“Welcome to Flatland” – Valve Software Employee Handbook

valve-software-handbook-cover

Want to read about an interesting management model? Check out the Valve Software Employee Handbook which they kindly published on their web site. If you are not familiar with Valve Software, they are the makers of the  STEAM digital distribution and gaming platform.

By 2011, over half of digital PC game sales were through Steam, and Valve was the most profitable company per employee in the United States *

Some interesting concepts revealed in this handbook are 1) A flat management model 2) Stacked Ranking for compensation rewarding combinations of depth and breadth 3) Cabal multidisciplinary teams 4) Employees choose the projects they work on and more.

“Why does your desk have wheels? Think of those wheels as a symbolic reminder that you should always be considering where you could move yourself to be more valuable. But also think of those wheels as literal wheels, because that’s what they are, and you’ll be able to actually move your desk with them.”

The Idle Traveler and the Art of Slow Travel

I’m a big fan of Tom Hodgkinson’s books on being idle. I’m also enjoying this book by Dan Kieran, The Idle Traveler, The Art of Slow Travel. Tom Hodgkinson wrote the forward which nicely captures the theme of the book:

What Dan has attempted in this book is to outline a particular philosophy of travel, where travel becomes part of one’s own therapeutic journey, rather than simply an escape. So it would be true to say that idle travel does not mean comfortable travel or easy travel. In fact, Dan reserves particular ire for the soul-deadening effect of fancy hotels. It is not even necessarily slow travel, for the actual pace of movement is surely relative – a train ride would have seemed impossibly fast to a Florentine apothecary of 1450. Idle travel is nothing to do with ‘fun’ in the modern sense, meaning a temporary escape from our ills. No: it is more to do with attitude. Perhaps ‘deep’ travel would be a better synonym.