Lots of people have big dreams, and while many things may stand in their way, most problems can be solved. However, motivation to attack these problems can be a problem. Motivation is everyone’s monster. Some people have bigger monsters to defeat, but everyone struggles with motivation at some point.

The challenge with motivation is that people are motivated by different things. When it comes to motivating yourself, at least you know what motivates you. At least, usually you do. Some common things that motivate people include, money, appreciation, awards, threats and fame. However, almost all of these are on the list of things that do NOT motivate Geeks, which is a real pain.
How then, can we motivate people who we have no idea what they want? First of all, it is important to realize that these things do not motivate Geeks. If you are still tying to offer a Geek more and more money to work harder, and they have no interest, you are wasting your time.

The main thing this chapter focuses on is not exactly how to motivate Geeks, but to create an environment where they motivate themselves, and enjoy working. The five things listed in the book for creating a good enviornment for Geeks are, create compelling problem statements, design interdependent roles, build small focused teams, select wisely, and offer free food, intermittently. If these things are done, the Geeks working in your office or company will most likely motivate themselves and work without you trying to bribe them with a trip to the Bahamas.

motivating a programmer

Personally, being farther away from the Geek on the spectrum than closer to it, it is hard for me to relate to some of these concepts. I am generally motivated by money, competition, and awards. However I do of course love free food sometimes. I think this has to do with growing up with sports my entire life. Money, fame, achievement, awards are what the famous athletes get famous for, so it make sense that kids playing sports looking up to these people will try to emulate them.

Aside from sports, money is a huge motivator for a lot of people. Whether it is good or bad, money allows you to do things in our society and that is why it is motivating. Geeks, on the other hand, do not seem to care for this which is interesting and can be difficult. In jobs that I have worked at, they have not been in the technical field and almost all of the coworkers were motivated by money. For example, at Panera people wanted to be managers or trainers because they earned more money, so they worked harder to get that position. At the Italian Restaurant, waiters wanted more tips so they tried extra hard to please customers. At the Furniture warehouse, people wanted the overtime hours so they came in on Saturdays. It is crazy what people will do for money. When people are not motivated by this it can be tough, especially if you are relying on these people for your job. Therefore it is important to learn what motivates people. I think the best way to do this is simply by talking to them. The more you know about a person the easier it will be to tell why they do things, generally.

When it comes to motivating Geeks, the two keys in my opinion are to remember that traditional ways do not work, and that creating the right environment is better than trying to push your motivation upon them in order to make the work harder. At the end of the day, you cannot control people, but you can control certain other areas that might help you get a clue as to how to get someone to perform to the best of their ability.