F'D COMPANIES: Spectacular Dot-Com Flameouts

Philip J. Kaplan, Author . Simon & Schuster $18 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7432-2862-6

"I'm a computer programmer," Kaplan writes. "I'm that dude at your office in the dark cubicle who nobody listens or pays attention to (especially the hotties in marketing)." Kaplan's claim to fame is FuckedCompany.com, a Web site he built over Memorial Day weekend in 2000 to serve as a forum for bad news about Internet companies. His timing—a few months after the Internet bubble began to deflate—was perfect, and FuckedCompany became an immediate hit. Thousands of fired or about-to-be-fired dot-commers were more than willing to share their horror stories about the collapse of one Internet company after another. He has translated the material posted on the site into a book, offering brief vignettes of the demise of more than 150 Internet ventures. His basic formula includes a description of what the company purported to do (Mercata.com "customers would use the site to band together and purchase merchandise at wholesale prices"), how much money it blew through before going bankrupt and how many people were fired ("$89 million and 100 employees were burned"). Kaplan, 25, attempts to enliven each story with humor, which is often more crude than clever. That many of the stories sound the same is not Kaplan's fault, as most really are: someone comes up with an idea, finds a venture capitalist willing to pour funding into the company despite the flimsiest of business plans, and then goes broke when the money dries up. Although he tries, Kaplan delivers little more than an elegy for the Industry Standard, Pets.com, Contentville.com, Flooz.com, Bid.com and Kozmo.com, not to mention Zing.com, ProcessTree.com and MetalSpectrum.com. (Apr.)

Forecast:Though a bit late to the scene, this book is a suitable gift for wised-up dot-commers. It should get play in hipper business venues and on Kaplan's site, too.

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-0-7432-3543-3
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4165-7793-5
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