Best Places to Work

Best Places to Work: No. 6 Ubermind

Where 'Geek Flags' Proudly Fly and Collaborations Breed Innovations

By Published on .


With a name based on a character in the "StarCraft" video game, it's probably no surprise that there are more than a few proud-to-be-called geeks at Ubermind. That's just one of the things its employees, also known as "Ubies," like about the Seattle mobile- and emerging-technology agency.

"You can definitely let your geek flag fly here," said marketing-communications specialist Stephanie Chacharon. Adam Ott, director-accounts, agreed, adding, "There's a certain amount of intellectual rigor you have to have to stay afloat. ... I really like being surrounded by experts and people who will challenge you."

Location: Seattle
Employees: 150
Top Executives: Shehryar Khan, CEO

But it's not only the brain trust that appeals at Ubermind. Ubies love the chance to innovate with the latest mobile technology, work with big brands at a small firm, and have flexible work hours, expansive benefits and cool new digs that they all had a hand in designing.

The neighborhood of that new office -- the Fremont area in Seattle -- is pretty cool, too, with Google as its next-door neighbor, Adobe Systems across the street and Getty Images down the way.

"There's a major talent war going on now, and we compete with Facebook and Google and Apple for people. But we find it's fairly easy to recruit. People are coming to us and saying, "I'd like to hear about your company,' " said CEO Shehryar Khan. "I think it's the strength of our portfolio, our mobile focus, and the more variety and challenges we have here."

Brooke Walker, VP-finance and administration, said, "A lot of really good engineers want challenges. They want to work on new and exciting projects, not legacy projects."

Employees sit together in small, focused teams so collaborating is an ongoing process, although Ubermind encourages even more with competitions, lunch get-togethers and "UberTalks" -- a kind of client social for the firm and guests.

And artists on staff help welcome new hires, aka "Nubies," with whiteboard postings of witty caricatures in the office and on Facebook. That's a lot of art in a little time. Messrs. Ott and Peterson were each one of about 20 when they started in spring 2009 -- there are now about 150 employees on staff.

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