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    Filemaker Inc in review of former employees


      just came across the site glassdoor.ca on which several former FM Inc employees have reviewed the company from inside - very interesting and sad at the same time:




      For those who don´t want to go there some of the posts in citation - please note, that this is not my own text or my own experience.


      Old boy's company culture. If it comes down to your word against someone else who has more years with the company, you will lose. Don't bother going to HR with your issues. You will be disregarded. The person I talked to actually fell asleep for a good 30 seconds while I voiced my concerns. After a lot of the senior management was let go, encouraged to leave, or left/retired on their own, a bunch of people were promoted to managers and software architects who have no business being in those roles. No innovation happening. In the current state of technology, the company's niche is becoming, if it hasn't already, irrelevant. Implementing a FileMaker installation at your company most likely will require consultants that specialize in FileMaker. It's not a turnkey product. A lot of pride in QA engineers who identify a massive number of defects, but no one looks into the cause of the metrics.


      A great place to hide.



      Malaise has taken over this company. Management is risk adverse and hyper analytical to the point of inaction. They are loosing ground every year and they no longer inspire interest in their employees or their customers.

      Advice to Management


      There are a few talented and motivated people that still work there. Stop getting in their way.

      You've been trying to save your way to growth for too long. Its time to think about investing in the customers and the company.



      Turnover is low, so there's little room for upward movement within the company. The executive staff is often more concerned with the the bottom line and staying out of Apple's cross-hairs than they are with innovation and retaining good people. This sometimes results in people who are making a decent salary getting a target painted on their backs.






      Not innovation enough.
      Not engineer oriented.

      Advice to Management


      Hire some visionary guy that can transform the company in to the new world.




      I believe change happens slowly--unusual for most tech companies.

      Advice to Management


      Try more new things to grow revenues.




      Good if you want a paycheck without having to work too hard in a mellow environment.



      If you are considering this company, take a good look at their technology position. Even though progress has been made to keep up with the current technology climate by doing such things as releasing an iOS client for their database software, the company is essentially still squarely positioned in the old school shrink wrap software market. No cloud computing here. You have to ask yourself how long will that last? They make their money from an aging demographic that somehow has been sold on the ease-of-use of their products, and bought into their whole ecosystem. However, in most cases it still requires hiring a developer to create your database for you with their software. Which essentially means they are competing with free and more widely accepted tools that are increasingly in use every day to create vertical applications. That plus the fact we are seeing more vertical applications every day available via retail (not needing a developer), and you have yourself a company clearly on the down trend.

        • 1. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

          several = 13, reviews scattered over a 6 year period ? Half of them anonymous ? Not worth even thinking about it, imho.

          • 2. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees
            Benjamin Fehr

            this reflects very well my impressions after talks with some FMI PM's and a former VP.

            Main issue: lack of self-criticism!

            • 3. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

              Hi Martin


              I'm not trying to be the devil's advocate here but problems like jerk managers, old school, people not listening, etc. are common to most companies. Anyone who have worked as an employee likely saw one or more of this problems.


              From my point of view, "trying not to be in the Apple crosshairs" is the key here. FMI has always been extremely prudent when it comes to move the company anywhere and being a stepson of a greedy stepfather is not exactly a position of freedom.


              One possible solution would be that FMI create an open source database, as a separate product with a completely different approach. Just like 4D did years ago with Wakanda.

              • 4. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                lol...if those are the only reviews...I'd have to consider applying. If I could work remotely. FMI is still growing. And has protected the business and still made us as developers very successful.


                Some of the comments in those reviews are based on broad, and inaccurate, tech views. As wonderful as Cloud Computing is, there are so many business ( the majority ) that can not, or will not use it. Secondly, as the shift continues, and it will, FileMaker has continued to grow with it, and maintain it's relevance. Kudos FMI.


                There are trends in technology, and fads. Successful company keep up with the trends. Failed companies often have to recover from following the fads. FMI and Apple have done well in following/creating trends.

                • 5. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                  Ibrahim, your'e absolutely right: Each company of a certain size has it's share of people difficult-to-work-with, including senior managers.

                  FMI did a decent job so far, but technology evolves faster now than it did in the last decade. However, business-strength applications need seasoned, dedicated developers and there is no way that complex applications with a database behind will be "stitched" together with nearly no effort, and this is true for all ERP environments. There is heavy programming involved, even when a so-called "standard" ERP product has been selected.

                  There is, of course, always room for improvement and that faster pace of technical evolution requires active listening to developers. Developers are out in the field and bring back valuable information about future requirements, bug reports...

                  I see FMI moderators working hard on forum posts and bug reports. What I am missing is a less tight-lipped and timely FMI feedback on identified bugs.

                  • 6. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                    The most important thing is the data, together with the ability to access it, today and in the future. A company moving maybe slower than others but moving forward and leaving no clients behind by respecting the zillions of data (and for us developers, of code) created in the past deserves my respect and is worth the wait for "more". Trust beats speed.

                    • 7. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                      Maybe they don't self-criticize enough because people like intex post enough criticism for them to peruse in their meetings.


                      On the flip side, I myself have had many half hour or longer discussions with product managers and engineers within FileMaker and they are both aware of what the community is saying (EG reading here), and also of an existing roadmap to improve.


                      Also, personnel reshuffling in recent years has been noticeable, as well as a certain degree of "getting the act together" when that "Apple Subsidiary" tagline snuck into the logo. Some of the people that were let go were VERY senior names in FMI, so I'm not sure the pecking order feedback above is really even there much anymore.


                      You want filemaker to improve? help filemaker sell more licenses! It's a for profit company, but almost all developers I meet are looking for ways to bypass licensing fees, instead of embracing it as part of their business. More licenses = more money = more to invest = better product. It's not complex math at all.

                      • 8. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                        That's what they should have done with Bento. I was actually hoping they were going to give it to apple and roll it into iWork to make a vanilla competitor to access, but they slashed it and let it die.


                        I'd imagine that apple subsidiaries are under tremendous pressure to stay profitable, and that's something that's not easy to do when the licensing is cheap (EG compared to oracle or SQL server). There's probably a ton of behind the scenes management we cannot see that is making decisions on what they can "afford" to do. Besides given the plethora of open source DB driven platforms out there, not sure FMI would have any reason to add to that market.

                        • 9. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                          Some people reading this might not know what the Glass Door is.  It is a site that keeps track of information about HR practices at companies and gives you an idea of things like what the minimum and maximum pay are for a given position and comments from employees, usually ones that are on the way out.  Since most comments are from people leaving, they tend to be negative on most all companies you look up on this web site database.  Keep in mind these will probably be people with the most negative viewpoints due to circumstances of no longer being employed there.  On the other side of things, these are people who have nothing to loose (they are usually no longer employed there) and can be brutally honest. 


                          I have never looked up a company on one of these type web sites that did not have negative feedback and am not surprised there is some negative feedback about FileMaker Inc.  After all it is a corporation and most corporations have bureaucratic issues that frustrate employees. 


                          The low number of reviews over such a long time means that the information is probably not relevant to the company as a whole.  Then again, FM doesn't have a lot of turnover, at least until last year. 


                          Glean from the comments some useful information, but don't expect it to be relevant for the whole company.  I did find it interesting the comments about being focused on pleasing Apple. 

                          • 10. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees
                            Benjamin Fehr


                            please respect Netiquette on this forum. No reason to be offensive or disrespect freedom of expression.

                            As a early adopter, I got hit very badly by the countless bugs introduced with FMP 12. Such a disaster shell never ever happen again and therefor I take the right to speak freely!

                            • 11. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                              Mike Beargie wrote:


                              You want filemaker to improve? help filemaker sell more licenses! It's a for profit company, but almost all developers I meet are looking for ways to bypass licensing fees, instead of embracing it as part of their business. More licenses = more money = more to invest = better product. It's not complex math at all.


                              Let see how this actually happens. No complex math, I agree.


                              1) We get a phone or an email from a potential client who is interested in our software.

                              2) We arrange for a personal demo at the client's place

                              3) The client does not like it. Exit script [false], but it almost never happens.

                              4) The client likes and asks for an offer.

                              5) We always prepare the offer specifying separately our software's costs and Filemaker costs (workstations x n + server x 1)

                              6) #  comment: we want to sell our product

                              7) The client says "OK" ( Exit script [true]) or says "too much overall for what it is" -> Perform Script [TryHarder]


                              now, what can we do at this point ? Let's build together the TryHarder script.


                              #  comment: we want to sell our product

                              - if we sell, Filemaker will sell, too. That's for sure.

                              - if we sell undervalue our product, it's bad business for us. Business as usual for Filemaker.

                              - if we don't sell, it's bad for both Filemaker and us.

                              - if Filemaker has strong arguments, like a different pricing policy, a different cost, anything else, we both won: we both sell.


                              A discounted price vs an unacceptable price can make the difference between a sell and a not sell. It's not us developers that decide if it's a sell, at this point. It's Filemaker and the client that decide. Get less but get it, vs getting zero.


                              To sum it up, help Filemaker sell more licenses is of course reasonable, and we feel like doing our duty, and we feel bad if it does not happen because both FM and Siplus are losers at this point. But in our price there's a whole year of free assistance and customization, and if what this implies is supported by FM through better faster more features, we can overcome it. And even give a discount in order to get the sale. If not, not. Give and get. That's why the whole point is - imho - a better interaction FM - Developers: we are not, and feel bad to be compared to, users. Because when we get a sale it's a minimum of 3 FM licenses + 1 server license, as opposed to 1 license. Should we have more feedbacks, previews, forecasts and info ? I think yes, because we're partners in selling or not.

                              • 12. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees
                                Devon Braun

                                FMP has achieved something that no other software has (happy to be corrected if I'm wrong).  It's not only the fastest data modeling and development system, it's the most versatile database I'm aware of.  In addition to databasing we've got it running website APIs (centralizing and automating control over Shopify, PayPal, QuickBooks, FTP uploads), automating Software (Avid, FCP & Premiere, Adobe Products, web browsers) as well as unix apps.  So it's not only managing information, it literally puts that information to use and actively runs as a central process that brings together and coordinates an unlimited number of departments and their softwares.


                                To me it seems problems arise from this very success.  First there seems to be a lack of understanding of just how powerful FMP is, leading people to believe that a combination of freeware and web apps are just as effective.  People and institutions who believe this tend to ignore the enormous amount of down time devoted to fixing problems of mis-coordination.


                                Maybe that same uniqueness leads FMI as an institution to believe it has no competition and can develop slowly.  But the fact that many believe in the freeware web app approach, no matter how untrue, proves otherwise.


                                FMP has plenty of competition from systems and ideas that are grossly inferior but are nonetheless very real.  I can and do sing the software's praises to every company I work at to no avail.  I even develop solutions that prove those praises are worth the cost of the software many times over.  Seeing finished results, managers agree.  And yet, it's remains very difficult to get companies to purchase licenses.  In spite of hard evidence to the contrary companies still perceive FMP to be a lesser known alternative to the spreadsheet, an amateur version of SQL, a too-expensive management tool that can be substituted for free- and subscription-ware.


                                I'd like to believe FMI recognizes it needs to compete not against other data management systems but against the misperceptions of its product and the corporate affinity for hodge-podge free- and subscription-ware.

                                • 13. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                                  Thanks for the Wakanda tip - looks interesting.

                                  • 14. Re: Filemaker Inc in review of former employees

                                    databoom wrote:


                                    And yet, it's remains very difficult to get companies to purchase licenses. 



                                    We are bespoke savile row tailors. To our clients we only say that the buttons must come from Filemaker, otherwise it's game over. The value perceived from the clients is 99% our stuff. Some may ask why the buttons are so expensive - it's just the way people perceive things. Some might even say "it looks good and fits well without buttons, too". We don't have an answer to that. But we do have an answer to the "WTF licenses" problem, because who today did not yet get the concept won't get it tomorrow either, and tomorrow we might be talking about OUR licenses, not Filemaker's. So they better get it, now.

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