It Works for Valve


Valve is a wildly successful PC game company. They use a version of the democracy 2.0 system in their business model. Here’s a paraphrased excerpt from the Valve employee handbook:

Welcome to Flatland

Hierarchy is great for maintaining predictability and repeatability. It simplifies planning and makes it easier to control a large group of people from the top down, which is why military organizations rely on it so heavily.

But when you’re an organization that’s spent the last decade going out of its way to recruit the most intelligent, innovative, talented people on Earth, telling them to sit at a desk and do what they’re told obliterates 99 percent of their value. 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 ship products.

A flat structure removes every organizational barrier between your plan and the customer enjoying that plan.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.

Below is a set of graphs demonstrating how Valve and the direct democracy system work. You can read the full text of the Valve employee handbook here. If this sounds reasonable to you, join the movement. We want to implement Valve’s system in society. It works extremely well for Valve, and almost anything is better than the bloated, stagnant, immature system we have today. Hacking democracy is the first non-violent way to actually alter the course of society. Hunger strikes and occupation might have worked in the past, but no longer.

Flatland map