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General Business Updates and News
(09-14-2017, 10:28 AM)Markster Wrote:
(09-14-2017, 09:57 AM)plam Wrote: Warehouses are different from the white collar work at Amazon. Amazon is trying to replace workers by robots in the warehouses at least. Working in tech at Amazon is a somewhat different story. Amazon is one of the major employers of UWaterloo's SE and CS grads.

I have a lot of friends who used to work for Amazon, in white collar coding jobs.  They pretty much universally said that the job was grueling. They were extremely well paid, but the emotional cost was not worth it.

This was generally ~4 years ago, so it's plausible that the company culture has changed since then.

Yes. However, I'm not sure that Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are that different in that respect. Work/life balance can be hard to find in these jobs.
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A list of the fastest 500 growing companies in Canada.
In the top 100 Waterloo Region has 5 entries.
Sortable (12)
Axonify (25)
Magnet Forensics (27)
Dejero (53)
Keyspire (69)
In the list of the fastest 50 growing startups Waterloo Region had 1 entry.

Swift Labs (14)

I was a bit surprised that there were not a few more entries on each of these lists but then again it is based on companies that apply for the ranking.

http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/mobile/local...-1.3589681
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(09-14-2017, 10:31 PM)plam Wrote:
(09-14-2017, 10:28 AM)Markster Wrote: I have a lot of friends who used to work for Amazon, in white collar coding jobs.  They pretty much universally said that the job was grueling. They were extremely well paid, but the emotional cost was not worth it.

This was generally ~4 years ago, so it's plausible that the company culture has changed since then.

Yes. However, I'm not sure that Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are that different in that respect. Work/life balance can be hard to find in these jobs.

Knowing multiple people at all four companies, I think Markster is pretty accurate. Amazon definitely has a reputation for being the worst, while Google has the opposite reputation, with most friends there working pretty consistent 40 hour weeks.

That said, I'll still be pretty happy if Amazon HQ2 goes to Toronto (or KW, but I see that as much less likely). It'll put significant upward pressure on Canadian salaries, which compare very poorly against American ones even accounting for cost of living. That will go a long ways to reducing the current Canadian brain drain. Most friends would prefer to stay in Canada, but feel the career opportunities just aren't there and the salaries are too low to ignore the gap.
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(09-14-2017, 10:40 PM)rangersfan Wrote: A list of the fastest 500 growing companies in Canada.
In the top 100 Waterloo Region has 5 entries.
Sortable (12)
Axonify (25)
Magnet Forensics (27)
Dejero (53)
Keyspire (69)
In the list of the fastest 50 growing startups Waterloo Region had 1 entry.

Swift Labs (14)

I was a bit surprised that there were not a few more entries on each of these lists but then again it is based on companies that apply for the ranking.

http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/mobile/local...-1.3589681

Someone could correct me if I'm wrong, but I've had the impression that startup activity in K-W has slowed considerably in the last year or two.  Or at least things have seemed quieter than they used to be.
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(09-14-2017, 11:28 PM)taylortbb Wrote:
(09-14-2017, 10:31 PM)plam Wrote: Yes. However, I'm not sure that Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are that different in that respect. Work/life balance can be hard to find in these jobs.

Knowing multiple people at all four companies, I think Markster is pretty accurate. Amazon definitely has a reputation for being the worst, while Google has the opposite reputation, with most friends there working pretty consistent 40 hour weeks.

That said, I'll still be pretty happy if Amazon HQ2 goes to Toronto (or KW, but I see that as much less likely). It'll put significant upward pressure on Canadian salaries, which compare very poorly against American ones even accounting for cost of living. That will go a long ways to reducing the current Canadian brain drain. Most friends would prefer to stay in Canada, but feel the career opportunities just aren't there and the salaries are too low to ignore the gap.

Yes, there is about a 50% difference in salary for new Software Engineering grads in the US vs Canada according to survey data. The cost of living is higher, but not that much higher. People do want to return to Canada but it's hard to turn down the money.

It is definitely true that Google has way better perks than Amazon. But I was talking to someone who was talking to a bunch of people at the Google Boulder office and was struck by how unhappy they were, as they weren't working 40 hour weeks. Not sure if that is a Boulder phenomenon. It may be true that, on average, Amazon has worse conditions. I don't know.
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Vancouver is a possibility for Amazon's HQ. One of any Canadian city's selling points is going to be better immigration and visa policies for high tech workers. H1Bs are hard to get. And if that's an important factor for Amazon, then a short hop between HQs gives Vancouver an edge.

Anecdotally, my friends who have worked in coding and dev ops roles at Amazon support the same stories up-thread. It's an intense environment, and the people who love it thrive.
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(09-15-2017, 06:52 AM)panamaniac Wrote: Someone could correct me if I'm wrong, but I've had the impression that startup activity in K-W has slowed considerably in the last year or two.  Or at least things have seemed quieter than they used to be.

This may be the case for early stage companies, though Velocity is still helping a great many. For the tech community in general though, things are really active still.

In August there was:
- $150 million to eSentire
- $40 million to Tulip Retail (offices in Kitchener and Toronto, so the Corridor gets some credit here)
- $15 million to Auvik Networks

Over the summer several really important executive hires have brought very skilled people to Waterloo at Thalmic, Sortable and a few others.

MappedIn's internal mapping technology was an important part of Apple's iOS 11 presentation at the start of summer, the official release of which will be happening soon. Catalyst 137 and Grand Innovations (two major tech community sites) are opening over the next few months.

There's plenty more stories like that, from big money, to big hires, to big deals. It may be that there's now so much of it that we don't recognize it as much any more because it's just general business news instead of fancy startup news. We're an established tech community now.
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(09-15-2017, 08:49 AM)plam Wrote: Yes, there is about a 50% difference in salary for new Software Engineering grads in the US vs Canada according to survey data.

I do believe this applies primarily to the silicon valley. Salaries in most other places in the US are far lower than in northern California.

Our company has shifted some of the software development work from California to places further east for this reason: it's very hard to justify paying the California salaries when you can hire people with similar skills for far less elsewhere.
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No doubt it's a long-shot, but what the hell!

'No doubt:' Waterloo Region to join Toronto in bid for Amazon HQ

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/kitch...-1.4289838
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(09-15-2017, 03:00 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 08:49 AM)plam Wrote: Yes, there is about a 50% difference in salary for new Software Engineering grads in the US vs Canada according to survey data.

I do believe this applies primarily to the silicon valley. Salaries in most other places in the US are far lower than in northern California.

Our company has shifted some of the software development work from California to places further east for this reason: it's very hard to justify paying the California salaries when you can hire people with similar skills for far less elsewhere.

We also have location information (all of this self-reported). If I recall correctly, Seattle actually outnumbered SF for this year's grads.
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From the 2016 Communitech Annual report:

n the past 12 months we’ve seen big growth in Waterloo Region, with more
than 380 new startups created, over $255M in private capital investment, a
number of significant acquisitions, new international companies moving here,
and increased attention from investors, multinational companies, government
and media.

https://www.communitech.ca/app/uploads/2...-final.pdf
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The old Lear plant on Manitou Dr is to be leased by James E Walker Cultivation for an expanded cannabis growing operation, effective January, 2018. The report indicates that employment could grow to 400 to 600 people (which seems optimistic to me, but what do I know about growing weed...).

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/757...up-to-600/
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Magnetic Forensics has acquired a US company Sentinel Data.

http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/mobile/water...-1.3621106
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Atomic Labs is in the process of expanding their local operation to a second office. This second office would be the top two floors of 305 King St W.

Initial local office : 119 King Street, has a staff of 11 and more than 80 developers affiliated with 12 companies based in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and New York

Second location : 305 King St W, capability to accommodate 180 developers

http://news.communitech.ca/news/atomic-e...-terminal/
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