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I have been working at ObjectVideo Labs full-time
ObjectVideo makes most of its money from government contracts, which range from short-term SBIRs of a few months to long-term, multi-company endeavors which stretch out for years. Consequently, there's always a good mix of projects to choose from, and most of the work is really interesting (as an example, one big project currently on the docket involves geolocating cell phone photos using elevation maps, large photo databases, and cloud computing). Over half of the R&D department hold PhDs in computer vision or related fields, and they're always trying to push boundaries.
With all these projects, management is refreshingly kept to a minimum. Generally, each project has a Principle Investigator leading it, and they all meet weekly with upper management to ensure people and money aren't being over-allocated, but otherwise each group is entrusted to get the job done, and it works. They're very understanding when it comes to working from home or taking time off to deal with family or personal issues, and scheduling is flexible. Also, if you're not meeting with a customer (which is most of the time for R&D) casual dress is fine.
Finally, business is booming, and doesn't look to be slowing down in the near future. For such a niche field, there are always more projects than people, so long-term stability looks good for such a small business.
At times, the decentralization can lead to some frustrating inefficiencies. For instance, there are often many copies of basic libraries and operations floating around in source control, because one group may not be aware of another's efforts, or a project may have begun with copy-pasting, leading to several divergent, but similar branches of the same code. Every now and then some attempt is made at standardization, but so far they've all failed.
The process was pretty easy. I gave talk, spoke with some of the researchers. I met with the management team and the development team. The whole process did not take very long.
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