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Mitchell Kaplan
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Of course if you take money out of the equation, then how exactly are you incentivising people by offering them money? I think that this is an interesting problem, but perhaps difficult to statistically measure. I think in general, probably for readers of this blog, that the satisfaction and esthetic of creation, the freedom to pursue things of interest and the knowledge that we're contributing is a very strong incentive. We probably don't need a statistical study to persuade of this. In addition, this is probably true of most people. However most of us are fortunate in that what we enjoy is also a profitable enterprise as far as supplying our Maslow needs. Unfortunatley this is not true in general.
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2010 on The Vast and Endless Sea at Coding Horror
A comment on incentivation vs accomplishment of cognitive tasks. A significant thing that the studies don't measure, given what I've read on this blog about the studies, is whether the "subject" wants to play at all. If you're creatively talented you may well choose to take a job at a company that incentives creative solutions. You know that you've got a good chance at a bonus or some other variable form of compensation. Less talented people might not be so interested in a company that orients their compensation policy in such a manner. I don't know how you'd study this, especially given that in real life we're talking about your income, not a relatively minor, non life changing reward. The videos do realize this when they say that a key to this entire thesis is that the "job" is already incentived in such a way as to take money off the table. With regard to comparing Wikipedia to Encarta, Apache to IIS, Linux to Windows, this is somewhat misleading and is also reminscent of the lists of check boxes that you see in advertisements for software products or cars or other products. A specially designed list is presented that doesn't cover all of the aspects of the product, nor does is deal with huge overlap between items nor does it adequately describe the importance or meaning of the checkbox items. I know we could get into a useless argument about free vs. commerical, not free. But consider a few counter examples. MS Office is considered superior to Open Office by many serious people. Linux is used in many servers typically for very well defined purposes. Windows is used in typical corporate servers for general business purposes where Linux would probably not work (I really don't know enough to make this assertion, but perhaps someone else does). Desktops are dominated by Windows and Mac OS. That's both at home and at work. Could be a conspiracy, could be that it's generally packaged with the hardware. But, people could change to Linux, for almost free, but most don't. I listen to quite a few podcasts during my hour long commute. Most have adverstising. Blogs with helpful technical information are often (but not always) supported by advertising. There will always be people who will want to do creative tasks, and will do them exceptionally well, even if they have to risk their lives in order to have the freedom to pursue those interests. Authors, of course, are a good example. This doesn't tell me that we ought to threaten peoples lives or freedom in order to get the best results. I found the 2 videos interesting, and useful when taken in the context of the real world. They certainly present important information with regard to inovative ways of motivating creative people, ONCE YOU HAVE THEM ON STAFF. Anyway, my initial thoughts.
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2010 on The Vast and Endless Sea at Coding Horror
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Jun 13, 2010