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  • Ken O'Brien was an NFL quarterback in the 1980s and 1990s. Early in his career, he threw a lot of interceptions, so one clever team lawyer wrote a clause into O'Brien's contract penalizing him for each one he threw. The incentive worked as intended: His interceptions plummeted. But that's because he stopped throwing the ball.

    Years ago, AT&T executives tried to encourage productivity by paying programmers based on the number of lines of code they produced. The result: programs of Proustian length.

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