If you are just spending dollars for something you don't intend to enforce, well, don't waste the money. I think that is something everyone will agree on.
I would not give up non-competes. To be even clearer, if the founders of the company pushed back hard/refused, I'd probably question the deal.
The key points for me:
Tightly defined. Mark Evans had a non-compete in his b5 agreement and when he moved over to PlanetEye, there was no issue even though he is blogging and working with community at PlanetEye. If Mark had left to run a blogging network, nope. The key is very very tight language that narrowly defines the specific circumstances under which there is a competitive or imminent harm issue. Don't let the lawyers go crazy here.
Tight confidentiality. The big issue is confidentiality, trade secrets, etc. What I care about is somebody leaving with customer lists, marketing plans, etc, and using that information as a direct attack on a company. The NDA, Trade Secrets, super hush hush stuff also should be defined and the impact of disclosure should be made clear to everybody.
Pay to bench. You can not simply deny somebody a livelihood. If I want a 6 month or 12 month non-compete, there needs to be compensation to the individual as part of the enforcement. If you bench somebody, they have to be paid.
Applies to key people. A star developer is super important as is a start sales person. Both should be covered, both should sign and both should get paid if you decide to let them go.
So, no, I don't believe you should do away with them, sorry Bijan. I do believe they should be narrow, tightly defined, and properly implemented.