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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: June, 2012

POSTED: Saturday, June 30, 2012, 4:00 PM
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!)

POSTED: Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 3:45 AM

Until recently, Phil Matranga, 23, held the title of "minion" at Dmg Ctrl Ltd., a tech company in Old City. His job description? We turn to the dictionary: "A servile or slavish follower of somebody generally regarded as important." Synonyms: Gofer, assistant, underling."

"We hired people as minions at a reasonable starting salary  to run errands and do things for people," explained his boss Dmg Ctrl co-founder Jason Allum. Here's an example: Suppose one of Allum's highly-talented tech folks has to wait at home for the cable guy for three hours. Instead, if the employee agrees, Allum sends the minion to wait. That way, the tech guy can stay in the office and generate billable hours at a much higher return. Picking up dry cleaning? Ask the minion. Need takeout lunch? It's the minion's job. While he did the minion's work, it's doubtful that he was required to be servile or slavish."

So what's in it for the minion? The other definition of minion provides a clue: "A highly favored person." In between Matranga's minion duties, he was assigned to read software manuals and take online courses. Before he started at Dmg Ctrl, Matranga was slinging boxes on a loading dock. Now, Allum said, Matranga, the ex-minion, is "automating quality assurance for iOS and the web using Javascript, Python and other languages." And he knows what that sentence means!

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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