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The high-tech thread


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#21 amor de cosmos

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 04:11 PM

never heard of this company, and it's 20 years old!

The boutique software company cebas Visual Technology Inc. created the highly advanced 3D special effects software that allowed the director of the upcoming movie epic "2012", Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day", "The Day After Tomorrow"), to "destroy" most of Los Angeles along with other well-known parts of the world. The $200 million blockbuster from Sony Pictures will have its worldwide release on November 12 and 13.

"This epic is a milestone for us and confirms our decision to move operations from Germany to the West Coast," cebas CEO Edwin Braun said. "Now we are closer to our clients in the Vancouver film and interactive entertainment industries and in the same time zone as the Hollywood movie and San Francisco game production centers."

http://www.viatec.ca/News.aspx?id=4014

#22 spanky123

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:40 PM

I believe that the principle just moved here which is probably why you never heard of the company.

#23 Holden West

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 09:20 PM

I believe that the principle just moved here


The money or the owner?

Now the bad news:

Video-game publisher Electronic Arts is cutting 1,500 jobs across its operations, including a "significant" number of positions at its Burnaby, B.C. campus.


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#24 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 10:24 PM

I read about this company in the TC a couple of days ago, although I can't find it right now - but the VIATec piece seems really similar. Did they both just copy & paste the company's press release or something?
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#25 spanky123

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 10:43 PM

The money or the owner?

Now the bad news:


Damn I knew someone was going to call me on that!

Not sure if the EA cuts are in addition to the ones they announced earlier this year or part of the same restructuring. In any event that will be a significant cut to the labour pool in Vancouver.

#26 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 10:46 PM

From what I heard today, the EA cuts are new. :(
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#27 AllseeingEye

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 11:10 PM

Have to feel for the EA staff - tough market (gaming) to be in these days. Consumers are less likely to buy shrink wrapped product when they can merely play literally hundreds of other people around the globe online. I know some posters on VV who fit that profile precisely.

EA was always a bit of a dichotomy though; when I worked at Seagate in Vancouver there was always an underground railroad of ex-EA staff coming over to us (this was in 1997-2000), as EA always had a generally poor rep for overworking and underpaying its staff.

#28 spanky123

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:09 AM

The bigger picture in my opinion is the tens of millions of dollars the Government throws at EA, West, eBay and others to set up shop (or expand operations) in BC. The money comes in the form of tax subsidies, employment subsidies or outright grants.

In each case a good portion of the jobs disappear anyways after a few years when the $$$ runs out.

#29 AllseeingEye

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:46 AM

I agree Spanky; I was actually employee # 5 at West, hired as the first Ops manager.

In an internal discussion literally within the first 6 months of opening in 2003, they as much as admitted coming to BC was a mistake. They were horrified at what they termed "incredible labor-friendly" legislation and laws here. Clearly they didn't do their homework in regards.

One senior VP came right out and stated they thought the City (of Victoria) had mislead and sold them a 'bill of goods' by de-emphasizing their obligations to staff as an employer particularly in terms of time off and vacation expectations. Not to mention wages, ha. Of course once the US dollar declined relative to the Loonie, their profit margins were blown to hell. I eventually left due to the prevailing culture which was very "American" in terms of staff discipline, i.e. you could be reprimanded or terminated literally at the drop of a hat.

#30 spanky123

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 02:40 PM

The City tells employers that Victoria has a highly skilled, well trained workforce and that is true. What they don't tell employers is that the "west coast lifestyle" has influenced the perception towards work here.

In most large cities (US or otherwise), the expectation is that if you are employed to work 8 to 5 then you are at your desk at 8AM ready to work and that your day ends at 5PM.

In Victoria, an 8 to 5 day means that you show up for work at 8:05, make yourself a coffee, chat with your friends and saunter over to your desk by 8:15 or 8:20. You start getting ready to take lunch at 11:30 and mosey on back shortly after 1. By 4:30 you are too exhausted to work any more so you bide your time until 4:50 when you can leave without it looking like you left too early. In addition, the expectation is that 8 to 5 is 9 hours and you should be paid for such.

I never worked at West but know lots of people who did. They all have pretty much the same opinion as you.

#31 AllseeingEye

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 03:10 PM

Can't disagree; at Seagate it was common to work until 6:60/7pm on a Friday or later, depending where we were with regard to product development and the quarterly or annual sales cycles. Staff, including upper management, were there literally all hours of the day or night, weekends as well as weekdays.

When I was recuited back to Victoria in late 2000 to work for a well known tech firm that shall remain nameless, I was shocked to see the same people who showed up at 9am or later, then take the hour or 90 minute lunch, often were also the first ones out of the parking lot anytime after 4pm.

Of course for the corporate "West'ies" who hailed from the heartland in the good old US of A (Omaha) and who themselves rarely took more than 2 weeks annual holidays, as you say 'west coast' work habits came as a rude shock.....

#32 piltdownman

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 03:12 PM

I wish it was like that in my office. There is an expectation that I work 730 until 1800 at a minimum. Weekends, and holidays mean nothing if there is deadlines. And there is almost always deadlines.

#33 Caramia

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:21 PM

Me too Piltdownman, I'm reading this and thinking I missed out somehow. I show up to work on time and usually work late if I am doing a 9-5 it usually looks like 8:45- 7:00, sometimes with work to take home. I was raised here in Victoria but clearly this westcoast attitude failed to take hold on me. Maybe because my Dad was a workaholic so I had a culturally inappropriate role model.
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#34 Mike K.

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 04:53 PM

Whoa, I just woke up. Did I miss anything?

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#35 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 08:45 PM

^ lol, Mike K., excellent response!
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#36 http

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 08:46 PM

Fact or opinion? A good businessman (or simply a proper gentlemn) does not demand employees or contractors to work unpaid overtime. A good manager does not plan to have staff working overtime regularly.

Henry Ford studied the issue of worker effectiveness nearly to death in the 1900s, and found that keeping people working beyond eight hours shows extremely diminishing returns. He also discovered that the teams that worked five day weeks always outproduced the teams that worked six day weeks.

Spending all your time working is a waste of time in more ways than one.
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#37 D.L.

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:31 PM

Work (at work) doesn't always need to be productive. I have had many jobs where I worked longer than usual hours, but there were plenty of opportunities during work to do whatever I wanted to do, take a breather. It becomes a matter of pacing yourself, and I could easily do more work that I could in a shorter work-day, and consistantly too. Just doesn't give much time for life outside of work (vacations).

#38 piltdownman

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:12 PM

Fact or opinion? A good businessman (or simply a proper gentlemn) does not demand employees or contractors to work unpaid overtime. A good manager does not plan to have staff working overtime regularly.


Is that a question? I would say sometime a manager must demand that employee works overtime. I do think its not right when it becomes regularly. I am also of a belief that if a manager asks an employee to work overtime they should be putting in the same amount of hours. I will not comment on if this is true where I currently work ;)

While I work extremely hard, I have plenty of friends with this "west coast lifestyle" spoken of earlier. They are always complaining about either how I'm lame because I can't blow off a weekday afternoon to go do whatever with them or about how unfair it is that I make more money than them even though "we practically do the same thing". None of them seem to see the relation between these two things.

As for long hours. What kills my productivity is unplanned multitaskings. So your working along first thing in the morning and you get an email that requires you to do x; then as soon as you get back to your primary task your boss walks over and asks you to investigate y which takes you three hours; then the alberta office calls and asks you to fedex them z, which alwasy takes forever after you find the item, a box, weight it, then fill out and print the form; then back to your primary task for a little bit until someone under you comes asking for help; you then realize the fedex package hasn't been picked up, so you call and find out you have to drive to the airport to drop it off if so it can get to Edmonton the next day; when you get back to the office you reply to the 10 emails that would take to long to answers on your blackberry whilst sitting at red lights on Pat Bay Hwy; you suddenly realize thats its now 7pm and that report you were working on 'all day' is only two paragraphs done.

#39 G-Man

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 07:51 AM

Well the Westcoast lifestyle doesn't exist in my office...

#40 spanky123

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 08:38 AM

There are exceptions to every rule and few would argue that some of the people on VV work far harder and on far more diverse projects then the average Victoria employee.

I would bet that if you interviewed 10 random Victoria employers with more than 5 employees, then the vast majority if not all would have the perception that the "west coast lifestyle" exists and has some degree of impact on their operations.

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