Scenes from the Office

by Joey deVilla on March 19, 2008

My first week with b5media was my best first week on the job ever. On my very first day, I boarded a plane and flew to Austin to attend the South by Southwest Interactive conference, one of the biggest events in our industry. For a week, I attended interesting sessions, met new coworkers and colleagues, caught up with old friends, played a lot of accordion and enjoyed more than my fair share of beef, Tex-Mex and booze. We stayed on a ranch just out of town with my coworkers, where we had bonfires, a big end-of-week barbecue, breakfasts prepared by b5′s Director of Sales Chad Randall and the enjoyable company of a mellow Black Labrador named “Teaspoon”. We even saw a dead goat with a vulture circling overhead! (More about the dead goat in a later entry.)

With the conference wrapped up, it was time to go back to our respective offices, whether in Canada, the U.S. or Australia. I’m in the Toronto office, which is located in a converted warehouse building in the Queen/Spadina neighbourhood. Here’s what I saw when I first set foot in the office:

“Welcome Joey” written on a whiteboardMy welcome message, which was waiting for me on my first day at the office.

After I filled out the form for my benefits package, Darcie saw my real name, Jose Martin deVilla, and updated the whiteboard accordingly:

“Welcome Jose” written on a whiteboard
My welcome message, modified.

(Actually, it should be “Jose Martin”. It’s a double name, like “Billy Bob” or “Peggy Sue”.)

The office is similar to my first workplace out of university: a converted warehouse with hardwood floors and high ceilings in a funky neighbourhood. Here’s a shot of the main workspace:

b5media office, taken from the boardroom looking towards the front of the office
The workspace, starring Darcie, Lee and Laura.

That’s Office Manager Darcie Vany in the foreground, Server Administrator Lee Newton’s arm in the middle, and Executive Assistant Laura Keeling in background.

We have a boardroom in the back, which doubles as a place to unwind. Like a number of high-tech companies, we’ve got an XBox 360 with Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band. Here’s CEO Jeremy Wright taking a quick Rock Band break:

Jeremy Wright playing guitar on “Rock Band”
A number of people I talked to at South by Southwest told me that they have Rock Band at the workplace.

Here’s my desk, located near the front door. Note the wall behind the desk — that’s a baseboard-to-ceiling whiteboard:

Joey deVilla’s desk at the b5media office
My desk. The whiteboard behind it is a little more filled-in now, and the desk sports a few more tchochkes.

And yes, the computer on the desk is a Toshiba — a 17″ Satellite P200 which I’ve dubbed “The Coffee Table” because of its size. Although my preference would be to get a MacBook or MacBook Pro, b5 had this machine, brand new and still in its box, waiting for whoever filled the Technical Project Manager position. Having to use Windows as my primary operating system — something I’ve done for about half my career — is a small downside compared to the upsides and many perks of working for b5. Besides, it’s one of the best specced — if not the best — specced machines in the shop. (Perhaps after some time, when I’ve proven myself and earned one, I can hit them up for a Mac.)

Joey deVilla’s laptop at b5media, a Toshiba Satellite P200
Setting up “The Coffee Table”, my company-issued laptop. It’s surprisingly light, given its size.

(Yes, I tried installing Ubuntu Linux on it and couldn’t get the sound, SD card reader or built-in camera working and it took some tweaking to get the graphics card working properly. The card reader and camera I can live without — although the card reader is useful — but I need sound because I have regular meetings with the development team over Skype voice chat.)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

culley March 19, 2008 at 9:59 am

try pc-bsd. It installed properly right out of the gate for me on my dell inspirion, soundcard working.

Jason March 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Thanks for sharing your experiences working with b5 at the HQ! After meeting everyone at SXSW I feel like ready everyone’s blog posts about everyone else is the only way I feel like I’m still connected.

Shai Coggins March 25, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Ah. Added an xbox since I last visited! :-)

Hope you’re still enjoying the job. Although it must seem so quiet after your exciting first week.

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