QotW 06-22-03: Incentive

This week, we have a question submitted by long-time reader Kevin A. While I told him that it may be a few weeks before his question entered the rotation, I seem to have forgotten the other issues I wanted to address. So, until then, I think Kevin brings up an interesting subject that could result in some interesting debate.

FIRST works largely by keeping society’s worst influences at bay by carefully architected rules and procedures, and deliberate efforts made toward providing tangible consequences for engaging in some of life’s more unsavory conventional behaviors.

Kevin wonders. . .
Question of the Week 06-22-03: if FIRST were to begin to offer a monetary award to winning teams, would our coveted gracious professionalism withstand the change?

I’d like to interject and add a bit to that, if I may. What if money or sponsorship were guaranteed with the stipulation that such winning teams use that money and sponsorship to start a new team? What if the reward was not money, but machining equipment, or college scholarships, or … dare I say … automatic qualification to compete in certain events?

I understand that each of these circumstances may present different challenges. But, each may also create new, or different boundaries of what is acceptable behavior - for FIRST, for teams, and for mentors.

Edit: Please understand that this question isn’t designed to ask if it’s a good idea if such rewards are presented, but rather, it’s to determine what may happen if they are presented, regardless of whether or not we’d ask for them. Thanks.

No, I wouldn’t like it. The teams that win will keep winning and thus they would reap the benefits of it yearly. I would think that the exception to making that work would be if the incentive was given to teams for gracious professionalism, such as helping out new teams, etc.

*Originally posted by M. Krass *
**This week, we have a question submitted by long-time reader Kevin A. While I told him that it may be a few weeks before his question entered the rotation, I seem to have forgotten the other issues I wanted to address. So, until then, I think Kevin brings up an interesting subject that could result in some interesting debate.

FIRST works largely by keeping society’s worst influences at bay by carefully architected rules and procedures, and deliberate efforts made toward providing tangible consequences for engaging in some of life’s more unsavory conventional behaviors.

Kevin wonders. . .
Question of the Week 06-22-03: if FIRST were to begin to offer a monetary award to winning teams, would our coveted gracious professionalism withstand the change?

I’d like to interject and add a bit to that, if I may. What if money or sponsorship were guaranteed with the stipulation that such winning teams use that money and sponsorship to start a new team? What if the reward was not money, but machining equipment, or college scholarships, or … dare I say … automatic qualification to compete in certain events?

I understand that each of these circumstances may present different challenges. But, each may also create new, or different boundaries of what is acceptable behavior - for FIRST, for teams, and for mentors. **

One word: Battlebots. Battlebots pays people when they’re on TV. And FIRST doesn’t want to become Battlebots.

Now, to you interjecting and ruining my Battlebot bashing, offering prize money that can only be used to start a new team is a good idea, but what if the winners don’t want to start a team? Maybe there is a team with less money that doesn’t win. What if they want to start a team? It’s simple, they won’t be able to. And FIRST already offers automatic qualifying to it’s winners, and I’d like to see that at least downsized for next season.

Now, what caught me off guard was the machining equipment for winners part. I kinda like this. Of course, there are restricted lists, and a team with more money can build a great robot and therefore have more machination parts to build an even greater robot. The rich could get richer.

Remember, money is the root of all evil. A lot of people will do anything for money, and FIRST needs to stay as far away from capitalism as humanly possible. Now if we were talking about communism…

Remember, money is the root of all evil. A lot of people will do anything for money, and FIRST needs to stay as far away from capitalism as humanly possible. Now if we were talking about communism…

Im not really sure about that. Ask a lot of builders and they said the money really did not matter. This is probably a good thing considering the fact that the odds of getting paid were slim. You are right in saying that the money did attract some people but they were driven away after the show went off the air. A lot of those builders that were on television are still buildng robots despite the fact there is no money.
Im really not particulary keen on the idea of giving out stuff to teams that win.

*Originally posted by EddieMcD *
Remember, money is the root of all evil.

I totally disagree. I don’t want money to be evil and I won’t do evil things to get it. I’ll study and get through college and grad school. Money can be associated with greed, but I’d rather think of it as something which is needed so that the creativity of oneself is not limited by a lack of funds. I want money so that I can do stuff but which may cost a lot (which happens to be a lot of things). Teams want money so that they can be creative and not limit themselves to the cheapest of materials and the minimal amount of it. Though perhaps monetary incentives aren’t such a great idea, I think that even if it were implemented, teams would never agree to a vote which would require them to do something which would undermine their integrity to get it.

*Originally posted by EddieMcD *
**Remember, money is the root of all evil. **

Actually it is “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” 1 Timothy 6:10, New International Version, the Bible. This is often misquoted.

Money in itself is neither good nor bad. It is what you do with it or how you obtain it that is the problem.

That said, I think recieving any sort of tangible reward for performace would cause problems in FIRST. I think the Greeks had the best idea with their olive wreaths…

*Originally posted by M. Krass *
**Kevin wonders. . .
if FIRST were to begin to offer a monetary award to winning teams, would our coveted gracious professionalism withstand the change?
**

In a word, no.

We already see some teams whose ideas of GP are already shaky. They think winning is everything. How would they react if a call is made and they don’t win. It would be even worse then it is now. Even though Professionalism infers professional, and proffesional means being paid, this is a bad idea. This would tear down our cause.

*Originally posted by DanielBCR *
Even though Professionalism infers professional, and proffesional means being paid.
Hrrmmm. Never thought of it that way. But still, I say it’s a bad idea.

This really isn’t necessarily a bad idea if it isn’t abused (which it probably would be). I know for a fact that there is a teams are going to take funding cuts and fold up that were serious contenders for the championship champions (that doesnt sound right…)because of the bad economy. I think this is a horrible, but if teams were given money to fund the future of their team and pay for travel, that would be excellent. Maybe instead of giving the team cash, maybe giving something more like an entry fee waiver for the next years championship and a regional would be better.

I don’t like the idea at all.

If that happens to FIRST, then what is the difference between us and Battlebots? Or Robot Wars, or any of that stuff?

I don’t think that it would make that big of a difference. Although completely unrelated-a system of helping teams out with new machining equiptment, scholarships, or funding is an interesting idea. hmmm

                       quote:

                       Originally posted by EddieMcD 
                       Remember, money is the root of all evil. 




                   Actually it is "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" 1 Timothy 6:10, New International Version, the Bible. This is often misquoted.

Thanks for straightening this quote out. I always get honked with the mis-quote, because it really misleads.

This quote may ultimately have to be revised to:
“Television rights is a root of all kinds of evil.”

On the QotW…

I think there will come a day when FIRST gets television air-time. With that will come certain merchandizing rights. At this point, you will have a tangled mess that makes the QotW issue (prize money) an inconsequential problem.

When I think about what has happened to college athletics (colleges are usually non-profit organizations with a mission to enhance society [just like FIRST, eh?]), I am very wary as to what will happen when FIRST “hits the big time.”

It is possible that FIRST can navigate the mine-field, especially knowing the possible negative outcomes. However, the community should be thinking about this now, rather than two years after it has happened and we are all in litigation of intellectual properties.

In this respect, perhaps it would be a good idea for FIRST to put some prize money into the Competition. This would give us a chance to adjust before the big money comes in.

I think if FIRST started offering monitary awards it would be absolute disaster and they would lose focus of what FIRST is all about. Suddenly winning would become the sole goal to be achieved and anything less would be considered a failure nevermind if anyone was actually inspired or whatever.

*Originally posted by ChrisH *
**Actually it is “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” 1 Timothy 6:10, New International Version, the Bible. This is often misquoted.

Money in itself is neither good nor bad. It is what you do with it or how you obtain it that is the problem.

That said, I think recieving any sort of tangible reward for performace would cause problems in FIRST. I think the Greeks had the best idea with their olive wreaths… **

Alright, fine. The love of money is the root of all evil. Either way, getting a lot will cause most people to love it, bringing me back to my original point. If they love it, they’ll want more, and that’s capitalism. FIRST needs to stay as far away from that as possible.

Considering that the Maryland State Fair competition already gives out cash prizes, how do those teams handle it?

Personally, I dont think that it would ever happen. It would basically go against all principals of FIRST that I can think of. Nonetheless, if it did happen, I think that it might change the spirit in which some teams conduct their game play. But I believe that the vast majority of teams would stay true to their morals and keep the spirit of gracious professionalism alive. Thats one of those situations where you’ve just gotta trust that people would do the right thing.

I would rather FIRST use the price money to put better parts into the kit of parts… Or better field electronics and scoring system…

I know this may sound corny but I believe that FIRST in itself is a reward. As far as rewards for winners I feel that this is a bad idea as stated once before the winners would just keep winning. And who said that money doesn’t matter in this sport. I think money is a big issue in these games. i find my team is always in need of some type of money flow. I think that the machining was a good idea but yet again i feel that FIRST is its own reward. the winners get the trophies and banner to hang so proudly. I do not feel that FIRST is doing anything wrong or should do anything different for the winners. I do feel that if FIRST did do this it would change what FIRST is really about and why FIRST is so great. The spirit would be gone.

*Originally posted by EddieMcD *
**One word: Battlebots. Battlebots pays people when they’re on TV. And FIRST doesn’t want to become Battlebots.

**

then how about anyprize money being used only for paying the huge registration fee, or if they have the $5000, then as extra to go to other regionals.

I don’t know whether it would be a good idea or bad. It would put gracious professionalism at risk. On the other hand it would help a lot of teams out I’m sure.

i would not like to see first become like that, because if money becomes then we need to have professional refs and people that wont be influnenced or bribed now to make a call for one team to win and they get a cut of the cash, and if we needed professional refs they would have to be trained and all call the same thing, meaning they would be paid and also first needs then to pay to train them. with that siad if money was a prize, other then scholarships, i would think everything and everyone else would suffer, everything would be not as good quality and we could loose big sponsors if they see their money going to one team and not equally to everyone. this question i personally think has alot of logistics behind it and i think to get a good answer you need less of a winners standpoint and look at everything, including who would provide the money, FIRST is allready scrapped as it is providing extra things, i just dont think they could provide a monitary prize, and it wouldnt be GP or fair.
~Mike