"If you leave your phone at your desk someone will use it to send an email that says 'I like ponies.' Some people will make more and more elaborate photos of ponies that people might like. There are some incredibly entertaining characters who work here.That was Newell speaking with Bloomberg BusinessWeek in a recent interview, following up on the recently loosed Valve Software new-hire handbook. But now that you know about Newell's affinity for magical friendship as it pertains to ponies, you might be interested to know how Valve's bizarre management structure (or lack thereof) got the way it did. As it turns out, Newell formed Valve's structure as a direct response to Microsoft's rigidity. He related a story regarding Microsoft Windows market penetration and id Software's FPS classic, Doom, to illustrate his point.
Of course, then everybody found out that I actually like the TV show My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic, so I never hear the end of it."
"There was concern among people who were working on Microsoft Office that people would buy computers and reformat their hard drives and install MS-DOS instead of Windows," Newell said. So, in order to find out if that theory was true, Microsoft didn't just ask its customers, it conducted surveys to get hard numbers. Thankfully for MS, the theory didn't cause any real issues. But the results of the survey were enlightening to Newell nonetheless.
"What was so shocking to me was that Windows was the second highest usage application in the U.S. The number one application was Doom," Newell explained. To him, this was a revelation. "It was a 12-person company in the suburbs of Texas that didn't even distribute through retail, it distributed through bulletin boards and other pre-Internet mechanisms ... Microsoft was hiring 500-people sales teams and this entire company was 12 people, yet it [id Software] had created the most widely distributed software in the world."