Fools For Options

Indoor miniature golf courses. Free double-nonfat lattes and chefs practically at your cubicle. Everyone knows Internet startups shower perks on employees to keep them working. But only stock options, it seems, can pass the toughest test of all: getting startup workers to have fun.

Case in point:, a New York startup that has developed an online personal assistant for Web shoppers, tried to enliven a recent party with a karaoke machine. Even though the free drinks had flowed for a while, not one employee would stand and deliver. So CEO Dan Kaufman offered 100 stock options to the first person who sang and 200 to the best singer. "There was an immediate rush to the machine," says Kaufman.

It seems the fact that people work for a Web company is no assurance that they're hip. The first person to grab the mike lit into Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer. The winning entry was none other than the Bee Gees chestnut How Deep is Your Love. It's almost enough to make you wish for a nice, long Nasdaq slump.