The review posted by the current Niantic employee on Glassdoor provides a candid and detailed insight into the company’s internal operations and culture. It reveals that while Niantic may have some strengths in terms of individual contributors and engineers’ technical expertise, it is seriously lacking in leadership and direction.
The review highlights that the company seems to prioritise solutions over purposes, which can lead to a lack of focus and a scattergun approach. It suggests that this approach may be due to the influence of mid-management, who are described as ‘an epic joke’. Specifically, the review mentions that the tech lead managers and recently promoted engineering directors are often not suitable for managerial roles, and that the company has a “ridiculous bias” towards engineering.
One particularly concerning aspect of the review is the claim that decisions are made based on how much engineers like them, how much the VP of engineering favours them, and how much the CEO favours them. This suggests that important decisions may not be made based on strategic considerations or the potential for impact, but rather on personal preferences and biases. Additionally, the CEO’s preference for not using external vendors or sharing data with anyone is likely to limit the company’s ability to grow and innovate.
The review also criticises the chief product officer, describing them as weak and overly concerned with hierarchy and seniority. This sentiment is echoed in the description of the product managers, who are labelled as “minions and servers for the eng teams”. According to the review, the PMs do not focus on impact or generating revenue, but rather on constraints such as privacy, release schedules, and checklists.
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