So Jeri Ellsworth got fired today (Valve nextgen gaming hardware)

This is a hilariously cynical analysis of a private company that does not make their revenue and expenditure public.
It is, but come on. Do you really think they need to turn any type of profit from the games they themselves develop? Part of Steam's goal is subsidization from what I see - and other bigwigs are catching on to the gravy train... Well.... Blizzard caught on even before them, but that revenue stream was destined to be ephemeral.

EDIT: And of course, the degree arguments start rolling in. Reality says: one method is not necessarily more valid than the other.
 
Here's my equally valid theory on what went down.

1. Ms. Ellsworth is actually an alien spy sent by the Reptoids of Rigel V to research this human thing called "love."
2. With no money and no job she has to use some of her advanced alien knowledge to make a living, but without drawing too much attention to herself (so creating a fusion power plant or hyperdrive is right out).
3. She claims to be a "self taught" electronics engineer and, as a laugh, does some work emulating hilariously stone-age Hew-mon technology in the form of the Commodore-64. This is quite successful.
4. She is approached by Valve. Unbeknownst to Ms. Ellsworth, the entirety of Valve is actually an elaborate cover for the Spice Beasts of Tau Ceti II. Shortly after working there they realize they cannot replace her with a Spice Beast Doppelganger like they had the previous hires, as their cloning process does not work on Reptoids (obviously).
5. Gabe (Or'tok Viershan in his native Cetian tongue) is made aware of the situation and they initiate a firing solution to rid themselves of the Reptoid.
6. Ms. Ellsworth is terminated from Valve but vows to bring down the Spice Beasts for their perfidity by waging an asymmetrical conflict using the humans own communication channels.
7. The war continues ....
Tou che good sir! I see the error or my ways, didn't factor in that alien angle.
 
Well, that's what's intriguing about this. It'd be no big thing if Valve had a round of layoffs or cancelled their hardware development or Jeri just decided she wanted a change. "Fired" implies that not only was the split not amicable, but some offense was caused.
Thing is, she is the one who used the word as far as I can tell, they might have "decided not to renew her contract / extend her trial period" and she took that as "YOUR FIRED!".

I wonder if it is something to do with the hardware, perhaps the controller is the issue and she couldn't make it work. A controller that can emulate a mouse isn't going to be an easy thing to crack.
 
Two points:

Valve fired 25 people not just her, and not from a single division or project so it doesn't look like they cancelled a specific plan or product.

Jeri Ellsworth was internet famous as a hardware designer/hacker long before Valve hired her.
 
That's probably it actually, since she tweeted that it was her last day on the job, which seems to imply she's finishing out the work day.
Yeah, if she was staying for the rest of the day I imagine she gets 1-3 months paid notice / severance and then they don't make her work it. fired is usually "escorted from the building post haste".
 
to be fair, i've never met a competent self-taught programmer. not saying they don't exist, but there's something to be said for formal training.
Programming is one of those fields where there really isn't much of a difference between self taught and a degree. They mostly just teach you how to deal with middle management and how to adapt your programming style to the company standard in college, or are otherwise targeted at getting you a job at a big company.

The very nature of the job means you'll often have to learn, on your own, new languages and new technology to keep a job. Unless you want to perpetually be in college for the rest of your life, the languages you learn in college will be obsolete or overhauled in 10 years.

I'm not dissin' college here, but treating it as the only way someone can be good at something is if they have a degree for it is a bit silly.
 

DDayton

(more a nerd than a geek)
She was a self-taught hardware hacker... if she'd been born just 10-15 years earlier, she'd have made a killing in the hobbyist market....

engineering degrees aren't english degrees
Indeed. English degrees don't come with an expiration date!

(My engineering buddies and I always got along well, although one did say he couldn't see the point in reading something if there was a film version of it...)
 
plan a dedicated gaming box based on off-the-shelf PC hardware, sell at a profit (or at least no loss), use linux which resets your game count to pretty much zero..

what could possibly go wrong with that plan?


They should just release a spec like Intel do with the Ultrabook, work with a couple of hardware partners to put out a simple SFF box that is optimised for steam (i.e has an ok graphics card in it) and do it as a marketing exercise.
 
plan a dedicated gaming box based on off-the-shelf PC hardware, sell at a profit (or at least no loss), use linux which resets your game count to pretty much zero..

what could possibly go wrong with that plan?
I still imagine somewhere there is the seed of a good idea, they must have seen a way to make it work at some point. The linux thing and the controller are the two main issues that I can see.

A controller that can emulate a mouse (and works with Windows / Linux / OSX) would be an amazing thing for PC gaming, especially when sold separably.
 
plan a dedicated gaming box based on off-the-shelf PC hardware, sell at a profit (or at least no loss), use linux which resets your game count to pretty much zero..

what could possibly go wrong with that plan?
Ehh there are quite a few steam games that support linux these days, I think its around a hundred games and that keeps growing.
They should just release a spec like Intel do with the Ultrabook, work with a couple of hardware partners to put out a simple SFF box that is optimised for steam (i.e has an ok graphics card in it) and do it as a marketing exercise.
Isnt this exactly what the plans are for steambox?

http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/6/3958162/valve-steam-box-cake said:
The Steam Box would be a blueprint. Initial sources told us that Valve was working on a blueprint for a console-like PC that would run any standard PC game title. Valve would team up with partners to actually create the boxes, which, like the console in your living room, would have a basic set of specifications to ensure a consistent experience. This would put Steam at the center of a new hardware universe, sort of like what Google did with Android: get a lot of partners on board, all using Valve’s software.
 
Programming is one of those fields where there really isn't much of a difference between self taught and a degree. They mostly just teach you how to deal with middle management and how to adapt your programming style to the company standard in college, or are otherwise targeted at getting you a job at a big company.
I'm sorry, I can't confirm this. It probably depends at which university you're studying. It's more about learning to deal with different programming paradigmas and formalizing procedures as pseudo-code, not so much about adapting to a company standard. I agree with the second part though.

Isnt this exactly what the plans are for steambox?
You answered your own question, but yeah. A nice idea, can't wait to see the results.
 
Sorry if it's offtopic, but i wonder if Doug Church is still working at Valve, he doesn't seem to be on the employee list at their website. If he's fired too or just left.
 
I wonder. As they get closer to manufacturing an actual product maybe the prototypes of things she's been working on just aren't panning out that well for actual production and inclusion with the final steambox unit. Or they've decided on a different route than what she was promoting within Valve.
 
Sorry if it's offtopic, but i wonder if Doug Church is still working at Valve, he doesn't seem to be on the employee list at their website. If he's fired too or just left.
The fact he's not on the list means nothing.

But according to http://www.linkedin.com/pub/doug-church/0/79b/a97?_mSplash=1&sessionid=WbstZFfuWOCpa6Pu-SUk he is in LA, not Seattle, so likely he doesn't work at Valve anymore.

People with a LinkedIn profile perhaps can see in greater detail where he works these days.
 
It is, but come on. Do you really think they need to turn any type of profit from the games they themselves develop? Part of Steam's goal is subsidization from what I see - and other bigwigs are catching on to the gravy train... Well.... Blizzard caught on even before them, but that revenue stream was destined to be ephemeral.

EDIT: And of course, the degree arguments start rolling in. Reality says: one method is not necessarily more valid than the other.
Maybe they don't need to anymore, but I would be very surprised if any of their games failed to make a profit. They have all been well received.
 
The fact he's not on the list means nothing.

But according to http://www.linkedin.com/pub/doug-church/0/79b/a97?_mSplash=1&sessionid=WbstZFfuWOCpa6Pu-SUk he is in LA, not Seattle, so likely he doesn't work at Valve anymore.

People with a LinkedIn profile perhaps can see in greater detail where he works these days.
Could very well be, that would be a shame though. The latest thing i could find is some kind of q&a thing he did with Chet Falisek from Valve and that's from the beginning of 2013.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
Sorry if it's offtopic, but i wonder if Doug Church is still working at Valve, he doesn't seem to be on the employee list at their website. If he's fired too or just left.
he better be but on the other hand if his talents aren't in demand there...

edit: just checked - Clint Hocking isn't there too so I guess the list is outdated because he clearly works there (unless he was fired yesterday, lol)
 
he better be but on the other hand if his talents aren't in demand there...

edit: just checked - Clint Hocking isn't there too so I guess the list is outdated because he clearly works there (unless he was fired yesterday, lol)
The list isn't outdated, meaning even when they updated it, it was missing a LOT of people. Perhaps some people don't want to get listed, lol?
 
Doesn't "fired" imply that Valve are upset with her? As in, they probably would have let her quit instead of firing her if they weren't upset.

An individual firing on such a level is rare in the gaming industry, isn't it?
 
But I thought Valve was special :(

Seriously though; am not sure what she did for them.Valve is not a hardware company and it needs to refocus on where its currently failing and improve before expanding.
 
I'd loved to know what is going on with Doug Church. I'd hate to think they pursued him all those years only for him to decide that he doesn't have a place at Valve and leave after a couple years.
 
Two points:

Valve fired 25 people not just her, and not from a single division or project so it doesn't look like they cancelled a specific plan or product.

Jeri Ellsworth was internet famous as a hardware designer/hacker long before Valve hired her.
Interesting. Guess they decided to just have one big day of anguish where they cleared out everyone who didn't fit.

Really not much to speculate on specifically, though, since we know nothing. Seems like hardware really scaled up when they hired Abrash. It's possible he helped bring in some more big hitters or they just needed people who excelled in more practical solutions.
 
She sounds incredibly talented. I'm guessing she couldn't make something marketable or something that suits valve's needs. IIRC wages are peer reviewed and mistakes are only punished if they are repeated.
 
Peer based stuff like that is always a disaster and a sign of poor Management. Management has a job and that's part of it. If they cant handle it then don't get into a role of Management. Valve would have been out of business years ago if it wasn't for steam keeping the coffers filled.
Yea I'm not sure if a peer-based firing system is a great idea.
 
Man it has been a long time since Valve released an actual game...

And no, CS:Go does not count
CS:Go of course doesn't count. Neither does Dota 2. Neither does any DLC or content for Portal 2 or TF2.

So the last time Valve released anything of worth was....2 years ago. So a two year dev cycle for every dev studio ever.
 
I think she just used "fired" in her tweet and it was probably a bad choice of words..you never know..
That's my guess too. She probably was technically laid off, but to the person on the receiving end it feels like a firing. It just doesn't have potential bad repercussions when your future employer calls to verify prior employment and learns that you were fired for cause.
 
Sadly, Valve is pretty private so we'll never know what happened. Jeri could give her side which I suppose you'll have to take as what really happened because Valve most likely won't respond.

Maybe Valve is cutting their loses with Steambox.
I don't think the Steambox is the big focus of the hardware department. They pretty much understand what it's going to be. A console form factor PC, not exactly that hard. What they're working on more is input, the new controller and whatever else that has to do with input.