Careful with the word “research” Mr. Tabin

No, a conversation is NOT considered "research" Mr. Tabin. To state otherwise is wrong.


My original plan was to ignore this erroneous tweet – specifically the part I highlighted in yellow above. I saw it after my presentation at GotSocialMedia last Thursday. Unfortunately a number of people believed Josh and have asked me if I was working with him! Thus I feel it needs to be corrected openly on behalf of the community as the original comment was made in a public forum.

Let me be clear. Josh Tabin has not in the past, and will not in the future, collaborate with me on "research". He most definitely was NOT a part of research on the 3 Motivations of People article. Period.

The ideas behind the 3 Motivations of Humans framework are DEFINITELY based on the work of others. Specifically:

  1. The most influential books for
    this particular article
    are at the bottom of the article as a
    bibliography because I wanted to give proper credit. Credit and transparency matter.
  2. I read books on psychology, sociology, anthropology, political
    science, pop culture, new media, advertising, marketing, public
    relations, etc. Lots and lots of books.
  3. I attend and talk at numerous conferences.
  4. I have run a company for the last 10 years with over 350 clients using our software and I can see the data in aggregate form using our visualization tools.
  5. I work with brilliant people I can bounce ideas off of.
  6. I attend meetups and comment on blogs and twitter and basically learn from others like crazy. With a huge sense of humility and appreciation that they are willing to share their ideas with us all!
  7. A number of people, some I have mentioned and some that live
    completely off line, serve as unofficial mentors and inspiration to me.

In Josh’s defense perhaps he felt a conversation over coffee, the one
(1) time we had coffee, constituted "research". A conversation similar to hundreds of similar conversations on this topic I have had over the last three years in particular. Yet this is a stretch.
A conversation over coffee, especially one that resulted in zero (0)
changes to
the framework or even my thinking on the topic is clearly NOT research.
I even used Copernic to search my emails in case I missed one from him.
Nope. Nothing.

The bottom line is as someone with numerous publications, public speaking experience and academic affiliations, I take umbrage with his cavalier use of the word "research" and would like a correction from him.

And quite frankly the issue is bigger than the above one example. If people can’t have a conversation with someone through social media or in person without fear the other person will "take credit", then everyone goes silent. I share most of my photos creative commons attribution, but I *definitely* expect the attribution part. But I don’t expect, nor would I ever dream of taking credit for other people’s work if they trusted me enough to share their thoughts with me.

To take credit when credit is not due is to kill the conversation. And killing the conversation is bad because that means killing the markets.

The funniest part of all of this is perhaps that I do believe credit is infinitely divisible. This was first articulated in a way that resonated with me in the book Influence. But credit is only infinitely divisible if it is deserved. Taking credit without rights is counter to growing the community. Giving credit undeserved reduces the value to those that do deserve credit. But the happy medium is to be transparent and honest with credit. Now THAT will grow the community.

Update: While this doesn’t change the dialog on what is "research" and what deserves "credit" there are two points on the specific issue that need clarification. Josh made two very valid points that I missed:

  1. I could not find the email because it was over twitter that the links were sent.
    MosaicCFO :  @eschipul but keep in mind that Tolman and Hull are about as old as Maslow << (2008-01-01 21:42:48)
    MosaicCFO :  @eschipul Maslow is Psych 101 stuff (no offense @dsilverman). Read this from UNT on more current theories of motivation: << (2008-01-01 21:39:06)
  2. And clearly I at a minimum clicked the link at 10:17 PM on January 1, 2008

To the points on twitter of why a "public" call out is, which is unlike me (scroll on the blog to verify this), it is because it was a very public slippery slope that was ventured onto. And perhaps I am being overly sensitive about this article as the last one this important I posted was in 2003. Maybe I just need to grow the hell up. There is that possibility.

Last thought – ironically the link to "A Review of Current Motivational Theories" from Josh does have some GREAT information on Motivational Theory. No doubt if I had researched it further it would have helped my thinking on the topic. Perhaps even resulting in some revisions to the original article. So thanks for the link Josh! But it still ain’t research.