Dwell LLC Reviews | Glassdoor

Dwell LLC Reviews

Updated May 22, 2017
34 reviews

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2.4
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Lara Deam
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34 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Love the brand, not the workplace"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Dwell LLC full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    compelling brand, design forward, native bay area independent publisher, (mostly) female executive staff, tries new tactics

    Cons

    invests time and effort in ill-conceived people/ideas with little to no resources, creating substandard products and campaigns. failure to maintain long lasting business partnerships due to constantly changing staff, poor performance, and blatant disregard of industry standards. Company culture suffered due to multiple layoffs and ineffective communication style from senior management.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Good brand goes bad."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Dwell LLC (More than a year)

    Pros

    Dwell is a storied brand with a loyal fanbase. The magazine is well regarded by design professionals of all disciplines and has a strong editorial voice. Dwell's brand recognition has attracted a lot of super friendly, dedicated and supremely talented individuals.

    Cons

    There are many apt metaphors used on previous reviews which describe the dysfunction of Dwell. In my opinion though, Dwell could be summarized as Season 3 of HBO's "Silicon Valley". SPOILER ALERT: That's the season where the main characters launch a new product after a suspect beta period, and end up resorting to faking their user data because of poor performance.

    To be fair, products launch and fail all the time - so why would Dwell be any exception? One would think that after surviving 15 years in the publishing/media industry, and having enjoyed success over multiple platforms, management would have some idea of how to run a business. SPOILER ALERT: They don't.

    A quick google search of, "how to run a media company" is probably a google search that management can't make soon enough. But here are some pitfalls:

    1. The company has no clear vision, realistic objectives, or executable strategy. I think Dwell wants to be an authority on modern design? But who actually knows! Because this company operates similar to a Ponzi scheme it's all flash-in-the-pan scams which offer no value to the brand, the vendors or users.

    2. There is NO transparency. None. Trying to procure any insight or direction into the business is like drawing blood from a stone. Simple questions like, "what are our XYZ stats?" will either be completely ignored or better yet, treated suspiciously. Management likes to boast about an open door policy of communication and feedback. Don't be fooled, it's a trap.

    3. Fundamental lack of competent leadership. This is some real bottom-of-the-barrel talent. And this problem is two-fold: we have people with no actual knowledge, skills or qualifications in leadership positions, and conversely people with skills who don't know how to lead.

    4. Dwell actively cultivates a toxic work environment - like it's a point of pride. There's the nepotistic hires at the expense of other employees. The flagrant favoritism of a select group which is routinely rubbed in everyone's face. The casual bullying and open trash-talking about other workers (led by management mind you). Management live by "the beatings will continue till morale improves" mentality. While these factors contribute to a high turnover rate it's worth mentioning:

    5. No matter what you do, you'll probably just get fired anyway. Whenever Dwell runs out of investor money they go with good ol’ Plan B and fire everyone. Like the time they fired a third of their staff in November 2016. Right before the holidays.

    Advice to Management

    Back to basics: stop seeing employees as nothing more than a headcount, spend the time and properly formulate a rock-solid business plan, and stay true to your design roots. Don't let a bunch of morons who finally figured out what an Eames® Lounge is ruin this beloved design brand.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Incredible Brand, Horrific Company"

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

    I worked at Dwell LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some of the most talented, creative and truly innovative minds in the industry passed through Dwell's doors. A brand that is carried almost entirely by its editorial, marketing and design teams and the efforts of lone individuals who have developed uniquely evolved methods for surviving and navigating a noxious environment through entrepreneurial thinking and diversion tactics. Were it not for a dedicated few, determined to champion the brand (often in spite of executive management), Dwell would cease to exist.

    Also, while the interior of the office at that time seemed straight out of cult cinematic classic "Office Space" (shocking to myself and others, who expected more from a brand that touted itself as the "authority in modern design") it was in a convenient location.

    Cons

    I have never encountered such a mercurial workplace in the entirety of my career. Though outright transparency from management in terms of financial outlook, strategic forecast or even simple tactical operations was nonexistent, the true instability of the company was clearly demonstrated at all levels. From the inability to compensate vendors after work had been completed to the unpredictable manner in which internal initiatives would be pressed and then abandoned, to the revolving door of investors and "consultants" who more often than not disappear into the ether. (It often seemed that these individuals were influenced highly by management's inability to accept obvious truths about the critical nature of the company's future (financial or otherwise) or acknowledge any faults in operational management whatsoever.)

    Through the quarterly bloodlettings of essential personnel and spiraling internal culture that seemed driven entirely by fear, the most alarming, and yet, pervasive tenet of Dwell's operational program was the obvious, intentional chasm between that week's executive team, and the beating hearts that were determined to keep the brand alive. It was made clear that while "questions are encouraged" any that concerned operational inefficiencies, financial concerns or strategic development would be held against the questioning party in future (often unrelated) encounters or, worse, summarily dismissed.

    In what became a recurring comedic shtick for "the underlings" I witnessed colleagues who had been with the company for months be introduced and re-introduced to executive management, who hadn't bothered to remember their FACES let alone their names. Mind you, this is an office of less than 40 people.

    As mentioned in other reviews, should staff be inexplicably "let go" or, god forbid, leave on her own terms, it would often be up to a bounce-back email returned to sender to announce the departure.

    All in all, an excellent learning experience in what not to do as a company.


  4. Helpful (9)

    "beware of moca"

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

    I worked at Dwell LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    great brand and I heard at one time it was a great place to work, and had has always had a great group of people doing the core work of the magazine.

    Cons

    apparently over the past few years it has just been lay off after lay off after lay off. the leader, moca has never been able to get over her own ego and lead effectively, and has eliminated anyone that didn't agree with her vision, which her vision has always resulted in disaster.

    Advice to Management

    change of leadership and a true support for the creative & support staff. it takes a lot more people to put together a truly great product other than moca.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Sales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Dwell LLC (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The word NO does not exist. We are challenged every day to find a workaround.

    We are encouraged to break the mold and think outside the box!

    Cons

    We work veryong hours, at times.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great Team!"

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

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

    Pros

    A wonderful, talented and brilliant group of people. A great team to be a part of with so much room to grow. Highly recommend!

    Cons

    About to be a part of something big!


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Brand Director"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Brand Director in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Brand Director in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Dwell LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits overall. 401K , full medical, dental, flex pay, bonus, and commission plus vacation .

    Cons

    Lacks structure .Mixed messages . No training program. Unpredictable with constant change within the organization .

    Advice to Management

    Change in leadership is needed. Top management is not respected internally or externally . Top Management should be reorganized in order to survive .

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Dwell's Team is Expanding"

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

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

    Pros

    Dwell is building a brand new product and team. Many of the new team members have worked at 4 or 5 companies together in the past. We're stoked to take our experiences from Beats Music, Apple, Yahoo, Cnet and Whiskey Media and apply it to Dwell.

    Fast paced, new digital team, launching a product soon.

    Cons

    We don't get free Herman Miller Lounge Chairs.


  9. Helpful (12)

    "Toxic Work Environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Dwell LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It was a great brand for my resume, and I liked the people that I worked with.

    Cons

    Notice that a lot of the positive reviews for this company are from people who have worked for Dwell for less than a year. People who have worked for years at the company have a very different feeling, because they've gone through such upheaval. Very few of the people I worked with at Dwell remain working for the company, and those that are still there feel under appreciated, stressed out, and cast aside for the new hires, who management is trying to focus on to create a better community. Treating the existing community and making them feel terrible, despite them sticking by you through everything? Not a great approach. I heard from two sources at the company that employees have been asked to positively review the company to boost the company rating. That isn't the right strategy. Treat people well. Respect your people.

    Advice to Management

    Abdicate? I think the CEO is possibly a nice person, but definitely a terrible leader. Some of the moves that have been made under her direction are hard to fathom. She and the founder, along with other upper management, are looking for targeted results without a solid understanding of how the business operates. Their solutions to keep hiring and firing have not proven effective whatsoever. People don't know what is going on. It's a mess. The CEO claims she has an open door policy and wants feedback. Actually follow through with that, and truly listen to what people are saying, not what you want to hear. Then, work on improving after receiving input from the people working, not upper managers who aren't in the weeds, and not external advisors. Hear it from the people working 60+ hours per week who are struggling.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "A Great Opportunity"

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

    I worked at Dwell LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Dwell is the kind of place where ambition, drive and intelligence flourish. Like any modern media company it is constantly changing (a good thing!) which, for the right employees, offers the ideal opportunity to continue to learn and grow. Management fully endorses any employee that wants to try something new, take ownership of something outside of his or her job description and contribute to the brand as a whole (rather than silo'ing off departments and platforms). This was huge for me and I learned SO MUCH because of it.

    I had a great experience at Dwell; I held a senior management role and always felt supported by my C-suite managers. I also had a stellar team of direct-reports who saw not only the value of the brand but its potential for growth.

    This is an incredible brand which has built up a reputable name for itself over the past 15 years and its community of followers is one of the most devout I've ever seen for a content-publisher. It's really incredible how they have created such strong brand presence and affinity. This really helped fuel my passion and drive while I was there.

    I am hugely optimistic about the future of Dwell. It has a great grasp of how it must (and will) evolve as a modern media company and I have faith that it will continue to move forward with success.

    Cons

    I don't entirely think this is a con but it's honest: You have to want to work for this brand. You have to want to contribute and embrace change as an opportunity for yourself. Passive employees -- those who want line item job descriptions with a set of tasks to check off a list -- are just not a good fit at Dwell.

    Advice to Management

    Always maintain clear lines of communication and always keep the brand's legacy in mind but never let it stand in the way.


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