The force of attraction of IT companies to each other


    The 2014 holiday season has finally ended. FirstVDS shares a sketch of a marketing employee on the topic “How I Spent This Summer”. In this article, he talks about his impressions of visiting the EA Games office in Canada. Discusses on the topic of attraction of companies to each other, working in high-tech areas, and the formation of local analogues of Silicon Valleys.

    This summer, I was able to go to Canadian Vancouver for several weeks. And, as it always happens when you get to new places, the feeling of curiosity sharply worsened immediately after arrival. I absolutely wanted to see and scout everything.

    Leaving museums and theaters from tourist guides in the end, I went to look at life in the suburbs. Moreover, there is something to see! It is here, on the coastline, that there are numerous houses from Vkontakte public houses, built right into the cliffs. But the story, of course, will not be about that.

    While planning my trip, I scheduled a visit to the EA Games office. It is located in Burnaby, a satellite city of Vancouver. Directly in this division create my beloved FIFA and NHL series of sports simulators, as well as a host of other well-known games.


    In general, Electronic Arts is not particularly allowed into the territory, however, company employees regularly hold parties / open days to coincide with the premieres of fresh releases, national holidays, or simply as promotional events designed to attract fresh blood to the company.


    We can’t say that the office of EA Games is as cool as that of Facebook or Google, but it’s also impossible to call it an ordinary language. The working conditions of the employees of the Canadian division are not much different from those created for employees of the largest Silicon Valley US IT enterprises. From the side, it more and more resembles a five-star resort, where everything is included, rather than a place where people work.

    Of course, the company that creates the best sports simulators has all the conditions for playing sports: its own soccer field, beach volleyball court, basketball court and an excellent gym.


    For lunch, food for employees is brought to the dining room. Naturally, everything is free. Sitting at the table and gobbling up yummy, I involuntarily overheard how one employee complained to another that fruits were not brought every day. Truly a tragedy!


    We thought at EA Games about the rest of subordinates. There is a billiard table, a kicker, a library with literature necessary for work and not only.


    Personally, I could not get past the slot machine hall. I missed the gift draw, but I played enough in Street Fighter. All in all an amazing place.


    Having looked at all this disgrace, I decided to take a walk around the surroundings of Burnaby. I have already made a comparison with Silicon Valley, it turned out that it was not in vain. The town is literally crammed with IT industry enterprises.

    Directly across the street from EA are our Canadian counterparts, hosting provider Doteasy. A little further is the Kodak office. Moreover, judging by the building, they are doing pretty well. I deliberately climbed to their site to find out what they are doing now. The creators of the Dead Rising series, Capcom Vancouver, are based in a three-minute drive. Next is the office of the largest Canadian telecom operator Telus.


    And dozens, and even hundreds of other companies. The names didn’t say much to me, but almost everyone in the name contained the words Technologies, Media, Systems, Solutions.

    All this led me to reflect on the causes of this phenomenon. What attracts high-tech companies to each other? Why Burnaby, and not some other nearby town? After talking with a couple of acquaintances, it turned out that everything was quite simple. And the answer is not in tax exemptions imposed by the Canadian government or city authorities.

    It so happened that since the 60s the British Columbia Institute of Technology has been located here. Later, several large IT enterprises built offices in this area at once: Electronic Arts, IBM and NOKIA (the latter two have recently closed their offices due to financial problems). Convenient transport accessibility, proximity to downtown Vancouver and low real estate prices made the city an ideal place for the construction of large offices.


    Currently, the company having a “Burnaby office” receives the status of a modern and high-tech company as a bonus, which positively affects the image as a whole. The number of enterprises in the city is constantly increasing, despite real estate prices that have grown significantly due to demand.

    I observed exactly the same situation in Barcelona. By itself, this Spanish city attracts many startups in the IT field due to the concentration of capital and the presence of a large number of investors. Companies that have managed to get money for development open a business in the northwestern part of the city, where real estate prices suit newcomers. At the same time, they find themselves next to each other, forming a kind of IT cluster.

    What do we have in Russia? It would be very interesting to hear in the comments how this matter is going on in your city.

    I can say that in Irkutsk, albeit in a reduced form, there is definitely something similar. In the area where the FirstVDS head office is located , there is an increased concentration of IT enterprises. Among our neighbors we have software developers working on the international market, large software distributors, and numerous web studios, not to mention a technical university, which forges the vast majority of staff for all these companies.

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