Valve is more than a game company we started our

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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 ship products. 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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This document was uploaded on 03/03/2014.

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