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Blurb Reviews

Updated 2 May 2019

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3.2
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
54%
Recommend to a Friend
44%
Approve of CEO
Blurb CEO Rix Kramlich
Rix Kramlich
9 Ratings
Pros
  • "The work life balance is amazing and almost unheard of in this area(in 15 reviews)

  • "Free lunch once a week really brings people together(in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • "There is a lot of movement in upper management, which is to be expected, but some of the bigger transitions blindsided employees(in 6 reviews)

  • "The code base isn't young, and with that comes tech debt, hybrid environment, and opex challenges(in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (2)

    "Up and coming"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Blurb full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    We produce a real product that people love, not many people in tech today can say that. We really like to work with each other, and culture fit is important part of how we recruit. The leadership team has a clear view of what it takes to improve company performance across all metrics. The company is extremely flexible, allowing its staff the freedom to work in different arrangements. Most of the managers in the... company were promoted from within.

    Show More

    Cons

    The organization is in state of change, and some decisions will be necessary but painful. The cost of prior poor decisions will still be felt for the near future, and most of those decisions were not explained to the company at large.

    Advice to Management

    Pay equal attention to the current mundane tasks of running the business, as well as the exciting new opportunities we're looking to explore. Foster a culture of accountability by acknowledging and discussing when we fall short and not just when we're successful. Invest more in your employees through training and education so everyone has the opportunity and support to be better at their job and help make Blurb... more successful.

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    Blurb2018-07-12
  2. Helpful (3)

    "Great culture, work life balance with an emphasis on the "life""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blurb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The employees and culture at Blurb has been nothing short of amazing. The people in my (former) team emphasized collaboration, keeping up with good practices in development, and maintaining a healthy workload. Pay and benefits were fair and standard for a bay area-based company, and the policy to work from home is very flexible. Talent is very much rewarded, and for the most part, everyone that I've worked with... was truly passionate about pushing the envelope to innovate the product.

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    Cons

    The emphasis on the "life" part comes at a cost however -- the pace of work can come to a crawl, and the push from upper management to address technical debts are very low on the backlog. While there is some awareness among the ICs that the software infra is due for modernization, Blurb is simply not a "tech-first" company, but rather a publishing company with online features.

    Blurb2019-05-02
  3. Helpful (7)

    "Sinking ship, get out while you can."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blurb full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Very flexible work/life balance. Generous work from home policy. Passionate coworkers. Mix of "lifers" with the company 8-12 years and newer wave of people hired within last 3 years. So tough to keep the culture balance, but overall everyone is fun and easy to get along with. Blurb customers are inherently creative and entrepreneurial, so it's a fun brand to support.

    Cons

    PROGRESS IS SLOW. This is the company's ultimate downfall and why the business is doing so poorly. Technology is out dated and can't keep a VP/CTO long enough to dig them out of their tech debt. Product changes are slow, far and few between. Company in general hasn't had a solid business plan in years and keeps changing course hoping for a get-rich-quick plan. At this point, they are laying off people like crazy and... bleeding cash. This place is a sinking ship.

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    Advice to Management

    The current CEO has driven the company into the ground. Sell off what you can and stop beating a dead horse. Give your employees a decent severance package to help them move on.

    Blurb2019-03-04
  4. Helpful (5)

    "Mediocre at best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blurb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    you can do very little and get away with it. Work life balance, heavy on the life.

    Cons

    ill run company with lots of people just collecting a paycheck with little input.

    Blurb2019-01-22
  5. Helpful (2)

    "Opportunity for Ownership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Blurb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Lots of opportunity for ownership. Where there's ownership there's deep learning. Blurb makes a stunning product, and it felt really good to be a part of that. There are some really good senior network eng's, SWE's, and devops eng's and learned a ton from each and every one of them. Everyone I worked with really wanted to do the right thing always. There are some really good technical managers who are also good with... people, a win-win there.

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    Cons

    The code base isn't young, and with that comes tech debt, hybrid environment, and opex challenges. These challenges are not insurmountable, but they exist. There are also a few entry level swe's so some time to get them ramped in and properly mentored is warranted.

    Blurb2018-11-12
  6. Helpful (15)

    "If you're a Sr. level person this is not the place for you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blurb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I'll give credit where credit is due. There were some pros working here. - I got to work from home. With that being said I don't think I would have survived as long as I did if I had to go into the SF office every day. - I got paid enough to live a lifestyle that most people in this country can only hope for. I'd be remiss in complaining about my pay. - There are some decent people at the company, less... now since people keep leaving. - An odd pro, but with the current exodus some of the worst employees have left as well. With that being said there's still plenty of bad employees left. - If you're a Jr. engineer you might learn something, if nothing else what not to do. - I liked the fact that we helped make a tangible object that people could buy. It wasn't just another app-fest like every other place in the valley.

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    Cons

    Sadly, there are so many cons to this place I could write a novella so I'll try to keep it succinct. - If you're a senior level person you will not be happy here. They will whisper sweet nothings like "SOA", "AWS", "subject matter expert", "root cause fixes", "build from scratch", "you tell us what you need and we'll help you make it happen", etc. to get you in but you'll do almost none of it. Most Sr. people... get put on the dumpster fire brigade to keep production to afloat. - The new shiny things are generally done by contractors not in this country. This place will not give you anything to help your career or put on your resume. - Along the same thread, the foreign contractors are treated better than actual employees. - As a Sr. level person, you'll be asked your opinion and for the most part be ignored. Or even worse they'll go with the opinion of someone who has no clue about running an infrastructure, how to architect and who quite frankly could be out coded by a 12 year old. At one point the Devops team had over 80 combined years of experience and the business would choose the plan of the aforementioned person over the group of people who've run infrastructures for billion dollar+ companies. - Communication in all aspects is abysmal. Inter-team communication is almost non-existent and management doesn't know how to talk to employees, let alone technical employees. Prime example, the way I found out about the future of my role wasn't in a 1:1 or an email, it was in an engineering all hands presentation. It's kind of like finding out you've been let go because you can't log into your company email anymore. Passive aggressive and ineffectual. - Management can't be trusted at their word. If you do decide to take a job here, get everything in writing so they can't back track on you and even then, they probably won't honor what they say. Prime example, I was told for 8 months (by C staff) that re-hiring a backup for my role was a company priority. In the aforementioned presentation and after 8 months of waiting I found out they have no plan to hire a backup and they took the posting off the web site. Basically, the only way for me not to be on-call, with peace of mind, was to quit. - Morale is non-existent here. The people who run this company have no clue that the poor morale issues are caused by them (at the top) and not their employees. Some employees work very hard to keep the company going and management continues to crap all over them. More about morale to come in the next section.

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    Advice to Management

    I wasn't going to leave a Glassdoor review. I wanted to leave quietly but the lack of tact that management has had in communicating to me about my role and my leaving in the last two weeks was irksome. The really sad part about Blurb is that it actually had the potential to be a great place to work but alas management couldn't get out of its own way. This place reminds me of the saying: "The beatings will... continue until morale improves." You have a major morale problem and it's all from you. You as leadership are supposed to set the tone for the company and create an environment where people want to work. Instead you create an environment of chaos, frustration and stress. You lack a vision people can buy into. You ask for your employees to have faith in your decisions except all your decisions have done is make morale worse. You ask employees to talk to you directly to help fix problems but you ignore what's important to them. Not helping morale. You lack focus on direction. This company changes direction all the time because you can't seem to plan more than a few months ahead of time. You can't keep asking people who are already overworked to continue to constantly context switch because you can't understand that the fundamental foundation of your tech stack is an utter mess or all your equipment is beyond EOL especially when you don't have (or keep) enough staff to fix things. No employee wants to continually fail. How many times have I watch my team fail over and over because of your decisions (or lack of them)? Too many to count. Sometimes you need to take a step back to go forward versus trying to trudge through an unfixable mess. Again not helping morale. When a Sr. Director devalues an employee(me) in an engineering meeting in front of his peers you think that helps morale? In this case the Sr. Director in question told an employee taking notes to not put my departure in the meeting notes that gets sent out to all of engineering. Mind you they put they put the departure of another employee in the notes, so I was specifically targeted. My departure date was two days from this meeting and no other announcement had been made about my departure. You think you're being sneaky/coy by hiding my departure from people but all that does is show your true colors and hurting morale. Management wants to think all their problems are technical, they aren't. The people who run this company fail at basic management and communication skills. Unless they change that nothing will change at this place. If people were happy you wouldn't have an exodus on your hands. When I saw this part of a Glassdoor review left by a current employee "leave and replace yourselves with much better management" I thought it was too harsh. But now I think this person didn't go far enough. The business should just lay off all it's employees and give them a fat severance they can live off of so they can find a new job. Keep the contractors onboard to keep things afloat and just sell off the company assets and call it a day.

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    Blurb2018-06-21
  7. Helpful (3)

    "Love my job and the people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Blurb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The work life balance is amazing and almost unheard of in this area. My team is very supportive of separating work / life and ensuring that I take the time I need to take care of myself. I see this reflected across the entire company as there are flexible WFH days and ease in taking some time to go to the doctor, etc. Although there are constantly things to improve or develop, it can be seen as an opportunity to... expand your job description and learn new things. There is a lot of freedom in implementing your own solutions within the company if you see an area that needs improvement and you have a solution in mind. My role has provided me with lots of opportunity for growth, as I have been able to take on extra responsibilities (that I see fit for my bandwidth and skillset), and it has not been overseen by upper management. There is also a sense of family around here. My team prioritizes our relationships with one another over petty work things. It is fun and enjoyable to come into work every day to work with these kinds of people.

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    Cons

    There is a lot of movement in upper management, which is to be expected, but some of the bigger transitions blindsided employees. I can't think of many cons except for the normal pains that you would expect from a small company with limited resources. There are "band aid" workflows that we have to work with, but again, I see it as an opportunity to develop areas that need help, in turn improving my career growth.

    Advice to Management

    Better communication or head's up of big changes would cause less commotion and speculation among employees.

    Blurb2018-05-02
  8. Helpful (1)

    "Promote from within"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Blurb full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Blurb creates an environment that enables employees to move up from within. If you work hard and take on responsibility outside of your job description, you will advance.

    Cons

    Limited engineering resources tie the hands of other departments, although steps are being taken to address this challenge.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to support the core business and internal needs while venturing into new growth opportunities.

    Blurb2018-05-06
  9. "Great product and amazing community"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Marketing Manager 
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Blurb

    Pros

    Blurb enables people to do amazing things. I think they really are the best at what they do. The company puts a high value on aesthetics. Also a lot of great people work there.

    Cons

    Goals and plans shift quickly. Upper management was often disconnected from employees. I saw a few too many bad managers get hired and then unceremoniously fired. Really dedicated employees were often let go.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on what customers want, not shiny objects.

    Blurb2018-01-26
  10. Helpful (5)

    "Staying Afloat"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Support Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Blurb full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Blurb is a self-publishing platform for artist, photographers, novelist and the likes. As a result, the customer base is creative and each product is different so each customer interaction is unique. The supported softwares are varied so things never get boring and the printed photo books can be quite beautiful. People are friendly, the office is comfortable and relaxed. Kitchen is well stocked with coffee, tea,... breakfast foods and yummy snacks. Free lunch once a week is the perfect amount in my opinion. Good benefits and fairly flexible WFH policy.

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    Cons

    There has been a good amount of overturn throughout the company, both voluntary and not voluntary. Compensation is on the lower side for the tech industry and when there are raises, it’s the absolute minimum. Company wide and team outings were cancelled last year because the company is trying so hard to be profitable. I understand wanting to save money but morale is suffering because of it. Unless you’re in a... leadership position, don’t expect anything to change overnight, you definitely have to pick your fights and accept the limitations.

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    Advice to Management

    Recognize talent, compensate appropriately and provide opportunities for career advancement. Invest in people, teams and culture.

    Blurb2018-01-30
Found 73 reviews