Cover by Joel Spolsky

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twenty-oneINCENTIVE PAY CONSIDEREDHARMFUL

MONDAY, APRIL 3, 2000

Mike Murray, a former HR manager at Microsoft, made a number of goofs, but the doozie was introducing a "Ship It" award shortly after he started the job. The idea was that you would get a big Lucite tombstone the size of a dictionary when your product shipped. This was somehow supposed to give you an incentive to work, you see, because if you didn't do your job—no Lucite for you! Makes you wonder how Microsoft ever shipped software before the Lucite slab.

The Ship It program was announced with an incredible amount of internal fanfare and hoopla at a big company picnic. For weeks before the event, teaser posters appeared all over the corporate campus with a picture of Bill Gates ...

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