The project leader for the initial version of Internet Explorer was well-known for wearing Hawaiian shirts. I’m told that the team managers decided to take one of those shirts and use it as an award to the team member who fixed the most bugs or some similar thing. What the team managers failed to take into account that nobody actually liked having a Hawaiian shirt hanging in their office, especially not one that was worn by somebody else. If you happened to be the person who fixed the most bugs, you sort of reluctantly accepted the shirt even though you really didn’t want it.
Internet Explorer 早期版本的项目领导人的夏威夷衫装束在公司内人尽皆知。团队管理者告诉我，他们决定拿其中一件衬衫当奖励，奖给修复了最多bug或者做了类似贡献的团队成员。但是团队管理者没有考虑到的是，并没有人喜欢在办公室里挂一件夏威夷衬衫，尤其是被别人穿过的那种。如果你碰巧修复了最多的bug，就得不怎么情愿地接受一件衬衫，即便是你并不怎么想要它。
And then a wonderful thing happened: The meaning of the shirt flipped.
I don’t know the details. I suspect at one point, somebody who “won” the shirt just left it in somebody else’s office as a way of getting rid of it. This simple gesture was the turning point. The shirt became a symbol of disapproval. I believe the unofficial rule was that in order to get rid of the shirt, you had to find somebody who messed up at least as bad as whatever you did to earn the shirt in the first place.
It took a while before the team managers even realized what happened to their “award”.