Making Money While Making a Difference (Short Video)

You reach the top of the mountain more easily when you don't have to beg for fresh air from other people.

I was asked to do a lightning talk at the Agile by Example conference in Warsaw, Poland. I came up with a topic only a few hours before I had to go on stage, and the talk was unrehearsed. Still, I think it turned out nicely…

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  • Wim Heemskerk

    Enjoyed watching this and I *think* I agree. I have two observations I’d like to try on you.
    1. Thinking up big ideas and committing to them is rarely enough to make them happen. With money on the table, this approach is still likely to fail. To get them somewhere, they’ll need to be broken down into small increments, each providing value on its own. People of ALE no doubt know this like no others. So what this shows most to me is that they are still just as human as the rest of us: we overcommit, especially to things we love.
    2. The terms money, business model and the Happy Melly example, which is a business, seem to suggest somewhat that such ventures *must* be businesses, bringing in money from 3rd parties (clients). I think there are other valid solutions, like a professional association, purposefully existing for the exchange of knowledge and connections between its members (which each will indeed use to make a living and / or enrich his life otherwise).
    The point is IMHO not that the organization as a whole needs to make money but that it needs to provide value to each stakeholder. This brings it back to the start of your talk: people want the value out of it they perceive they deserve for their contribution. That’s just not the same for everyone.

  • Jurgen Appelo

    I agree. The business model itself can be non-monetary, but still everything costs money, and thus it is very useful (not essential, but useful) to earn that money yourself.

  • Walter

    Awesome talk and a brave move to do in front of an “agile” audience … thinking that money is not important is naif to say the least!
    On motivational theories, I find Hertzberg higiene factors quite applicable to the real world … money is an hygiene factor. When money’s good, well, you care about purpose, etc. When you are cutting expenses and cancelling vacations because of a low income … well, the hygiene factor takes precedence!

  • Andrefaria


  • Ivanildo Falkenstein

    Good stuff Jurgen! I’m actually living on purpose and making money while doing that, so I could really relate to what you were saying.

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