How Valve works as a game developer
Valve Corporation is the company behind legendary games like Half-Life, Counter Strike, Dota 2, Portal, and more.
The company was founded by Gabe Newell, whose biography also mentions working at Microsoft for 13 years. To say that Valve Corporation is an innovative company is to say nothing. She is, perhaps, “more innovative” than many who consider themselves as such. And this applies not only to developments and directly to the activity itself, but also to what the company is from the inside. After reading a few of Valve Corporation’s internals, you might be thinking “what the hell is going on there,” or you might want to work there yourself.
Everyone does what they want
New hires at Valve Corporation are often confused about what’s going on for the first few weeks. They came to work for the company, but why doesn’t anyone give them specific assignments? And they will not be given. The company does not hire people to do a specific job. She recruits simply promising and talented. And they themselves must understand and decide what useful they can give Valve Corporation. Well-known programmer Michael Abrash recalls his first weeks at the company: “I thought that I would be immediately assigned some task. But I only heard a couple of suggestions from employees about what I might want to do … These were just their thoughts, not direct directions for action. Days passed, and no one gave me any specific work. And then I realized that everything is arranged in a special way. I need to find my own “place” in the Valve Corporation. ”
Everyone is involved in finding new people.
Finding new employees is a top priority for the entire company. You will never hear “No specialists are required at Valve Corporation right now.” They are always required, and the process of finding new people never stops. Moreover, absolutely all personnel are involved in this. And the sooner an employee starts attracting new specialists to the company, the more the management will like him. The company has a rule: “If you are now busy looking for a new employee, interviewing or something else related to the recruitment process, then you need to postpone all your other tasks and not even think about them.”
No bosses and subordinates
Gabe Newell, founder of Valve Corporation, believes that innovative companies should not have a traditional boss-subordinate relationship between employees. This is only suitable for the military field, where soldiers must strictly obey the orders of the commander. Or the manufacturing industry, where it is necessary to constantly manufacture the same product. The modern computer industry does not fall under either option. In Valve Corporation there is no organizational hierarchy familiar to many, there are no bosses, subordinates, and even no positions. Sometimes Valve Corporation employees themselves come up with the name of their position so that they can write it on a business card, since many people will not be able to take a specialist seriously without a position.
Not even Gabe Newell himself has a position. One day in an interview with the Greek Coomer, one of the company’s earliest employees, he said he didn’t know what Newell’s position was: “Logically, he’s probably the CEO. But I cannot say that with certainty. ” Every new employee at the company is given a small guidebook to Valve Corporation, which states that “no one in the company is your boss, and Gabe Newell is not the most.”
Tables with wheels
Since at Valve everyone can do what they want, their workplace can be located anywhere. That is why every table in the office should have wheels – so that it can be easily moved to a convenient place. So employees can quickly join teams and work on one common task. Or simply move their desk to where they think it will work better and more comfortably for them. In the same manual for new employees there is an item on moving desks around the office: “Unplug the computer cable from the outlet, move your desk, plug the cable into another outlet. Now you can get back to work. ”
The more interesting and unusual an employee’s past, the better. That is why the company employs a former actress of a children’s puppet theater, creators of a satirical site about video games, a special effects developer for the film “The Lord of the Rings”, an artist who paints cool graffiti. And there are a lot of such people in the company. To get a job at Valve Corporation, you do not need to have knowledge of video game development, but you do need to be interesting and creative.