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Have you ever participated in a dead pool, where you try and predict a celebrity death? I hadn't heard of them until recently, but apparently these dead pools generally work like those NCAA basketball tournament office pools but, instead of working through an elimination bracket to find the winner, dead pool points are generally earned based on the odds associated with the details of a famous person's death. Celebrities with different ages and different occupations have different point values.
Fucked Company is a Gen-X game based on the "classic" dead pool, but instead of betting on the expiration of people you bet on the collapse of companies. Think of it as an online poker room that is morally acceptable for even the devout pacifist communist, or an eTrade spinoff from a bizarro dimension. As you might imagine, the site has become increasingly relevant in a post-Enron world, but it was in fact founded in the days when corporate crumbling was a fetish for mostly Wall Street hacks, before Kenneth Lay became a household name.
Since companies rarely die off with a clean cut to the neck and are more likely to be bought, sold, downsized, merged and otherwise assimilated, Fucked Company rates different levels of a company's demise and awards points based on the level of severity. As with any game, Fucked Company operates on a standard set of rules which outline the number of companies that can be "played" per week (five), what officially "fucks" a company, as well as the rules for scoring, which can seem overly complicated at first encounter. For example:
A company is officially "fucked" when they do something that signals -- or attempts to correct -- impending doom.
"Fucks" range from general bad news to minor layoffs to all-out corporate slayings - each fuck is given a "severity" factor ranging from 1 to 100. 1 might be minor layoffs or a negative OpEd column. 50 could be an investor lawsuit with subsequent executive firing (which would fall under the "double-penetration" clause - when one fuck causes another). 100 is the most severe and would be an all-out corporate decapitation.
Points are scored by subtracting the percentage of players who picked the company from 100, and then adding the "severity" factor. For example, Boo.com was picked by 10% of all players. When Boo.com called it quits, each one of those players received 90 points + 100 (highest severity), for a total of 190 points per player.
Any company can keep generating points until it receives a severity of "100". Once it receives a 100 it enters the Fucked Company hall-of-fame and is retired. For this reason, your best bet is to pick a company that keeps failing slowly with layoffs here and there, some distressing press releases, shady executives who get the company sued, investors pulling out (no pun intended, really), and the ultimate utter demise.
Originally put together as a good-natured game in response to the dot-com crash before the turn of the century, FuckedCompany.com has quickly evolved into a media center for anti-capitalists and capitalists alike. I often like to say that the only person who relishes the sight of a CEO being dragged out of bed in handcuffs more than a tree-hugging protester is a tree-felling lumber magnate.
The website is more than just the game; it also lists "Recent Fucks" and a Hall of Fame, and has established itself as an industry-wide mole-hill that insiders use as a resource for breaking news corporate crash, which isn't exactly what Pud, its internet geek creator, had in mind. You can also check out the requisite Fucked Company store for mouse pads, shirts and other merchandise, or just hit the refresh button to check out the sex kittens modeling Fucked Company merchandise on the front page, which should return on Monday with a fresh server upgrade. SEE ALSO: www.fuckedcompany.com
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.
See other articles by Eric J Herboth.
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