28 Employee Reviews (View Most Recent)

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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

Other Reviews for CouchSurfing

  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    A Company that Lost its Soul

    • 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

    -Great benefits
    -A typical Generic Silicon Valley Company
    -Lots of Employees from reputable companies such as Apple etc.
    -Many great talents
    -The CEO Tony is a very nice guy and a joy to work with.

    Cons

    -If you looking for a different company with extraordinary values and the diversity Couchsurfing community represented, this is not your company. Don’t get fooled by their ‘we are different’ marketing. However, if you looking for a crowd that all think a like. Go for it!

    -There are a lot of “know it all” and big Egos in the middle management that will quickly resign their ideas to blame others for the failures they constantly make. Lots of Politics here!

    -As you can see from reviews the new management was not happy with the old employees. They are also bad mouthing their performance. How can you bad mouth someone who created the biggest social travel site in the world with over 5 million members? Did any of you new employees do that? Any takers?

    -You can read from these reviews the new crew seem very intolerant to what they call hippies? That’s showing a very intolerant attitude towards a diverse culture Couchsurfing is, and if you read reviews online you will find upset previous members that feel the new management is very incompetent.

    -Yes, they were “hippies”, that didn’t know what they were doing and got screwed by the investors. They worked for free for many years and had real passion for this community.

    -Take away the salary lets see how much time the “new crew” is putting out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -The management is very insecure and not flexible to understand other types of values than numbers on a spreadsheet. (I guess thats what you’re hired to do)

    -Stop blaming the old system for errors. That is getting old. You have had 1 1/2 Years to change things around. Your “new” product such as place pages is worse than the old one. Thats just to show how “bad” job the old members did.

    -I understand a new management wanted to hire their own crew. However, it could have been done in a less sneaky way. You could have communicated directly to people instead of giving them no indication of what was going on. I think that’s why it created such resentment. This could have gone down very differently.

    -And if you fail to reach your goal don’t blame the hippies and don’t give the investors the copout “8 of 10 Startups fail.. not our fault, we did the best we could. Lets find another job!” Couchsurfing has been around for over 7 years and it’s not a startup.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    The best job I've ever had

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

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

    Pros

    -From the beginning I have felt empowered to expand my role, take on more responsibility, and challenge myself.
    -Upper management has been nothing but transparent with me since I started. Yes they expect a high level of performance and yes they fire people who underperform. This is because they are building a company where you are surrounded by the best employees in the city. Every team member should be astounding.
    -Culture is at the forefront of upper management's mind. There are weekly activities from volleyball league, to offsite happy hours. The meals, as pretty much everyone here has mentioned, are incredible. Free lunch and dinner by a stellar chef? Yes please. Cooking for palio, vegetarian, vegan, picky diets? You bet.
    -We are working towards something meaningful and inspired. The old website was clunky and problematic. We are building a new one that will make Couchsurfing easier and more fulfilling, whilst opening it up to a whole new audience.
    -Great equipment, and facilites. They make sure you have everything you need.
    -The people here truly care about one another. My best friends work here beside me, and I feel like I have finally found my home. I wake up excited to come here everyday.

    Cons

    -The office needs more bathrooms. There is always a line and it is annoying
    -The heating and cooling is a little wonky. Upstairs area is a sauna.
    -You have to be careful not to spend too much time here!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Getting fired is hard. Many of the reviews here are from people who have felt the sting of a recent layoff from a company they poured their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into. But their opinions do not truly describe what its like to work here now.

    My advice to management is keep doing what you are doing. Remember that everyone who is here now, wants to be. In all that entails. Keep treating us with the respect we have come to expect.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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