Why Valve is one of the Most Incredible Companies, and How You Can Work There
Anyone who has played PC games in the past 10 years knows who Valve is and that they are amazing. But a recent article by Michael Abrash reveals just how unbelievable a company they are.
Imagine if you will, your own job. Imagine going to your desk, packing everything into a box, and walking down the hall. You find an empty desk, unload everything, and tell the people surrounding you that you are now working on their project. That is not what Valve is like, its better. That’s because every desk at Valve has wheels with the computers built in, literally encouraging people to work on whatever they feel is the most valuable thing they could be doing. Here’s how Truly magical it is to work at Valve:
[…]Valve was designed as a company that would attract the sort of people capable of taking the initial creative step, leave them free to do creative work, and make them want to stay. Consequently, Valve has no formal management or hierarchy at all.
[…]My observation is that it takes new hires about six months before they fully accept that no one is going to tell them what to do, that no manager is going to give them a review, that there is no such thing as a promotion or a job title or even a fixed role (although there are generous raises and bonuses based on value to the company, as assessed by peers). That it is their responsibility, and theirs alone, to allocate the most valuable resource in the company – their time – by figuring out what it is that they can do that is most valuable for the company, and then to go do it.
Which brings us to wearable computing. Yes, like the Terminator, Google Glass, and those MIT geeks you see heading this article, Abrash is hard at work researching what he believes is the future of PC gaming.
By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision). The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection. And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.
I can’t say I’ve always imagined myself playing Mass Effect in my eyeball, but I can’t say I don’t want to see where this goes. Michael makes it a point to squash any rumors about this being a real thing any time soon:
To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3
But he does say that he needs a team of experts in basically every field. If you think you have what takes(or even if you don’t), read the entire article and then send him an email.
photo by Steve Mann