Fluid Reviews | Glassdoor

Fluid Reviews

Updated December 2, 2016
53 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.2
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Vanessa Cartwright
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53 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Relaxed atmosphere with good work/life balance, and many engineers work from home (in 5 reviews)

  • I've learnt a lot and met great people who gave me a lot either professionally and personally (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Small company means less resources and some inconsistent or undocumented processes (such as onboarding) (in 4 reviews)

  • Clients can really be hit or miss (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great People, awesome process"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    People are very supportive and the team is really a team: roles are well defined and that allows you to do your job and to contribute at your best. At the same time, you can expand your boundaries and skills and contribute to the project at 360°. They pay well, give you good benefits (at least for a contract) and you get a lot of flexibility. I've learnt a lot and met great people who gave me a lot either professionally and personally.
    Quality of the projects is very high.

    Cons

    I'd get better with the hiring process especially when it comes to the transition between contract to full time.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing the amazing work :)


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Sr. Project Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Fluid full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked there for 7 years. Hands down it is the people. The people, the people, the people. An amazingly talented, intelligent, kind and fun group of individuals that I felt lucky to work with on a daily basis. That being said, I also worked with wonderful high-end clients and on a very diverse set of projects. I learned excellent skills here that makes me now feel confident when headed into any interview. I felt like I could make a mistake in this environment and could learn from it instead of being punished for it.

    Cons

    The company has grown a lot since I started there, and unfortunately I'm not sure that this is a good thing. The leadership also seems to be missing. The direction of the company is often unclear and ever changing, and transparency is more of an illusion.

    Advice to Management

    Get unified on your vision, find a way to clearly communicate it, and the rest will follow.

    I often found that my obstacles to a project came from management/poor process versus the clients. Teams need to be supported in order to do their best and to feel inspired. Find a way to help remove the obstacles, not place them.


  3. Helpful (9)

    "Going nowhere, fast!"

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

    Pros

    The individual contributors and mid-level managers (in Oakland) are generally great people and do good work. Lots of good lunch spots near the office and its close to BART.

    Cons

    The founders and board are completely clueless. They received an initial $24m from investors in 2012 and have nothing to show for it. Large customers churn and they are not replaced by new subscriptions. Meanwhile, at company meetings, we get shown complex charts that only serve to obfuscate the fact that the company is not doing well.

    Great people eventually leave or get laid off, because there is no future for them at Fluid. At one point, the company culture was decent, but they decided to move the office to Oakland and split the company into 4 wings across two floors and it fell apart. It took the extra effort of the employees to make the office not feel like an abandoned parking garage.

    Advice to Management

    1. The hybrid model of agency and product has failed. Do some soul searching and figure out if you want to be an agency or a software company. You cannot be both.

    2. Get better at delivering bad news. I could tell when things weren't going well based on the frequency of the monthly company meeting. If the company was having a good quarter, the meeting would happen. Otherwise it would get rescheduled and pushed back several times, or there would be layoffs. I didn't hear a single negative thing in a monthly meeting, and I saw three separate rounds of layoffs in 18 months.

    3. Get serious about your company. You rarely make appearances at company events and rarely come down from the fourth floor and talk to people. I get the sense that you don't really know or care about the people you employ.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Great people, poor management"

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

    I have been working at Fluid full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The culture and people are fantastic. Lot of freedom to think outside the box.

    Cons

    The management does not understand how the core products work and sell something that does not exist. Good news is passed on asap, but not the bad one.

    Advice to Management

    Keep your employees informed as to what is happening in the business. Stop running the company as one big agency.


  6. "Great company, great team, great products"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Independent Contractor in Mill Valley, CA
    Former Employee - Independent Contractor in Mill Valley, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The culture at Fluid is very respectful and warm. The products are really fun to work on and they are experts in enhancing the digital shopping experience.

    Cons

    It's a small company so everyone is very busy all the time. Fluid is very accommodating and flexible in regards to telecommuting. This makes up for

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great company culture"

    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

    I have been working at Fluid full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    great company culture, smart and fun people

    Cons

    Management can be hands off


  8. "Challenging work, great people!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Quality Assurance Engineer in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - Software Quality Assurance Engineer in Oakland, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Great culture, ambitious strategy and very flexible environment to work in!
    The atmosphere in the office is friendly, fun, and professional. Fluid has a talented and dedicated management, support is always available! 100% self motivating work environment.

    Cons

    You have to be self motivated. No one will hold your hand and tell you that you’re doing great job. If you need constant affirmations from management, this company isn’t for you.

    Advice to Management

    More on-boarding training before new employees are thrown in the fire. The first couple of weeks can be very confusing on where to find the information you need.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Excellent Teams and Product, But the Hybrid Agency/SaaS Experiment Has Failed"

    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 Fluid full-time

    Pros

    Tight-knit yet welcoming teams that work well amongst themselves. You will make friends here.

    Nice office downtown, close to transit. You can bring in your dog if it's well-behaved, or vicariously own other's dogs.

    Lots of room for learning and growth. You can come in as a junior/entry-level position and grow into a senior role if you do good work. There are some really good mentors.

    More focus or work/life balance compared to other startup-ey companies, but some teams do have occasional crunch times. Most people leave the office at 5.

    Very remote-work and work-from-home friendly -- Fluid has had full-time remote employees for over a decade -- but you may also find that sometimes that no one you're working with is in the office.

    Decent gender balance overall in the company, not quite 50%. There are many women in management/leadership positions. No toxic "brogrammer" archetypes -- they wouldn't last long. The founders are still 4 dudes in their 40's though.

    Decent standard benefits, but they're not going to do your laundry and cater every meal, so you can actually get out of the office and live your life. Probably the best benefit is the handful of completely discretionary "wellness" days you get per year, in addition to PTO.

    Fluid is really two companies duct-taped together, so I'm really only speaking from my experiences on the Product/SaaS team. The Agency/Services seems like a poor place to work from what I see. They tend to get high-profile clients, so you might be able to get some good portfolio pieces in before you burn out or get fed up with your managers after 12-18 months. But I guess that is par for any agency.

    Cons

    The founders have this half-baked notion of a hybrid Agency/SaaS company that doesn't actually work in practice.

    The worst artifact of this hybrid model is marketing/sales. While it may be possible to be good at selling both e-commerce services and enterprise software, those superhumans don't work for Fluid. Instead we have had a biz-dev team who is mediocre at both, and our sales are stagnant despite having a mature product that makes our customers millions.

    The cyclical boom/bust hit-or-miss ("zombie") agency business has eats into capital and resources the product business needs to develop and grow. The Agency and Product teams are often at odds with each other because they have to share space, revenue/investment, and sales/marketing attention.

    The two sides only really need to collaborate maybe 2% of the time, or give an idea here and there, the rest of the time there is active resentment.

    When the Agency Creative team does do UX work behind the scenes for Product, as soon as billable work comes along, the project gets put on hold indefinitely. It is frustrating and painful to see Fluid squander these opportunities to invest in itself, use its incredible UX experience, and actually have the two sides successfully collaborate over the long term -- it goes against the whole point of the hybrid model.

    Finance likes to get final sign-off on just about every expense, and can be a bit penny-wise/pound-foolish. This is incredibly problematic as Fluid grows -- one CFO can't approve every little thing. It also makes it hard to hire. You can be in the final rounds of negotiations with a candidate only to have the rug yanked out from underneath you, or lose the candidate to another company while you wait for final approval from the CEO.

    Advice to Management

    Sell the product business, or spin it off into a subsidiary. Keep your pet agency, and let people with SaaS experience run the product business. You already employ people who have experience successfully building and growing product companies -- listen to them more, empower them to call the shots. That is, if they are still around and haven't checked out. They've been right many times in the past when you have been wrong.

    It will be easier for the products to get investment as a separate business entity.

    At the very least, Stop Micromanaging. Give your teams budgets and delegate to the very intelligent and experienced people you hired.

    Take off the Account Manager/Sales hat when talking to employees. Most of us are smart enough and close enough to the front lines to know whenever you're blowing smoke. If there's bad news, being honest is better for morale than sugar-coating and being patronizing.

    You've invested millions into a now-mature product with no real competitors that enables its customers to make tons of money, yet that side of the business is struggling. You have another budding product with huge potential that can't find enough investment due to the baggage of the rest of the company. The burn-rate clock is ticking, and there's going to be a huge brain drain if those teams can't sustain themselves. The launch window is closing and the rocket is about to explode on the pad.

    --------

    Explanations for ratings:

    The CEO Kent is okay at high-level vision, and is bad at talking to employees and actual execution. He'd be better in sales, or purely on the board.

    I'd only recommend working for Fluid if it fixes some of its problems, or you're being hired to help fix them.


  10. "Work hard, play hard"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer
    Current Employee - Software Engineer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smart people. Data-driven design. Relaxed atmosphere with good work/life balance, and many engineers work from home. There's opportunity to grow here; I've seen several engineers receive promotions in the last 6 months, including myself.

    My manager listens to my concerns and acts on them. When I said I didn't want to travel often, he made it happen.

    Fluid's Bay Area, but it's not a startup; it's been in business 18 years, so I saw it as a less risky career move.

    So far I am very happy here.

    Cons

    Small company means less resources and some inconsistent or undocumented processes (such as onboarding). Project work can get hectic, but when is that not true? We're software engineers.

    Advice to Management

    Some on the agency side feel that management is focused on product. Some on the product side seem to feel that management is focused on agency. Providing a clear message and strategy of how these facets can work together will go a long way to making more campers happy.


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Not sure i want to stay here any longer"

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

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

    Pros

    The great number of clients and brands that we have are incredible. The talent in the designers and the uxers are awe inspiring.

    Cons

    This is a complex question given that there a number of talented people at the design, and ux level. But there is zero accountability and will at the PM level and at the account level. It has been an up and down few years at Fluid for me in sales. Ideally i would be put in charge not just of the prime accounts at a national level, but also managing director of the at least the NY office.

    Advice to Management

    I have given it some thought and i believe that the best thing todo would be to put all the PMs and Account through some kind of training retreat. Show them that since they are not support us in Sales we are floundering in our pipeline. I no longer see an exciting position here at Fluid. I have been as of late looking and i am finding better opportunities and everyone should come with me.



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