GuideSpark Reviews | Glassdoor

GuideSpark Reviews

Updated February 14, 2017
85 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.9
Star Star Star Star Star
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GuideSpark CEO Keith Kitani
Keith Kitani
69 Ratings

85 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Company is growing, adding more infrastructure and benefits (in 7 reviews)

  • They hire really great people and have your typical tech business perks (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • work / life balance is promoted but work is piled on so that it's hard to maintain the balance (in 8 reviews)

  • Peak work loads around open enrollment hard for content team (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Intern view of growing company"

    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
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of fun and great people

    Cons

    Low Pay for summer intern


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Stagant Growth"

    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

    I worked at GuideSpark full-time

    Pros

    Great coworkers
    New office
    Good people in middle management
    Benefits
    3 free lunches a month. 2 free lunches (from EatClub) + 1 end of the month
    They have a decent selection of snacks, nuts, fruits, chips, soda, and Cup-O-Noodles
    Beer in the fridge

    Cons

    Disdain towards upper management from employees
    Not transparent
    Low pay
    401K - they don’t match at all
    Customer retention rate has been dropping
    Still trying to find a market fit for their product

    Advice to Management

    Great place to gain some good experience and move onto better opportunities at other companies - as many have done.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Review before working here"

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

    I worked at GuideSpark (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Nice location in Redwood City
    -Coworkers are genuinely friendly and nice
    -A few talented employees
    -Learning experience by following the red flags within the company

    Cons

    -Too many offices for small startup (not really a startup/old school) of under 200 (SF/NY/Portland & Redwood City HQ)
    -Transparency should be heard and a not discounted by upper management, HR and team leaders
    -Many young managers promoted who have no work experience
    -Should have left earlier and went by my instincts

    Advice to Management

    -Scale back on all office and have (1) office Redwood City HQ) you’ll save $$$
    -Recommend HR to follow through with transparency and be mindful when terminating/laying off your employees instead of ALL in one room
    -Find another CEO/Executive staff who has the experience in running a small business and have 5 year business plan.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Anonymous"

    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
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at GuideSpark full-time

    Pros

    Snacks, 1 day WFH, unlimited PTOs, freedom of speech, open spaces, good facilities, great equipment

    Cons

    Poor Product Management, Vision and Mission (are just words in this company), no clear path to grow as a company

    Advice to Management

    Take better decisions, be transparent with employees, improve communication, define goals and have a clear plan to achieve them.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "A Rotting Company"

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

    I have been working at GuideSpark full-time

    Pros

    The pros pale so much in comparison the cons that it feels pointless to list them, but you can check other reviews to get a sense of what they are.

    Cons

    GuideSpark is a failing business. Over the past several years, it's gone from growing rapidly, to growing slowly, to now not growing at all. I won't be surprised if pretty soon revenue starts to decline.

    We're trying to go upmarket with solutions, when our product as is doesn't provide a lot of value for our customers. Our product management team is spreading itself into too many directions, while our sales team tries to bring $80k content packages to the market with little training that don't solve a real problem. Marketing provides zero air cover, even though the most important thing when you're "creating a market" is to educate that market and re-frame their thinking. I actually think Customer Success and Content have a pretty good grip, but too many of the deals we do win eventually get screwed up either in deployment or during refreshes from poor coordination between departments.

    I fully expect more layoffs soon, even though we just cut 50 or so people in November. Rightsizing the workforce is the only answer if we're not growing and need to become profitable.

    The worst part is management doesn't seem to have a clue, I've seen zero indication that they understand the real problems. They just try to sell GuideSpark's rocketship potential to an increasingly nervous workforce.

    Advice to Management

    Your transparency initiative is a total joke. You might think employees buy it, but they either have their head in the sand or they pretend to. Keith, your goal for the year is "one GuideSpark, one mission"? I'm sure that's what you tell the directors at board meetings.

    Lay more people off now if you have to, then place a much tighter focus on fewer things. Determine what the most important things are and communicate them relentlessly. That's how you get employees to pull in the same direction, not by pushing them koolaid while they nod their head and think about their next career move.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Excellent late-stage startup"

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

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

    Pros

    GuideSpark went through a tough layoff recently, and it's understandable that those affected would express negative feelings. Unlike some, I've been through this situation many times before, both at established companies and at various stages of startups. Aside from the psychic wound (which is real, and hurts), the story from a late-stage startup's perspective is: we over-hired, the revenue sources changed direction, and we either need to make tough choices right now or face a very real risk of going under. So that's what GuideSpark did, and it was the right choice, albeit painful.

    The pro's:
    * GuideSpark is investing for future growth, and working hard to focus on technology that will provide real SAAS opportunities as a creative communications company, rather than continuing its early path as a provider of creative info videos. The info video business is fun, but so labor-intensive that there's a serious cap on growth. Technology can extend this growth significantly, while still providing a creative outlet.
    * The people are great. Terrific range of ages and experience levels, social, really good diversity (for *any* company as far as I've seen, and especially for a Bay Area tech company). Lots of passionate, smart, creative people.
    * A company benefits culture that's modeled after more forward-thinking companies (with allowances for the ~200 person late-stage startup size of company). Very good healthcare choices, flexible work environment and hours, not a lot of silly rules, good food benefits (especially during the busy Open Enrollments season), good and evolving vacation policy (basically: just take what you need within reason. Nothing accrues or debits).
    * Reasonably tight management structure, with very accessible execs. Only the CEO has an office (and Keith's door is usually open).
    * Pretty quiet environment (except near the sales team!), despite the open floor plan and open desk environment. The open desk thing is such a standard Bay Area deal that it's hard to complain, but even in the engineering area it's pretty quiet and people wear headphones when they need to.
    * The Redwood City campus is the most beautiful place I've ever worked. It's right by the Bay, on a fantastic (if a bit remote) campus with other companies, a good cafeteria, and a really great gym (which ends up being something like $15/month after company subsidy). This has been a GREAT perk, which I wouldn't have guessed beforehand. I love driving into and out of the office, and walking around on nice weather days. Places to eat right by the water. It's really nice.
    * Company tries to be pretty open and transparent, especially now after the layoff.
    * Company has a vision for growth, and the technical chops to get there. Time will tell, but I'm positive, and I'm enjoying my time at GuideSpark either way.

    Cons

    * Pay can be low for artists and writers. But that being said, video designers, artists and writers are low-pay professions. GuideSpark can be a great learning environment, and if the newer folks need to earn some chops and then leave for greener pastures, so be it.
    * The future is uncertain. But that's true everywhere.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the open communication, Keith! I hope other execs will be likewise as transparent.


  8. Helpful (13)

    "My 5 years here are worth 15 at any other company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Design in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Design in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at GuideSpark full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    • People: I think the best thing about GuideSpark is the people. They truly make you enjoy coming to work. I moved to the Portland office, and the vibe is like a start-up. The people are very hard working, but still laid back and like a family. They are the most humble and non-judgmental group I’ve ever met. And they’re funny as hell and definitely are “keeping Portland weird.”
    • Personal Growth: I feel like my 5 years at GuideSpark are worth 15 at any other company because of all I’ve been able to do. I tell every potential new hire that if you’re not comfortable with change, don’t work here. But with change comes opportunity to learn and do new things. I’ve had the experience of being able to move departments, move locations, and change roles.
    • Leadership: Most of the growth I’ve had is because of the leadership, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them. With Keith, there is no ego, no nonsense, and no favorites. This attitude is extended to his executive staff. I love that I can go up to any of them and ask for some time to talk. The new team is trying to make this a great place to work, while also creating a new product that the market will love, and build efficiencies to make it sustainable. I’m not saying there aren’t missteps along the way - we will get to the Con portion of my review in a minute - but I trust (most of) the people in place now to lead us to a better future.
    • Other cool things: The flexible schedules and benefits are top notch. The Portland office is hip and the skylight brings down beautiful natural light to brighten up your day. Edmund from IT will solve any problem you have in 5 minutes.

    Cons

    • I wanted to address some of the recent reviews as I feel it’s unfair not to give a balanced perspective. GuideSpark just went through a massive restructuring that included a lot of layoffs. Layoffs are hard. They are painful and unfair. But sometimes they’re necessary. This move needed to happen. If it hadn’t, we would all be out of jobs. I don’t think all the reviewers understand how these situations work. You cannot give someone “a day’s notice.” No matter how much they are beloved by their coworkers. No matter how long they’ve been there. You just can’t give them forewarning when they are being laid off. It’s unfortunate, and it takes the humanity out of it, but it is a business practice that is not unique to GuideSpark.
    • In the wake of the restructuring and departure of some truly amazing colleagues and friends, one of the biggest cons is the uncertainty. We are turning the ship, and delving into new and uncharted territory. We have had to say goodbye to people who have helped build the company, and that has been hard. But I think the new organization makes sense, and I’m hopeful that this will start a good, fresh chapter for the company.
    • Other cons: The Content Services team works very long hours. There are issues with communication between departments. Being in Portland means you have to deal with a lackluster video conferencing system. Sometimes it feels like there’s protocol just for protocol’s sake.

    Advice to Management

    • Ensure proper checks and balances with this new Product/Content/Sales structure.
    • Create a career development path for top performers on the Content Services team, so they can see where the long work hours can lead them.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Restructuring"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Administrator for Senior Vice Presidents and Co-Founder in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Executive Administrator for Senior Vice Presidents and Co-Founder in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at GuideSpark full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Very friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Seem to care about their employees. Nice location and amenities on the campus.

    Cons

    Management needs to work more closely to define the mission and to guide the direction.
    Felt like the company has lost its' way.

    Advice to Management

    Be more aggressive and proactive.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Valuable learning experience"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great people to work with.

    Cons

    No career growth, comp could be better. Hard numbers to hit from a sales perspective.


  11. Helpful (8)

    "A place where bottomfeeders can feel important"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at GuideSpark full-time

    Pros

    -HQ inherited the old Dreamworks building so the day laborers are privy to the old furniture left behind, such as sit-stand desks, ergonomic chairs, and walkways with lovely patterns made by old stains.
    -Conference calls are multi-faceted affairs. Since executives rightfully spend the bulk of their revenue distracting their budget employees from their 14-hour days and weekends with every-meal catering, the company, I guess, doesn't invest in a working conference system. That means the lovingly superfluous biweekly calls where the interestingly sarcastic manager communicates the new weekly protocol (change is good) are funny in their acrobatics. You'll get a kick at observing their creative solution. The remote team at one fuzzy end strains to see HQ through a totally 90s-style dial-up connection picture (super hip and retro) replete with laggy loadimg and old school pauses, mutes themselves, and simultaneously dials in through a conference speakerphone just to talk. For a company that touts internal commmunication, they definitely do it pretty fancy when exemplifying.
    -There's always leftover catering, so instead of making a total waste of it by throwing otherwise precious company money in the garbage, employees can make plates to take home to their unaffiliated significant others. It's a really great way of recycling otherwise shredded company revenue.
    -You don't have to commit to the job. They offer PLENTY of contract work, so you never have to feel like you're getting too tied up with one company, or even deal with a benefits package, especially if you're all about that breezy life.
    -You'll never get bored. They change their work standards just about every week. So even if you spent a few days training on a process, you don't have to worry about putting your overactive brain on autopilot. They'll definitely have a new way to do that very same task for you next week. Toes totally up.

    Cons

    -The people are the worst part of this place. They're constantly available, and totally out of touch with the millennial way of ghosting people you get strategically involved with. Hello - make me wait awhile before responding to and fixing my problem, like, immediately. You're not my mom.
    -Lack of competition. How are you supposed to compete for a promotion when your manager is paid 30% under market wage AND works nights and weekends? It's not really fair.
    -Even PR doesn't know what product they're promoting.

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiring contractors and strengthen your core



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