[MUD-Dev] OT: Money as motivator (was Re: code base inquiry )

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Thu Feb 17 21:36:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Thu, 17 Feb 2000 02:26:08 -0800 (PST) 
Matthew Mihaly <diablo at best.com> wrote:

> Money is, pretty clearly, one of, if not the, best general
> motivator ever.

<<Clearly straying far from topic here, so let's keep this short,
and heck, I'll call it "list owner's license" if anyone asks>>

This is a difficult generality.  For myself it is actually a rather
small motivator.  I bill high as a contractor for the simple reason
that by doing so I tend guarantee two things:

  1) I get treated with some respect by my clients and they are
  actively motivated to "make me happy/productive" as versus being
  just another bottle-washer.  

  2) It tends to weed out the vast majority of boring bottle-washer

What's my prime motivator?  A sense of duty.  

And yes, in response to your Silly Valley IPO get-rich-quick mania,
I know it well.  You may note that my last position was with such a
startup.  Yes, we worked absurd hours.  Equally, a large percentage
of the people who left the company while I was there left because
they felt that VA was "betraying its OpenSource roots and no longer
being a true Open Source company".  I don't claim that as generally
representative of the valley, where Open Source is a comparitively
small and recent theme, but I've met a great many engineers here
whose prime criteria in selecting positions is some feeling that the
job is "cool" in some manner.

Heck, the average tenure of a software engineer in the valley is
just under 15 months.  Think about that and the effect on companies
-- on average they can't keep their skilled people and the brain
trust they represent around for more than just over a year at a
time.  The most common reason for changing jobs per survey is, "I
want to do something different".  Its a heck of a stable way to
build a company.

SGI, company which was beating all the valley odds for skilled
employee retention, lost a heck of a lot of brain trust when it
became apparent that they were no longer willing to spend lavishly
in pursuit of pure performance and when engineers couldn't safely go
off and do "cool" unofficial unbudgetted skunk projects (even if
(factually) most of them later ended up in IRIX and selling boxes).

<<Okay, I'll let this OT thread continue briefly, but let's keep it
short Okay?>>

J C Lawrence                                 Home: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                              Other: coder at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--

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