Monday, June 07, 2010

What drives us

Monkeys work harder when they are not rewarded. People do, too.

Daniel H. Pink [wikipedia] collected the evidence about that fact and wrote (supposedly very good, didn’t read it yet) book Drive.

That’s not why I’m writing this post.

People are asking me from time to time why do I put so much work into providing free code and knowledge to the community.

My usual answer to that is: “Er, that’s hard to explain. I feel the need.” (Yep, that kind  of need.)

But that’s also not why I’m writing this post.

Not so much ago, RSA Animate published an 11-minute YouTube video containing a concentrated version of Daniel Pink’s talk based on the Drive book.

Now that’s why I’m writing this post!

This concentrated version of the book is so great that I definitely want to read the whole thing (in fact I already bought the Kindle version).

Even more – at 8:44 it defines me in few words: “Challenge, mastery and making a contribution.”

Exactly! I need the challenge, I want to master the subject and then I want to make a contribution!

Thanks to Dan Pink and the great people at RSA Animate I learned something about myself.


  1. The only surprising thing about this "discovery" is the way people react to it as if it were surprising or new. This is simple common sense and it's been well-known for a long, long time. One of the more famous examples (in America at least) is the story of Tom Sawyer's fence.

    It's only since the rise of Ayn Rand's particular brand of insanity that people started to forget about stuff like this. I'm glad to see it being rediscovered.

  2. I think "I feel the need" is the best way to express yourself in this subject... at least is better than saying "an Alien told me to do so".

  3. Awesome. Thanks for posting.

  4. 2Mason Wheeler: sometimes you can say/restate the obvious things. And that can even learn you something. There is nothing wrong with it.

  5. "I need" the challenge +
    "I want" to master the subject +
    "I want" to make a contribution!

    The "need" word drives the other "want".

    Completely agree.

  6. @Mason: To me, the world is a complicated affair. It obviously doesn't function in the way the schooling system tried to teach me and it (also obviously) doesn't function in a way the politicians and economists are trying to describe it. And it definitely doesn't function in a way that I could comprehend.

    That's why I'm extremely glad whenever a 'of course!' moment occurs in my life. This was one of those moments.

  7. Anonymous00:09

    Wonderful post, thank you.