When Employees Misinterpret Managers // ben's blog

Time is money, so I went and bought a Rolex
—Wiz Khalifa, Phone Numbers

When I ran Opsware, we had the non-linear quarter problem also known affectionately as the hockey stick. The hockey stick refers to the shape of the revenue graph over the course of a quarter. Our hockey stick was so bad that one quarter, we booked 90% of our new bookings on the last day of the quarter. Sales patterns like this make it difficult to plan the business and are particularly harrowing when you are, as we were, a public company.

Naturally, I was determined to straighten out the hockey stick and bring some sanity to the business. I designed an incentive for sales people to close deals in the first two months of the quarter by issuing bonuses for deals in those months. As a result, the next quarter became slightly more linear, and slightly smaller than anticipated – deals just moved from the 3rd month to the first two of the following quarter.

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Really interesting comment on what to manage towards.