SAY Media Reviews | Glassdoor

SAY Media Reviews

Updated March 15, 2017
74 reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • High turnover, continuously reinvents itself (in 2 reviews)

  • Too many changes, everyone is disposable (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great culture and teammates."

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

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

    Pros

    The culture is great. Fun to work there, smart people. Spends actual effort on improving and developing culture. Great office location in SF.

    Lots of trust and flexibility from management. The open vacation policy is just part of that; you're treated like an adult.

    I like the HSA insurance and it would be hard to switch back to a regular PPO.

    Cons

    Pulling off the longer-term vision to become a larger, more stable company isn't a guaranteed thing. It's a tough industry at the moment but it does feel like there's an opportunity cost.

    NY is having troubles but SF feels great.

    Missing some of the perks of other companies like daily meals and other free stuff.

    Generally don't know what's going on with the company until we read it on TC.

    Advice to Management

    Engage more with your employees. Create more career opportunities. Make it worth it for those that work hard for the company.

    Fix the attrition problem. I wonder if you're reading these reviews and trying to fix the problems.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Senior Editor"

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

    Pros

    Free food and free coffee.

    Cons

    Company does not know what it's doing, puts on a happy face with a lot of B.S. forced fun events and free food but has no concern for employees. Has flip-flopped repeatedly over the years, no one is safe.


  3. "Great people"

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

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

    Pros

    I've never worked with better folks. Creative, interesting, hardworking (and hard playing!)

    Cons

    Lack of structure meant job insecurity (also: see the massive layoffs.) Despite stated value of transparency, completely opaque communication with executive team.

    Advice to Management

    Increase transparency, even if the news is bad. Do your best to remove nepotism and improve career structures for folks outside of dev.


  4. "Most talented group of passionate yet weirdly awesome people I have ever worked with."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Company culture is a lot of fun, expectations are usually very flexible, and people care more about getting a well-tested, long-term solution than just finding hack-y, temporary fixes. Also, dog-friendly office and my coworkers are my friends.

    Cons

    Lots of business changes have been somewhat weird to work around, and there's sometimes a frustrating disconnect between the engineers and upper management.

    Advice to Management

    We can't afford to consider tech debt as low-priority forever! The longer it takes for us to do cleanup, the more potential issues we're going to run into in the future.


  5. "Lots of challenges and problems to solve!"

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of opportunity to make an impact and interesting problems to solve. Great work-life balance with good vacation. The management structure is fairly flat so there is a lot of opportunity to have an opinion in the direction the technology is going. There are a lot of great engineers with a very open attitude towards teaching and learning new things; it's easy to grow here.

    Cons

    The business has pivoted a few times in the past, which can lead to some disarray, but growing out of startup mode and into a sustained business is not easy to do and sometimes the fat needs to be trimmed.

    Advice to Management

    Stick with the current plan and grow the technology.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Always a new challenge"

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

    Pros

    Say Media has changed a lot during my tenure, from an ad network to a media company and now to a product/tech company focused on reinventing online publishing in the likeness of glossy magazines rather than tabloid newspapers. The new direction means that the company is positioned as a startup but benefits from the revenue streams of the older businesses.

    For someone who enjoys being challenged to think outside the box and embrace change, engineering at Say is exciting and there's lots of potential for individual impact as well as great teamwork.

    The founders are friendly and always willing to talk frankly about the business in a one-on-one setting, including both successes and challenges.

    Flexible work hours allow for great work/life balance, with accommodation for both regular and unexpected life interruptions. Work expectations are reasonable and flexible, with individual contributors driving project planning and scheduling aside from occasional exceptional circumstances. Individual contributors are trusted and encouraged to work autonomously and set their own technical direction, and share results with the rest of the team.

    There is lots of room for career growth in Engineering, with most employees having been promoted at least once during their tenure and separate defined career tracks for technical management, architects and distinguished engineers. A driven employee can learn a lot at Say, and where growth isn't possible the culture supports and celebrates employees who grow as far as they can at Say and then use those skills to earn a promotion while moving to another company.

    Management is lightweight and those in more senior roles all spend lots of their time acting as individual contributors.

    Cons

    Benefits are average when compared to similar companies in the area.

    Broadcast communication from management (as opposed to one-on-one conversation) is inconsistent, and in a few instances I have felt that better decisions could be made if team members had been better informed about forthcoming changes.

    The business environment is constantly changing and so priorities can shift rapidly from one quarter to the next, which presents challenges for longer-term engineering efforts and can cause more cautious development increments, which can be frustrating.

    Office environment is open plan and can be noisy.

    Advice to Management

    Be less cautious about sharing details on upcoming strategy changes and trust employees to respect confidentiality when warranted.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Fun while it lasted"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Amazing sharp talent. Very social environment, good benefits, unlimited vacation.

    Cons

    Too many changes, everyone is disposable.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great culture, not so great upper management"

    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

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

    Pros

    fun. good life and work balance. some of them are very very talented.

    Cons

    no 401k matching. upper management was very baring


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Great people, not so great management practices."

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

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

    Pros

    Peers are bright, friendly people, easy to work with, driven and hardworking.

    Cons

    The company overall doesn't value its employees as much as they should. Although there is a lot of talk of how much of a supportive culture there is at the company, the follow through is dismal. Budgets for employee training & career development via conference participation or educational programs are low or non-existent. Employees who do attend are mostly doing it on their own initiative and taking time off to attend.

    A few years ago the company switched from a performance based compensation to a market based compensation model - which basically means your raise is not based on your performance and achievements, its based on where you are already in comparison to market data and raises are based only on promotions and title changes. This is not a good compensation model for a company that is not in a growth period and already had two major pivots and rounds of lay-offs. When there is no growth, there are limited options for promotions no matter how well an employee excels in your position.

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent. Be more humble. Value your employees more, and recognize that it is a large group of people who make business ideas come to life.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Brain-Drain! No Direction"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Unlimited vacation, good location in SOMA.

    Cons

    Say has let just about every capable person walk out the door. Limited room to advance, low-ball salaries across the board as part of a failed HR initiative to "not offer raises". This company never found it's way and hid behind a great brand despite the fact that it never had it's business model figured out. Many failed aquisitions/partnerships. Lot of jargon and buzzwords to describe an ad product that frankly doesn't work but looks pretty. There are number of good people left but the culture is deflated and there's a lot of internal strife.


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