Schilling put his wife, Shonda, on the board of directors. Shonda’s father received a job in IT (by all accounts, he performed admirably), and her mother was given the title “philanthropy and charity manager.” Meanwhile, Shonda’s uncle, William Thomas, became COO. Though a seasoned businessman, Thomas had no experience with video games, much less MMOs. Schilling took to calling him “Uncle Bill” around the office, and even in meetings with outsiders. According to the case study, Thomas told Schilling it was making them look bad and to stop. The nickname caught on with the staff, anyway.
Most troublesome of all was the unique profit-sharing plan Schilling devised for his first employees. Wasserman, Bussgang, and Gordon write that, since Schilling was bank-rolling the company by himself, he was hesitant to give up equity in it. So instead of luring early prospective hires with stock options, he promised to share all profits 50-50 with them. Upon arriving as CEO, Close recognized that “investors’ heads would explode” when they saw the model, since they’d be bearing all the risk but reaping only half the reward. Close eventually convinced Schilling to scrap the policy and replace it with stock options.