Valve Handbook - Notes and Takeaways

Takeaway from Valves handbook

Valve emphasizes hiring as the most important thing, more important then breathing

Valve has had a problem with info-dissemination.

Because they don’t have the managerial checks and balances, it takes longer then expected for them to know when a person was a bad hire or not.

Questions they ask hires.

  • Would I want this person to be my boss?
  • Would I learn a significant amount from him or her?
  • What if this person went to work for our competition?

inventive, iterative, creative, talkative, and reactive

They use a peer review stack ranking on 4 metrics to determine growth and compensation.

  1. Skill Level/Technical Ability
  2. Productivity/Output
  3. Group Contribution
  4. Product Contribution

They look for "T-Shaped "people. where they have a deep expertise in one area but are competent in a broad range of other disciplines.

They say hiring less competent people is typically a result of

  1. Too much work, not enough time. They use contractors in the interim
  2. Political, power dynamics.

Hiring Valves way requires commitment to the process, discipline to make company design more important then short-term goals(easier because of self-funding),

What Valve is not good at.

  • Helping people find their way
  • Mentoring People, beyond ad hoc helping, proactively guiding them to growth.
  • Disseminating information internally
  • Finding and hiring people in completely new disciplines
  • Making predictions longer then a few months
  • Missing out on hiring talented people who prefer “traditional” structures

Good Retrospective Questions.

Sometime there is a difference between what this book says and what is actually happening.

Are there areas that the ideas are more fully realized then others?

What should we do about it?

Are the differences actually a good thing?

What would you change?