For almost 7 months I’ve been working at a start-up, and I’ve noticed how incredibly motivated and productive my colleagues and myself are despite the long hours, Hibernate issues, and lack of heat in our building. And even though I’m starting to get a little burned out, I still want to work and talk about the product every day of my life. So I started to wonder why I, and so many other engineers at start-ups, unlike our counterparts at large companies, have this incessant desire to work? To strive for perfection? The most obvious answer is: “you have equity!” But money is not the sole motivating force (if that was the case I would have gone to college and gotten my M.R.S). Others would say its the “entrepreneurial spirit” aka being being young and hungry. This is a valid reason, but I think its a consequence of a bigger phenomenon.
There are many productive people in the world, but what is it that motivates them to stay productive for long periods of time, despite facing success or failure? Its freedom; freedom to create a new product or service, and leave a mark on mankind. Knowing that we have freedom makes us want to improve ourselves, and what we’re working on every hour of everyday.
Freedom is defined as the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints. No where is this more evident than at a start-up. Unlike corporations that fill people’s days with meetings, and enforce stringent policies of decorum and conformity, a start-up gives people the independence to be creative and work uninhibited. So maybe its liberty that keeps us coding day in and day out.