Above is a remarkable 10-minute animated video about Drive. Over the past few weeks, several people who’ve watched it have asked me how I created such an elegant and compelling piece. Today I provide the answer: I had almost nothing to do with it.

In January, I did a book talk at the RSA in London. A few months later, the RSA carved out some sound bites from that talk, commissioned Cognitive Media to add some groovy whiteboard cartoons to accompany the words, and then posted the video on YouTube. That’s it.

I didn’t know it was in the works or even see the final project myself until a couple of weeks ago, after it had gone live. But now, to my amazement, it’s been viewed more than 1 million times. (That’s, er, slightly more views than my video travel tips.)

Thanks, RSA, for being so innovative. And thanks, Cognitive Media, for such amazing work and for scaring the crap out of the UPS whiteboard guy.

36 Responses to “Whiteboard magic”

  1. Jake says:

    Just so you know, this video was on the front page of reddit the other day.

  2. Jim Seybert says:

    Thank you Dan – for the book and this latest thumb nail summary.

  3. laanba says:

    They have several videos in their set that are on fascinating topics made the same way. Drive is in good company. The amount of work it must have taken to do these videos is mind boggling. But of course that is probably because I can only draw stick figures and not even those very well.

  4. This is the way I first discovered your work, Dan. The YouTube link came up on Twitter’s “Top Tweets” last week, and I loved the segment from your speech. I immediately grabbed a pen and pad and started scribbling down notes and classroom applications. The cartoonist made it that much more enjoyable to watch. It was a great plug for you. Thank you, Dan, RSA London, Cognitive Media, and that anonymous guy who re-tweeted!

    Geoffrey Greer

    P.S. Second the comment about scaring the crap out of the UPS whiteboard guy.

  5. Hi Dan

    Superb! This guy was at the CELT conference yesterday but he needs a clear presenter like you to do his best work.

    One quibble. My pastime is dressage. Incentivising horses is similar to the science you describe for humans, not like the received “money” wisdom. Yes you give them food and pats, but unless they are having a nice life they don’t do their best work with you (it’s a collaboration). If you “nag” them and overwork them they get stale…

    Best wishes

    Imogen Bertin
    PS I did my first pecha-kucha yesterday – what brilliant fun!

  6. Terry says:

    Fantastic. Just finished the book and this is a terrific way to introduce others to the text. Keep up the good work Dan.

  7. Veronica says:

    Hi Dan!
    your book is great, and all of your talks regarding it, just wonderful!

    Particularly, this video, I liked a lot, and I did the spanish translation for one of my blog’s posts,
    so, for all of your spanish-speaking raaders, I leave this video links with spanish subtitles.


    thank you!!!

  8. One million views — that’s fantastic! The word is spreading…


    p.s. You could always commission Cognitive Media to animate your travel tips. 😉

  9. Carol Ross says:

    What I love about this video is how it came about. It’s an It’s an example of what you are talking about. No
    one asked RSA to do this. Even though it’s a
    savvy marketing step (how else can you get your
    name in front of a million people?), it’s also
    about just creating something really cool, with
    mastery (how did they do that?), purpose (spreading the word) and of course, autonomy.

    Even though I’m a big fan of your work, I had
    not seen this video. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Lisa Thorne says:

    Love this video.

    REALLY wish it could be posted somewhere other than YOUTUBE because that site is blocked from my school (and most others.), even when it is embedded in another page as it is above.

    PLEASE could you post is somewhere else as well?

  11. Avatar photo Dan Pink says:

    @lisa — Is Vimeo blocked?

  12. Garret says:

    Yes, you hit the nail….

  13. Gustaf says:

    Just FANTASTIC!!!!

  14. Agree with all comments above. I posted it to my blog three weeks ago with the title A Video Every Manager Should Watch..and a lot of managers in my company saw it. Do you know Dan Ariely’s work? I’m just reading The Upside of Irrationality. Seems like you guys should meet.

  15. Dan,
    Heard about this video weeks ago, but only got around to watching it today, absolutely beautiful work, really made my day. The art direction and animation design is wonderful indeed, as are the revelations in your original speech. A terrific confluence of information & presentation. Thanks.

    Still have ‘Brand New Mind’ awaiting me on the bookshelf too 😉


  16. …oops, that should, of course, be ‘A Whole New Mind’

    Well the bookshelf is on the other side of my room & I’m wearing my reading glasses 😉

  17. Dan,

    I must admit… I am getting addicted to your books… Great Job! It is inspiring!

  18. Candace says:

    Very innovative! Thinkin OUTSIDE the box!

  19. dan feely says:

    Very poignant and insightful. Wonderfully presented. I must admit that, like many of my peers, we think about motivation in such traditional paradigms that this content really challenges what we think we know including those valuable gems like “the beatings will continue until morale improves….”

    As we, in the workforce today, are neither our parents or grandparents. We ultimately are inspired by different triggers and motivated differently.

    This book and video is spot on in my view.

  20. Komal says:

    Hi Dan

    I agree with what you say, however , I have a question. Organization usually have 3% percent merit budget. How can this be allocated amongst the employees, taking in to consideration this philosophy.

    Would apreciate your response. Thank you


  21. Robert says:

    I bought your book off the back of seeing this video. I’m very pleased I did – it is remarkably interesting, and I’m now questioning everything, everywhere!

  22. Digital Mom says:

    Great stuff Dan. Hoping this book is available in the apple book store.

  23. bob gibbon says:

    Some months ago I e-mailed Dan about this video asking if their was a hard copy available of the finished drawing. He put me in touch with cognitive media.
    In the last couple of weeks I received notice that you can now access a large pdf copy for around $1 (£0.59). So I have done so. Now I am returning Dan’s kindness by putting you all in touch at http://www.cognitivemedia.co.uk/shop.php

  24. Sam Dennis says:

    The 10 minute video is so inspiring and a masterpiece in itself. I wish it was more than 10 minutes.

  25. Katie J. Adam says:

    This is a great video on the concept of motivation. RSA has executed this Whiteboard Video in grand style. This video is no doubt a master-piece.

  26. Excellent post. Keep writing such kind of information on your
    blog. Im really impressed by it.
    Hi there, You’ve performed a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and individually suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

  27. Eric Hinson says:


    I love your work! I know you’re a fan of these whiteboard videos. What do you think of other types of explainer videos? The 60-90 second ones you see often on homepages. You a fan?

  28. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I
    clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.

    Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  29. Love this and I am on here again to share it with a colleague. Dan you recognize how complex we are as human beings.

  30. Jacklyn Junior says:

    Even though we believe that whiteboard videos can get very boring, but this particular work has done a great job. RSA video gone viral and it is indeed a great sample of anExplainer Video

  31. Michelle says:

    Hi Dan,
    Love your ideas and work. Please can you tell me where I can find info on ‘how to make this happen’! How do we go about inspiring others in the way you describe? Are your books the best place to start? I am a teacher and I see this in the classroom that the sticker reward system just doesn’t work, especially when we want students to become independent learners. Thanks

  32. Amol says:

    Great Video, very inspirational.!!!

  33. marie says:

    Disruptive and destructive are 2 different things. other than that, I enjoyed it.

  34. Emma says:

    OMG! The man in this video is so creative after watching this video I got many ideas and techniques from this whiteboard magical website this is the very inspirational love it. How can I buy this book any online link is available?