From: Adam Rifkin (adam@KnowNow.com)
Date: Sat Dec 16 2000 - 20:44:29 PST
[I love how the New York Times avoided using the name "FuckedCompany.Com"...
you go, pud...]
Or You Could Call It Schadenfreude.com
December 13, 2000
By JANE FRITSCH
PHILIP KAPLAN is another of those annoyingly young dot-com successes
that no one with a real job wants to hear another word about. Except
that his Web site is so perversely satisfying.
Mr. Kaplan, a 25-year-old graduate of Syracuse University, is the
creator of a dot-com deathwatch site that is irreverent, even
sophomoric, about the travails of e-commerce start-ups. The site, which
calls itself a dot-com dead pool, has become so popular in its six
months of existence that it now has more than 100,000 registered users,
Mr. Kaplan said. And it may -- or may not -- be for sale.
Mr. Kaplan is coy on that point.
But on most other matters he shows little reticence, as evidenced by the
name he gave his site, which begins with a vulgarity that will not be
used in this article. The site can be located easily, though, with a Web
search of Mr. Kaplan's name along with the word "deadpool." It can also
be found by entering the site's IP address (http://126.96.36.199/) into a
The site is a guilty pleasure for the thousands who check in each day to
see which highflying high-technology enterprise may be on the brink of
collapse. There is a section for recent catastrophes, like the failure
of Pets.com; a game that awards points for correctly predicting
collapses; and a solicitation to readers for gossip and rumors about
"Rumor has it," a recent item began, that a particular e-commerce
company "has closed its office and forced remaining employees to work
from a current employee's basement." The e-commerce company has been
selling assets to pay employees, and cut health benefits, the item said.
It is the sort of information that has the ring of an employee with no
loyalty to his employer, a kind of nomadic worker not uncommon in the
Internet economy. Mr. Kaplan receives 500 such e-mail messages a day
from people all over the country, so many that he does not have time to
read them all. "I know everything," he said. If anything bad is
happening, especially in New York, where he is based, "it goes right to
me," he said.
Mr. Kaplan acknowledges that most of the information he puts on his site
is rumor from subscribers and friends. He has no particular standards,
he said, but insists he has not been wrong yet.
He started the site last June as a hobby and to amuse his friends, he
said. He notified a handful of them about it at midnight, then left
about 8 the next morning for Brazil. When he returned a week later, he
checked to see whether his friends had bothered to look at it and found
that 20,000 people had signed on.
"I said to myself, 'I should make this into something real,' " he said.
Originally crudely done, the site now has a more professional look and
has attracted advertisers in addition to the 100,000 or more who play
Mr. Kaplan's game and the 40,000 who receive his electronic newsletter.
"To this day, I've only ever told six people to check out the site," he
said, with more than a little wonder.
Mr. Kaplan's timing could not have been better, coming just as many of
the shakier e-commerce sites have begun to run out of the venture
capital that propelled them and found it impossible to generate
sufficient revenue. But two factors may get in the way of the continued
success of the site and Mr. Kaplan's ability to sell it. First, the
site's viability depends on a steady drumbeat of bad e-commerce news,
and there is a limit to the number of companies that can fail. Once the
shakeout is over, interest may wane. In addition, the site's salty name
makes it difficult to advertise and promote and may put off potential
But Mr. Kaplan seems unconcerned. "I really write the site for myself,"
he said, adding that he spends only about two hours on it each day. His
real job is operating his company, PK Interactive, which, he said,
"builds back-end software solutions for Web sites." That business, which
has five full-time employees, is doing well, he added.
Whatever happens, Mr. Kaplan takes comfort in the notion that he will be
remembered as a player in the great e-commerce revolution. "I was a
little scab," he said, "on the side of the whole thing."
Gen-x Script Kiddies... Get ready for the real world. No more free snackies at work. No more surfing the net all day. No more scooters, foosball, pool and road hockey. Time to put your little brown noses to the grind stone.
Learn how to say "Would you like fries with that" cause you're going to be working the late night drive through at BK.
There's going to be a million unemployed script kiddies looking for jobs at real companies where the IT managers will see through your bullshit resume while you're walking past the doorway into his office.
Interviewer: What is your past experience.
Applicant: I wrote Java Scripts for a Web Site
Interviewer: Java Script. What the fuck is a Java Script. We write programs here. We need programmers. You write scripts. We don't have any jobs for Scripters.
Applicant: Well scripting is like programming, 'cept there's no accounting, no data management, no reporting, but there are a lot of kewl pictures on the web site I scripted, er programmed. Do you have snackies and scooters here?
Interviewer: We need programmers here. Get the fuck out of my office moron.
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