June 27, 2012

Valve Software Handbook vs Ray Dalio’s Principles of Life

Valve Software Employee Handbook vs Ray Dalio’s Principles of Life.

Both Valve Software and Bridgewater Associates are very successful in their respective fields. Valve makes incredible games; Bridgewater is one of the largest and best performing hedge fund. A comparison of their respective employee handbooks shows their unique style.

What if I screw up?Nobody has ever been fired at Valve for making a mistake. It wouldn’t make sense for us to operate that way. Providing the freedom to fail is an important trait of the company— we couldn’t expect so much of individuals if we also penalized people for errors. Even expensive mistakes, or ones which result in a very public failure, are genuinely looked at as opportunities to learn. We can always repair the mistake or make up for it. Screwing up is a great way to find out that your assumptions were wrong or that your model of the world was a little bit off. As long as you update your model and move forward with a better picture, you’re doing it right. Look for ways to test your beliefs. Never be afraid to run an experiment or to collect more data.

Ray Dalio’s Principles of Life 
I learned that everyone makes mistakes and has weaknesses and that one of the most important things that differentiate people is their approach to handling them. I learned that there is an incredible beauty to mistakes, because embedded in each mistake is a puzzle, and a gem that could get if I solved it, i.e., a principle that I could use to reduce my mistakes in the future. I learned that each mistake was probably a reflection of something that I was (or others were) doing wrong, so if I could figure out what that was, I could learn how to be more effective. I learned that wrestling with my problems, mistakes, and weaknesses was the training that strengthened me. Also, I learned that it was the pain of this wrestling that made me and those around me appreciate our successes.

Tags: valve software vs ray dalio, valve software employee handbook, ray dalio principles of life, valve vs bridgewater associates