CouchSurfing Reviews

Updated 24 July 2014
Updated 24 July 2014
28 Reviews

3.1
28 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Tony Espinoza
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Amazing company, idea and office. But poorly managed

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - DevOps Eng  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - DevOps Eng in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Amazing company culture, people, love, team.
    Work is really interesting, and there was a lot to improve, and build why was really exciting!
    The office is really cozy, feels like a huge living room with couches everywhere
    Company retreat every year

    Cons

    Really poorly managed by people that did NOT understand what CouchSurfing culture and idea really is.
    They're managing it heartlessly and kept firing and hiring all the time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good benefits package, dental health vision
    Lunch & dinner every weekday
    Unlimited paid time off (based on agreement with manager)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fabulous people & meaningful work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at CouchSurfing

    Pros

    Wonderful co-workers, great pay & benefits, excellent food, puppy-friendly, great warehouse space in Potrero Hill.

    Cons

    You'll put on weight due to the excellent food!
    A smaller team means that there is a lot of work to be done - work / life balance can sometimes suffer.

  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lack of certainty and direction.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The food is phenomenal

    The office is open and airy, with swings, ping pong table, and plants/trees

    A really cool platform that creates a great community

    Cons

    More than one mass layoff and several other firings made for a company culture where employees wonder whether they would also suddenly find themselves unemployed one day

    Revenue model ideas that changed on a weekly basis made for uncertainty

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Time to go back to the roots that created this awesome community

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Programmer  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Programmer in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Here are some of the good things about this company:
    Great Chef
    Great Office
    Good Pay
    Awesome product
    Talented Team
    Phenomenal Passionate Community

    Cons

    Here are some of the things I did not like:
    Lack of Clear direction
    Upper Management takes no Responsibility: blames, fire and rehire.
    The last two years the new Management TOTALLY 'missed the boat'

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take responsibility of your fault and stop blaming all us employees that had trouble keeping up with lack of direction all the time.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Future not looking good for this company.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at CouchSurfing part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - Great food
    - Friendly people
    - Didn't feel like you were a slave to the man
    - Chill, open vibe

    Cons

    All of the pros were remnants of the previous regime. Capital ruined this place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Transparency rules all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Speechless...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time

    Pros

    Nice people, handmade chef meal for lunch and dinner, spacious fun office, competitive compensation.

    Cons

    Definitely capital ruined this place. Bunch of employees got fired suddenly including people just got hired within a month. I don't think this company has clear vision and strategy to generate revenue to pay back to VC unfortunately.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please do not forget there are actual people who love doing Couchsurfing all over the world. This is about being curious, making a connection and giving them more than you took.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Learned a lot in a short amount of time

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at CouchSurfing as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    My coworkers were passionate, intelligent and committed to solving challenging problems that affect millions of people's everyday lives.

    Cons

    There was a difficult period in the team's integrity when the new CEO, Tony Espinoza, came on board and adopted a higher set of standards and expectations of everyone. Some of the veteran employees didn't adapt to the cultural shift and there were some bitter endings.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    A Short Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at CouchSurfing full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    -Great Perks
    -Inspiring Office Environment
    -Good Food
    -Great Balance Between Work and Play
    -Flat Structure
    -Skilled Fantastic People Working There
    -Tony the CEO is a very Cool Guy!

    It was fantastic to work at Couchsurfing. However, my whole team got laid off due to change of focus. Couchsurfing in itself is a very cool concept that I believe is making a significant change in this world!

    Cons

    -Lack of Direction
    -Recent Change from the Original Founders to a new CEO created Massive Layoffs and I think they lost trust and momentum.
    -Uncertain Future
    -Reliant on Investors to operate at current capacity
    -Lost the passion that shined from the Original Crew

    The new management was not honest with the employees. And it seemed that the managements solution to problems was always to hire or fire, rather than effectively directing and managing the current staff. In my short time there, I saw people come and go on a weekly basis.

    They also favored a particular culture or skill sets rather than embracing different types of employees, which the original Couchsurfing was all about.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good luck! You need it...

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    A fascinating experiment to be a part of

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Web Applications Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Web Applications Engineer in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I have been working at CouchSurfing full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    You already know this if you've read the reviews, but it can't be said enough — the food is fabulous, the office is beautiful and sunny, and our office is full of thoughtful, intelligent and talented people.

    You get to contribute to a product that changes people's lives and makes the world a better place, and I say this as a hardened cynic.

    Management is receptive and accessible, and while there are layers of bureaucracy, they're thin.

    The paid time off policy is pretty rad (although it isn't actually "unlimited")

    Cons

    Couchsurfing isn't run by hippies anymore. It's run by people whose primary experience has been in more traditionally commercial arenas, and it shows.

    Couchsurfing has worked in the past because of a community of people who stepped in to fill gaps left by the technology, which were (and continue to be) enormous. The upside of this is a global community that is extremely engaged and passionate about Couchsurfing. The downside of this is difficulty to scale, constant internecine warfare, and a system that *kind of* worked, but only for a certain type of person.

    The new management doesn't believe the community should be the main force that keeps the site running, and they are intent on replacing lots of functions that used to be served by the community with technology. I personally think this is a bad idea, but management is honest about it, and I am willing to be party to this experiment to see if it works.

    Also, from a technical perspective, you're swimming upstream against massive amounts of technical debt the day you start, and while there is lots of institutional support for fixing it, things move so fast that it's hard to get a foothold against it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't talk trash about people that are critical of the company's new direction within earshot of all the employees. Also, don't talk trash about "anarchists" and "the occupy movement" as if you can safely assume all of your employees have the same opinion about those things. Assume there is political diversity in your workplace and act accordingly.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    A good company to work for.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I have been working at CouchSurfing full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Every day that I step through the front doors of the office, I feel relaxed. I can genuinely say that I *enjoy* working here.

    - The people that I work with are talented, interesting, and fun. No exceptions.

    - The food is high quality.

    - We are working on a product that is creating genuine, real-life connections between strangers. That's core to Couchsurfing's mission. Despite the drastic changes that I've witnessed in the past few years at this company, I haven't seen our focus on that mission waver.

    - Couchsurfing's users are awesome. The majority of them are appreciative, involved, and caring. I feel so lucky to be working on a product that my friends love and use every day.

    - Management has successfully rejuvenated a company that was stagnating a few years ago. While the firings that have happened here since I arrived make me sad, it's clear that CS is doing very well with the new direction it has taken.

    - As an engineer, I have lots of opportunities to learn and grow at Couchsurfing. I have the opportunity to work on interesting, unique, and challenging projects with extremely talented colleagues.

    - My coworkers are very knowledgable and the managers are excellent mentors.

    ----

    Many of the reviews I've read on this page are very unbalanced -- either they're raving about how CS has changed their lives completely and how this is the best place in the world, or they're complaining about how completely screwed everyone is and that management is Evil.

    I think it's best to step back, take a deep breath, and think about things from a logical place instead of an emotional one. Couchsurfing isn't a work-utopia where everything's perfect. No company is like that. Layoffs will happen from time to time, and they're not ever going to be fun.

    As an engineer, I haven't experienced the "culture of fear" that other reviewers allude to. It might have something to do with the economy in Silicon Valley right now -- there are many many choices out there for engineers. Getting fired isn't a massive setback, and it's difficult to find and retain good engineers. We get treated well. My non-engineering colleagues, however, also seem happy and satisfied with their jobs.

    Cons

    - Couchsurfing is undergoing a painful transition from not-for-profit to silicon-valley startup. In my time here, there have been three rounds of layoffs. They weren't fun. People that I have a lot of respect for got fired. (Thankfully, I still get to see them often, and in most cases, they have moved on to other interesting things. They are all still leading happy lives.)

    - Some members of the Couchsurfing community (the people that we make the website for!) are very loud and grumpy about the changes we make. This is inevitable when you have an engaged community, but sometimes it's difficult to watch a feature you've worked on get torn apart by angry users.

    - Like one of the other reviewers mentioned, I'm not a big fan of the fact that we recently removed the community postcards from the walls. Also, I liked the "live your dream, share your passion" poster. It'd be nice if we put those back. (To be fair, though, we replaced both with pictures of our community at Couchsurfing events. So we still get to see people in our community doing awesome things, which I find somewhat inspiring.)

    - Occasionally I feel that there is a communication barrier between management and employees. It goes both ways: When someone gets fired, the rest of the company doesn't get much warning and I feel blindsided. In the other direction, sometimes people get upset or confused about things and gossip about it with each other instead of bringing it up to management. I want to be careful to say that this is not the norm, just something that I've seen happen from time to time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have a very difficult job, and I think you're doing it well. Please be careful to not surprise employees with big changes. And please encourage us to tell you ASAP if we aren't satisfied with something.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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