application Development Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Applications Development Manager in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Applications Development Manager in Bellevue, WA

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

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

    Pros

    Exciting company and technology, leading the industry in natural and conversational voice technologies. Great company culture and great place to work. A place where your contribution not only makes a difference to the customers and quality of the products we ship, but also make a difference in the industry in how people interact with their technology. Very open and honest company culture where plenty of opportunity exists to make an impact.

    Cons

    Similar to any technology company and any small to mid-sized company, there is always a lot of things to do, and work priorities can get focused on the customer. Though company is making very good progress in improving internal processes and putting increased focus on improving company technologies, while balancing customer facing work. Though, I've worked for a number of companies, and this is by far the best overall environment I've worked in.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the company culture, keep up with the improvements and focus in improving the companies technologies.

  7. It's a tough work environment, and things move slowly, but their is continuous challenges, growth and progress.

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

    I have been working at Voicebox Technologies full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A key thing to note about working here, is that its much more suited for self-motivated people. I don't mean do everything by yourself (it's definitely a team environment), but more in regards to communication and driving your career and work/life balance. Most problems people have can be addressed by communicating with your manager. I have seen this company bend over backwards for employees when they needed help. But don't expect things to just resolve themselves or someone pinging you constantly. It's still a small company working through growing pains and often working with minimal resources. A lot of it is what YOU make it, and this is a good environment for those people.

    - Some of the best tech people I have ever worked with.

    - Wide range of platforms and technologies keep it exciting/refreshing over time.

    - Assuming tech related positions, plenty of room for career growth, either up or sideways.

    - Company has been growing regularly for several years.

    - Work/Life can be challenging, but management is more than willing to help if you communicate with them.

    - Lots of opportunity to wear different hats, particularly if you are self motivated.

    - Hours are pretty flexible. Don't need approval for random days off, taking off early, etc. for life events that pop up like Dr visits, waiting for cable guy, etc.

    - Good health benefits, # of company holidays, good PTO plan, etc.

    - Very collaborative environment.

    - Family friendly environment. OK to bring kids to work for visits. Several company events through the year such as Christmas party, yearly off-site company picnic, Halloween costume contest and bring kids in for trick or treat, etc. Plus various group/team events.

    - It's a small company so not a huge pool of people for clubs/etc., but if you find groups, company supports it. There are several currently from photography to soccer, etc. For example, the soccer group plays off-site once a week, during work hours.

    - Technology is great and exciting, and extremely challenging to work on, I love it.

    - LOTS of potential future feature/technology in this space, doors are wide open, even with 10 years under their belt, its just the beginning for this technology.

    - Continual new customers and product areas, keeps work fresh.

    - Many strong patents. Was recently rated very high by IEEE on patent value, most other companies in same range were large corporations buying hundreds or thousands of patents, with Voicebox sitting that high with only 13 or so patents (due to their importance/value).

    - Executives have shown great resilience to finding revenue, customers, expanded engagements with existing customers, etc. to keep the company moving forward and growing.

    Cons

    People need to understand that this is a small company. It is in transition to becoming a larger company, and there are many hiccups and challenges to overcome. There is a chicken before the egg factor to consider (need customers for revenue, need more people to support those customers, but need money [in advance] to hire those resources, etc.). Not to mention that some areas/talents are very hard to find, some positions sitting open for months because no applicable candidates. However, in many ways, these are good problems to have. These are not bad problems. There are no issues like bounced paychecks, lay offs, high revolving door issues, etc. This is a tough market, there are lots of companies hiring, lots of other opportunities out there, yet people are not leaving Voicebox left and right. There is a reason for that.

    With that said, here is list of cons as I see them...
    - Parking is very bad. Several improvements have been made lately, but with continued hiring, doesn't help much. However, management continues to work on additional solutions.

    - Building space is tight. Expansion to other adjacent buildings helps, but not a very long term solution. The new open space design was not planned like a proper open space environment that was planned to be so from the beginning.

    - No formal performance evaluation or compensation adjustment evaluation. However, you can request them whenever you want.

    - Few documentation and general process/practice standards. Each team and project group has their own ways of doing things. Documentation is a mess. Note, a team was just put together to standardize documentation and use Document Management solution.

    - Lack of regular high level company direction, status on vitals, etc.

    Advice to Management

    .
    - Follow-through with commitments, even if its just an update/status of a delay or change in commitment.

    - Need to communicate regularly (min quarterly) company status. Not just projects, but financials, patents, projections, market evaluations, etc.

    - Really need a formal employee review process, tied to compensation adjustments. Clear position definitions and evaluation mechanisms.

    - Building/parking and open space issues are a much larger problem than you realize and should be addressed more aggressively if possible.

    - Really need to invest in...
      > R&D and future technologies to ensure we stay relevant and ahead of the game.
      > Underlying cross-company processes/standards, tools/infrastructure, code architecture re-factoring, etc. to truly streamline development efforts, code reuse, raise quality bars, shorten deliverable schedules, etc.

  8. Great to work with industry-changing technology that has "star trek-like" applications.

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

    I worked at Voicebox Technologies full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    I really liked the friendliness and the diversity of the people I worked with. Benefit package was nice and I had flexible options for work hours.

    Cons

    Communications across departments was sometimes challenging, but workable. During growth phases, hours could be intense.

    Advice to Management

    I've watched the company's recent growth with keen interest. Keep the momentum rolling into new emerging markets! The Internet of Things needs a good "talking- to"!

  9. Creative and talented people and poor environment

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

    I have been working at Voicebox Technologies full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Very good place to start your career, you will learn much if you ask very talented developers and linguists while they are still there. Try to make friends with them and they will tell you more than what you find in wiki or from your PM. Good location, relatively flexible hours.

    Cons

    Undercover games, lack of good training for new employees, practically you learn everything by yourself, so, again, make friends with developers, as even if they are very busy, they will help you, or will give an advise. Projects move slowly, quite often they start a project and then leave it. One day they rush you, next day you are doing repetitive work the results of which are actually useless. The space is very limited - either open space or the tiniest dark cubicles one could imagine, be prepared that it will be quite noisy and could be even crowded at your desk. Parking lot is always full after 9:30 am, so try to come earlier. Oh, and do not talk over the phone in restrooms - they will inform everyone about you not doing what you are supposed to do in WC. Do not argue with management, and try to avoid questions to them, they get annoyed. Be prepared to be underpaid.

  10. A place to work

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

    I have been working at Voicebox Technologies full-time

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

    Pros

    Less meeting time more work hours to get things done.

    Cons

    Less communicated with the current business status. and less paid.

  11. Helpful (2)

    Great devs, terrible 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 Voicebox Technologies full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    -Interesting technology
    -Great development teams, smart, generally friendly, diplomatic people "in the trenches"
    -Lower level (team-level) management is generally great

    Cons

    - Ineffective leadership from middle management up

    - Smoke and mirrors. Consistently promise customers more than can be delivered and ignore the input of their most senior developers from every team

    - Executives do not understand linguistics or its problems well enough to support its team or encourage innovation, and unfortunately are too emotionally invested to step aside and allow for others with that vision and insight to step up and stand up for where the product needs to go

    - Broken promises. Year after year, were promised that "this was the product that would launch us", and year after year this did not happen (see: smoke and mirrors). There is not viable, consistent revenue model. Work is almost always at risk.

    - Unreasonable expectations. It's not uncommon to receive emails from the CEO chastising the workforce for not working hard enough or long enough, even while many dedicated employees pull 60-80 hour weeks on a consistent basis. That's apparently not enough.

    - Gender discrimination and skill-set discrimination. Unless you're a male programmer, don't expect to be paid anywhere near what you're worth. And even if you're the magic combination, expect to be paid noticeably under market value. And don't expect annual reviews, raises or bonuses either.

    - No career advancement opportunities. Talent is not supported or developed in any way whatsoever. Occasionally, if team level management has time outside of their insane workloads, they will try, but are met with no support from the upper echelons even to structure their teams in a way that makes more sense and allows for career advancement/growth, let alone hire more people, and forget about any team tool development.

    - Executive team does not communicate well with each other or lead in any meaningful way. Everyone has a different vision and none are actioned appropriately.

    - No one stands up to the customer. I get that you need the revenue. But sub-par products get shipped when you don't let your highly skilled and experienced voice application and interface professionals lead the product design and when you don't push back against unreasonable or asinine customer requests.

    - Dollars matter far more than people or quality of product.

    Advice to Management

    LISTEN to your employees. If they're telling you something isn't deliverable in the time-frame you're promising a customer, then adapt your strategy and your pitch.

    HIRE more people and PAY them appropriately.

    FIRE ineffective middle management and above to ensure that products are designed and managed well, and not just at the beck and call of each customer, resulting in sub-par projects when you don't allow your HIGHLY skilled and EXTREMELY brilliant workforce to provide thought leadership.

    STEP DOWN and bring in new leadership who knows how to take a start-up out of being a start-up and INTO being profitable.

    RE-ORG in meaningful ways based on workflow, career advancement, etc. and not just at random.

    Basically -- be thoughtful of your workforce. Most of them have given you more time, tears and aggravation than you could ever possibly imagine. LISTEN TO THEM.

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