The lack of emphasis on refinement has led to a permanent beta culture in technology with the promise always being that someday it will get fixed. Someday you will be able to upgrade to Android 4.0. Someday RIM will make the PlayBook better.
Innovation is important, exciting, and necessary. But so is Refinement. We need to celebrate refinement more than we have. However we shouldn’t be asking ourselves which is more important. Innovation and refinement are not goals. They are methods and strategies.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”—Steve Jobs - Commencement Speech at Stanford
For having work with advertising agencies a great part of my life, I cannot agree more with this statement. Good work, great work is rare. You need to admit to yourself that you will fail many times until you learn what works and not.
One of the most inspiring thing you would have read in a while. Download the eBook and read it. Please do.
How to Use this Book
This book isn’t about fringe benefit or how to set up your workstation or where to find source code. Valve works in ways that might seem counterintuitive at first. This hand-book is about the choices you’re going to be making and how to think about them. Mainly, it’s about how not to freak out now that you’re here.
Why do I need to pick my own projects?
We’ve heard that other companies have people allocate a percentage of their time to selecting self-directed projects. At Valve, that percentage is 100. Since Valve is flat, people don’t join projects because they’re told to. Instead, you’ll decide what to work on after asking yourself the right questions (more on that later). Employees vote on projects with their feet (or desk wheels). Strong projects are ones in which people can see demonstrated value; they staff up easily. This means there are any number of internal recruiting efforts constantly under way. If you’re working here, that means you’re good at your job. People are going to want you to work with them on their projects, and they’ll try hard to get you to do so. But the decision is going to be up to you. (In fact, at times you’re going to wish for the luxury of having just one person telling you what they think you should do, rather than hundreds).
Gabe tells it this way. When he was at Microsoft in the early 90’s, he commissioned a survey of what was actually installed on users’ PCs. The second most widely installed software was Windows.
Number one was Id’s Doom.
The idea that a 10-person company of 20-somethings in Mesquite, Texas, could get its software on more computers than the largest software company in the world told him that something fundamental had changed about the nature of productivity.
Consequently, Valve has no formal management or hierarchy at all.
This is so groundbreaking, that not reading it would an act of stupidity.
It reminds me of the years I worked for a startup and simply did what was need to be done without clear management or direction. It has been to this day the most creative environment I’ve been.
“Questions are your mind’s receptors for answers. If you aren’t curious enough to want to know why, to want to ask questions, then you’re not making the room in your mind for answers. If you stop asking questions, your mind can’t grow.”—Jason Fried paraphrasing Clayton Christensen - What are questions?