A tale of two companies that are actually just one
Engineering Manager (Current Employee) – Redwood City, CA – April 25, 2018
When I started at Zazzle it was very-much a startup. It was a bit disorganized and everyone did a little work on everything. Engineers even helped out in customer support and manufacturing busy times of year.
These days it is much more of a mid-sized company. There is effective HR and job security and even an online form to fill out for taking vacation. The CEO and founders have attempted to keep the start-up look and feel by providing meals, being laid back about how employees spend manage their time, and encouraging input from everyone. But, these features are for the knowledge workers.
Increasingly, manufacturing and customer support are becoming their own company. The Manufacturing team has moved out of the Bay Area (to Reno) and a lot of customer support happens from Ireland. There are also many seasonal workers employed for the holiday rush.
This makes Zazzle feel much less like a single company and more like two companies. The startup-ish engineering, product, and marketing teams are pretty disconnected from the day-to-day operations work that gets done. Zazzle is not alone in this. Apple, Google, and Microsoft all manufacture things, but their knowledge workers may never set foot in the same country as their builders. The difference is that Zazzle is trying to hold everyone under one company.
Great People, Nice Offices, Good business model
Family Business, Understaffed for goals