Angry Nerds

Let’s Play a Game: Everyone Look Up Your Startup on Glassdoor!

"Never been so unhappy with a department in my years experience in the job force."
Secretly seething? rosiesays.com

Secretly seething? (Photo: rosiesays.com)

While browsing our Google Reader this morning, we came across this list of wacky interview questions compiled by Glassdoor.com. You know the drill: “How many cows are in Canada?” (Correct answer: Who cares?) However, we were reminded of our favorite party game, which we haven’t played in quite some time, wherein we investigate God-only-knows-how-reliable Glassdoor reviews of our favorite startups.

Let’s just say there are some very unhappy underlings running around Silicon Alley.

Cash-rich Buzzfeed has just one review dating from May, written by a former senior developer who called it an “overall good place to work” and said his boss had “an insanely good sense of humor.” But he adds,

Cons – Technology stack is kind of old. I left to work with newer shinier toys.

Advice to Senior Management – Encourage more of a hacker culture. Consider internal hack days.

We imagine $19 million will go a long way to upgrading software.

Tumblr, despite its gazillion page views, also has just one tremendously laconic review. The anonymous currently employee summed the place up as “addictive.” Pros: “a lot of nice people.” Cons: “when the site go’s down.” Let’s assume this wasn’t someone working within the company’s editorial operation.

There are only three Foursquare reviews, all by folks who seem pretty happy, though there is a complaint that it’s “Not as trendy as other startups. The backlash and snark have already begun.” And that was before PrivCo released that damning forecast.

One former Thrillist employee seems a mite put out. Under pros, he/she wrote: “If you like to get drunk all the time this is the place for you. The JackThreads part of the company is doing wonderful.” Yowzers! Some of us might call that a “perk.” The griper also complains about a lack of office supplies (really, dude? try working in media) and poor work/life balance, and ends on a note that smells faintly of sour grapes, suggesting senior management should “Realize the talents in their employees and acknowledge it.” U mad, bro?  

A former intern seems a bit more pleased with the experience, though: “Not once was there a day I wasn’t ecstatic to go to work at Thrillist.” Okay kid, you don’t have to impress the boss anymore.

ZocDoc has a whopping 62 reviews, almost half of which gave the place five stars. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few malcontents: eight reviews fall under “very dissatisfied.”  The most recent unhappy review, posted five weeks ago by someone calling himself a current employee, complained of a “Sketchy and offensive office enviroment [sic].” Details, please! Another review, dating from October, advises the higher-ups:

Sell to a big firm. None of you know what you are doing. Maybe it is time to get grown ups in the door.

Of course, we’ve already made mention of complaints regarding Gilt Groupe. The bulk of the total reviews are either satisfied or at least neutral, but here’s a very unhappy operations employee writing in August:

Management is cliquey and condescending. They push you too hard. Your job is below them and they don’t offer to help with what you do when you are overwhelmed. Instead, they try to figure out better ‘processes’ and point the finger. Never been so unhappy with a department in my years experience in the job force and I’m not the first one of my co-workers to say that.

Our personal favorite, however, is the March 2012 review that lists the pros as “free granola and advice and a computer” and the cons as “unstable and strange and weird.”

If there’s one thing we’ve learned covering Silicon Alley, it’s that a little free food goes a long way toward pacifying employees.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com