Sales compensation - commission-only until the 1900's. And, for good reason. You wouldn't pay a rep you rarely see a salary, right? Sales are face-to-face. Travel is slow, there's no real-time distance communication, and no CRM system, so it's what you did. Sell something, get paid - a lot. Don't sell something, don't get paid.
The birth of salary+commission changed that, and inspired the need for quotas. In this episode, we track that progression, the original purpose of a quota, and how we've convoluted that purpose over time.
Maybe we should consider going back?