Programming is cool, designing large systems is cool, working with great people is cool, but everything becomes pretty irrelevant if you aren't winning. If you product is not successful, if you don't win the deal, or your publication isn't accepted, you can fake it for some time, but eventually the team will disintegrate and people will start finding their own and individual ways how to become winners (at least in their own eyes). I got my first taste of winning more than 20 years ago when I was developing software for browsing business directory of Slovenian companies. That software was sold in some 30.000 copies which are respectable sales' numbers for a country of two million people. But the most palpable feeling of success I got by watching a television ad starring Bojan Križaj, Slovenian skiing hero, in which he was holding a floppy disk with the program I wrote. I'm sure I would get thrills seeing such scene even today, but for a seventeen year's old kid the sensation was beyond words.
Experiencing winning early on in my career set me on path of wanting more of it. My main objective when picking my next gig was always to join a winning team. Whenever I felt that I'm not part of a winning team, I've changed ships. And I always preferred victory, over being nice or being the coolest, and I was always prepared to stretch myself to help my team win.