I've just read — and enjoyed — this post by Mike Abrash about working at Valve.

I enjoyed it for two reasons: firstly, doom played a pivotal role in shaping Abrash's thinking about the future of computing, or perhaps it shaped the future of computing itself. I'm not ashamed to admit that Doom played a pivotal role in making me the person I am today: it derailed my ambition to become a graphics designer, introduced me to the PC, programming and various other computer design technologies and concepts: things moved on from there.

The second reason is the culture that Abrash describes at Valve: flat, creative-driven, unafraid of failure. I've been thinking a lot about work environments and the nature of management, both in the context of my work and Debian. What Abrash describes is still vastly different to life at University, but it did force me to reflect on how lucky I am to have the freedom and conditions I have, and consider the ways in which I define and shape the environment for myself and others.