Friday, January 27, 2012

Books I've Read This Week

Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal reminded me of an idea I was toying with implementing back when I was a software development manager. Back in those days no one liked doing their yearly review as it truly was a pain in the ass to keep track of your yearly achievements and it really didn't amount to anything as pay cuts and not raises were the order of the day. I wanted to implement an experience points system for my developers. For each bug they fixed, test case they wrote or document they reviewed they would get experience points. Then at the end of the year they would have a good record of what they had done and a quantitative number to compare against last years performance. Ideally the developers would get more points for the less desirable tasks. For instance fixing a bug would be worth less points than writing a test case. I hoped that it would incent people to pay more attention to some of the things we are no are important but are often ignored in software development. Alas, it was not to be.

As a gamer and software developer I really identified with the tenants of this book. I'm supremely lucky to have a job in which the motivations for me to come to work every day are more intrinsic than extrinsic and at this point I can't ever imagine going back. During the day I tend to answer a lot of questions about PhoneGap on the Google Group or on StackOverflow. I get more satisfaction from StackOverflow as it provides me feedback on my answers. They are up voted and accepted by other users of StackOverflow. This feedback I get from other users gives me intrinsic motivation to keep going.

The notion of using gaming to enhance and improve reality is fascinating one and very well articulated in this book. I will have to agree that collaboration is going to be one of the key skills of the 21st century. Without collaboration we will be unable to get past the challenges we currently face.

Here is a great Ted talk by Jane McGonigal that may whet your appetite for this most excellent book:

Hellboy Volume 11: The Bride of Hell and Others is another good volume from Mike Mignola in the Hellboy ouvre. While it does not exactly move the story forward that we've seen back in Hellboy volume 9 it is a good collection of Hellboy stories and is worth reading for Hellboy and the Luchador's!

See you next Friday.

1 comment:

Juan Mendez-Escobar said...

great post, very inspirational. :)