Audible Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Audible Reviews

Updated 26 March, 2017
160 reviews

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3.2
Star Star Star Star Star
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Audible Chairman and CEO Donald R. Katz
Donald R. Katz
115 Ratings

160 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Free lunch every day & Happy Hour every Friday (in 44 reviews)

  • The free food, raffled event tickets and RSU's are just some of the awesome perks Audible has to offer (in 27 reviews)

Cons
  • Poor work life balance contributes to high level of burnout and stress among employees (in 8 reviews)

  • Lack of transparency given the hierarchal org structure (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Happy at Audible"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Content Producer in Jersey City, NJ (US)
    Current Employee - Content Producer in Jersey City, NJ (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Audible full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great managers and coworkers, benefits (competitive health insurance, retirement, commute up to $200), autonomy, provided lunches and snacks, liberal work environment

    Cons

    Less agility than competitively necessary in this tech-forward market, which is especially disappointing given that we are a subsidiary of Amazon and have theoretical access to their resources

    Advice to Management

    Great experience with management so far


  2. Helpful (1)

    "5 Years and growing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Newark, NJ (US)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Newark, NJ (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Audible full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Free lunch + great culture.
    Strong engineers get to shine.
    I've never been told my opinion doesn't matter and I'm never afraid to speak up.
    Great opportunity for growth.
    Work/Life balance.

    Cons

    Mix of talented and not-so-talented engineers (not referring to new vs experienced). Some teams are more fun and free than other teams.

    Advice to Management

    Lot's of middle management and the tech knowledge of management drops off too quickly.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Best Job I've Had"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Audible full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The people are exceptional. Incredibly smart, passionate about what we do and incredibly open to new ideas. There is a lot of change being put in place to make sure that the entrepreneurial spirit and energy stays alive while the company continues to grow hand over fist. Don could not be a more inspirational leader. And the company just treats you well. Food, health care brought to the office, real flexibility in schedule to accommodate personal lives.

    Cons

    It's in Newark. I wish it was in Midtown. Surprisingly, I've become pretty accustomed to the commute. It's not really any further that Brooklyn -> the 50's.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the revolution.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Great Perks, Horrible Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Audible full-time

    Pros

    Ceo is great, free food in the newark office, great products. Happy hour every Friday, and they really do try to keep everyone culures (themed lunches, events etc)

    Cons

    A ton of politics, and sense of entitlement from the people who come from the DE(German) Office. Promotions are purely political; dont work in Finance/Business Intelligence/Tech Departments.

    Advice to Management

    Take a harder look who you are promoting (especially from the DE office) as they dont match the good values the company tries to instill. Many of them are openy german "nationalists".


  6. "Downward Spiral"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Audible full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    • Product
    • Free lunch and snacks
    • Atmosphere
    • An Amazon Subsidiary

    Cons

    • Nepotism and cronyism supplants loyalty and hard work
    • Constant revolving door of mid to upper level management
    • Very little to almost no vertical growth
    • Too many layers in the approval process, thus slowing project timelines
    • Biased and unfair mid-year and annual performance reviews

    Advice to Management

    Audible keeps growing and hiring, which is usually perceived as a positive company attribute, however, not in this case. Audible's upper management has a difficult time retaining talent, by continually hiring individuals with specific skill sets and retrofitting these individuals onto teams and projects that they're not suited for. The clash of agendas, personalities, egos and ideologies at the higher levels of management usually stalls processes, continually breeds distrust, and influences an uncomfortable and at times hostile work environment. Too many directors are inept at maintaining trust and clear communication, as this causes a trickle-down effect that permeates entire teams. Directors will reflect their own poor management onto their subordinates, which then gets used against the subordinates during performance reviews. What was once an exciting, familial, motivating and energetic company, has now become a faceless, cold, shadow of it's parent company. Audible once had a "No A_hole policy" in terms of new hires, but unfortunately, that ideology died years ago.


  7. "Audible Web Design"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Nice work life balance. Collaborative environment.

    Cons

    Too many cooks in the kitchen, not enough transparent vision from the top down.


  8. Helpful (6)

    "Used to a great place to work...not anymore"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Audible full-time

    Pros

    Great product
    Good benefits/ perks
    Amazon RSUs

    Cons

    Look at the trend in rating...This tells you everything....It used to be such a great place to work...Changes in senior leadership and management is taking it to downhill.
    Talent is wasted 'coz all you do is take orders from boss, their boss and so on....yep...Layers and layers of managers with little to no value add but everyone is very prompt at taking credit for someone else's work. In some teams you clearly see nepotism especially when it comes to promotions etc.

    Advice to Management

    Value your employees and empower them
    Invest in retaining the talent by giving them opportunities to growth rather than hiring from outside


  9. Helpful (6)

    "It is better to work elsewhere, even just as a corp drone."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Audible full-time

    Pros

    - free lunch and snacks
    - resume booster of having worked at an Amazon subsidiary will get you in the door of other jobs (but lasts only so long unless you can demonstrate your skills)
    - product is leader in its category

    Cons

    - painfully slow to no real progress
    - some mid-managers are driven by self interest and unwilling to learn
    - in some teams you will experience the explicit "be my yes man or you are out" attitude from manager making bad decisions; if you are servile, this is your place.
    - lots colleagues either acquiesce or give up improving the organization because of house of cards style politics and fear of personal financial and stability loss.
    - lack truly smart people that inspire real change
    - lack organizational accountability
    - some managers dismiss problems in the team only to use them as tools to manipulate and discipline unruly members

    Advice to Management

    the hardest problems to fix are cultural problems. people high up in the company could pay more attention to cultural problems down below instead of paying it lipservice. hire better people, encourage learning, humility and innovation


  10. Helpful (10)

    "Product Runs the Show, Engineers are Just Code Machines"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Newark, NJ (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Newark, NJ (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Audible full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You will meet a lot of great people in the lower ranks - engineers, visual designers, UX designers, even a few Product Managers. Work hours are flexible as long as you get your work done nobody should complain. Opportunities to change teams are common as long as you ask.

    Cons

    This is a retailer and not a software shop, everything is centered around pushing subscriptions and sales. Upper management fears upsetting content providers, and so they won't innovate around their central product line. All feature development is driven by Product Managers who only ever think 3-6 months ahead and rarely try to Think Big. Success is measured in new subscribers gained or lost.

    Most products get out the door several months late as an "MVP" that went through multiple internal versions. Once it is in customer's hands, it gets abandoned and never improved (see Badges, Clips, Book Sharing, and more). Product Managers come with half baked ideas and expect engineers to divine their intention and build it perfectly. If things get behind due to changing requirements, they try to throw people at the problem leading to more overhead and later projects.

    The tech organization is chaotic, with constant reorganizations and no ownership. Big Picture Buzzword ideas are proscribed from above with no thought on implementation detail or even the outline of a plan. Every project is either in development hell (infinite churn before launch) or it's deprecated the moment it's released. Tech debt is completely ignored until it completely overwhelms a team and then management wonders how things got so bad.

    Rather than take what Amazon provides as tools and try to focus on new features or tech, middle and upper management constantly want to make Audible "different", leading to a lot of reimplementation of existing functionality. There are a lot of creative engineers, especially young ones, who could be a true asset to the company if their ideas were considered or if they were given more ownership and authority. Sadly, if it isn't exactly how the senior leadship want it, there is no chance it will get shipped. Right down to the size of a link and the color of a button.

    Advice to Management

    Realize that you employ hundreds of talented engineers and creators with better ideas than your own. Let them experiment and build and then improve on their best ideas. Realize that you only attract talent because you are Amazon, but you can only keep that talent if they can take pride and feel ownership in what they do. Your audiobook monopoly is slowly crumbling and if you fail to innovate now, then you will be left behind as publishers realize any company can sell books for $15 if they have an AWS account.


  11. Helpful (11)

    "Company with healthy growth despite rudderless management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newark, NJ (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Audible full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Perks galore: free lunch, snacks, standing desks with dual monitor docks, ability to work at home once a week, no morning arrival time expectation (some people get in at 11 and no eyelids are batted), new offices with more tech company-like furnishing (collaboration spaces, etc.)
    -Higher than average comp package including restricted stock (may be signifcantly impacted if Amazon stock price declines)
    -Generally mild-tempered co-workers, fairly laid back culture, especially compared to NYC metro financial firms
    -Potential to transfer to other Amazon roles
    -Company has had good financial growth for multiple years, projects a sense of security

    Cons

    -Acquired by Amazon in 2008, however, still retains a little fam biz vibe. A small circle of pre-acquisition managers run the show and most others hired externally are caught in a two or so years turnover cycle (note: restricted stock awards are doled out over 3 years). Look long and hard to the left and right during orientation, most people in the room will not be there around the 2 year mark.
    -Purportedly has documentation on career tracks, but in reality, career progression over the long run is a mythical creature. Promotions up one career level within a 2 year timeframe is common. The substance of such achievements, however, is diluted by small raises and potentially small changes in day-to-day responsibilities.
    -Many lower- mid-level managers expend a lot of energy on managing up and accumulating perceived personal achievements that more senior managers may choose to recognize. Many times, individual contributors are likely to be used to further achievement theater rather than concrete business results or to create more robust customer-facing offerings.
    -Many functions are exceedingly overstaffed, resulting in micro-ownership and frequent stalemates should disagreements occur. This is a serious issue as roll out of customer-facing product features and offerings can be minimal to nonexistent year-over-year despite the company fielding an employee base well north of 1k. As can be expected, development or improvement of skill sets are hampered under these scenarios.
    -Senior management exhibit tremendous risk aversion. The decision-making process consists of a handful of C-level managers sounding off on proposed business initiatives with little to no prior due diligence. High level meetings can end without firm conclusions reached. Initiatives may not be reviewed or revisited for quarters. Though never explicitly declared, the company's mandate is more or less to not rock the boat while maintaining robust growth. Large-scale projects that may threaten the status quo may still be green-lit but the likelihood of cancellation grows as the release date nears.
    -Ultimately, the company has had only one perceivable product for 20 years: audiobooks. Depending on your function, this may be a real limitation to career development and exposure to interesting domains. The company likes to project itself as a tech company. However, there lacks R&D efforts into the cutting edge. The average tech talent would struggle in more competitive tech companies. The same applies to the product management and design functions. On the flip side, those with weaker resumes can potentially use the company to build some minimal skill sets and move on to greener pastures.

    Advice to Management

    Advice to Amazon mgmt: The advent of AI will likely eliminate the need for Audible as a separate entity within a decade. Many of the career employees will not be prepared for this outcome. Start pushing retraining opportunities to enable soft landings.



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