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Prior to Valve
Harrington took his first job in the gaming industry at Dynamix, where he worked as a programmer from 1985-87. He worked at Microsoft for the next nine years as a developer and manager, working on OS/2 and Windows NT.
Valve and Half-Life
Harrington partnered with Gabe Newell in 1996 to form Valve Corporation, at the time known as Valve Software. There he worked as a lead programmer, contributing a significant amount of the game's code. Harrington left the company after deciding not to work on Half-Life 2, which was already in the works two years after the first game's release.
Harrington left the software industry for six years while taking an extended vacation with his wife.
In 2006 he founded Picnik (originally Bitnik) with his longtime friend Darrin Massena. The company was acquired by Google in 2010, and he was hired by the latter as a technical adviser.