Why Valve is not a publicly traded company

Valve is a very successful company. They make more money per employee than Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Gabe says being privately owned is a huge part of what makes Valve so successful:

There’s the customer… the person that you’re trying to make happy. From the time that you make a change in a product, it’s fifteen minutes – worst case – before a customer is actually using that. There’s no approval process…

You don’t go to board meetings where the board argues about what the third series of venture capitalists are worried about, dilution and hitting certain targets…

The whole point of being a privately held company is to eliminate another source of noise in the signal between the consumers and producers of a good.

See the full quote here: http://youtu.be/Td_PGkfIdIQ?t=14m51s

The whole talk (http://youtu.be/Td_PGkfIdIQ) this is from is extremely eye-opening. Must-watch for anyone even slightly interested in gaming – or technology, or business, at all – in the 21st century.


Bioshock 2 – xPadder profile – for xbox 360 controller

Edit: Most people won’t need this anymore, as Bioshock 2 now finally includes native controller support! Steam versions of the game should already be updated. Existing versions also include Minerva’s Den free!



xPadder allows you to use controllers with games that only support keyboard and mouse. You can share profiles for games and controller.

Here’s the best one I’ve found for Bioshock 2, with some minor improvements:


(NOTE: This is just a .xpadderprofile with a dummy extension to get around some silly upload restrictions. Remove the .docx extension from this file and open it in xpadder to use it.)

This will work with Bioshock 2’s default key bindings, so no fiddling needed.

It improves on one I found online, it’s about as good, and intuitive, as possible.

Your safety line

Let’s say you get a job washing windows on skyscrapers. During training you’re shown your safety line, a new type of super-strong wire that attaches your personal harness to a hook far above you… but looks exactly like a single human hair.

It’s going to be the only thing between you and falling hundreds of feet to your death.

Despite your trainer seeming trustworthy, and other employees assuring you it’s safe, you doubt. The stakes are too high, and the appearance of the wire too uncertain, for you to believe completely enough to trust the safety line. Your life is on the line (literally) and you’ve never seen something so thin that was that strong. At this point, you can choose to disbelieve the trainer, and walk out. But if you do want this job, listening to others isn’t enough. You have to try it out.

First you pull as hard as you can on the wire. Surprised at it’s strength, you gain confidence to tether yourself to practice hooks only a few feet from the ground. When that holds, you try throwing your whole weight on it, jumping around, hooking it to higher hooks.

After a day of this, you realise the wire is exactly as strong as you were told, and you try it from a skyscraper 200 feet up. Your mind still fears, but the evidence seen so far helps you choose to do what you want to anyway. After a month on the job, you trust your life to that wire without hesitation.

Your friends may be shocked when you describe your safety line to them, but you can’t doubt it’s strength anymore. You have too much evidence.

This is how faith in God works. If you accept the possibility that scripture is true, and try out what it tells you, you gain confidence in it.

The seed analogy in Alma 32:26-43 explains it well.

Like any principle of the gospel, there’s nothing magical or mysterious about faith. It’s just understanding how fickle the human mind is about accepting some facts and building your confidence in the truth of something by testing it out over and over.

Brandon Sanderson – First Australian Book Tour

Mark your calendars: Brandon Sanderson is coming to Australia for the first time in April 2012 to attend some conventions and do some book signings! No word yet on whether he’ll make it to Sydney.

Details so far (check his calendar for updates between now and then):

Doom-Con, Swancon 37, Perth, Australia

Date: 05.04.12 Time: 3:00 pm-7:00 pm
Place: Doom-Con, Swancon 37
Address: TBD, Perth, Australia
Type: Convention

schedule: April 5–9, 2012 (Easter weekend)

Notes: Brandon is International Guest of Honor.

Supanova Melbourne 2012, Australia

Date: 13.04.12 Time: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Place: Supanova Melbourne 2012
Address: Melbourne Showgrounds
Epsom Road
Ascot Vale
Victoria 3032 Australia
Type: Convention

schedule: April 13–15, 2012

Supanova Gold Coast 2012, Australia

Date: 20.04.12 Time: 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Place: Supanova Gold Coast 2012
Address: Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
2684 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
QLD 4218, Australia
Type: Convention

Paternity leave

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while, just had a baby!

Booktopia free shipping code

Booktopia has another free shipping deal, enter the code SMILE (expires midnight Sunday 20th March, 2011 AEST). Don’t forget to compare prices with Booko.