Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cake and booze and a swift kick in the ass.

Don't tell me there is no cake.

This video tells us that we should be surprised that having the freedom to create and to play is a primary motivator for people, and in certain situations more powerful than money.

But didn't James Kirk reveal this tidbit during "Shore Leave" when he said, "The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play"?

Oh, how much time these researchers could save if they just watched more Star Trek. Or maybe they are all Star Trek nerds and they use their current positions to conduct studies to support What They Learned From Star Trek... Is all modern research just a bunch of Star Trek nerd experiments? Oh, let's see if green skin is an aphrodisiac; we'll modify the coloration of this fish and see if more fish want to breed with it... Yes, I see it all now.

Money is only a satisfactory motivator up until the worker has his needs met by it. At that point money fails and freedom becomes the primary carrot.

This study tells us that "autonomy" is the number one motivator for creative thinkers and that the expectation of "more money" ceases to motivate beyond a certain level of production. And they give Wikipedia as an example of a "no money-high freedom" reward site that has been successful.

But I don't think that's the entire picture. I think they omit the element of Competition.

When some important event occurs, the activity on Wikipedia skyrockets. And that's not from any sense of benevolence or charity. Sure, these volunteers are helping to create an online intelligence community and I don't argue the quality or usefulness of the content because much of it is highly useful. But I think it's from competition to see who does it first, does it the most and to see whose content survives the longest. These are the same goals as reproduction.

I think our inherent genetic need to reproduce drives how competition motivates us. If only I could remember which episode of Star Trek that was, I could get some nerds to do a study for me...

I know that I want to compete in a fair environment. I know I do well there. But I don't like being in a competitive environment because it brings out my worst. Inside, where I store the energy I release when I need to compete, that's where monsters dwell. I play well, until I sense there's some competition, some ultimate goal, and then I throw elbows and gouge eyes and bite. That's why I never play for money. No one wants to start playing a friendly game of a buck-a-hole Wii Golf and end up losing an ear.

I think what drives all this free internet is competition. People say it's play, but play without winning is meaningless. Even a lone child is in competition with herself. She wants to have the best teddy bear party or draw the best picture. Yes, that seems trivial on the surface, but children want their artwork displayed in public or they might even carry a childhood fantasy all the way through adulthood and attempt to compete with that memory to recreate those feelings. And yes, that's why you're still in therapy.

...I have more thoughts on competition as a motivator, but I've fallen behind in my 30 posts for June goal, so I'll continue this in another post... besides, I don't think anyone reads anything I write that's longer than three paragraphs anyway... did you ever do that in school? write a paper and then put, "I bet you're not even reading this" somewhere in the middle? I did once and I got the note, "Yes, I am" and a "C" for a grade.

oh, and CWCID (credit where credit is due, or "cowkid") to Marianne Lenox and Bobbi Newman for leading me to the vid.