Threewave Software Inc.

Number of Employees: 70 Head Office: Vancouver "We work hard, we work smart, and fun is a commodity, an actual ingredient in everything we do here."


Number of Employees: 70 Head Office: Vancouver

“We work hard, we work smart, and fun is a commodity, an actual ingredient in everything we do here.”

“I work for a legion of superheroes, essentially.” That’s a typical rave from the staff at Threewave Software, a gaming software developer based in Vancouver’s sleek Yaletown neighbourhood. So what’s superheroic about Threewave? Staff certainly like the good pay, flexible hours and regular rooftop barbecues, but, in an industry known for extensive employee perks, those don’t necessarily set the company apart. Where Threewave has really upped the ante is on the work/life-balance front. Most gaming companies help staff play hard, but they expect staff to work pretty hard too: sleeping under the desk during crunch times is often considered part of the package. Threewave, however, produces cutting-edge products without cutting into anybody’s personal life. Instead of the gaming industry standard “work hard, play hard,” Threewave’s credo is more like “work smart, play hard,” making life at Threewave “relatively stress-free,” says one staff member. How does Threewave pull that off? First off, CEO Dan Irish says, the company’s founders “worked smart” from the outset when they chose a very strategic niche. Threewave specializes in producing multiplayer versions of top video games, which Irish says offers a substantial value-add to companies, increasing sales and extending a product’s shelf life. And Threewave’s product is in hot demand. So staff at Threewave get to work on the sexiest brands in the business, but not for so long that they get bored: producing the multiplayer component of a video game takes about a year, compared to the typical three to four years needed to develop the typical video game. This means Threewave employees get fresh challenges and more frequent breaks than most in the industry, keeping them motivated and engaged. Irish also offers incentives for introducing efficiencies and has a system of peer nominations: “Someone else on your team can nominate you for a bonus because you did something standout that helps the team be successful. This turns the team into the ‘customer’ and provides accountability and dependability company-wide.” Another Threewave strategy: hire superheroes. Irish says he brings on “people who are smarter, better and very different than I am. Everyone needs to bring something different to the table, which means we’ve acquired an international and multidisciplined team.” Creating virtual superheroes is all in a day’s work for most gaming companies, but Threewave seems to have finessed a recipe for bringing them into the real world, propelling this gaming company into a league of its own.
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