Oblong Industries Reviews | Glassdoor

Oblong Industries Reviews

Updated September 4, 2017
24 reviews

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3.5
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John Underkoffler
17 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Long Timer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Oblong Industries full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    I've been at Oblong for many years now as a g-speak engineer and have watched people come and go, and I have watched the company as it has gone through its highs and lows. It saddens me to see so many negative reviews. Throughout my entire tenure at Oblong, I have only witnessed the leadership of the company do everything in their power to provide the best possible working environment for the employees and build a successful company.

    There are many negative reviews about the sales organization and I think this may simply be due to lack of insight into that organization. Without insight into the strategy and day-to-day workings of the sales organization, it's likely easy to misconstrue the charismatic CRO. It is my opinion, however, that he, along with the other members of the leadership team are responsible for the successes we've had.

    Oblong is a stand-up organization that hires the best talent and strives for nothing short of perfection. I am proud to have called it home for close to a decade.

    Cons

    cross-team communication and communication in general has improved over the years but continues to be one of our greatest weaknesses.

    Advice to Management

    I believe that better cross-team communication, especially providing developers with insight into the overall sales and operations strategy and daily activities, would help gain trust and respect and generally boost morale.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Innovative but proceed with caution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Oblong Industries full-time

    Pros

    Flexible work environment
    Great benefits with unlimited PTO
    Talented colleagues
    No micro managing

    Cons

    Was one of the people blindsided and laid off after leaving a great and secure job only a few months before. They could benefit with some better processes, everything seemed to be chaotic and I felt like there were so many small and easy changes that entire teams could benefit from, but didn't quite have a voice at the table yet to make them. The culture was expressed to be something that it wasn't.

    Advice to Management

    Laying people off with little no to compensation or advance after having them leave a great job is terrible budget management and a poor way to run a business.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Hello, Goodbye"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Oblong Industries full-time

    Pros

    Fascinating technology, literally grew out of Hollywood special effects visualizations and looks awesome compared to other tech in corporate offices and meeting rooms

    Strong, focused, dedicated team

    Visionary, inspiring CEO

    Treated employees with respect and courtesy, up to and after termination (at least in my case)

    Basically, all the same positives mentioned in other reviews.

    Cons

    Major layoff in late June 2017, about 25-30 people out of about 100 total (numbers are guesses, likely not exact), hit all divisions - sales, engineering, etc. Basically everyone who had been there less than a year, plus a few others. For many of us who had been recruited and left other jobs (some relocated for Oblong, then got let go only a few months in) the reduction prompted a “why did you staff up a few months ago?” reaction. If they start hiring again in 2017 or 2018, I would suggest negotiating a golden parachute into any role in case they decide to suddenly modify staffing levels again.

    As cool as the technology is, in some ways it is still a solution in search of a problem. Adoption and growth after landing an account is hard, manual work (as is, frequently, just keeping systems running as there are many interconnected systems and potential points of failure).

    Very, very dependent on one large customer (who is also having financial difficulties and layoffs of their own) and efforts to diversify revenue sources have been unsuccessful.

    Channel development (and channel relationships/trust) is minimal or non-existent.

    Similar revenue challenges and mass exodus at primary competitor don’t bode well for this entire tech segment.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "You win some, you lose some."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    - The team is getting good milage out of scrum. The two week sprints are solid with little scope creep. The work is broken down well before we estimate it. All in all, this is the best adoption of scrum I've ever seen.

    - Pretty much everyone gets along. It's not uncommon for people to hang out outside of working hours because of common interests. There is a regular gaming night after work, for example. Movies are a thing to.

    - The office is close to public transportation. You can commute by train, bus, car, or foot.

    - Lunch is provided 3 days a week by private kitchen staff. It's good, as long as you like Asian Fusion.

    - The team is flexible about the schedule. If you need to take you kid to the doctor or wait for the cable guy it's not going to be a problem.

    - There are occasionally dogs, and there is a 'company cat' that is loved and adored by all. He lives outside, and hangs around to be loved on by anyone that walks past.

    Cons

    - Who is keeping an eye on the competition? The core tech concepts are becoming common place, and Oblong is in danger of being out innovated. First mover advantage is fading in the face of Silicon Valley heavyweights, and nobody seems to notice. (There is a reason this is #1 on the Cons list)

    - Lack of transparency. You really don't know where you stand, or if your doing a good job. There us very little feedback about performance, and people get let go with little to no warning that something is wrong.

    - You work in an open office environment. Everyone gets issued a pair of headphones to make up for that, but it's not really much help. The office is distracting and keeps people from doing their best work.

    - Pair programming isn't really a thing. More collaboration might cut down on wasted effort caused by working in isolation.

    - Ineffective communication. While all the team leads send out emails at the beginning and end of each sprint talking about all the things that their teams did, or are going to do there is no voice that ties it all together.

    - Teams full of individual contributors instead of team mates. Oblong works in scrum teams, but the members of the scrum teams generally work alone. This leads to siloing, and isn't really a very effective way to get a lot of tasks done. It also means that if you lose someone, your scrambling to pick up the pieces.

    - The office in in the Arts District downtown. Parking is terrible, traffic is terrible. Lunch is offered because you can't afford to eat in the neighborhood. Living near the office is painfully expensive, so most people have long commutes. If you DO decide to move close to the office, your going to need a roommate or spouse with comparable income. You can't do it by yourself. It's just too bloody expensive. Reasonably priced housing is a painfully long commute from the office. The office is over crowded, and probably VERY expensive. Seriously guys, move!

    Advice to Management

    Tune in, and get involved. If engineering isn't delivering, know why. If Sales isn't selling enough, know why. Don't be like MySpace. I'd like my stock to be worth something someday.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Serious Culture Problem"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales
    Former Employee - Sales
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - 'Cool' technology.
    - CEO is personable, but unfortunately has little control over his company.

    Cons

    Pertains to the sales org:
    - Has no respect for employees and absolutely no people skills.
    - Turnover rate is incredible. Just did a huge layoff after hiring the same people only months earlier.. People quitting and getting fired all the time.
    - If you like being insulted, humiliated, thrown under the bus in front of customers and colleagues, join the sales team.
    - There is an egocentric micro-manager issue most of the people managers have.

    Advice to Management

    Culture is everything in a company. A bad culture in a small startup will ruin it.. There is a major problem with sales management, it needs to be fixed.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Anonymous"

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

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

    Pros

    The vision of the CEO
    New products with lower prices
    Fantastic product development team
    Working for a small start up like Oblong allows for each person to play an important role in developing the company.

    Cons

    Lack of process
    Sales Management is a detriment to the company, Again, Sales Management is a detriment to Oblong.
    Not a trust worthy environment to work in
    Big Growing pains
    No stability

    Advice to Management

    Need an overall sales management overhaul to see long term success. Senior Sales Leader is really running the organization. Restructuring Needed. The technology is great- Sell company to a larger technology company that is set up for success.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Terrible executives minus the CEO"

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

    I have been working at Oblong Industries full-time

    Pros

    Located in the arts district and people work hard

    Cons

    The CEO is great, but the rest of the executives are toxic to the company. They treat their people terribly and keep making bad hires. The company is doing worse, yet those who should be held accountable are not being evaluated. The poor performers get treated better than the good performers. The good performers get thrown under the bus even over the smallest mistakes, yet the poor performers who are constantly bad are okay coming into work late, leaving early, and barely having any responsibilities.

    Advice to Management

    Stop rewarding the bad performers and admit to bad hiring and try to make things better. Stop making the good performers suffer from other people's incompetence.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Very happy here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * Great culture full of people that are both friendly and talented
    * Amazing premium-less medical, dental. and vision coverage
    * A culture that fosters learning and self-improvement
    * Fun engineering challenges that allow you to really make a difference using your creativity.

    Cons

    * Located in a neighborhood currently in the throes of gentrification. Parking is a constantly worsening nightmare, and our reserved parking lot is multiple blocks away from the office. Constant road construction is making the commute even worse.
    * Office is getting a little overfilled after recent hirings.
    * No 401(k) match. This sucks.

    Advice to Management

    Moving the office would probably be a big boon for most of the employees.

    And PLEASE consider adding a 401(k) match!

    Oblong Industries Response

    May 10, 2017 – Sr Dir of Talent and Org Development

    Hello Very Happy Here - It is encouraging to see how positive your experience has been at Oblong over the past three+ years! We love that you’re enjoying the engineering challenges here and are... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great organization made up of smart, interesting and caring people"

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

    I worked at Oblong Industries full-time

    Pros

    A great organization to work with! Smart and fun people who seem to truly enjoy coming to work.

    Cons

    The pay may not be as high as some of the big hitters, but being able to feel like you are making a big impact is worth it.

    Oblong Industries Response

    May 8, 2017 – Sr Dir of Talent and Org Development

    Thanks so much for the positive feedback! It is heartening see your description of Oblong being full of smart, interesting, and caring people. This is indeed the type of place we strive to be!


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great culture here and love it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - G-speak Engineer
    Current Employee - G-speak Engineer
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great company. I like the culture here, always have a chance to improve myself and people are nice here. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    hmmm it's hard to say.... maybe the location is at the LA downtown so the traffic here is awful...

    Oblong Industries Response

    Mar 24, 2017 – Sr Dir of Talent and Org Development

    It is always exciting to get such positive feedback that affirms the environment we are trying to build here. Great to see that you love working here, enjoy the culture, and that your work/life... More


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