Fiver Media: Technical Team Lead

So far, no WWDC announcements of new mac-book pros, so I may have to choose between the great high-res screen of the large 17″ MBP and the less-great, but less-expensive screen on the reasonably-sized 15″ MBP.  Once that happens, posting rates should uptick again.

Fiver Media is looking for a Technical Team Lead:

  • Design, develop, and manage all technical aspects of the project, including:
    • Development and review of technical requirements
    • High-level design and architecture
    • Assignment of work to team
    • Coach and mentor other developers
    • Conduct performance reviews
    • Represent team in management meetings
    • Code reviews as well as doing some coding yourself
  • Fiver Media seems anxious to portray themselves as fun:

    There was a small team that tried “dress-up Thursdays” and that only lasted a few weeks!  The last thing we want is a working environment where eight bosses are asking for “TPS” reports, like yesterday. Fiver is professional, but never corporate. In fact we don’t even like saying that word. It’s evil. We laugh and play hard, but always work harder

    The Good
    Companies that work hard to be fun are often, in fact, fun places to work.  I’ve worked at a few, and I enjoyed many aspects of that environment.

    There’s not a lot of information on the technology, but this employee testimonial from their website implies they might be doing some interesting things:

    “I find myself working with things I had only read about and never expected to use, like massively virtual environments and extreme density blades.”

    Then again, the only hit on ‘extreme density blades’ is their website, so perhaps that testimonial doesn’t go as far as I’d like, even if blade density is something that vendors talk about.

    They’re located over by Wellington/Simcoe, which is both pretty central and yet still in a nice area for shopping, food, etc.  They’re on the 16th floor, so they may have nice views.

    The Bad
    The thing that stands out right away is that their website is directed to the potential employee.  They don’t talk about their clients, and they don’t talk about the work.  That’s often indicative of an industry that not everyone wants to work in (e.g. gambling, porn).  I don’t know what Fiver Media does, but I’m suspicious of anyone who isn’t busy trying to tell me what they do.  Looks like it’s a gaming shop, affiliated with bodog with all that entails.

    There’s not much information.  The role is reasonably well described, the work, the compensation are barely mentioned, and the process, while it does rate a mention, doesn’t get much more than that.

    YMMV
    Your mileage will definitely vary when it comes to working for a gaming company.  I know people who are dead-set against it, and others who don’t really know what they think.  I’ve heard my share of war stories from a colleague who used to work for a company that did online poker.

    Some companies work hard to be fun because they’ve elected to use that, rather than cash, as a motivating factor.  As a result, some of those companies don’t pay very well compared to their corporate brethren.  Other companies work so hard to be fun that they’re willing to continue to employ people who aren’t getting the job done, which can be frustrating.  I don’t know that Fiver Media is or isn’t like that, but those are some areas where your mileage may vary.

    Ultimately, as a gaming shop, my first instinct is that they pay reasonably well and are a reasonably fun place to work in an industry that’s a little sketchy and not to everyone’s taste.

    In Summary
    If working for a company involved in online gambling doesn’t bother you, Fiver Media might be your thing.  They’ve got a nice location, and they imply that they’re a fun place to work.  There’s not a lot of detail, but if that much sounds good, you could certainly inquire about the rest.

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    28 Responses to Fiver Media: Technical Team Lead

    1. Fiver media is Bodog says:

      This company is made up of crooks. They used to be http://www.riptown.com who handled the gambling operation known as http://www.bodoglife.net. They even have the same address in their Vancouver and Toronto offices that they had when they were http://www.ritptown.com. They are a turnkey operation who jumped ship when CEO Calvin Ayre ‘retired’ because the heat was on for the gambling industry. This might be a ‘fun’ company to work at but prepared to work long hours, for minimal pay for a company that will toss you to the curb when the government gets close regardless of how hard you worked our how successful you made them.

      I am sure that Fiver owns this page.

    2. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

      IF by “this page” you mean Toronto Technology Jobs, definitely not. There’s a fair number of gaming jobs in Toronto and they’re not my thing, but as long as I pass on as many facts as I can get, I figure potential employees can make that decision on their own.

      I thought riptown was on Wellington Street? Anyway — the fact that Fiver is the result of a recent rename and is in the gaming industry is worrisome enough.

    3. Fiver media is Bodog says:

      The Toronto office was planning to move to another office for some time. Looks like they did and they moved right up the road under a new name.

    4. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

      Notice that the riptown.com site has been chopped down to a contact page, so I have to admit, your theory’s looking pretty good. 🙂

      Also, linkedin profiles of people who used to be riptown and are now fiver:
      http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewferguson
      http://www.linkedin.com/pub/3/B93/B67

      Some more rumors/insider information about Riptown here:
      http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:1BevYdMPpGAJ:www.discovervancouver.com/forum/worked-working-Riptown-t82856.html+riptown+fiver&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=ca&client=firefox-a

    5. Fiver media is Bodog says:

      Oh trust me my sources are legit. This company, nor Fiver Media does not deserve anyone’s talent.

    6. Fiver/Riptown/East Sports = all BODOG aliases says:

      This company IS Bodog. Bodog is registered as a Costa Rican company to avoid to owning any assets in countries where they would be shut down, i.e. U.S. and Canada. East Sports/Riptown/Fiver etc. are all the same company of designers, developers, and marketers for their only “client” Bodog. Just type “Bodog” and “lawsuit” into Google and you’ll see a litany of items on this company that any job seeker should be very wary about.

      True the Riptown.com main page is just a header but the URLs still work: http://www.riptownmedia.com/en/about.html, note the exact same address as http://www.fivermedia.com/about-us/. The LinkedIn profiles Geoffrey Wiseman notes are another suspicious find.

      The list of ex-Bodog employees I’ve spoken to is long and their stories of the office politics, the smarmy work they were doing, and the way they were treated are shameful. The company has no fear of authority, government, or the legal system, you have no recourse against a company like this, they have more money than God all socked away in foreign accounts and are judgement proof as there are no assets based out of North America. I still cannot understand how the Canadian government, with all their “anti-illegal online gambling” bills, and tax laws, does not shut this down.

      Get a job ANYWHERE else, or even in the porn industry, trust me, you’ll feel much less filthy going home each day.

    7. Fiver media is Bodog says:

      To previous commenter… that is esports… and before that they were kazootek.com

      Over the years they have went from one shell vendor to the next servicing Bodog as it’s only client virtually throwing a match to each company and burning everyone involved along the way. Check out this article about how someone actually screwed them… and they defamated thier character in return. I don’t bame anyone for trying to screw this company over with as many people as they have screwed over in the past.

      http://www.gambling911.com/The-Big-Book.html

    8. Fiver media is Bodog says:

      As a matter of fact in typical fashion the article above tries to drive home the fact that kazootek is no longer in business just like they do with every company they turnkey into another operation but I happen to know for a fact that they still run all their email servers through a kazootek domain.

    9. Fiver media is Bodog says:

      And here is an article mentioning how Calvin Ayre was involved with another company cyberoad.com again claiming it was a client not his company

      http://www.gambling911.com/031906Cnews.html

      and and SEC filing showing a contract for kazootek.com to provide online gambling technology to Cyberoad.com. Again… one shell company providing a servvice to a single client, all owned by the same person… registered in Costa Rica… where Bodog was eventually based. This company, Bodog… riptown… and now fiver media has been pulling this routine for nearly 15 years… always one step ahead of the US DOJ and Canadian authorities.

      http://www.secinfo.com/d11f65.539.4.htm#1stPage

      As a matter of fact, riptown media used to be located at Burrard St in Vancouver (where kazootek lists their address in the above service agreement) before it moved to Seymour St.

    10. […] when the posting is anonymous but otherwise almost entirely similar to the aforementioned Fiver Media posting, it’s a lock.  I don’t have any personal experience with Fiver, but they do seem to be […]

    11. riptownguy says:

      to separate fact from fiction… Most of management staff at Riptown/FiverMedia/Bodog/WhateverYouCallIt is made of great smart people, they aren’t the thugs/crooks some posters are describing…

      that being said the industry overall is on the shady side (most gambling companies have changed name several times in the past few years, they own small companies based in banana republic islands to do some of their business, etc…) but for the most part all this is caused by the fact that governments refuse to legalize the industry (and prefer keep all the profits for themselves… US State lotteries & horse racing, Ontario Lottery thing, etc…) so in order to operate companies like Fiver/Bodog have to do all kind of legal acrobatics… (by the way they now have an office in Kahnawake indian reserve… that says a lot…)

      Anyway, all that industry chit chat aside, Fiver does have a serious retention problem that started sometimes at the end of last year. They over expended like crazy, made many people work around the clock, they got rid of the wrong people, etc… in the end next thing they knew half of their best developers were gone, along with many other people in other areas (PM, QA, …)

      I would definitely try to get their opinion on the current “high staff turnover” if you find yourself in an interview there…

    12. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

      @riptownguy:
      Ah, my favorite kind of commentary — some good, some bad, which often contains more truth than the possibly-biased “all good” hype or “all bad” rants.

      Thanks for passin’ it on.

    13. Truthiness says:

      Ah, unfortunately your favorite kind of commentary’s ‘some good’ was untrue, making it truthfully all bad.

      *lends Geoffrey the decoder glasses to read riptownguy’s post again*

      riptownguy Says: management staff… is made of great smart people

      yet….

      riptownguy Says: management staff…. got rid of the wrong people
      riptownguy Says: management staff… have a serious retention problem
      riptownguy Says: management staff…. over expanded
      riptownguy Says: management staff…. best developers were gone
      riptownguy Says: management staff…. made many people work around the clock

      riptownguy makes a statement full of truthiness : 1 time
      riptownguy says the place is bad and the management are dumb as rock : 6 times
      riptownguy says the place is good : 0 times

    14. agrees qith truthiness says:

      Riptownguy… that is the best you could come up with? AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      Truthiness is right. It was the Canadian managment and Calvin Ayre himself that were a bunch of morons with inflated self serving egos. Fucked up a a business model that had all the potential in the world. The people who remain are desperate and weak individuals. However you slice it, as good as the model could have been, the company was destined to fail because if it is not an honest company and the money needs to be washed for it to operate, eventually the heat will get too cumbersome and the kitchen will have to be evacuated.. and that is exactly what Calvin Ayre (he thinks) did.

    15. this must be therapeutic for some ppl says:

      I don’t know where you people get your “unbiased” and “factual” information, especially since one of you has way tooo much info about the inner workings of a company to not be either a)a disgruntled employee or b) an employee that was let go. I myself have first hand experience working as a contractor with Fiver Media for a while now and can testify that the people I’ve met that work there are neither “weak” or “desperate”, actually seem pretty friendly and knowledgeable. When I ever get a chance to visit their office, I don’t see a bunch of sad stiffs with their heads down at their desks, not to mention I’ve seen 1 or 2 sessions of rock band going on. Maybe Fiver Media was Riptown, maybe they did change their name, maybe they are using LEGAL tactics to protect themselves and their assets, but they’re not doing anything ILLEGAL or there would be some kind of raid wouldn’t there???? So I’m going to limit my comments here to what I know and nothing else. By the way since when is gambling a shameful and filthy (filthier then porn??) Ever heard of the OLG? YEAAAHHHHH so I guess its not dirty if the government takes your money. Get Real.

    16. Yes. Watching you get assets frozen is therapy indeed. says:

      If the company was so LEGAL, then why the need for LEGAL tactics to protect yourselves in the first place? Protect yourselves from what? The FEDS?

      You asked last week why there have not been raids? Think again pal. They are coming for you. Get out. You are laughing now but now I am the one laughing AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

      Why would talented and knowledgeable people that you work with want to stick around and put themselves at risk. If so talented and knowledgeable why not work in an industry that doesn’t have to launder it’s money to do business?

      http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/30/calvin-ayre-bodog-biz-beltway-cx_jn_wb_0730ayre.html

    17. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

      Well, although the tone of this conversation is degenerating, the article on forbes is interesting reading for anyone thinking of joining a gambling operation in Toronto.

    18. ZZZ says:

      http://www.discovervancouver.com/forum/worked-working-Riptown-t82856.html&view=findpost&p=3524381#entry3524381

      there’s a little more frank view of blowdog. i can go into inner workings of the company if anyone wants – just let me know.

      from the CSR right up to upper management.

    19. Fiver says:

      They just fired 200+ employees in Vancouver & Toronto….no notice…no severence (unless you call working notice a severence deal). Stay away form this company.

    20. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

      Wow; I can’t find any confirmation of that online as of yet, but it wouldn’t be shocking given the money seizures.

    21. sixer says:

      Geoffrey, it’s true.

    22. ex-developer-fiver says:

      It was an different and interesting environment to work. I liked it. I have met lots of good developers, good managers, I.T. support people, enjoyed the beer friday. It was a bit of usual place to work, maybe even unreal.
      However management at the time got a lot room to improve, such as putting the wrong people in charge of technical teams is suicidal. Aside from legal issues, I don’t think they would be long term place to work as a developer. However there are worse place to work, to be fair.

    23. Suzy Wong says:

      Fiver has been a great place to work… for so many people… me included.

      Most people on here ranting must have been given notice. Oh well… time to turn over a new leaf eh : – )

      I would say 3 months working notice is decent… what do you expect? To retire rich? If you want complete control of your employment try being self employed or starting your own business… problem is most people dont have the balls. Then they spend the rest of the time wishing they had what their employers have… the ones that actually take the risks and have the drive and talent to put things together.

      Stop griping get a life!!

    24. Nope, at least I didn’t get notice and in fact I noticed them when I see a stupid director of software was hired and pay no respect to developers who are doing the real job. I sensed it would go wrong and took off. And you know, last time I heard he got fired. sooner or later. It is pretty bad if you hire those self-claimed semi-technical manager, it could be a disater as they think they are so righteous.

    25. wuddup says:

      Riptown/Fiver was a good place to work. I worked with some seriously talented developers.. It was an absolutely positive experience working with top talent. I learned alot there and really don’t have anything to complain about. I won’t comment on management or company direction, but nobody in product development can honestly claim it was a shitty place to work.

    26. Insider says:

      The inside info is that this company has ran its course and all personnel will be fired or pushed or forced to move to Europe (Spain/Ireland shell company shops similar to this one) as the US DOJ and Canadian RCMP are gradually clamping down on this operation, and the future of this business is the UK, not North America. They still have gobs of money to waive around for top talent; however, this is not a top firm and does not hire top management. Historically management is an utter disaster of nepetism, personal agendas, and seedy values. If you are a top talent and you do elect to work at Fiver/Riptown/whatever current name they have, get a bonus up front and don’t make any long term planning around it.

    27. Mustard Man says:

      What I read here, half is the theory, the other half…

      – Riptown was changed to Fiver to disolve any assets related to the company
      – The company went to down hill starting with the domain dispute, causing major disruption in new traffic/customers
      – Payment processing issues – ok, let’s just call it laundering. Flipping through multiple processors to hide the funds.
      – The kicker….the US federal seized +24million in funds, all customer money with the major difficulty to accept new deposits.
      – Riptown/Fiver, the same company. A lot of good talent, alot of bad talent. To many rookies promoted to titles and responsibilities with no experience that a 10 year senior would take to achieve
      – 2007 marketing run by an 10 year old kid in a 70 year old body. This guy caused many frustrations with employees, didn’t have a clue on what he was doing, not business plan in place and the list goes on. Somehow we got on Calvins good books and he helped destroy a good company. Golden kneepads anyone? Aside from constant advise from many intelligent people at Riptown/Fiver, calvin would not hear of it if it involved this guy (a hem, Peter Karol). One would have thought he was Calvins kid and no matter how many times he screwed up or how many ridiculous and unprofessional dealings he did, he still got the pat on the head. Thus, to the deminse Music and Fight had potential….only if the captain behind that ship wasn’t viagra induced 70 year old kid.
      – And now….yes, the empire has fallen. Many offices letting people go and attempting to rebuild out of Kanawake indian reserve, which will only last as long as the Canadian govt. continues to accept them as a “sovereign nation”. But with all things, it will come to an end unless they someone regulate the legal issues behind the industry.

      Wow, have the might fallen from a little to much ego, and a lot of blindness.

    28. slateblue says:

      Horrible place to work. Software dev manager who never even once bothered to talk to actual devs (and who got fired later). Paranoid team lead who would second guess you every day. No thanks, I prefer to spend 8 hours a day at a place that treats me like a professional, not a 5 year old.

      Some truly talented people worked there and still do (they are called something else now), but I have no clue how they do it.

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