Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Drive - a little history lesson

I have listened to Drive, by Daniel Pink, on CD lately.  There are lots of things in the book, that reminded me what I used to believe about work and management.  In "Drive," we are reminded that humans do better when they are properly motivated.  Pink writes that the Industrial Revolution created a management method he calls Motivation 2.0.  Further, he says that great companies need to be run on Motivation 3.0.  I like to think of Motivation 2.0 as management and Motivation 3.0 as leadership.  Once, I built a company, believing in what Pink writes about in Drive.  It was fun to remember that.

A little history about me.  I graduated with a CS degree from SIU and moved to Silicon Valley.  I would have happily stayed in Carbondale, but there were no jobs and I wanted to try the big time.  Often, I think of this, like an actor moving to NYC, but for geeks.  For 10 years, I worked for other people and the management was clueless.  I carefully watched what my managers did and cataloged their mistakes and few successes.  When I started to manage people, I believed in lots of stuff, so much that I would be better off write a book than trying to tell you it all here.  In overview, I believed that everyone should have a career path and the best people should get the best opportunities for new work.  I also believed in telling the truth and pushing the decision making down into the organization as far a possible.  After all, why hire smart people, if you aren't going to let them decide?  That leadership method worked for me.

No matter what you do, when you are managing 100 or more people, you will be consumed by work.  As I was being consumed by work, I was also having to deal with partners, who given the choice, preferred to manage in a strict top down management structure.  AKA, they failed as managers, because they couldn't lead.  You know the types, they are everywhere.  I was burned out on partners for a long time and could afford to fail because of it.  But, everyone in a company should feel like a partner, so it is time for me to take a deep breath and find partners again.  The number one failure of start ups in Carbondale is a lack of partners, board members and advisers.

I tried to start BoundlessGallery.com in Carbondale and failed.  Most of the failure is my fault and I have spent a lot of time thinking about that.  I will not repeat those mistakes again.  From now on, back to open books, shared ownership, or at least profit sharing, leadership, and very little management. 

Motivation 3.0 works.  Don't be fooled by anyone claiming that Motivation 2.0 works as well, it doesn't.  

"Drive" by Pink, it is recommended on book or CD.


Anonymous said...

It's a good book. The Harvard study about how money is actually a de-motivator is particularly interesting.

I'm not sure how many people are reading this blog, but if you want to start a company you could do a lot worse than to work with Peter. I did for a few years in cdale and while it had its ups and downs I was always learning from him. Peter's goal then (and perhaps now) was to build a great company. That didn't mean world domination or fame, but rather a place wehere everyone who worked at the company would be proud to be an employee. It's an admirable (and attainable) goal and is worthy of your consideration when choosing a partner. He also brings with him over two decades of experience that includes taking a company public (not an easy feat). Does this mean he has all the answers? No, but he has a well developed framework designed to find them and you'll benefit from that framework if you partner with him.

If you stumble on this blog and are considering starting a company, you should give him a call or shoot him an email.

Disclosure: I write this recommendation not because of the success of our business together, in fact it was a failure. Also, our relationship today is non-existent. But that doesn't mean it's his fault or that you can't have a different outcome. In short, you're getting a recommendation from someone who shouldn't want to write one, but is because the merits of the individual outweight the outcome I had with him.

PeterG said...

Thanks for the kind words.

I guess that 80% or more of start-ups are going to fail. We failed. We weren't smart enough. We were poorly managed. Oh well. At least we tried to do something great.

Keep searching, you can only truly fail, if you give up on the dream.

Jonathan Bean said...

Peter, "if you didn't build that" successful company then you didn't "build the failed one either." Oy vey. I know the warped intellectual history behind that statement but won't bore you - at least here. ; - )

You never said the difference between 2.0 and 3.0?

And money is a "demotivator"? At some marginal rate? Depends on the situation, it would seem. And my current situation motivates me to make more money. I'll worry abour "demotivation" later, thank you! LOL

Welcome back, BTW!