In March, Valve – the company that gave us Half-Life, Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, Portal, and Steam – finished its “Handbook for New Employees”. Yesterday, the PDF version was leaked (published?) onto the interwebs. I just finished reading it in its entirety, from the title page to the glossary, and it’s jaw-droppingly amazing.
- Valve’s internal company structure is completely flat. There is no hierarchy. There’s no management at all! (Mind you, they currently employ around 300 people, and their revenue is estimated at more than 1 billion USD.) There are no appointed team leaders, product managers, or anything like it. Cave Johnson would not agree.
- All desks have wheels. If you’d like to relocate, unplug your computer, push your desk to the desired location, and plug it in again. That’s it. They even have a page on their intranet that lets you look up where your colleagues are currently plugged in. If they’re not working from home, that is.
- Compensation is determined by your peers and their assessment of your skill level, output, group contribution, and product contribution. How cool is that? Just think about it: If you’re a mean, selfish bastard, you automatically get paid less! I still need to bend my head around this one.
To summarize, Valve’s corporate philosophy is absolutely inspiring. There’s a lot that other companies could learn from them, and in my opinion, sooner would be better.
And now, please go and read Valve’s employee handbook. You won’t regret it.
Von Robert McMillan, Wired Enterprise | Übersetzung: Patrick Hoefler
Die Gründer von GitHub in ihrer “Vorstandssuite”: Chris Wanstrath, Tom Preston-Werner, Scott Chacon, PJ Hyett (v.l.n.r.) | Photo: Ariel Zambelich / Wired | CC BY-NC 3.0
SAN FRANCISCO — Als die Gründer von GitHub letztes Jahr in ihren protzigen Loft im South-of-Market-Viertel umzogen, dekorierten sie als erstes gleich einmal um. Sie verwandelten das größte Büro in die Parodie einer Vorstandssuite — inklusive falschem Kamin, üppigen Lederstühlen und einem Holzglobus, der nach dem Aufklappen eine Flasche Single Malt Whisky preisgibt. An der Wand hängt das Gemälde einer Katze mit fünf Oktopus-artigen Beinen, die aussieht wie Napoleon. Sie nennen sie Octocat.
First, if you haven’t already read it, enjoy Matthew Inman’s latest brilliant Oatmeal comic.
Now, let’s have a quick look at the current situation in Austria:
1) There is no Netflix or equivalent service.
2) There are no TV shows available in iTunes.
3) Instant Video is not available on Amazon.de.
4) Hulu? Not available, of course.
5) “To access HBO GO℠, you must reside within the fifty states of the United States of America.” Who’d have thought!?
There are many people outside the US of A who’d gladly pay for some decent and legal streaming of their favorite TV shows. I really wonder what the copyright holders are waiting for …
On a related note, check out this study presented by BoingBoing. Summary: The longer the release of a movie is delayed in a country, the more people will turn to piracy instead of watching the movie in the cinema some months later. Surprise, surprise!
Particulate Matter (Feinstaub) is a problem. It can penetrate the deepest part of your lung. That can’t be good.
Enter feinstaub.st, a wonderful little website by Hartwig Brandl and Johannes Priebsch that visualizes PM10 levels for all major cities in Styria, Austria. They even provide an API! Open data, you think? Well, almost …
The data is provided by the provincial government of Styria, and they have a usage policy concerning the data:
Das Amt der steiermärkischen Landesregierung stellt seine Messdaten derzeit kostenfrei zur Verfügung. Die Verwendung dieser Daten für den persönlichen Gebrauch ist jedem erlaubt. Eine weitere Veröffentlichung ist aber an eine ausdrückliche Zustimmung des Amtes der steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Fachabteilung 17C gebunden.
Let’s summarize: We, the people, pay some public servants to collect data about our air quality. Then, we’re allowed to use this data, but only if we ask nicely, and only if they – whoever they is – agree.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great that we have access to the data. It’s great that we’re allowed to use it for free for personal purposes. But it’s absolutely wrong that anyone can deny us the right to publish data that we, the people, already paid for.
That can’t be good, either.