Over at Silicon Verified Consultancy, Inc., a.k.a SilVer, Filipino data analysts and engineers are given the opportunity to work together to equip international clients with all the right tools for their tech needs. They make up one close family full of this can-do attitude, committed to working towards their goals.
What once used to be a small (and we mean really small) team of six people is now a growing team of around 50 employees overall. This just goes to show that what they’ve been doing so far works, so much so that they’re even expanding一 this might mean they’ll need a little more than a private office and lockers here at Nook, and we really wouldn’t mind.
We spoke to James, a senior staff engineer, department manager, and resident Fun Fact Guy at Nook to give us a little more insight as to what SilVer is and how it grew to be the company it is today.
SilVer: A Brief History
When the company was set up on March 14 of 2018 一 that’s Pi Day for all you nerds out there 一 they had no permanent place for operations. They would work from L’epicerie in Festival Mall until later on, they moved to their own room, which, unfortunately, had very poor wifi.
Then Nook was brought to life in 2019, and SilVer became one of its first occupants. Back then, they only had one pool of people: the Design department. The team later expanded, adding the Data department to the group.
The Design department alone has a number of services they can provide: semiconductor hardware design where they create microelectronic products; design verification to ensure their clients have the right tech on their hands; software development that fit clients’ needs, and so much more.
They also have the Data department, who can crunch up numbers, write up reports, and help you find solutions to your data management problems. This team is the type of support system any company would need, especially because everything they do is done as securely as possible.
Fast Talk with James
We asked James to tell us a little (or a lot?) more about himself, his work routines, and a hypothetical podcast that we have a feeling a lot of people would want to listen to.
Do you have fun facts up your sleeve right now? (Category: Produce)
Not directly [related to produce], ah. The trend right now is yung mga plantito, plantita. Siguro ang fun fact ko lang about diyan is yung hydroponics. Hydroponics is utilizing limited resources so you have water, nutrient-rich sources. You can actually grow your plants or vegetables 一 mga greens 一 even sa condo or subdivision kahit wala ka talagang garden…
It kinda goes back to the ancient times 一 o, diba? [laughs] 一 I think ang style ng mga Chinese or even the early Asians, early Filipinos, when it comes to farming [is] they actually have rice, a duck or a goose, and a fish. They would need the three elements to co-exist. They have this ecosystem kasi the droppings of the goose would become part of the fertilizer nung sa ground doon sa puddle, which [is where] maggo-grow yung rice. Yung rice kasi nagi-invite rin kasi ‘yun ng mga peste so snails. To solve that, you need the goose para kainin ‘yun. And then, hindi naman lahat maa-absorb ng rice so yung iba na underwater, you need the fish to clean them out. Then the fish also excretes droppings. So the concept that you need to have rice, a goose, and a fish, parang ‘yun yung perfect ecosystem in making a sustainable environment. Meron ka nang pagkain, parang nakakatulong ka pa. You’re mimicking nature; you’re part of a food web or food chain. So that’s the same concept na parang ina-apply ng hydroponics pero, of course, medyo trimmed down. Walang fish, walang goose. Pero you need to have some sort of water at tsaka ‘pag nagwe-wade yung goose, nagce-create siya ng mga current so that’s also helpful para i-oxygenize yung water kaya yung fish magtha-thrive. Kasi kapag stagnant yung water, mamamatay lang yung fish… So yun yung isang alam ko!
What do you do to relax (after work)?
Actually, I have this habit of, [at] like 4PM, nagshu-shutdown yung utak ko. I’m so tired kasi I wake up early. Sometimes, kahit ‘di ko gusto. Minsan, at 12 midnight, nagigising ako… So siguro sleeping一 ‘di ko talaga nilalabanan yung antok ko kaya I stay away from coffee in the afternoon except kapag nasa bahay ako. I don’t mind kapag nasa bahay ako [so] nagco-coffee ako. Pero when I’m outside, I know it will be exhausting kasi kung galing ka sa labas. Alam mo yun, iba yung pressure sa labas e. Baka ‘di ako makatulog on time. So sleeping, home workout. Pero before kasi, nung ECQ, allowed yung gym [so] nakakapag-gym ako… Para sa’kin, after work, that’s one of my routines. Instead of sleeping, after work, I clock out early para doon ako sa gym… Ngayon, hindi ko na masyado [nagagawa yung mga gym workouts]. Yung mga basic stretching lang yung nagagawa ko. Iba pa rin yung workout sa gym, e, so that’s something that I really look forward na mag-resume after this period.
Do you have a favorite song to work out to that can also hype you up while working?
Wala akong song in particular pero eto yung nakakatawa: During the time na nagwo-workout ako this 2021, mga K-pop songs yung [pinapakinggan ko]. Mga BTS, Dynamite, ganun. Even the girl groups! May BLACKPINK following sa Data [department] ng SilVer so ‘yun yung mga songs. Pero siguro sa K-pop 一 kasi very active yung beats, eh 一 yung mga hits ng BIGBANG… Mas gusto ko yung mga beat [like] Bang Bang Bang, ganun.
Last question: If you were to have a podcast about anything you want, what would your main topic/s be? And what would the title be?
I’m not sure if this title is already taken but The Full Circle. I had that conversation before where we were talking and discussing things, and kung saan-saan kami napunta na topic pero nakabalik din kami doon sa original naming topic so sabi ko, “Uy, parang full circle siya” so siguro that could be the topic or title; it could be about anything under the sun as long as it can be a chain of topics that can be interrelated. I see myself as an integrator… I have this fascination to connect the dots between the sciences and philosophy. So anything like that. If ever may ma-warn ako sa may makikinig man sa ganyan, it’s INFO OVERLOAD. Pero as I can see from other programs, ganun talaga e.
A SilVer lining during these “dark days”
Pre-pandemic SilVer looked like any other company: work started at 7AM, and ended at 4PM. James told us the company would hold some fun activities for the employees: Torture Tuesdays, which is basically the team going out to play badminton, and Thirsty Thursdays, where they’d head over to their second home, L’epicerie (which serendipitously moved to Molito, too), and get drinks together. Because of the pandemic, however, they had to put those activities on pause indefinitely.
It was a good thing, stated James, that they were already using laptops, making the transition from working at Nook to working from home easier than it might’ve been had they decided to use desktop computers.
Even then, SilVer’s management saw the negative effects the WFH setup had on their employees due to the lack of the physical aspect of working with others. So what did they do? What they knew how to do best. Use data and information to their advantage.
By staying up to date about COVID-19 news and protocols, the SilVer crew was able to devise a plan so that they could carry on with their day-to-day operations unharmed.
Aside from a smart hybrid system which had employees coming into work either every two weeks or as needed (ex. new hires), SilVer developed a daily symptoms checklist for before employees leave their homes. They employed a common database for all the employees that would report to the office. Later on, this was expanded so that employees could use the checklist on their family members. In all this time, no one from the company has gotten sick.
It was because of everyone’s willingness to achieve results that made working at the office possible for them again. But how did they maintain such a positive attitude throughout the pandemic? Consistency. To ensure commitment in employees, the senior staff of SilVer made sure to be consistent with what they said and did. Because of that, SilVer’s employees could see the sincerity there so they remained loyal to the company一 almost like a domino effect of positive outcomes; a “good virus”, according to James.
It’s this culture built on trust, honesty, and dedication that ensures that both clients and staff are aware that SilVer is a company you can trust.