28 February 2000

milestone VI: three quarters (quarterly report ii)

Know what day it is? Clearly not--none of you sent cards, flowers, nary an e-greeting. Today is milestone VI: nine months! You can make a whole person in that amount of time. Instead I have made a commitment. And kept it, more or less.

Reuters ran this:

Disciplineandpublish.com reported mixed earnings today, ending the third fiscal quarter with improved revenues but sharply higher losses.

The troubled Internet content concern reported revenues of $1,101.75 for the quarter. The money, most of which has yet to be collected, resulted from an abortive syndication partnership with Rivalworks, for which Discipline and Publish was paid a quarter a word for new and archived material.

The partnership ended due to creative differences, according to executives from both companies.

Sources clarified that Rivalworks, a gaming site, terminated the contract when executives discovered Discipline and Publish was not about multiplayer computer games, but instead treated themes such as homosexual sodomy, venereal disease, and identity crises.

Despite the quarter's four-figure revenue, expenses skyrocketed for the start-up, as chief executive and director of content Paul Festa wrote off what analysts termed an "unconscionably" expensive Research and Development trip to French Polynesia.

"Discipline and Publish had better start exercising some discipline in its spending," warned Halden C. Loofborough III, of Loofborough, Loofborough, Loofborough & Loofborough Investments. "The Street appreciates capital spending, but on what? Two weeks on the beach in Bora Bora is bound to raise some eyebrows."

Indeed, investors let out their frustration on the stock, sending DSCP to record lows. SEC officials, who previously had suspended trading on the issue following similarly dismal earnings reports, this time took a hands-off approach to the sell-off.

No baby, no profit--what do I have to show for myself? Some very nice presents, that's what. Some of you have been awfully generous. One reader, who identified him/herself only as a "friend" at the San Francisco Public Library, sent me a Grace Paley collection in hardback. Another fellow sent me a little Amazon.com care package with A Practical Handbook for the Actor and other essential books for the well-read aspiring thespian. If it weren't for the pills I probably would have wept at such a gesture. Alternately, with my depressive paranoia left unmedicated I might have taken the gift as a hint that as a writer I should look as seriously as possible into another line of work.

Chief executive Festa warned investors and analysts that even rockier times lay ahead for his firm's fourth and final quarter.

"Discipline and Publish expects one of its key resources, time, to dry up significantly as we expand from literature to the field of the dramatic arts," Festa said in a statement provided to reporters. "While we anticipate both short- and long-term gains for the Web site in terms of source material and life experience, investors should be prepared for more late posts, grammatical errors, typos, and other lapses of judgement and taste."

Through representatives, Festa declined further comment.