Synapse Product Development Reviews | Glassdoor

Synapse Product Development Reviews

Updated March 3, 2017
44 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

4.3
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Synapse Product Development President Redwood Stephens
Redwood Stephens
2 Ratings

44 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Synapse is full of wonderful people, and can be a great place to work if you consider the location, work-life balance, and the company community (in 5 reviews)

  • Opportunity to learn something new everyday (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Middle/senior management is not particularly inspiring (in 2 reviews)

  • There isn't a clear path for career growth (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (3)

    "The clearly stated goal is 'best job ever'"

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

    I have been working at Synapse Product Development (More than a year)

    Pros

    This is -the- best job I've ever had, hands down.
    - My colleagues are smarter and more experienced than me and I am always absorbing as much as possible, yet no one ever acts superior or smug. It is a super supportive group that builds each other up.
    - Management is responsive to issues raised, actually listening to and acting on what I have to say.
    - Engineers have a voice in what projects they work on.
    - The variety of projects is wide, leaving great options for what sort of designs to dive into.
    - It's in SF, near CalTrain, AT&T park, walkable to transit, etc.
    - We do fun stuff together as an organized office event at least once a month.
    - I enjoy coming to work.
    - My contributions are valued, and I get feedback.
    - I feel fairly compensated.
    - We work with Fortune 100 companies and startups, making things that are sure bets to come to market as well as pie in the sky hopefuls.

    Cons

    - No dogs allowed in office.
    - For some engineers, the amount of client interaction might be difficult.

    Advice to Management

    Try to minimize the changes surrounding the acquisition by Cambridge Consultants!


  2. Helpful (8)

    "Time to start looking for a new home"

    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 Synapse Product Development full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Besides a paycheck, nothing

    Cons

    Leadership is severely lacking a vision. Constant on-boarding of new Senior Management is a joke. The CEO is spinning in circles with no direction and no idea how to build or make Synapse into what it was 2 years ago. The same clients we have had for years are pulling back on projects so revenue is drastically falling. We just went thru another layoff which was horrible and saddening to go thru.

    Advice to Management

    All of your rock stars are getting ready to leave because of the Leadership


  3. Helpful (7)

    "Not What they Portrayed themselves to be"

    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 Synapse Product Development full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Pros – Above average benefits
    Free Lunch on Wed.
    Free Snacks
    Interesting projects

    Cons

    I have been working at Synapse Product Development full-time for more than a year

    Cons – Where do I start. There are so many cons about this company. They draw people in with their free beer, free Wed. lunch, games and the "freedom" to express yourself. They do have all of this with the exception of the freedom to express yourself. You are only free to express yourself as long as it fits into their philosophy and Synapse culture. Some of the behavior is extremely cult-like. They push their company CULTure relentlessly. If you do not exhibit appropriate Synapse attitude and culture you are at risk of losing your job or being pulled from projects.

    Fratboy behavior permeates the culture. This begins with your first week of work when you are stood in front of the entire company and hazed and humiliated. People spend more time trying to be funny and come up with practical jokes or drink beer than actually do some work.

    Employees and co-workers consistently put up road blocks which make it difficult for management to manage, and for projects to get done in a timely manner.
    Lack of process has contributed greatly to financial loss and internal frustration on teams.
    People lacking any real world or management experience have been placed in management roles which set teams, and the company up for failure.

    Managers (and I call them that because there are no people with leadership skills here) lack the skill to forecast or to understand basic business practices. There is no strategy for next projects and how to fully utilize staff. People were laid off and 1 month later that role is open again and they are hiring the next poor sucker.

    This company has a history of mismanagement of projects and funds which have lead them to multiple layoffs over the years, not only in 2013-2014 . In the past year there have been 2 significant layoffs resulting in the layoff of about half of the company. One of their favorite sayings is "People before Profit". Ha! When the hard times hit, the founders did nothing to try and save jobs like cut expenses or improve process. Their first reaction was to lay people off. Not only am I not optimistic about this company but I have lost all respect for this company. The founders are doomed to repeat their mistakes.

    Getting out as fast as I can.

    Advice to Management

    Advice to Senior Management/Founders – Stop allowing inexperienced staff and employees to run the company and influence your business decisions.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    Synapse Product Development Response

    May 6, 2014 – Vice President, Human Resources

    Thank you for your honest feedback. I really mean it! It is important to hear these frustrations in order for Synapse to address and turn the corner to being a great place again. Multiple layoffs ... More


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Great culture and environment, lack of projects and clients make it very challenging"

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

    I worked at Synapse Product Development full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fantastic people, great work location, and amazing perks: free beverages, beer Fridays, Weekly Wednesday lunches, generous PTO.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, there is not enough diversity in clients, and plenty of competition in the marketplace. Having just a few is very risky. As a result, Synapse has had yearly layoffs - of 15-20% every year - due to client project need changes.

    You may also be placed in a role that is outside of your area of expertise, making it more challenging.

    Advice to Management

    The upper management team has tried for 1 year with very little success on obtaining new clients and new sales opportunities. Recommendation would be to have new sales teams, to diversity projects and clients, including a change in leadership.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Visionless leadership team"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Synapse Product Development (More than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly colleagues. Easy to work with..

    Cons

    Leadership lacks vision, no long term plans.

    Advice to Management

    Replace current leadership team with more business minded executives who have proven track record of driving growth and strategic planning. Current leadership team does not have strong business and marketing skill sets... Very short sighted.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to work, but still maturing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Management in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Management in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Synapse Product Development full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Collaboration is a value, and an expected fact
    Brilliant engineers who are creative and know there disciplines
    Open office plan where projects are quickly and easily co-located
    Wednesday company lunches and Beer:30s

    Cons

    Just changes management and they are struggling with values that made the company
    New management is in an ivory tower a bit and not communicative
    They grew too fast and are trying to bring in business to match current size with limited success resulting in repeated layoffs

    Advice to Management

    Talk with your people and listen to them more. There is a trust issue widening as the belief is that you are all making decisions that impact them and they are not a part of it. They were hired under the "Open Disclosure" promise and see it being violated. If that is no longer the policy, then state it and set out what is the current practice. Stop hiding and excluding them.


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Mayday mayday! This ship's going down!"

    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

    Some people at Synapse work really hard to make it a good place to work. There are a lot of very smart people to learn from, and there is a culture to encourage that learning (this is seen the most in the mechanical engineering department, but also in others to a lesser extent). If you're into booze - there is no shortage of that here. Most people are pretty friendly and open. Lots of very athletic people if you're into that. Benefits package is pretty good for a small company.

    Cons

    Job instability. Two layoffs within one year. The future is looking very bleak. HR can be heavy handed in dealing with off color things. As an example - one specific word was censored repeatedly from the internal wiki. In another incident, a coworker was reprimanded for a mildly off color joke. The culture can be very cliquey. Promotions are fairly random and haphazard - more about who likes you rather than what you can do for the company. Management structure changes on a weekly basis. Leadership tries to promote a company "culture" - but almost all of that culture died off between the layoffs and the massive increase in size of the company, so at this point it just feels painfully forced.

    Advice to Management

    Quit. Two layoffs in 10 months? You have failed.

    Synapse Product Development Response

    May 6, 2014 – Vice President, Human Resources

    Your pros really tell the story of how great Synapsters are and how Synapse encourages all to be their best. Regarding your cons, multiple layoffs in one year are excruciatingly hard for everyone ... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Hard to see where this is going, but it's an interesting ride."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Synapse Product Development full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The coworkers are outstandingly diverse, interesting, driven and highly competent. You can learn something new every day from each person who works here. Each project has its own interesting aspects that keep you on your toes and learning. The work / life balance is excellent and the benefits are top notch.

    Cons

    Management is pretty much a weak soup. It's hard to know who's controlling what, what the company's long-term vision is, or how we're planning on getting there together. Upper echelons are clique-y and aloof and Synapse is not particularly transparent in its operations. Compensation is reasonable, but not first-rate, but the work-load isn't onerous.

    Advice to Management

    Create a company vision, a business plan, and share it with your staff. Good things will happen.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Engineering"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good culture and good benefits

    Cons

    Leadership gets distracted and doesn't always focus on core business

    Advice to Management

    See cons.


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Nice place but boring work with little challenge or growth"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Synapse Product Development full-time

    Pros

    Nice work environment, the company cares about employees. Great location. Cross discipline work since they have EE, ME, and software in house.

    Cons

    The company isn't run like a real business, there's so much emphasis on making it "the best job you ever had" that they miss the part about growing a successful company, being competitive, and getting rid of underperforming people. In fact it's nearly impossible to be fired, even if you're awful at your job. The clients and projects they get are very run of the mill and unless you're new to the industry or otherwise inexperienced, this stuff is just not that challenging or engaging. As a consultancy, they're not very price competitive so they lose a lot of projects that might amount to something. Overall, be prepared to work with some mediocre people who will never be fired or dealt with and don't be surprised if the work you wind up with is downright boring.

    Advice to Management

    Stop trying to be so nice. Build stronger teams, including the leadership, and let the bottom 20% go periodically. You're running a company that has competitors and is supposed to make money, not a social club for emgineers.


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