Feedback is an interesting thing. Critical feedback, while incredibly valuable and vital to improving and learning, can also sort of gut you. And working out in the open — in this crazy transparent fishbowl that is the Mozilla project — critical feedback can often come fast and furious. It’s great, of course, and absolutely fundamental to how we do things, but it does require a thick skin, and it can be profoundly exhausting at times.
On the other hand, positive feedback is absolutely energizing. Those moments where someone goes out of their way to say “thanks” or “awesome job” or “you rock” really does make it all worthwhile. Feeling appreciated — knowing that someone genuinely cares about and values the work you do — can often make the difference between something being a burden or a joy. For me, receiving positive feedback is the most powerful motivator out there — more so than money, fame, or anything else.
Rypple (which we use at Mozilla) recently built a new feedback mechanism into their service called “kudos” that you can use to send someone a quick “thanks”, “you’re awesome”, or “you rock” sort of message. The message you send is visible to everyone in the organization, so serves as a public note of appreciation. Other people can comment on the kudos as well, so there’s a way to quickly add a “+1″ or otherwise pile on the love. You can read more about the Rypple kudos feature (and an ongoing contest they’ve launched to promote it) over at WorkplaceHero.com.
The Rypple kudos system really is fantastic. We don’t often go out of our way to publicly acknowledge the awesome things our coworkers do, but Rypple has given us a fun, fast, simple, lightweight, and unintimidating way to do so. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should — take a minute to send a kudos and make someone’s day :)