Zynga
3.0 of 5 325 reviews
www.zynga.com San Francisco, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Zynga Reviews

Updated Jul 3, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.0 325 reviews

                             

55% Approve of the CEO

Zynga CEO Don Mattrick

Don Mattrick

(76 ratings)

47% of employees recommend this company to a friend
325 Employee Reviews
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Free food and snacks are good and did offset some of the salary cut the pre-ipo hired took"
    in 49 reviews
  • "Benefits, cool office environment, in house Gym, breakfast, lunch and dinner"
    in 20 reviews
Cons:
  • "Most employees have a very poor work-life balance, especially around holidays"
    in 40 reviews
  • "Long hours, exhaustion, some mandatory weekends that are arbitrarily chosen"
    in 25 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    9 people found this helpful  

    Waiting for the Apocalypse

    Decline to State (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsFun start-up culture and perks but honestly, it's a waste of money.

    ConsManagement at many levels is confused or misdreicted. Ever changing focus and intiatives. Cronyism is rampant. Lack of transparency. Never saw a review the whole time I was here and most of my one-on-one meetings w manger were cancelled, then he left the company about 8 months after he hired me. Currently working on my exit strategyu, actually, Iahve it already, just enjoying the view as Rome burns.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet some grown-ups in charge, consider selling massive re-org and lay-offs no doubt must be coming.

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

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    7 people found this helpful  

    Fine until you burn out

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsLots of great people, interesting projects

    Cons50-60h weeks with no time off and the occasional week on-call with around the clock alerts WILL result in you burning out. When I joined the recruiter told me about how people are encouraged to take time off between projects, but the reality is when you get ahead on a project they pile up more work for you. It doesn't matter how hard you work to get ahead, they still just pile up more. All this delays your project so at the end of the quarter you barely make your deadline; then the next quarter and the next project comes up. After 16 months I finally gave up and left, having had not a single day off (I was on call for many of the holidays as well). They didn't even pay me for my two weeks of legally mandated vacation I never got to take, the cheap bastards. Few career opportunities for engineers unless you want to become a manager. Worthless equity that's a risky tax liability. If you have any sort of marketable technical skill and drive, then Zynga is probably a waste of your time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou mean well but end up treating people like you're the only employer in San Francisco and they have no alternatives.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    5 people found this helpful  

    Not a good company.

    Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsGood perks. Free food. In the city. Dog friendly.

    ConsLong hours. Boring work. Inefficient process. High turn over. Very bad tech. Politics. Ineffective management.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWith the stock price at 3 dollars, managers have their own issues.

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

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    7 people found this helpful  

    Too many undelivered promises

    Software Engineer (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsFree food
    Smart people

    I was working on one of the "ville" games and I thought it was going to be a lot more interesting given how many millions of users we had.

    ConsZero passion about the games
    Grueling hours - my manager made me cancel a family vacation once
    Very narrow scope and responsibilities
    Hug team size plummeting stock price - I was told by the recruiter that we should expect $100 stock price a year after IPO. There should be a law against this.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRemove Mark as CEO and put someone in his place that actually cares about the products they make.
    Smaller teams and more achievable deadlines.

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

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    4 people found this helpful  

    It looks good from they outside, but rotten from the inside

    Customer Care (Current Employee)
    Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)

    ProsBenefits like free food are nice to have

    ConsManagement is poor.
    Promotions are only given to yes sayer

    Advice to Senior ManagementMemento mori

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

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    8 people found this helpful  

    Lots of opportunity to hone politicking skills

    Lead Product Manager (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsHuge potential for career growth with the proper networking and connections
    Meritocracy still in place for ENTRY LEVEL positions
    Free food everywhere
    Dynamic work environment for Content Producers

    ConsWork-life balance is terrible. Average work weeks = 60-70 hours, more for "crunch" times
    Constant "code red" state for declining game studios
    Focus on quarterly goals promotes poor short-term product/engineering decisions
    Major "pivots" to company/departmental strategy make planning and reliable delivery impossible
    Poor bonuses to "support" departments (infrastructure and tech teams are the worst)
    Constant reorganizations exhaust employees (4 in a year for the team I was in)
    Myopic product focus = huge tech debt
    Waterfall SDLC (morning scrum does not make you Agile)
    Too many high-performing individual contributors elevated to managers w/out training and mentoring
    Impossibly Byzantine departments make it impossible to tackle large tech problems without involving 15 departments

    If you are mid-level in your career, go somewhere else. You likely have a family, who you will feel guilty about neglecting. The pay will be okay, but the perks (free shirts, videogames everywhere, food, etc.) are for kids straight out of college. I'd rather pack a lunch and buy my own clothes - and I don't need videogames anywhere. Prepare for the office politics, which were easily the worst I've ever seen. Take direction well, be an excel wizard (product managers), and you should be fine.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPick a course and stick to it. Stop the 2nd class citizen structure (game studio v. not), OR stop pretending that Zynga is an egalitarian workplace. Consider the tradeoff between constant content churn and long-term tech benefits.

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

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    4 people found this helpful  

    If you work for Zynga, you have already peaked

    Senior Software Engineer (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsGood salary, free food, great location

    ConsLow level of responsibility, severe micromanagement

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

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    6 people found this helpful  

    Not as good as it could and should be.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros- The more workaholic, opportunistic, and political an animal you are - the higher your rate of survival and success will be.

    - If you're a product guy, Zynga is the place for you. PM's are the high priests of Zynga and are the de facto designers of the games.

    - Employee benefits are top notch, and if you like free t-shirts you'll be in seventh heaven. The company spends absurd amounts of money on events and trinkets.

    Cons- Projects are pressure cookers and projects involving multiple studios are a nightmare. As stress levels rise, reputations and positions are constantly put at risk. Be expert at CYA or be gone.

    - The meritocracy system has been corrupted and co-opted resulting in toxic competition and opportunism. How well you do depends on how well you can spin it.

    - Top performers are indeed lauded, however, since the "merit-based" promotions & bonuses are determined in a black box such accolades seem arbitrary, because they are. Visibility matters most and competency is valued less than reaction time.

    - There is a systemic failure to recognize value for anyone not deemed a rockstar. A general lack of respect for everyone else's contributions is common, and at worst, competent and diligent employees are labeled as under-performers and pushed out.

    - PMs have the most influence on the schedule and most have no prior experience in software or game development. Engineers end up hacking together features based on which direction the PM's feel the monetization and retention winds are blowing on any given day. Producers have no power to control scope or schedule and are expected to get teams to hit fixed dates with constantly changing requirements.

    - Speaking truth to power is the fastest way to be branded an under-performer.

    - The penalties for poor leadership and the constant pivots are too easily passed to subordinates. Staying afloat by standing on the bodies of those they have drowned is not an uncommon practice.

    - Execs favor or ignore studios using a hero/loser dichotomy. If e-staff starts ignoring your studio don't expect to receive good projects or support.

    - There are many people with talent for innovation and creativity in the company but the organization is broken by design and doesn't support them.

    - Chaotic and unsustainable work/life balance. One of the company's core values is to "Put Zynga first", which translates to this: Your personal life is forfeit. You're going to work evenings and weekends with no advance warning and if you're in an external studio, keep a suitcase packed as you'll be relocated to SF or other studios for weeks and sometimes months at a time.

    Advice to Senior Management- When you hire or acquire people because they are awesome at what they do, get out of their way and let them do it! It's a shame when creatively inspired people with proven track records are limited to be little more than assembly line workers for the next cloneville.

    - Hold yourselves openly and directly accountable for the failures that occur, especially when projects and teams enter a death spiral due to creative, political, and studio dysfunction.

    - Admit that persistent crunch is not an issue that teams can solve on their own, it's a business issue. Crunch has to be solved at the top, it's not a solution we grunts can push up.

    - Stop rewarding the best of the worst. It's painfully obvious at the local level when someone is called out as a "rockstar" due to self-promotion and high visibility rather than their actual contributions to the team or project. Incentivizing short term individual goals has been a very successful way to focus people on elevating their own efforts at the expense of their team and the product.

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

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    6 people found this helpful  

    No growth

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsGreat CEO. Great Management Team. Diluted value as you go down the hierarchy. Below the executive management, everyone else sucks big time!

    ConsMore poaching from companies like eBay, Google and other small players in and around the bay area. This has only polluted the internal environment. Serious empire building, everyone who has poor management style but extreme groupism. No two groups even know each other anymore. Very unhealthy chemistry. Unless you know people before joining don't expect to have fun. It's a frat party.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEnsure you provide some management training to the ones below you. They have a long way to go to emulate you.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    11 people found this helpful  

    Great place for some; Horrible place for others

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    Pros- Meritocracy: quarterly reviews of employees for additional bonuses, stocks, salary increase, or promotion
    - Free breakfast, lunch, dinner
    - Free wellness programs (haircuts, 15 minute massages, 15 minute reflexology, 45 minute acupuncture)
    - Free gym membership
    - Free swag (for a game launch or a company's success)
    - Great for your resume
    - Great for those who are already influential at the company
    - Great for those who want a "start-up" environment at an established company
    - Company is mentioned on the news everyday (literally)
    - Some of your work will affect millions of people everyday
    - Metrics-Driven: Prove that you work drives the product
    - Dogs are welcome to the office and therapeutic

    Cons- Unsustainable work-life balance (generally 60-80 hours depending on the team and some weekends and holidays required)
    - Unpredictable deadlines and strategies
    - Low performers will be pushed out of the company
    - Quarterly reviews can be very political (don't ever get any of your managers on your bad side and don't let your own coworkers paint a bad picture of you)
    - Some managers have made unethical and immoral decisions in the expense of the employees

    Advice to Senior Management- Improve work and life balance (preferably down to 40-50 hours a week)
    - Avoid the obvious feeling of "fast-follow" of other games
    - Introduce new game mechanics instead of a "copy" from another game
    - Emphasize more of "Is this game fun?" instead of "how much money did this game bring?"
    - Increase knowledge sharing among all teams to increase efficiency

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Zynga reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Zynga CEO Don Mattrick. All 325 reviews posted anonymously by Zynga employees.