April 5, 2006

The Donkey and the Carrot

I read a child’s book the other day to my nephew about a Native Incan who needed help getting water and food up to his village in the mountain.  The way was long and required more strength than this little man could give.  He decided to use his donkey, which was small, but had the strength of ten men.  He found that this task also did not appeal to the donkey, but knew that this would be his only way to get the supplies up the mountain.

He sat down to think about it, and an idea popped into his head.  He grabbed a carrot from his bag and dangled it from a stick with some rope that he also had.  Urging the donkey forward by holding the dangling carrot in front of his mouth, he was able to get the food and water up the mountain to his family before dinner. Thus began the “stick and carrot” approach.

There are a couple things that make this work:

·        The carrot must be sweet enough to be enticing

·        The weight of the load must equal the worth of the carrot

·        The donkey must be hungry

Yesterday we entered FundingUniverse.com’s second lockdown.  This time it was to introduce entrepreneurs to the newly launched VideoPitch.  Jeff and Brock, both of whom I think have good Incan friends, decided to replace the donkey in the story with FundingUniverse’s employees (yes Garret, you do look like a donkey), and the carrot with an iPod Nano.

The carrot was sweet, the load was light, and we were all, definitely hungry.  After a funny hacking prank by our web techies, we were dialing up like “whoa.”  I’ve never seen the employees around here work so hard and love it so much.

There were two things that were amazing about this event.  First is the hard work that was so willingly put in.  Secondly, the jumpstart it gave our new product roll-out.  Everybody, including the C-level employees, worked the phone lines, and the payoff was not just the selling of a bunch of VideoPitches, but a ton of good feedback from and interaction with our entrepreneurs.  So, I guess, the moral of the story is to read to your kids… or something like that.