What Really Motivates Us? Insights for your Tech Team

Over the last month or so, a large number of authors in my RSS reader called attention to Dan Pink’s ‘Drive’ video


  • Props to Cool Infographics (home of the Caffeine Poster!) with the post that introduced me to the video. Key insight from Randy Krum: is this a video? A well done presentation? Or another innovative infographic?
  • Global Nerdy (a site with style and substance – content does not match the title!) calls out that this idea has direct applicability to work in software development – really, any systems design, development, and/or implementation work.
  • TechDirt draws a connection between the message of the video and Shirky‘s ideas around cognitive surplus – and how current incentive structures drive down creative output.
  • Aggregated Intelligence, Lifehacker, and Anecdote just linked to the video, no deep insights – just more votes on the relevance of this video!
  • And leave it to Coding Horror to pull the deepest insights (and the best post title). Atwood is a great writer, and draws a great straight line from the video’s call for a driving vision, to specific examples from his experience in building Stack Overflow.
  • With so many brilliant minds pointing me in this direction, I had to watch it – and yes, I was impressed by the presentation style and the content. It struck all the same chords that were called out above – and got me to stretch my presentation style a bit.

    I hold quarterly meetings with my groups in IT, designed to continually invigorate and reinforce communications up, down, and across the business and IT organizations. And – free lunch for all, plus a chance to regularly hone my presentation style, and try out new things.

    I have long been loathe to demonstrate software or do any sort of “live” presentation in front of a crowd – the silence can be deafening when Murphy strikes. But I like the message of the video – the style and length just fit nicely with the general themes I was covering this past quarter. So I took the chance and embedded the link in a PowerPoint slide, and ended my slides with the video. What did I learn?

    • Always test the internet connection beforehand – make sure there are no unfortunate proxy logins to get past
    • Do NOT rely on the speakers in your laptop (I had to scramble for some external speakers – thanks, Andy!)
    • Never underestimate the ability of a technical audience for introversion, insight – and outspoken feedback!

    I did get some nice responses from my team – not in the group setting, but a couple of folks came to me afterwards, marvelling about how they had been thinking about the same ideas recently. A double win – new presentation tool, and new insights into the creativity and openness of my team!

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