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Technology & Innovation

Rethinking the Year-End Cash Bonus

Founder of the software developer 37signals, Jason Fried began to reconsider the value of year-end cash bonuses as the business grew and the reward of paper money became rote.

What’s the Latest Development?

What is a business owner to do when the year-end cash bonus turn into an empty expectation? The same thing they always do: innovate a solution. Jason Fried, founder of an office management software company, felt that as his company grew, the annual cash rewards he gave were becoming rote. He started to reflect on what kinds of gift meant the most to him: “They were always those that I’d never buy myself and/or didn’t even know existed.” But how to buy that gift for an entire office?

What’s the Big Idea?

As Fried sees himself as a craftsman of software, he wanted to give a gift that communicated his vision of the company. He chose handmade kitchen knives as a symbol of deliberate and quality craftsmanship: “I believe that the quality of the products and tools that you use every day, both professionally and personally, can have a big impact on the quality of your own work and creativity. In other words, if you want to get better, surround yourself with better.” That is a lesson in humility appropriate for the holidays.

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