• In 2011, core members of Google’s self-driving car project threatened to leave and launch their own startup.
  • To get them to stay and to motivate them, Google designed a compensation package that gave them regular salaries, and tied their bonuses to how much value they created.
  • That setup made most of the team’s core members into millionaires, but failed to keep them at Google in the longterm.
  • Many left to start their own self-driving efforts that now compete with their former employer.

In 2011, Google had a problem. Two years earlier, it had hired a team of about a dozen engineers to create a self-driving car. The team members of what was then called Project Chauffeur (and is now Waymo, a standalone company under the Alphabet umbrella), had made amazing progress.

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