FORCE Corp., a tech business based out of Des Moines, Iowa, has long been shrouded in mystery. They first came on the scene in 1998 when they created the microchip for the original Fleshlight. They later found success making microchips for various devices including the Eden wild bunny, date night panty vibrator, quiver vibrating spheres, and most notably, the wireless computer mouse. What comes as the biggest surprise is that their technology is no better than many of its competitors. What differentiates them is their revolutionary sales methods.
When FORCE Corp. was first created, their products sold themselves. There was nothing quite like their product. As time went on, competition caught up, and sales went down. That's when CEO, Ken Stone, realized that the company had to take a sports media-like approach to the business. "Pressure creates diamonds," he says, "and that's exactly what we created."
Ken says that he was initially inspired by sports media. He thought to himself, "What if I hired my own reporters and created an office version of ESPN? A channel that constantly played throughout the offices, celebrating the performers and degrading the losers."
That's exactly what FORCE Corp. did. Not a dollar was spared when Ken decided to put a studio in the office and start their own channel called Water Cooler Talk, or WCT for short. Walking through the office, you can see TV's wall to wall with news anchors reporting daily sales. One headline read, "BREAKING: Joe Schmidt blows what was thought to be a sure sale," while the other states in big, bold letters, "Sources close to CEO say Drew Perry will be released on Friday."
Ken also made the ingenious move to treat its shareholders like fans, a role they relish. It's not uncommon for shareholders to tweet their disdain towards specific employees. One sales associate I spoke with, John Driar, reflects on the time he blew a $7 million deal with Apple. He said, "The shareholders are ruthless. They send DM's to my kids and ask them if they know how big of a choke artist I am. It's fucking nuts."
John also said that the office reporters went as far as to follow him into the bathroom. He explains, "I was taking a shit, and this guy just stared at me through the crack. Never said a word, just stared straight into my eyes. I was so uncomfortable that by the time I flushed, there was so much toilet paper that the toilet clogged. Not 5 minutes later, WCT used it as their lead story. WCT's Twitter page even tweeted, 'All employees, please avoid stall 4 due to @JohnDriar clogging the toilet. Perhaps it was that 7 million dollar deal he flushed down the toilet.'
John continues, "It's like I can never get away from work or outrun that $7 million mistake. You know how hard it is to answer my kids when they ask why people at work call me the $7 million shithead?"
I asked Ken about the massive amounts of criticism his company has received. He responded, "Not everyone is made out for this game. It's for the strong-willed, and the results show themselves. Sales have increased by 30% every quarter since the program began."
The future does look bright for FORCE Corp. Ken plans on continuing to grow and expand the WCT operation. They'll be releasing a new show on WCT that resembles ESPN's First Take. They even started their first official season of Fantasy Sales: A game where coworkers and shareholders get to draft salesman and compete in weekly games against each other.
As for John, well, we'll let him tell his closing tale: "I found out by the WCT breaking news ticker that I got traded to a competitor for their 8-year-old vending machine. I mean, what the fuck, you know? I feel like the only sane person in this office. There's no way this can be legal. Who gets traded from their office job?"
Although harsh, the model clearly works. Top performers earn 80% more than the same position at another company. And the John trade? Twitterverse unanimously agrees they got great value back for him. The CFO even tweeted, "We thank John for his time in Des Moines. Although it was a tough decision, we ultimately believe that the vending machine will bring more value to the team. Good luck in Wyoming, @JohnDriar!"