Beer and technology

Dmg Ctrl partner Jason Allum relaxes at his desk. He is an alumni of Independents Hall, a neighborhood group that acts as a quasi-incubator. "It's a good place to scout for talent," he says.

It's Friday night as I write this and I'm thinking about how great it would be finish up this last bog post with a nice cold Yards IPA. If I worked at Dmg Ctrl L.LC., a tech company in Old City, I'd wander over with my mug (or probably my coffee cup, cleaned, I hope) and pull a draft from the office's newly installed beer fridge.

I met Dmg Ctrl co-founder Jason Allum while reporting on Sunday's Inquirer article on the Third Street tech corridor. Naturally, I had to find out all about the beer, so I asked him why he added a beer keg to his office, especially when so many HR experts advise against drinking on the job. "Number one," he answered. "It's enjoyable. Number two. We have a fairly relaxed atmosphere and number three, if you have a beer at 5 in the afternoon, people tend to stay longer. You have a beer. You mellow out and you don't mind putting in an extra hour or two."

That's important, since Allum's company charges by the hour to do just what its name suggests -- figure out what's going wrong with their client's technology. (We've all been there!)

But there's more. Allum said that his workforce, just based on what they do, tend to be solitary. They bury their noses in their computers -- which they need to do, but sometimes, they don't talk to each other even when it would be helpful. So, he said, if the beer helps them loosen up, it's a plus. "We have people who are very smart and not the most socially adept. Getting them to play nice is a challenge," he said.       

Yards IPA is a really good beer, but I also like the Brawler, also by Yards. How, I asked Allum, did he pick the beer, since the office can only handle one keg at a time. Writing about human resources as I do, I began picturing beer scenarios playing out like office disputes over radios. Allum said his seven-employee crew put the brew to a vote. Brawler came in second.