Mike Murray, a surprisingly hapless 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. Read about it in Incentive Pay Considered Harmful.

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I'm Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Overflow. More about me.