Optimizely Reviews | Glassdoor

Optimizely Reviews

Updated June 15, 2017
94 reviews

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3.4
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Optimizely Co-Founder & CEO Dan Siroker
Dan Siroker
81 Ratings

94 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work/life balance is very reasonable (in 8 reviews)

  • Optimizely has a really great culture and has gone through a ton of growth (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Growing pains typical within venture backed startups (in 12 reviews)

  • Professional/Career growth non-existent (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (6)

    "Amazing people and great opportunities, if you're willing to work for them"

    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 Optimizely full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I love my coworkers and the company culture. The people are smart, humble, collaborative, and authentic. The founders Dan and Pete are great role models and genuinely treat their employees as equals. There's a strong sense of community, and it manages to be inclusive and welcoming but also pretty consistent in its values. Most companies are full of incompetence and politics and it feels great working on a team with so little of it.

    The product is exciting and challenging. It feels more impactful than your typical consumer app because you're taking a real hard problem for people (run meaningful experiments and measure their impact without an army of developers and analysts) and making it easy. And it's more fun to work on than your typical B2B product. We have way more technical challenges than people to solve them and our competitive success depends on nailing the usability: we have to make the nerdy process of experimentation accessible and fun for everyone.

    The size is perfect for learning and impact - it's a pretty small team building a broad range of products. Especially in engineering it's easy for a new person to make an impact fast because there are big under-staffed projects in every part of the stack. That also makes it a great place to learn and grow, especially if you have ambitions of starting your own company. There's a ton of transparency about how the business runs and what's working and not working, including all the financials.

    Cons

    We're stuck in the uncanny valley between startup and big company. It's still a place that rewards scrappiness and taking ownership, but many people join expecting more comfort and structure, leading to the sense of entitlement you see in many of the reviews here. Despite good intentions, there are more organizational barriers and it's harder to coordinate or move between teams. We've lost some great people because they didn't fit a cookie-cutter job description or didn't have any upward advancement opportunity - especially in Europe. One root of this has been bad executives trying to impose the template of their previous, bigger companies onto a more autonomous culture. The good news is those execs are out and we've stabilized on a good leadership team but the bad news is they left some scars and bad habits that we're still getting over.

    Our eng team is too small so people are always scrambling and core problems get neglected. You have to be very comfortable with ambiguity and change to be successful here. We don't have enough senior/experienced engineers and that leadership gap hurts. The flip side of a cooperative culture is that people who go above and beyond to help others aren't always properly recognized or compensated. Diversity has gotten better but still has a long way to go. Overall, it feels like our people have so much potential but not quite enough coordination/leadership to achieve it.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "You'll be rewarded for working here, if you can move up"

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

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

    Pros

    Interesting and industry-leading products, outstanding benefits, great people and culture, there is always an opportunity to make your voice heard, strong commitment to social action

    Cons

    It's much harder than advertised to move up or into a different department if you're not an established or budding developer, salary reviews and promotions have become much more bureaucratic, much more focus on hiring those with senior experience from outside than promoting from within, high turnover in leadership and executive positions


  3. Helpful (11)

    "Read this before joining."

    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 Optimizely full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - good location
    - server-side is getting some traction
    - experiment engine seems good
    - from a financial perspective, the company seems like a middling SaaS company.

    Cons

    - great cultural ideals, but like Enron (which had cultural ideals like "integrity") they are an open joke. everyone but the ceo knows there are real consequences for speaking up. retaliation is commonplace.
    - high turnover.
    - a hypocritical leadership team (example: CEO publishes articles lambasting HIPPO culture while fostering that culture internally).
    - someone in the company was fired two days after returning from parental leave
    - hr violations that go unanswered

    Advice to Management

    some employees are a good fit for companies of certain sizes but not a good fit for companies of other sizes. dan, you were a good ceo for a 100 person company but are a terrible ceo for a company of optimizely's size. in specific, you are terrible at hiring executives, you are terrible at firing executives, you are terrible at retaining good talent, and you are terrible at taking direct ownership over tough decisions. you are directionless and inspire people by asking them to clap rather than giving them what to clap for. you are neutral in the face of injustice and often side with the oppressor. you are malleable if someone just sounds mature. if i were an investor, i would be asking: how could you have taken the opportunity you had in 2014 and turned it into this?

     i hope that optimizely does not last 100 years because it is a net negative on so many employees' lives. it's telling that optimizely has managed to achieve worse glassdoor ratings than uber! optimizely is also a net negative on customers (they quit you because they don't like you), on investors (can't be thrilled), and on the industry (hypocrisy, sexism, retaliation).

    instead, i hope that optimizely is eventually acquired by some private equity shop that dismantles it. i want this to be your legacy: a cautionary tale to other young CEOs. the HBR article on how to turn a market opportunity served to you on a silver platter into a giant turd.

    Optimizely Response

    Jun 22, 2017 – Co-Founder & CEO

    Ouch! This was tough to read. It sounds like the changes we’ve been through have caused you a lot of pain and I want to acknowledge that. I always value candid feedback and want to take the time ... More


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Great Place to Learn & Grow"

    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
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I love my team and the people I work with. I've also learned more at this company and grown more in the past year than any previous company I have worked for. Leadership is extremely accessible, and I also feel that Optimizely does a great job of upholding our value of transparency. Work/life balance is very reasonable. Perks are fantastic, and we're at a great/central location in downtown SF.

    Cons

    Transparency is very important to us, and our staff does a great job of soliciting feedback and providing platforms for folks to voice their concerns. However, this sometimes leads to people complaining about trivial issues, which can get a little annoying.

    Advice to Management

    Momentum is high right now. Keep it going.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Bullish on the company"

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

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

    Pros

    I have been at Optimizely over a year. In that time we have moved from a company with one product to building a platform that customers love. Optimizely has gone through growing pains moving from selling into small accounts into a full blown enterprise company. As we grow, change is bound to happen and will continue as we hit more milestones. We are hiring more people that have worked in high growth and scaling companies and that makes it very exciting to be here.

    I like working at a company where we all know the impact of our contributions. I see the executive team working well together and being very thoughtful with decisions that impact the employees.

    Cons

    At times we worry about consensus in making decisions. It can slow us down. We have a great office space, but we aren't as integrated as we could be on each floor.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the momentum going.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Best experience of my career"

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

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

    Pros

    Phenomenal culture
    I was there for 4 years, so lucky to grow and mature with the company, face new challenges everyday
    Great CFO
    CEO learns quickly, could be one of the greats, but still has a lot to learn.

    Cons

    Growing pains. Different teams are at different levels of maturity, need more alignment asap.
    Tough market. Sometimes doesn't feel like its growing.

    Advice to Management

    Stay the course to IPO, but don't rule out acquisition. There's not a 100 year marketing technology company on the planet, so don't rule out acquisition. You should be proud of that outcome should an opportunity present it self.


  7. Helpful (11)

    "Just Say "NO""

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Great benefits
    - Great perks
    - No reason to work hard or produce, just enjoy the rocketship
    - Great place to network to find your next job

    Cons

    Embarrassing lack of diversity - CEO is uncomfortable addressing the fact that there are only about 10 minorities in the company and blames it on lack of talent.

    Incompetent middle managers - Some teams have more managers than reports. Extremely top-heavy, and one would be hard pressed to discern what they actually "do". What they don't do is pitch in and help out with work.

    Out of touch leadership / executive team - they've mainly all come from Salesforce and have formed their own circle, completely disconnected from other employees

    No growth or opportunities - Do not expect to get promoted or recognized in any way for your contributions. You may have a chance if you are not a minority *and* male. Otherwise - if you do have career ambitions - look elsewhere.

    I cannot recommend that anyone work here.


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Losing its way"

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Great product and recent product launches have been great due to engineering and product leadership.
    -Free lunch/snacks
    -Unlimited PTO
    -Parental leave
    -Office location

    Cons

    -Low compensation & limited career opportunity
    Extremely lax environment with very limited accountability. This behavior demotivates high performing employees. The compensation philosophy is buried behind HR speak and does not reward and promote hard working employees, leading to increased attrition in the company.

    Be careful if you want to progress in your career, it is very likely people will be hired above you.

    -Salesforce clique
    This topic has been discussed at length in all the glassdoor reviews and internally. Employees don't care senior hires are from Salesforce; they care that there is a different standard of behavior and performance for this group.

    -Complaining culture
    Feedback is great, too much feedback is arguably also great. But when feedback is about whining about wine bottles and not enough organic unicorn tears in the kitchen, it promotes a culture of whiners.

    Advice to Management

    Optimizely can be a great company again, but it starts with leadership. You can't build a culture of excellence and data-driven decision making when leaders are not held accountable to goals or use their HIPPO position to bully their teams and conceal and misrepresent data. It is eroding employees trust in leadership and the company.

    Make the hard decisions and set HIGHER standards for performance and ethics.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Great Boost"

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

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

    Pros

    - Great environment to work in.
    - A lot of transparency with executives and management.
    - Constant reminder that everything is a team effort.
    - Perks are great
    - New products are bringing in a lot of excitement

    Cons

    None off of the top of my head.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing, listen to employees feedback and continue to keep everyone involved!


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Good work, bad politics"

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

    Pros

    Very interesting engineering problems to solve and very strong co-workers. Very friendly and open culture.

    Cons

    Many people are promised accelerated career growth when they join and this never materializes. Management is slow to promote people based on actual merit and very quick to promote based on politics. Far too many ex-Salesforce employees in the higher rungs of the company is turning it into a clone of Salesforce.

    For engineers, compensation and leveling is also below market, and you would be able to get a better salary elsewhere at a higher level.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to focus on hiring the right people and moving the product forward. Optimizely is not going to be a 100 year company on its current trajectory and the upper management needs to wise up to that fact and act accordingly.


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