We want innovators, and that
means maintaining an environment where they’ll flourish.
That’s why Valve is flat. It’s our shorthand way of saying
that we don’t have any management, and nobody “reports
to” anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but
even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to
steer—toward opportunities and away from risks. You have
the power to green-light projects. You have the power to
A flat structure removes every organizational barrier
between your work and the customer enjoying that work.
Every company will tell you that “the customer is boss,” but
here that statement has weight. There’s no red tape stopping
you from figuring out for yourself what our customers
want, and then giving it to them.
Since Valve is flat, people don’t join projects because
they’re told to. Instead, you’ll decide what to work on
after asking yourself the right questions (more on that
later). Employees vote on projects with their feet (or desk
wheels). Strong projects are ones in which people can
see demonstrated value; they staff up easily. This means
there are any number of internal recruiting efforts
constantly under way.