Ballistic Arts in the Vancouver Sun!
November 12, 2013
Ballistic Arts recently sat down with the Vancouver Sun to talk residents, culture and our core values.
Owners Ted Lau and Tak Kawana with employees at Ballistic Arts Media Studios in Burnaby. ‘Fit is paramount,’ says Lau, describing how potential staff hires must understand the company’s values.
Thanks to Arlen for taking our mugs! You can find part of the Asylum team in the Saturday, November 9th edition of the Vancouver Sun, or read from the official source here.
Content from the Article.
You may be an advertising master or a website-design virtuoso, but if you don’t know how to have fun and celebrate your business victories with a round of dress-up bowling, then don’t expect to get work at up-and-coming Ballistic Arts Media Studios in Burnaby.
Ballistic, launched by Simon Fraser University grad Ted Lau and BCIT grad Tak Kawana in 2002 above the garage of Lau’s parents’ house, has evolved into a bustling digital marketing hub with 13 staff (they’re taking on two more soon) and 100 to 150 clients a year. And judging by the straitjackets worn by the staff in their profile photos on the website, it’s a company that leans toward the more eccentric of recruits.
Lau, who is also a member of the NEXT Leaders Council, said he tries to pick his team not just by skill set, but also by how the would-be videographers, graphic designers and web ninjas fit into the existing culture at Ballistic.
“Fit is paramount,” he said. “You can have someone who is really, really technically capable, but doesn’t get the culture, doesn’t get our core values.” Lau is part of a wave of young, local business leaders whom
NEXT – an arm of the Business Council of B.C. that aims to stoke post-baby boomer entrepreneurship and leadership – considers crucial to the province’s future success. While members of the council, like Lau, are quick to highlight the key role of mentors and sound business traditions from the generation that preceded them, they are also bringing a new flavour to hiring practices, leadership and business planning.
Like most small businesses, Ballistic was struggling to find and retain good staff, Lau said. They learned that the best way to screen applicants was to entrench a list of core values through which to filter applicants to ensure that they “already live and breathe” the same things as Ballistic.
Ballistic hunts for staff who value continuous improvement and have a constant eye on tomorrow, Lau said. “We’re in a digital space where things change all the time.” Another core value is tenacity.
“Very few small businesses reach the 10 year mark,” Lau pointed out, adding that they stress to their staff constantly the importance of having a “never-give-up mentality.” Also on the list is what Lau calls: “F$%# Yeah,” a companywide focus on celebrating achievements – personal or business-related. “When we launch a really big project or make a big sale … high fives all around, that kind of stuff.” Leadership, like team selection, has also evolved and become more decentralized, said Graham Twyford-Miles, the chair of NEXT and Associate, Community Development and Team Lead, Sustainable Solutions at Stantec Consulting Ltd.
“I’m not a big fan of the command and control model,” he said, adding that within a large consulting firm like Stantec there are various opportunities for leadership roles which may not be graced by the label of “director” or “vice-president.” “It’s not so much about the position you hold as it as about the influence or the knowledge that you bring to the table and I think that’s a really great way to operate, particularly for the next … generation of business leaders or next generation of employees,” Twyford-Miles said.
Young business people today tend to be less reliant on companies for their career than in the past, said Marc-David Seidel, of the Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C. in Vancouver.
“People have frequently, in the older generation, kind of expected to lock into a career with a particular firm,” he said. “The younger generation is a lot more mobile, in terms of job switching and industry switching as well. They tend to bounce around a lot more, they have an expectation to bounce around a lot more.” Seidel said online reputations are also more important now in the business landscape. “They’re (young businesspeople) concerned about where they position themselves on the online social networks,” Seidel said. “A lot of that is personal branding.” While Lau, of Ballistic, made no mention of his potential recruits’ online personas, he did highlight the importance of their Nerf gun shooting skills.
“We do things a little differently,” he said. “We have Nerf gunfights, (which) all of a sudden erupt in the office. I don’t play video games, but they (the staff) have every console under the sun and they have little tournaments in the back.” “We try to have fun,” Lau said. “We actually like to find the little misfits out there.”
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