Voicebox Technologies

  www.voicebox.com
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Voicebox Technologies Reviews

Updated Jul 19, 2014

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3.7 15 reviews

67% Approve of the CEO

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Mike Kennewick

(6 ratings)

71% of employees recommend this company to a friend
15 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsCutting 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.

    ConsNot 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 Senior ManagementIn 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    (Current Employee)

    ProsA 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.

    ConsPeople 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 Senior 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Application Development Manager

    Applications Development Manager (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsExciting 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.

    ConsSimilar 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 Senior ManagementKeep the company culture, keep up with the improvements and focus in improving the companies technologies.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsI 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.

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

    Advice to Senior ManagementI'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"!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Creative and talented people and poor environment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsVery 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.

    ConsUndercover 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    A place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsLess meeting time more work hours to get things done.

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

    – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great devs, terrible management

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    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 Senior ManagementLISTEN 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Natural Language and voice recognition is here

    Software Engineer (Current Employee)

    Prosglobal company with many top global brand names. Growing rapidly with many new accounts with the strong adoption of voice and natural language as the new user interface for many different devices. Company has been recently awarded many natural language voice recognition patents further solidifying a strong patent portfolio. State of the art technology that individual contributers still can have significant impact. A lot of hard work, but still a fun and interesting place to work. Company is in a significant growth phase both in the US and other parts of the world. Management allows people to grow with the company.

    ConsSeems to be under resourced, but luckily in a high hiring phase. Need to be careful and keep hiring good and high impact people. Hard to hire the right people fast enough. Need to find more creative ways to find people.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNeed to be careful and keep hiring good and high impact people.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Senior Management
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    Can't execute

    Engineering (Current Employee) Bellevue, WA

    ProsInteresting technology, strong vision. Many engineers are top notch.

    ConsCompany has become obsessed with the cloud, and all the baggage that entails. They have the opportunity to do things right, and deliver on their vision, but are going down a path that will lead to disaster.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake a look at all the global class companies out there (google, Amazon AWS, etc.) and then look at what you are doing. See the difference?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    Great place to show your skills

    Language Expert (Former Employee) Bellevue, WA

    Pros- International environment. People working there are from all over the world.
    - Friendliness. Everyone is really nice and easy to get along with.
    - Nice and clean office. The office is surrounded by trees and is relaxing.
    - Work with cutting-edge technology. It's a pioneer of voice recognition.

    Cons- Hard to access without a car. From downtown Bellevue, you have to take a bus, but you still need to walk a lot.
    - Most projects are similar. Maybe it's easy but not challenging.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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