Unformatted text preview: freed us to
make our own decisions about our products.
Valve is more than a game company. We started our
existence as a pretty traditional game company. And
we’re still one, but with a hugely expanded focus. Which
is great, because we get to make better games as a result,
–3– V ALVE: H ANDBO O K FO R NEW EMP LO YEES and we’ve also been able to diversify. We’re an entertainment company. A software company. A platform company.
But mostly, a company full of passionate people who love
the products we create. Welcome to Flatland Fig. 1-3 Hierarchy is great for maintaining predictability and
repeatability. It simplifies planning and makes it easier to
control a large group of people from the top down, which
is why military organizations rely on it so heavily.
But when you’re an entertainment company that’s spent
the last decade going out of its way to recruit the most
intelligent, innovative, talented people on Earth, telling
them to sit at a desk and do what they’re told obliterates
99 percent of their value. We want innovators, and that
means maintaining an environment where they’ll flourish.
That’s why Valve is flat. It’s our shorthand way of saying
that we don’t have any management, and nobody “reports
to” anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but
even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to
steer—toward opportunities and away from risks. You have
the power to green-light projects. You have the power to
A flat structure removes every organizational barrier –4– V ALVE: H ANDBO O K FO R NEW EMP LO YEE S between your work and the customer enjoying that work.
Every company will tell you that “the customer is boss,” but
here that statement has weight. There’s no red tape stopping you from figuring out for yourself what our customers
want, and then giving it to them.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, that sounds like a
lot of responsibility,” you’re right. And that’s why hiring is
the single most important thing you will ever do at Valve
(see “Hiring ,” on page 43). Any time you interview a potential
hire, you need to ask yourself not only if they’re talented or
collaborative but also if they’re capable of literally running
this company, because they will be. 2 ================================================== Why does your desk have wheels? Think of those wheels as a symbolic
reminder that you should always be considering where you could move
yourself to be more valuable. But also think of those wheels as literal
wheels, because that’s what they are, and you’ll be able to actually move
your desk with them.
You’ll notice people moving frequently; often whole teams will move
their desks to be closer to each other. There is no organizational
structure keeping you from being in close proximity to the people
who you’d help or be helped by most.
The fact that everyone is always moving around within the company
makes people hard to find. That’s why we have ht...
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- Fall '14
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