Intrinsic Motivation

I must be getting old, because I’ve come to fully appreciate “motivation.”  Awhile ago, I read Daniel Pink’s book; Drive.  Pink goes on to decipher the differences between “extrinsic” vs “intrinsic” motivation.  Extrinsic Motivation is a reward or something of monetary/statutory value.  Intrinsic Motivation on the other-hand, comes from within.  It is the genuine sense of motivation not driven by reward.  An example of Intrinsic Motivation would be finding purpose that moves you to action on somethings behalf, other than yourself.

Here’s a blob from Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Hard Thing about Hard Things.”  Horowitz is describing a time when his asked his employees to double down on their workload to essentially keep the company afloat.  The Head of Engineering, Ted Crossman, responds with this classic example of Intrinsic Motivation.

“Of all the times I think of at Loudcloud and Opsware, the Darwin Project was the most fun and the most hard. I worked seven days a week 8 a.m.–10 p.m. for six months straight. It was full on. Once a week I had a date night with my wife where I gave her my undivided attention from 6 p.m. until midnight. And the next day, even if it was Saturday, I’d be back in the office at 8 a.m. and stay through dinner. I would come home between 10–11 p.m. Every night. And it wasn’t just me. It was everybody in the office.
The technical things asked of us were great. We had to brainstorm how to do things and translate those things into an actual product.
It was hard, but fun. I don’t remember losing anyone during that time. It was like, “Hey, we gotta get this done, or we will not be here, we’ll have to get another job.” It was a tight-knit group of people. A lot of the really junior people really stepped up. It was a great growing experience for them to be thrown into the middle of the ocean and told “Okay, swim.” Six months later we suddenly started winning proofs of concepts we hadn’t before. Ben did a great job, he’d give us feedback, and pat people on the back when we were done.”

Excerpt From: Ben Horowitz. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.” iBooks.




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