One of the great things about SunTech days is the people that you get to meet. Yesterday Emerson Giannini, one of the company directors, asked E-ming Saung and myself if we could visit his company office. What I found was not only a company creating interesting Java ME applications but a innovative company in the way it handles it's employees.
Paulo Rubens Francez and Emerson Giannini started the company just six months ago but they have already established themselves as a desirable employeer in the Sao Paulo area. Paulo is a former employee of MacDonalds in Brazil. Working in the IT group he created an ME application for customers to order from MacDonalds for home delivery.
Not the kinda of MacDonalds that I grew up with. In Brazil, MacDonalds is a highly desirable job and it treats it's employees quite well. With his management training in MacDonalds Paulo wanted to create an application development company that truly supported his work force.
Knowing that moving and living in Sao Paulo can be difficult for some new to the city, even difficult for someone who already lives in the city, Paulo and Emerson have obtained an apartment for his employees. Right now four of his employees live in the company furnished apartment. Paulo thought is to provide new employees a stable living environment until they can afford their own. The net effect is that the employees live, breath, and sleep Java ME. One employee said he even was dreaming JavaME.
I see what your thinking sounds like a sweat shop, right? Wrong, quite the opposite. In fact the employees are encourage to spent some portion of their time each week working on what ever they want. Pure research. So what are they working on? Java ME games, multilayer games in particular. Paulo and Emerson figure that this research might actually turn into something that the company can potentially market. Worse case scenario the employees will have an in depth understanding of a different set of APIs than is commonly used in the company's standard set of applications. Greater technical expertise which will in time create better applications.
Not enough? Paulo and Emerson paid for about half of the employees to come to ME days and Sun Tech days. "Yawn, so what ", you say. Maybe if you live in the US or in Europe but in Brazil it is very common for employees to have to take the day off without pay and pay for the event as well, but not at e-DEPLOY. At the end of the day, Emerson turned to me and said, "I think the price of ME Days was worth it. In fact I know it was."
e-DEPLOY creates great Java ME programs communicating with the Java EE servers, but I think the strength of the company is not the applications but the way it treats their engineers. It's a fun place to work.
On final note: During the evening E-ming asked one of the employees what they do on the weekend. "I don't know", he said,"I have only worked here four days."