Jan 27, 2007

F'd Companies by Philip J. Kaplan

Despite having lived through the "Dot Bomb" years of 1999-2002, I'm still fascinated by the overindulgence and rampant bad ideas that venture capitalists poured their dollars into before the bottom fell out of the market.

Better known as "Pud", Philip J. Kaplan was the brains behind FuckedCompany.com. This website was a "must read" as it chronicled the abuses of employees and general wrong-headedness of countless start-ups. Sorted and collected in F'd Companies, this 2002 book gives a few paragraphs to hundreds of dot com companies that burned bright, aimed for an IPO, and imploded taking millions with them when "the bubble burst."

Filled with far too many masturbation and auto-fellation jokes, CAPITALIZED RANTS, and cross-references, this thin tome still manages to provide some valuable insight and successfully captures an era of American capitalism. It's amusing to read about the original myspace.com (a file storage location) and see the ideas that just won't stay dead (Yahoo Answers is the current incarnation of a zombie-like internet idea). A good afternoon read, F'd Companies is lesson for all still working on the web.

Jan 22, 2007

Staffing Services - Are They Worth It?

I’ve got resumes on file at all the staffing services (aka Freelance Houses) I could find after I parted company with my last company. Overall, they didn’t do me a lick of good. Has anyone else had good experience with them?

I got a lot of talk, some smoke and a few mirrors. I took some tests and proved my mettle but nothing ever came of it. The same thing happened the last time I was between jobs (or about to be between jobs), which leads me to believe that they’re just not for me.

BTW, I'm not in the market. This is an older post that I hoped would spark some commentary but it seems like the blogosphere is dead lately. Almost makes me miss 'eprizer'.


The 25 Secret Perks of Working at Google.

Google’s coming to town (Ann Arbor, that is) in a big way. Before you apply you should know a few things. First off, they’re not the best place to work if you’re a woman. Secondly, it’s not a place to work unless you’ve got a “big name” on your college diploma. I’m waiting for the day that someone sues them for discrimination based on education. Apparently, if you’re up for a promotion or even a perk and the other person in line has a “better” education (that is, a better name on their diploma such as Stanford, Harvard, etc) then your ivy league competition is going to leave you in the dust.

Applying to Google isn’t going to do many folks too much good when they make the move to Ann Arbor, I reckon. They’re probably just going to tap into UofM, hiring college kids for slave wages with just a few open positions for managers to try and sort out the younglings. That’s my theory, anyway. Needless to say, I won’t bother sending over my resume any time soon.

Jan 17, 2007

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

2001: A Space Odyssey I'm sorry, I just can't help it. After reading the description of "ePrize 2007 Space Odyssey" I just couldn't help but try and imagine the unveiling of this year's company theme. I picture a huge purple, red, and green monolith surrounded by upper-management dressed in ape suits, beating each other with bones. Cue Strauss's "Also sprach Zarathustra" and kick off the big party with lots of chocolate covered coffee beans ("Get it, Caffeine!!" cackles the marketing person who quickly earns the new nickname 'Captain Obvious').

That probably wasn't the case but it sure makes me smile to think of it.

By the way, I find it very ironic that so much time, money, and effort were poured into ePrize having a proprietary analytics tool and I see that there's such a thing as "emetrics.eprize.net" but I'm also seeing Google analytic code on the Caffeine homepage. Are the rumours of an ePrize and Google partnership true?

There are some other surprises on that page such as a lot of empty tags (<div class="bulletImage"></div>) and some strange uses of <br /> tags for vertical spacing (<div align="center"><br /><br /><br /><br /></div>). Now, don't quote me, but I think that <dig align="center"> has been depreciated for a while now, though I suppose this is okay as the Caffeine site isn't done in XHTML and doesn't pretend to be W3C compliant. Just call me "Captain Code-Nazi."

Jan 16, 2007

Fan Mail

Just wanted to share this note I got today:

Captain Snoop I really hope that this bellyaching blog is written by Mike White. It would just make it so right. He made it through all of the firings in the early days of ePrize because he's the biggest kiss ass in the company's history.

White was so about conformity and towing the company line that he used to rally to have the entire SE staff fired when their supervisor stuck up for them for being round pegs in a company of square holes. He was passed over for promotions quite a few times and just didnt' get the hint. Ass kissing can only take you so far before you actually have to have talent.

The company's only gotten better since White got fired. Coincidence?

Jan 10, 2007

What's So Wrong With Peace, Love, Understanding & Bagels?

What's So Wrong With Peace, Love, Understanding & Bagels? ePrize never was one of those "bubble companies" like those we used to laugh and dream about being at when reading FuckedCompany.com. There were no on-site masseuses, champaign wishes, or cavier dreams. The biggest perks we got were some snacks and five-cent soda. When things got tight when Rare-Medium pulled out funding the snacks went away but we always kept the cheap soda. The one thing we didn't have was bagels.

One of the project managers was determined that giving employees bagels on a regular basis would be a tremendous morale booster -- not that he ever brought (m)any in on his own. My boss scoffed, if not openly mocked, this notion. Even years after this PM departed you could still hear my boss chuckling to himself, "Bagels... Ha... what a crazy idea... Nice..."

The funny thing is, I was talking to a former coworker of mine who has come to work for a company that does a regular weekly bagel day. Without prompting he waxed romantically about those perk those little, round, dense, chewy, doughy rings of goodness. I guess sometimes those little things do matter. Food for thought.

Jan 8, 2007

Caffeine Is Nearly Here

The all new SweepsXpress is nearly here. Now called Caffeine", the idea-that-never-dies behind this new branch of ePrize is the creation of DIY (do it yourself) sweeepstakes that tie into the pooled... well, here; I'll let Shaun McCormack and Christopher Heine explain back from their March 8th, 2001 article in the Detroit News titled "ELotto Program Dangles $1 Million Carrot":

Marketers can showcase tickets on their home pages, in banner ads, in pop-up boxes, through e-mail messages or on e-commerce pages.

SweepsXpress lets marketers launch a fully licensed and legal sweepstakes promotion on their site in 24 hours.

"This normally takes 30 to 60 days," Linkner said.

SweepsXpress is a prepackaged Internet promotion designed by ePrize. Marketers need $950 to launch a sweepstakes as well as one line of HTML code in order to integrate it with their site, Linkner said. The cost includes technology, sweepstakes licensing and prizes.

With SweepsXpress, several marketers take part in the same promotion and can share the cost of one expensive prize. Sweepstakes entrants can come from any Web site, but there is only one winner.

"Odds of winning are spread across multiple sites, so it reduces the cost to marketers," Linkner said.

SweepsXpress promotions run for 90 days and attract consumers using a three-year lease of a Porsche Boxster, a cruise for two to Hawaii, a Sea Doo GTI personal watercraft or a year of mortgage payments up to $1,500 per month.

"We feel the best way for marketers to break through the clutter is to offer big, sexy, exotic prizes," Linkner said.

Caffeine Now The key difference appears to be that Caffeine will run on Flash rather than HTML. I wouldn't be surprised if the good brains of Terry May are behind the architecture there as he's frighteningly smart. Going through one of these promotions for Fathead.com, I would only advise that the page loadtimes even on a T1 are pretty darn slow. Hopefully that gets addressed before the official launch.

Though Caffeine has been in "Development Hell" for ages, it looks like key players are pulling it out of the Stygian depths for an immenent and successful launch. Congrats!

Jan 6, 2007

Amusing Comic

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Fuckwad
Thanks "Year of the Chump"! BTW, I'm curious to hear what the theme of 2007 is! I hear that the holiday party is coming up. It's a little after the Holidays, isn't it? Or is this a pre-Tu B'Shevat party?

Jan 5, 2007

The ePrize Video

Wow. I can't recognize 95% of the folks in this video. The hiring boom continues. Are all of the folks featured here still working at ePrize? Glad that Matt and Jeremy are on the poster frame. :)