Subtitles and transcripts of podcasts

Subtitles and transcripts are available for some podcasts linked to this blog, for example for all videos on Under the video, select Subtitles available in, and to the right of the video, select Open interactive transcript.
For Russian readers / Для русскоязычных читателей: Для некоторых подкастов, описанных в блоге, например, для подкастов на сайте, есть субтитры и записи текстов. Под видео выберите Subtitles available in Russian, а справа от видео выберите Open interactive transcript.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

In Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us, (animated video, 11 min) from RSAnimate, Daniel Pink, the author of Drive and other popular books, describes some very unexpected results from the recent research on motivation. The old paradigm of higher pay for better performance works - but only for mechanical tasks. If the task requires even the most rudimentary level of cognitive skills (as do most jobs!), higher pay leads to worse performance.
These counter-intuitive results have been replicated in many studies, in multiple countries (USA, rural India, etc) and with different pay grades (including quite substantial 2 months worth of average pay for highest performance in the experiment in India).
So what does motivate people, if not pay? The known non-monetary motivators are: autonomy (you determine what to work on, vs. being told what to do by the boss), mastery (become better at what you do, be recognized by your peers), and purpose (the job must have a purpose which is different from just making a profit for the company). And what about money? If you don't pay people enough, they will not be motivated to work. The best use of money is to pay people enough to get the issue of money off the table, so that people think about work, rather than money.
There are many examples of successful real life use of these non-monetary motivators. Think about Wikipedia, newsgroups, help mailing lists, or open source software projects, such as Linux, Apache, Mozilla Firefox, Perl, Python, R, etc, which are the result of work of thousands of people who are not paid to contribute to these projects.
Google has the 20 percent time tradition, which encourages employees to decide what to work on for 20% of their (paid) time at Google. This tradition led to many successes, including GMail, Google News, and others.
Software company Atlassian (makers of JIRA software, among others) had a tradition where for 1 day every quarter employees worked on company time on projects of their choice, and then presented their results at an informal  meeting. This led to many creative ideas, bug fixes, and other improvements. Following that success, Atlassian switched to Google's model of 20 percent time.
I would like to thank two readers of my earlier posts for pointing me to the Dan Pink video.


  1. this research is very useful for my little zoo.
    thank you!


  2. I am glad you found it useful, Anna! This is an amazing field. One of my favorite scientists, Dan Ariely, works on behavioral economics. He has this blog: (its "Motivation" tag is particularly relevant to this post), as well as "Arming the Donkeys" podcast.

  3. "Be more mindful of the three topics of mastery, autonomy and purpose for myself and also my co workers." - "This book provides a new framework to look at my own and colleagues behavior, and understand how to continue to improve driving to results." - "Give more thought to motivational aspects of tasks when working with a team." -

  4. Did you know that big companies spend more than 1 BILLION dollars on advertising every year?

    Companies are constantly developing and improving ways to advertise their product, and they NEED someone like you to show off their ads on your vehicle.

    Do you know what they need? They need YOU. That's right... and they are willing to pay money for you to drive to work, drive to the grocery store, etc... to advertise their product.

    By advertising this way, companies get their product shown to a core demographic that they are targeting!

    You could make $300 a month by simply driving to work everyday! Imagine making money for something you already do all day long!.

    Easy work and easy pay that could really help with the bills.

    Sarah Johnson