On Friday a Kotaku forum member leaked what looks like a legit orientation manual for new employees at Valve, the gaming company behind Half Life, Portal and the Steam network.
Anyone who works at a technical firm should check this out. There’s a lot of philosophies here that are really smart. For instance, keeping a flat corporate hierarchy:
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.
Or on working sensible hours:
While people occasionally choose to push themselves to
work some extra hours at times when something big is
going out the door, for the most part working overtime for extended periods indicates a fundamental failure in planning or communication. If this happens at Valve, it’s a sign that something needs to be reevaluated and corrected. If you’re looking around wondering why people aren’t in “crunch mode,” the answer’s pretty simple. The thing we work hardest at is hiring good people, so we want them to stick around and have a good balance between work and family and the rest of the important stuff in life.