I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s book Drive, and a turn of phrase jumped out at me. Throughout the book, Pink uses Motivation 2.0 and Motivation 3.0 as metaphoric labels for the concepts he’s discussing, describing these two different ways motivating people as “operating systems” for business. In chapter 6, he describes the business model of companies like TOMS Shoes, and says:
Their goals, and the way companies reach them, are so incompatible to Motivation 2.0 that if TOMS had to rely on this twentieth-century operating system, the whole endeavor would seize up and crash in the entrepreneurial equivalent of a blue screen of death. [Emphasis added]
At first, I just chuckled at the way he used a computer phenomenon, the infamous blue screen of death that appears when a Windows computer experiences a catastrophic error, as a metaphor for a catastrophic failure of a business.
But then I started to wonder: Has this phrase, which has a specific usage, become so well-known that it can be successfully become a metaphor for a catastrophic, systemic failure in other contexts? It works for me, since I’ve spent the majority of my career working with and writing about computers and software. But will this metaphor work for the intended audience of this book?
What do you think?