Thursday, April 26, 2012

Valve and a Personal Manifesto

Seth Godin is a brilliant man whose blog I've been following for about 4 years. Every day around 3am a lovely little insightful email populates my inbox with ways to better myself, to change my outlook on life, to push the boundaries of what I think is possible, to take steps towards the job, career, life that I truly want.

From all of these hundreds of emails, a couple stand out...

The post that directed me to Anything You Want by Derek Sivers, an amazing and quick read about the creation and eventual sale of CD Baby and all of the lessons Derek learned along the way.

A great post about the difference between stupid and lazy.

A brief outline of how to demonstrate strength.

And the email I received today with a direct link to a PDF of the Valve Handbook for New Employees.

Valve is the software company that gave Half Life to the world. Now, I'm not even that big of a gamer, and I know about Half Life. In fact, I have a feeling almost any male between the ages of 14 and 50 would at least partially recognize this picture:

I don't know what the game is about. All I know is it's a first person shooter and is supposedly one of the greatest video games ever made in the history of ever.

Anyways, the Valve Handbook for New Employees is one of the most amazing things I have ever read in my life. As Seth Godin describes it, it is "about the post-industrial method of management." It describes the company as having a "flat structure" where everyone and anyone can work with anyone else, where there are no managers and no "boss", where desks are on wheels so they can be moved and organized into various cabals created to complete employee projects, where the customer truly is the boss.

It's inspiring. It's simple. It's honest. It's supremely complicated. It acknowledges the company's strengths and recognizes their weaknesses. It's totally serious. It is the butt of its own joke.

It is dependent on a singular belief that better people make a better company... that "hiring is more important than oxygen".

Please read it because anything I have written here has not done it justice.

It gives me hope for the future... because if one company can do it this way... why not more?

Why not... EVERY company...?

I'm certainly set in a lot of my own ways, ways that have been borne out of 30 some odd years of repetition, ways that are deficient and that are begging to be changed.

The Valve Handbook is now part of my personal manifesto to initiate and perpetuate change within myself. Change for the better. Not just for me, but for my wife, for my son, for my family, for my friends.

Remember this feeling, Glynn. It is not sappy (it's totally sappy). It is (hopefully) not fleeting. It is important enough to hold on to... Read: "so important that you should never let it go."

A Personal Manifesto:

Every day I will strive to go to sleep a better person than when I woke up in the morning.



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