As it happens, I asked the question that started that thread. I'd been meaning to follow up: in the end, we wound up skipping stock options entirely and giving outright stock grants instead, with a buyback clause to achieve vesting. We did this primarily to avoid the expense and hassle of a 409a valuation. It also has a benefit for the recipients, in that they are much more likely to be able to get long-term capital gains treatment someday down the road when they are able to sell their shares.
Of course, this won't work for everyone. We are bootstrapped, and so we haven't had to set a high valuation on our shares for fundraising purposes. This makes it much more palatable to sell shares outright to our employees and gross them up for the purchase price.