Friday, October 16, 2009

Life is Great!

Photo by mikep (CC-BY-NC-SA)

A view days ago Lydia dented me to an interesting video on TED. (If you don't know TED it's worth having a look. The clips there are much better than the regular TV program.)

It's a talk from David Logan on tribal leadership.

According to Logan the difference between tribes (or communities) are their cultures. Build on the culture communities can reach different states. He suggest 5 tribal states:

State 1: Life Sucks

That's the culture of gangs and in prisons. Life is horrible and you just try to survive.

State 2: My Life Sucks

Life isn't so bad. But mine! If I had other possibilities I would have fun.

State 3: I'm Great (and you're not!)

That's the culture in most companies and other "tribes". These people keep telling you their own success stories.

State 4: We're Great

Tribes in this state focus on the WE, not the I. The spirit glues those communities together. They produce excellence and are having fun. A view brilliant companies and many FLOSS communities have reached that level.

State 5: Life Is Great

Tribes in state 5 are those who change the world. They focus on values.

According to David Logan's research 2% are in state 1, 25% in state 2 and the majority (48%) is in state 3. Only 22% are in state 4 and 2% in state 5.

David Logan introduces two assumptions:

1. You can only understand someone who is at the same state (plus minus one).

2. The way as people see the world so they behave.

You might have been wondering what that has to do with KDE? Here it comes: KDE (as a brilliant community) has definitly reached state 4. How can we move from 4 to 5?

Eric Raymond discribes the attitude of FLOSS hackers: "The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved." This discribes exactely the attitude: Life Is Great!

What is your attitude?

When you are looking for fascinating problems: Grab one!

The four questions I am asking myself are:

How do I see the world? At what state are the people around me? How do I communicate with others? How do we change that amazing world?


Jos van den Oever said...

Thanks for the pointer! I'll have a look at the talk.

Jonas Arnfred said...

But what if you aren't really motivated about changing the world because you think it's already great?

Wintermute said...

@Jonas: it's like KDE - it's great, but there are always things to improve :-)

Thomas Thym said...

@Jonas: This person will be one of the happiest people in the world. (...if the person really thinks, the world is perfect. Otherwise he/she is perhaps a little lazy and doesn't want to change the world because it is challenging.)

maniacmusician said...

Interesting premise for that classification. Not sure I agree with some parts of it...

But as for KDE, I think that the vision of its future, and the developers who created that vision are certainly at State 4. Unfortunately, that doesn't entirely apply to the levels of its an community that mostly composed of users. They still exhibit most of the features of State 3. Attitudes like hostility towards competitors (both FOSS and proprietary) and a superiority complex that borders on evangelism are commonly present in online interactions.

This is unfortunate, but a greater awareness of it will lead it to diminish over time. It's not hard to realize that we co-exist in the same world, and we will all experience greater growth and success if we adopt a cooperative, positive attitude towards each other.

It will be interesting to see KDE evolve as it engages in more collaborative interactions in the future (such as the Desktop Summit), and truly moves into State 4.

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