Scenes from Day 1 at the New Job

by Joey deVilla on November 27, 2007

The New Company

People from the SororityLive and FraternityLive home pages
The “mascots” from the SororityLive and FraternityLive home pages. Party! Whoo!

My new company is TSOT, a little start-up specializing in social software. The company’s first products are SororityLive and FraternityLive, social software with special features for people in — you guessed it — sororities and fraternities. It’s pretty interesting software, and it doesn’t hurt that the customer base relies on social networking and has some money to throw around.

The New ’Hood

151 Bloor Street West
151 Bloor Street West. It’s smack-dab in the middle of a lot of fancy-pants shops.

The photo above shows the office building, located at 151 Bloor Street West. It’s a short walk away from the intersection of Accordion City’s two main streets and at the west end of the Bloor/Yorkville neighbourhood (also known as “Mink Mile”), which has a lot of posh shops, hotels, restaurants, pricey condos and office buildings.

It’s a sort of homecoming. OpenCola, the last start-up for which I worked, was located on the east end of Mink Mile, a short walk away. Like TSOT, OpenCola was a start-up in an unlikely location.

This neighbourhood is quite different from my old work ‘hood of Liberty Village, which consists of old factories that have been converted into office space. Liberty Village borders on Parkdale, a rapidly-gentrifying neighbourhood that still shows a few signs of its “Crackdale” past, such as colourful neighbourhood characters like “Low-talking Burger King Bible Lady” and “Incomprehensible Pee-reeking Guy on Roller Skates and Ski Poles Who Thinks He’s Running for Mayor”.

There is a similarity between my old and new work ‘hoods: both feature people who appear to be talking to themselves. It’s just that in the new ‘hood, such people are very likely to actually be talking into their Bluetooth headset phones.

The Temporary Office

TSOT’s office, which will eventually be on the building’s 11th floor, is currently under construction. In the meantime, the company is divided between two offices, with the programmers at 151 Bloor West and the management and “biz dev” a couple of blocks away. Being temporary, the current office setup definitely has the classic start-up feel, being sparsely furnished with folding tables acting as desks. I’m getting big-time deja vu.

The developer room at TSOT’s office
The developer room in the temporary office. Sure, they’re folding tables, but the computers, chairs and people are excellent!

My New Gear

When I got into the office, the guys showed me my desk, which had the following arranged into a neat little pile:

  • 15″ MacBook Pro, in its original packaging
  • Extra RAM for the MacBook
  • A Mac OS X “Leopard” install DVD
  • One of those new really flat Apple keyboards
  • A FraternityLive pen and mousepad
  • A copy of Barron’s Speed-Reading for Professionals
  • A Post-It note from CEO Kris White that read “Welcome, Joey! Here is some stuff to get you going. Cheers, Kris.”

15″ MacBook Pro, OS X Leopard DVD and other goodies waiting for me
Here’s what was waiting for me when I showed up. Well, this stuff was still in the original packaging when I showed up.

Now That’s What I Call a Welcome!

Kris White, the CEO, knows that I keep a spare accordion handy at the office and knew that I’d be bringing mine in on Day 1. He decided it would be a good idea to get some small instruments — a cowbell, maracas, drums, a xylophone and a harmonica — from the nearby music store for the other employees, as a “welcome to the club, can we join yours?” gesture. Now that’s what I call a welcome!

Box for OS X Leopard DVD and a toy xylophone
What every start-up needs. Mac OS X “Leopard” and musical instruments.

Perquisites

Among the perks of working at TSOT are some free food from Whole Foods in the kitchen and the programming department’s main room, which features some beanbag chairs, a big screen TV and a Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 Elite.

The game room at the TSOT office
All work and no play makes Joey a dull boy. Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 Elite! Whoo!

So in addition to getting up to speed on the code base and Ruby on Rails development, I’m going to need to work on my Mii and Wii bowling score.

Wii Bowling at the TSOT office
The cornerstone of co-worker bonding: Wii Bowling. I need to work on my Mii.

I think I’m going to like it here.

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