The Retrospector has a good post on the top 10 ways to motivate geeks. Each and every one of them is an excellent point. I’ve added an #11 below.
I especially like number 6:
6. Free stuff. T-shirts, food, desktop widgets, whatever. It amazes me to no end how free stuff can motivate someone. Geeks could care less about the free company logo pens you hand out. I’m talking real free stuff here. I was on a project once where for two solid months dinner was ordered every night for anyone working late to meet the deadline. I couldn’t believe how many people stayed just because it was easy to do it. Not only that, they were happy to do it! The power of free things is that it’s generally more motivating when it’s a surprise. If everyone expects it all the time, it’s not really as cool. In my opinion, even if a geek expects free food every Friday afternoon it’s not going to motivate him any less than if you do it every random(6) Fridays. I’ve seen geeks go out of their way doing some pretty silly things just to get free t-shirts at conferences. The vendors caught onto something right away and have been milking it for everything it’s worth. They know geeks love free stuff, even if it’s crap.
Have I mentioned that I need motivating? Anyone care to motivate me? Thought not.
I’d add one to the list also
11. Challenge them. Geeks like to have a challenge. Don’t assume that the work you’re giving them is challenging. Find out. Challenge your geek to come up with something bright and new. Some geeks can manage to challenge themselves with home projects. That’s why the google employee project 10% time works out so well for google.
We are the geeks… Challenge us…. Motivate us! We will do great things!