By Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker
With its emphasis on transparency, the jobs site Glassdoor aims to upend corporate power dynamics.
One day in 2007, in Seattle, Rich Barton, the C.E.O. of the real-estate Web site Zillow, was getting ready for the company’s annual reviews. The process—talking to each employee about his or her performance and whether he or she would be getting a raise—called for discretion and tact. On his computer, he pulled up a spreadsheet containing the salary and stock options for every employee, and pressed Print. However, instead of sending the document to his personal printer, he sent it to one in the middle of the open-plan office. When Barton’s assistant realized the mistake, she rushed across the room to retrieve the document before anyone could read it. She succeeded, but the moment stayed with Barton. As he likes to tell people, it led him to wonder: why, exactly, was this information secret, aside from the fact that making it public could be extremely awkward?