Fiver/Riptown Again

July 29, 2008

One of the amusing things about reading a good deal of the technology jobs posted in Toronto on any given day is that you start to recognize certain patterns almost without thinking.  On the very first quick visual scan of this posting, I was already starting to think it was Fiver Media, and reading a few more details made it seem pretty likely.  The recruiter’s keeping the details on the down-low, but it doesn’t take much to read into this posting.

I’m not going to review it, we’ve talked about Fiver before.  Basically, if you can handle working for a company in the online gambling business and all that comes with that, you could consider looking at Fiver, but if you’re not certain that you want that sort of position, then it’s probably not worth looking any deeper.

Whether there are deeper problems is a subject for other people to debate — personally, as soon as I see the company’s doing “gaming” I move on, but I respect the fact that some of you will make different choices.


Fiver Media / Anon: Team Lead Game Developer

June 24, 2008

An ‘anonymous’ company is looking for a “Team Lead Game Developer“.  Any Toronto job talking about ‘game’ or ‘gaming’ without being too specific about it is probably gambling rather than what I would call game development.  And if the “gaming” job talks about Java server-side skills (as opposed to, say, J2ME), it’s further evidence that it’s a back-end for some kind of gambling shop.

Finally, 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 the latest in a long chain of names associated with a gambling company whose reputation is far from pristine.  So if you see postings like this one, I suppose it’s up to you to make the call, but you might want to read some of the discussion thread on this post before getting too excited.

Fiver Media: Technical Team Lead

June 10, 2008

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.

    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.

    Little Bites: Phantomfiber/VSS, Riptown, $105/hr contract

    April 14, 2008

    Phantomfiber is looking for a deployment / configuration manager. This is a great place to exercise your knowledge of Ant, Java, VSS … Hello? Wait, where’d they go? (Does anyone looking for ‘configuration manager’ roles really think VSS is an option?) In all seriousness, if you’re looking for Mobile Java, they’re also looking for developers, I just can’t get past the VSS mention long enough to take it seriously. There’s also a gambling factor to consider.

    Riptown is looking for a Manager of Software Development and a Technical Team Lead via goldminds. Riptown sounds like a fun company, but their focus is almost completely on online gaming / gambling, and it’s been my experience that most people will reject a company on that basis, so I’m not going to spend much time going into details.

    Inteqna is helping “one of the globes most recognizable firms” look for a Web Project Lead in Scarborough.  They say, “[t]his client is a marquee name which will stand out in the successful candidate’s portfolio.”  It’s an 8-month contract where rates could go as high as $105/hr, apparently, which could be $135k for 8 months’ work, not entirely displeasing.  There isn’t a ton of detail here.

    Riptown: J2EE Technical Team Lead

    March 13, 2008

    Riptown is looking for a J2EE Technical Team Lead.  They’re located over by Roy Thompson Hall (as well as in Vancouver).
    The Good
    It’s not so much that any particular aspect of the posting stands out, it’s just a relatively sane and sensible posting.  It asks for the sorts of things that one might expect a technical team lead to do.  It doesn’t emphasize big heavyweight processes that’ll get in the way, or imply that someone in this role will spend most of his or her time coding (which tends to take too much time away from the team leadership).  They seem to espouse agile.
    Besides, who wouldn’t want the occasional trip to Vancouver, a lovely city.

    The Bad
    Some people take issue with the space they’re in: online gaming of the gambling type.  Since the business is clear from their website, they might as well put it in the posting.  Riptown also does a good job of selling the work environment, but they do that on the website, rather than in the posting itself.

    There’s no obvious sense of the compensation.