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CouchSurfing Reviews

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25 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "The best job I've ever had"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    -From the beginning I have felt empowered to expand my role, take on more responsibility, and challenge myself.
    -Upper management has been nothing but transparent with me since I started. Yes they expect a high level of performance and yes they fire people who underperform. This is because they are building a company where you are surrounded by the best employees in the city. Every team member should be astounding.
    -Culture is at the forefront of upper management's mind. There are weekly activities from volleyball league, to offsite happy hours. The meals, as pretty much everyone here has mentioned, are incredible. Free lunch and dinner by a stellar chef? Yes please. Cooking for palio, vegetarian, vegan, picky diets? You bet.
    -We are working towards something meaningful and inspired. The old website was clunky and problematic. We are building a new one that will make Couchsurfing easier and more fulfilling, whilst opening it up to a whole new audience.
    -Great equipment, and facilites. They make sure you have everything you need.
    -The people here truly care about one another. My best friends work here beside me, and I feel like I have finally found my home. I wake up excited to come here everyday.

    Cons

    -The office needs more bathrooms. There is always a line and it is annoying
    -The heating and cooling is a little wonky. Upstairs area is a sauna.
    -You have to be careful not to spend too much time here!

    Advice to Management

    Getting fired is hard. Many of the reviews here are from people who have felt the sting of a recent layoff from a company they poured their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into. But their opinions do not truly describe what its like to work here now.

    My advice to management is keep doing what you are doing. Remember that everyone who is here now, wants to be. In all that entails. Keep treating us with the respect we have come to expect.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "The biggest 180 I have ever witnessed a company take"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    - The people you work closely with on a day to day basis are phenomenal. They are fun, they feel like family, and most everybody is bursting at the seams with talent.

    - The free lunches and dinners you share with your coworkers are better than anything you could possibly get at a nearby restaurant. The main chef is extremely talented and tries very hard to meet the wildly varying dietary restrictions of the employees.

    - The office space is *incredible*. Very open and cozy, very anti-cube, completely lit by the sun through the skylights during the day. It's a fantastic building, and has been seriously decked out to be a wonderful place to spend your working days.

    Cons

    - I can not even begin to stress these three words enough: *Culture Of Fear!* Senior management actually uses the phrase, "If you are not excellent, you will be fired" in the *new hire orientation!* ...I can't make this stuff up, folks.

    - They have fired *many* talented individuals with little to no notice in recent months. Almost all of the people fired have been the "old-timers" who had a very strong and passionate love for what Couchsurfing has historically stood for and meant to its community members.. which is far from a coincidence.

    - Senior Management claims that the grass roots, "meaningful connections" culture that CS was founded on is still the vision, but it feels as genuine as record company executives claiming that they're in it for the art. There appears to be no interest in the community as a collection of individuals who have shared amazing experiences through this service - instead the loyal community is viewed as data points for future monetization, and really nothing more. It would be foolish to think that a company would never have financial interest in mind, but it is a sad day when Couchsurfing has also lost its heart.

    - There used to be cork bulletin boards on the walls, with countless postcards from members thanking Couchsurfing for changing their lives and being a positive part of their experiences.

    All been taken down.

    There used to be art on the walls, and posters which inspired you to "live your dream, and share your passion."

    All been taken down.

    *Why* make such a bold and drastic statement? It speaks volumes to the fact that management isn't even *pretending* to the employees that they care about the culture anymore. It's worse than apathy, it's rubbing it in our faces.

    Advice to Management

    -- Don't remove the art and inspiration from the walls. It shows your true colors.

    -- Listen to your community. They know what made Couchsurfing special, and you clearly do not.

    -- Stop firing talented people who actually care about Couchsurfing. They will add more value in the members' eyes than all the trendy Rails development in the world could ever dream about.

    -- Couchsurfing can have a heart without jeopardizing your equity value. If you TRULY do your best to keep Couchsurfing's soul alive, the value (both monetary and otherwise) of the company will soar higher than you could ever imagine.


  3. Helpful (10)

    "On your toes"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Programmer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Programmer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    If you want to learn to change directions at the the bounce of a ping pong ball, catering to whims and about faces and general directionlessness, fixing what you broke yesterday by tearing it down tomorrow, CS is the perfect place for you. Adaptable people who can pretend to be working, offering fake contributions while praising today's fad and criticizing it tomorrow once "management" has decided to flip the coin again, will be mush appreciated.

    Cons

    What's to complain about? Now that the old staff has been tossed in the gutter, the cream of indecisiveness has taken the helm. They are so decisive they can go left and right at the same time, while falling backwards. It's a bit tiresome pretending to be an idiot, and while the food is free, it's a bit monotone.

    Advice to Management

    Change management.


  4. Helpful (19)

    "Management is cold & clueless. The food is good."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time

    Pros

    1) The office furniture is nice
    2) Ping-pong table
    3) The chef is a very good chef.
    4) Good health benefits to balance the stress and hostility from Management.
    5) Mediocre severance

    Cons

    1) Co-workers disappear from the office and you don't know until weeks later that they were not on vacation. This happens monthly!

    2) Company relies heavily on a media façade to spin the negative comments of the Community regarding the Corporate take-over of the company and the deletion of website features.

    3) Product & Management has background in games and doesn't understand the CouchSurfing community or why the product (which they inherit) was successful in the past. This leads to poor design decisions, wasted engineering hours, and lots of last-minute pressure to deliver last-minute changes.

    4) "Unlimited vacation" is NOT good like it may sound. Unlimited vacation mean you only take vacation if your manager lets you (even if you earned the vacation). State of California requires employer to pay you untaken vacation hours when you are terminated but unlimited vacation avoids this because you do not earn any vacation hours. Basically it is a trick to avoid having to pay for unused vacation hours when they fire you.

    Note: They are writing 5-star reviews on Glassdoor to balance out the negative reviews. Read the positive and negative ones and make decision yourself. It is the media propaganda game like all the internet is! My recommendation: Don't work too hard, don't work overtime, and be prepared for termination regardless of how good your performance is.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with respect. Don't rely on media to pretend that you are a respectful & cultural company. You clearly doesn't care about employees or about the people in the Community. Don't see the Community and your employees as data points.

    Also, Stop lying.

    In another review a person wrote "Couchsurfing has (finally) completed planned lay-offs of low-performing staff" which is just trying to create a scapegoat for the management's poor performance and mistakes. For example, the latest website updates which took much longer than anticipated, and look & perform poorly.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Best decision I ever made"

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

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

    Pros

    ...was coming to work for Couchsurfing.
    The people Couchsurfing attracts are dedicated, intelligent, optimistic, hard-working, professionals who want to change the world for the better, and have a positive outlook reflective of that desire.
    This means that people here are aligned in our mission to facilitate people all over the world to connect in meaningful ways, by creating the best tool possible for doing so.
    Open, frank communication is the norm among the staff, including upper management.
    We all know each other, and eat meals together every day.
    Management creates opportunities for learning and growing into new positions for those with aptitude and drive. They are clear with staff about deliverables and job performance expectations, and make every effort to facilitate us reaching our goals.
    We work collaboratively. I feel my experience and input here is valued.
    It is fun! People here laugh a lot, and care a great deal about what we do, and who is affected by it.

    Cons

    The transition from the Couchsurfing of yesteryear to what Couchsurfing is now has been intense. Having been through several iterations of this organization's business structures, I can say that, as difficult as the staff, site, and communication changes have been, this organization, and the community that is persevering, is going to be better off for the changes, Dramatically so.
    However, in this crucial period, the multiple challenges of supporting our members in their endeavors, creating the most amazing site possible for them, maintaining our dedication to the safest and healthiest community of sharing individuals, and communicating about all of these things effectively is a real challenge. Exciting and daunting every day.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing: reaching out to individual members with experience who believe in what we're doing and take their advice, being diligent in taking the global perspective and considering all of the factors when making decisions, working collaboratively with your whole staff.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "An inspiring place to work"

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

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

    Pros

    Before I even started working for Couchsurfing, it was the reason I got up in the morning! The Couchsurfing community has been part of my life for years and working for the company now is better than I could have ever imagined. Every single staff member is brilliant, fun and passionate about what we do. Being around people like that every day not only makes your job more fun, but pushes you to do better.

    We're given every single resource would could possibly need to do our jobs to the best of our ability. We're encouraged to think outside the box, ask questions and management is incredibly transparent. As an employee you feel valued and encouraged.

    Cons

    It's hard work! And because of the changes happening to the website, not everyone knows the answer to everything. There is no set path and decisions are changed daily. This definitely keeps us on our toes, though it's really only a con when you're tired.

    The split between the old community and new community is always a tricky one. Some days it can be hard to do your job when you're being pushed from all ends.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on keepin' on. Keep infusing the original spirt and mission of Couchsurfing alive every day. That's what reminds us why we do what we do.


  7. Helpful (19)

    "Hire and fire"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mobile Applications Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Mobile Applications Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    The couches in our giant sky-lit office in San Francisco are comfy.
    Top-of-the-line medical, dental, and vision. 100% company-sponsored for employees. 50% for spouses and dependents.
    Extra time off to surf on members’ couches and experience Couchsurfing firsthand. Travel expenses.
    Equity stake in a start-up that’s already had eight years of success as a former non-profit. And a salary that rewards my creativity.
    Free healthy lunch, dinner, and snacks. Friday happy hour. Caffeine on tap. Safe parking for bicycles. Weekly ping pong turnaments. No dress code.

    Cons

    There's no strategy and no vision. A lot of stress and panic lately, resulting in last minute cancellations. If they don't fire me soon, like most of the people who worked here when I started, I'll have to quit before I go crazy or get an ulcer.

    Advice to Management

    Start telling the truth and listen to our customers.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "A different world — now in turbo mode"

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

    Pros

    You get stuff done. A LOT of stuff.
    Extremely results-oriented; what matters is what you accomplish.
    Politics is at an absolute minimum, or maybe even zero.
    Incredibly low-drama team.
    Eyes are all on the ball…everybody's aligned towards a common goal — of building an amazing Couchsurfing.
    People get fired. It's weird to say this as a "pro", but every company ends up hiring people who don't really fit. In the long run, it's far better for them to end up leaving than to have dead wood all over the place.
    Everybody who's there absolutely, genuinely believes in Couchsurfing. It's more than just a job. It's about what Couchsurfing is and what that can bring to people around the world, not about making money.

    Cons

    People absolutely get fired. Not arbitrarily; it's uniformly either for lack of skills or because the way they work is ineffective for the organization, but it definitely happens. (See this under "pro", above, too.)
    The culture has changed absolutely enormously over the past few years. It's gone from a community that was amazing to be a part of for personal connections and for the sheer fun (travel around the world, with your friends, having fun!) to a company that's amazing to be a part of because it gets stuff done — and there are still lots of amazing people there.
    That transition was extremely painful to some, and some took it deeply, deeply personally. But it's an inevitable fact in the transition from a travel-around-the-world commune that happened to also run a website to a high-speed startup mentality.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Empowered and encouraged to be creative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Couchsurfing is a small startup with a very passionate userbase that have had life changing experiences through Couchsurfing. The company is currently totally redeveloping the entire website, along with its mobile apps, giving employees a unique opportunity to solve complex problems while having the freedom of creating new solutions.

    All of the teams and employees are empowered to come up with solutions, with management acting as good mentors and guides. I've found all of the management very easy to talk to, and always open for feedback.

    My favorite part about working at Couchsurfing is seeing the company working on new and better technology to solve problems the community has been dealing with for many years. I'm excited for the world to see a modern Couchsurfing service that makes it easier for members to have amazing experiences.

    Cons

    In contrast to most startups, Couchsurfing has been around for nearly 10 years. During this time, the website became quite outdated and dysfunctional, and the community's relationship with the company started to sour. The current Couchsurfing staff are remaking the entire website, while also rebuilding and repairing relationships with some of the long-time members.

    Advice to Management

    Push hard, stay focused, and keep the vision of a better Couchsurfing in the minds of everyone


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Dynamic, performance-based workplace that's finally gaining momentum"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Team Leader in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Product Team Leader in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Couchsurfing has (finally) completed planned lay-offs of low-performing staff and is now picking up a huge amount of momentum. The company is moving at the speed of other consumer internet startups: using Agile-ish processes to iterate quickly against clear, high level strategy from an experienced, intelligent, well-liked, and well-respected leadership team.

    I'm an experienced, choosy product leader and I could get a similar job at many well-known consumer internet startups. But, like I said, I'm choosy. I wanted to work with an experienced management team in part because I'm tired of working for young men with no experience and a lot of entitlement.

    I've never worked with a leadership team that I liked or respected more than the current leadership of Couchsurfing. The engineers are curious, skilled, flexible, and happy. The community team is also fantastic; walking that very difficult line between tactical and strategic communication with a well-established userbase.

    The pay, perks, benefits and culture are awesome. I've spent many super fun nights out with my coworkers, who are now some of my closest friends. I'm honored to work with these people every day working to connect people across the world.

    Cons

    There's a ton of work to do to repair the relationship between the company and the community of Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing (the company) has a history a poorly thought-out products and mismanaged communications when it was run by the (recently laid off) original staff. If you work at Couchsurfing you'll spend quite a bit of time dealing with the legacy product, which for experienced product designers and developers can be a nightmare.

    Advice to Management

    Keep moving.


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