It’s interesting that you make comparisons between Valve Corporation and Microsoft. I’m sure you’re already aware, but in case you weren’t, Valve was founded by ex-Microsoft employees. I don’t think this is a coincidence.
I edited out many more thoughts which I considered Valve not falling far from its Microsoft tree (e.g. desire to make platforms, make the consumer need you as opposed to want you, and so on). But I thought it might be making too much of someone being an ex employee of a company. Microsoft is a huge company. There are many former Microsoft employees out there and isn’t fair to say they are all ‘little’ Bill Gates.
Gabe Newell’s public appearances and how he tries to market his ‘fat geekiness’ seems very similar to Bill Gates public appearances and how he tried to market his ‘geekiness’. Many people see Bill Gates as a computer nerd where he is actually an aggressive businessman. Bill Gates made the extreme amount of wealth because he made his company public. It is not easy making your company public.
I cannot see Gabe Newell as a ‘genius business owner’ because he cannot or refuses to make his company public. I don’t see him as a gamer either. Why does he keep putting himself out there? Assuming it isn’t some desire for celebrity, he wants to put his face and image as the brand for the company (e.g. places an image of himself with a chainsaw on his website).
We should look at these people from where they are coming from and their own goals. Notch, who once worked for game companies, left and made his own company that eventually made Minecraft. Notch seems interested in creating his own financial structure so he can make the games he wants to make. There seems to be no ambition from him to do anything else (which I find disappointing). However, I respect him for creating his own financial structure which allowed him to amass such wealth. He would NOT be having that wealth if he was working for someone else.
But what is with Gabe Newell? He is demonstrating he isn’t interested in making games. He does seem interested in making platforms and leveraging modders for his own company’s benefit. What does that mean? I’m not exactly sure. But I am highly suspicious of people who make money from gaming by not making games.
“Gabe is just a entrepreneur who wants to reach for the sky!” I considered this as well but the not going public doesn’t make sense. This is what it means by ‘going public’. Let me quote:
For some entrepreneurs, taking a company public is the ultimate dream and mark of success (usually because there is a large payout).
So to me, the question is why someone wouldn’t want to take their company public when they can. That is how you become very rich. The Valve Corporation fits all the requirements:
- High growth prospects [rise in demand for digital distribution]
- Innovative product or service [Steam and various other products]
- Competitive in industry [Nothing is more competitive than the Video Game Industry]
- Able to meet financial audit requirements [Valve Corporation hires economists and seem to have an interest in the financial entertainment side. I don't see how financial audit requirements would be an issue.]
In the end, I am left scratching my head while the gamers around me chant only “Hail!” “Hail!” “Hail!”. Something doesn’t seem right here.