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Daniel Pink, TED Global 2009

August 3, 2011

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The video talks about motivation and the myths that propagate in today’s business world. It talks about the traditional “carrots and sticks” methodology and the “autonomy, mastery and purpose” methodology. Check it out!



If you’re interested in a different method of presentation, here’s the same talk(with slight variation here and there) from RSAnimate based on his talk at RSA. I prefer this one but talking to people is always better to view for the expressions and modulation.


Of course, this motivation is the main reason behind the success of open source softwares. Many people have a lot of time in their hand and they’re willing to do something to keep them occupied but not be responsible for it unlike a company. It’s pretty much related to this whole concept(and Daniel Pink does point that out very well)-”What motivates these open source contributors?”

I learnt one cool thing about Atlassian, an Australian company(yes the one that own BitBucket now; makes it an even more attractive option as a workplace to me). Here’s what they do. Once every month, they ask their engineers to work on whatever they want for the next 24 hours. It could be anything at all that they want to do. All they have to do is that they’ve to present a report on what they did over the past 24 hours. And in that 24 hours, a whole host of new features, bug fixes that never arose earlier, clever hacks etc happened.

The major contrast in the traditional approach and what Atlassian did is that the former says “Here’s a bonus! Go do something cool!” which doesn’t always work while the latter says “ You probably want to do something interesting. Let me just get out of your way!” That’s one of the coolest ways of looking at people-they cannot manipulated like clay.

I’ve heard that in our college there’re plans to provide attendance relaxation-even do away with the attendance-to students with a GPA above a limit. That’d be great-exactly what Atlassian does! But, it should also be made sure that those students do something worthwhile or they’ll slide back and end up with the compulsory attendance on them since they’ve autonomy but not mastery/purpose, specially purpose.

I think this is a must see video for everyone, not just business people. Let’s say you’re teacher. Does punishing a student for a mistake he made prevent it’s repetition by him? This can be definitely extended, tailored and applied to various fields.

This video taught me several things and forced me to evaluate my future plan. I planned to attend placements and prepare for GATE. I’ll decide on what to do after B.Tech with the options I have. But, I found that it’s going to be difficult to focus on too many things and it’s making me rethink what I really want to do. Because after all we all want “autonomy, mastery and purpose” in our lives :). I don’t think I’ll get that from the kind of companies that come for placement here. Oh well let’s see. And it’s important to do something that’s in line with what you want to achieve in life. That’s the whole point of life!

PS: I guess this is why I keep playing supertuxkart “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose” :D.

From → TED Blog

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