Wow. I just saw John Battelle's assesment of Google's Founder Awards ("the idea is neat") and I have to say that I had the exact opposite thought. What a disaster.
The awards are going to do nothing but foster an atmosphere of "getting paid" and resentment when one team doesn't get an award and another one does. This is just bad management at its worst and a return to "bubble thinking." (Ooh! Look at all this stock we have lying around! Let's give it out!) Do they think their stock is going to stay at 200 forever? Most people in the U.S. are still happy to just have a job and are happy to see the company survive and thrive so they continue to be employed tomorrow. Microsoft, Apple and other innovative tech companies don't need to resort to this sort of carrot to get the best from their people. (Did the iPod team get a million bucks? Do they need to?) This sort of thing is just an artificial incentive which will most definitely backfire.
I mean, not only does Google now have two types of employees (pre and post IPO), they'll now have "A teams" and "B teams" as well. I don't know how many companies I've been at with some sort of "bonus" tied up to group and company performance, and how this just fosters resentment throughout the company at the end of the year when one group gets it and another doesn't. This is like that, but exponentially worse because of the amounts involved. It's just moronic.
And this sort of nonsense on the day that Microsoft unwraps its home-grown search which is 80% as good as Google and will undoubtedly be incorporated into the next rev of the OS, etc.! Really, Google watching is like seeing a car wreck in slow-motion. I guess that's why so many people are so fascinated with them lately.