It's a great place to work. The people who work there genuinely have a passion for comics.
There is absolutely no way to move up.
I worked at comiXology full-time
Learning opportunities, it's fun working with comics.
Consistently toxic environment both before and after the Amazon acquisition, chronic mismanagement, extremely poor hiring decisions on a management level and a reluctance to fix these issues even when they create obvious problems, a pervasive sense of dishonesty from the top down.
I have been working at comiXology full-time (More than a year)
Definitely a fun environment to work in, flexible schedule (barring any, rare, emergencies), and very good benefits. The staff are a lot of really excited people who want to do great things for comic books and solve big problems.
Integration with Amazon offers a lot of really cool benefits as far as what can be used to solve problems. Working with Amazon also allows for a lot of potential upward movement and opportunity to work with a lot of diverse and intelligent people.
comiXology is incredibly ambitious and because of that there's a lot to be done with stretched resources. Team sizes are good but 2+ years into the Amazon acquisition, only some of the growing pains are gone. The turnover of long time staff cashing in post-aqusition has left some knowledge lost which tends to lead to overhauls of small pieces of infrastructure with unforeseen effects causing other small pieces to malfunction.
Advice to Management
Recognize your developers more--not just from direct managers. Many achievements and successes are glossed over when a simple "good job" email to a direct contributor would do wonders.
Honestly can not think of many.
Management is terrible. No clear vision. Avoid.
The positives of working for comixology are somewhat obvious. You get some access to free digital comics if you are into that sort of thing, the employee culture is good, even if the management culture is not, and you are working for Amazon, so if you have a tremendous amount of personal drive and fortitude, you may be able to parlay a job at comixology to a job elsewhere within Amazon but it won't be easy.
The CEO is really the only person in senior management who knows what they're doing. He clearly has a passion for the product and the company and can be inspiring when he speaks to the group.
The compensation can be good, especially when the Amazon stock does well, so if you can put up with all of the negatives, you could be well paid for it.
The single biggest issue at this company is that virtually everyone in senior management -- except the CEO -- has no idea what they are doing. They do not understand the business they are in, decisions are made on the basis of either "CYA" or "Amazon is doing this so we have to do it too."
Don't look for any leadership or direction from the management team as there isn't any to be found. Any ideas -- rare as they are -- tend to be bland and banal as if determined by the incompetence committee. The technical leadership is a mess as well. They have no idea what they are doing, so the only direction they take is "whatever Amazon is doing." In many ways, they are like the youngest child in a family that wants so desperately to please their older sibling that they will simply ape behavior without even understanding why they are doing so. comixology tech mangement wants so desperately to "please Amazon" that they have lost all sense of what made comixology a unique company.
You will rarely get to innovate or do anything interesting there, as if Amazon isn't already doing it, there is no chance that it will ever be done.
There is little concern for work/life balance. You are expected to be available at all times. Though not as bad as that NY Times article about Amazon, it's not great either.
Advice to Management
Stop trying to be Amazon. Hire Sr managers who actually understand the business and what customers actually want. The spirit of innovation is all but gone and is really no longer fostered. The new direction is simply "do what Amazon is doing" right up to re-using things that other Amazon teams have done with little to no room for anything new or unique.
Great people in the office
Owned by Amazon, NO ONE in Seattle will know you exist. If you think this is your chance to work for Amazon, you are wrong
Advice to Management
Spin back off away from Amazon
I worked at comiXology (More than a year)
A tough, versatile, and top of the line team. Working in an Agile shop and using PHP to both develop and automate their infrastructure. A laid-back team willing and able to shift drastically to meet both internal and external client needs. Not to mention their application and services is unique!
The small team size places a lot of strain on resources, similar to how most start-ups work. The strain is fun, although if your a JR or non-C-level/ non-senior employee their compensation may not be competitive enough to encourage employer retention.
I worked at comiXology full-time (More than 3 years)
There were free bagels on Wednesdays but even that was used as a guilt tactic by management.
Exploited young employees looking for an opportunity to follow their passion for comics were crushed into slave wages and tedious work. Ambition was poison as there is no room to grow and creativity was viewed as a threat to culture. Management was willfully ignorant of the community and products they were serving and valued political mind games over hard work and knowledge. Incompetent employees in favored departments wee celebrated over harder working brighter workers.
Advice to Management
The problems felt so deeply ingrained I'm not sure what could be done. I tried my hardest to eight some wrongs but felt that the resistance against my ideas was coming from a power struggle with management. I believe some early issues with employees tainted their view and it made me feel that I was approached with distrust or that they felt I had a secret agenda, which was giving me too much credit. Don't treat employees automatically with suspicion and distrust, this is one of the major reasons the culture was so toxic.
I have been working at comiXology full-time (Less than a year)
Small company ~100 employees, family-like environment
Lots of support from parent company - Amazon, but unique in defining our own culture
Fun working on a product that you love
As a growing company, there's always growing pains in terms of team organization
I worked at comiXology full-time (More than a year)
There are some very smart, passionate people within the staff - though most of them are at their wits end. If you like comics you can spend your time at work talking about them. Bagels on Wednesdays, and sometimes there are office outings to new superhero movies.
The company drifts like an aimless ship making sudden jerky movements this way and that as the leadership team reactively finds something new to focus on and reliably changes course before anything constructive can be created. Some top level positions are filled not based on merit, but on cronyism and nepotism of the highest order. Many a passionate employee has joined the team only to be crushed under the relentless myopia the company's decision making suffers from. Innovation and going above and beyond your job description tends to not be worth it for most employees as they will only be setting themselves up for negative consequences if those extracurricular goals are not achieved, and they often wont be. Resources and assets aren't so much stretched thin as they are misappropriated. Meaningful change to the product or tools comes about extremely slowly, if at all, while the leadership passive aggressively complains about the company's short comings out of one side of their mouth while celebrating the most unimportant and ineffective of changes with the other.
Decisions come not from data or thoroughly planned methodology, but seem to come out of personal opinions of the people in charge. When a good idea is finally dragged out of the day to day chaos, it tends to be swiftly abandoned without post-mortem or even a real effort to make any true success. Minimum Viable Product is the name of the game, and "Minimum" is up for debate.
All of the best employees on the staff have already left or are spending most of their time fantasizing about doing so.
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