Valve’s “flat structure” hides cliques, those with real power, and yes, you can get fired
This story about a fired employee from Valve is interesting on a few levels. You always need to take the views of an employee heading out with a grain of salt, but it's not shocking that a company like Valve has hidden pockets of power that don't show up on the official org chart.
That describes pretty much every company on the planet, and it's silly to think that a happy guidebook on how Valve works means that you don't have to worry about politics, especially on big, potentially expensive hardware projects
So I don't think this makes Valve look bad, and I don't think it makes the source of the story look bad, I think it just underscores that Valve is yet another company made up of people, for good or ill. This isn't a scandal as much as it's confirmation that the company isn't perfect.
What frustrates me personally is that Valve seems to be becoming a company that dabbles in everything, but has trouble commiting to one or two things. Steam continues to be a great service, but we've been hearing about the Steam Box for a while, with no solid news about whether or not we'll see production hardware. Gabe Newell talked about making movies with J.J. Abrams, a man wrapped in Stars both Trek and Wars. Any potential fruit of that collaboration is years off, if it ever happens.
So I'd love to see Valve either become serious about one or two new initatives, or at least share some information on what we'll see in the next few years. Right now the company seems like children at play, which is a great thing in some ways, but it may not lead to a strategy or roadmap that benefits players. I want to see Valve's take on controllers, or some neat virtual reality stuff, or heck, a new game. Right now it just seems like we keep hearing vague reports of things that turn into sand before they're released.
- Michael French