Fantasy CEO – Round 2 Annual Report

Filthy LucreFirst of all, Aphra Inc. very nearly didn’t make it into this round. There was a power cut in the middle of the final “board meeting” (me, my PC and a bunch of printed spreadsheets) and the lights were still out when I got up on Monday.

An emergency board meeting was convened on Monday morning (me, my work PC and the faithful printouts) but it was uncertain if the board were going to be able to implement their decisions (the security guys at work have implemented fearsome controls over downloading and installing stuff). In the event the disaster recovery plan operated smoothly (it was ok, the Excel file is only a file so it made it past the security policies) and the board communicated its decisions successfully. Less flippantly: a word of praise is due here to the help team at MSI – I emailed them in a panic about the power cut and they said they would enter my decisions for me. This is the second time I’ve contacted them and I am genuinely impressed.

I’m nowhere near as far in front of the notional pack this time, but that is not such a surprise. (Remember “the pack” comprises the five dummy hands being played by the computer simulation). I am the third most profitable, in a field of six.

My strategy is to match the products very closely to the customers’ needs, and new products take a while to develop so I was without a High Tech offering until “November”. For the rest of the time I was making do with only one product which was de-tuned especially for the Low Tech market. As a result, I lost market share this round because I missed out on almost all the High Tech market sales. To be honest, that was no surprise – and hopefully it will be worth it to have perfectly pitched products. However, I also underperformed against my potential market share in each segment, which suggests that I missed a trick and should have spent more on marketing and sales.

The main thing I’ve learned so far is the importance of accurate sales forecasting – there’s a limit to how much you can protect yourself with decisions such as how many widgets to make, how much to invest in your factory or in marketing, how much to borrow and where. It’s really clear that if you get your sales forecast wrong you’ll either be deep in red doodoo, or you’ll not manufacture enough and miss sales that way.

Despite these good sales in the Low tech sector, I was the third most profitable company in the group because I invested so much time and money on developing the perfect product for each sector. Next round is key – I really do need to maximise sales and start reaping the rewards.

One good thing about the kerfuffle with the power cut is that I have discovered a whole extra set of results on the Times website. I’m not doing very well on the balanced score card – my scorecard score was 42 out of a possible 82 in Round 1 which is a slither above average and considerably lower than the front runner who’s score was 52. In round two I got 46 out of a possible 89. It is the balanced score card which is used to determine the final results, so in these terms I am depressingly average.

I can see that if I am going to gain real insights then I am going to have to get stuck in to forecasting sales properly and also make the effort to understand how the decisions I make play out against each other and against the balanced scorecard.

In the meantime, here is the Times’s own commentary on the results of Round 1:

The good news is that most people have made a profit. In some cases, quite an impressive profit – the top of the table goes to a player whose $5,209,959 is more than $1,000,000 ahead of the next in line. Towards the bottom end of the table, a handful of people earnt less than $100,000 while one player scraped together only $31,343. Almost a quarter of players went into negative numbers, with the worst loss being $14,201,485

Well, I wasn’t the one who cleared $5,209,959 profit in Round 1 or the person who made over $4 million either, but I did scrape in $2.5 or so which has kept me at the table. Incidentally the field appears to have dropped to about 630 from the 3880 who signed up. Many thanks to “Shane” for converting the Times’ Round 1 spreaddie into something sortable, informative and useful and then emailing it to me.

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14 responses to “Fantasy CEO – Round 2 Annual Report

  1. Go Aphra! You power-wielding, spreadsheet-executor, widget-producer, you.

  2. Good work there, I kind of regret seeing the scores displayed of the 630 or so remaining people. I can not see how the league is organised, as scores fluctuate wildly – but it is depressing to see my position.

    The balanced score card means that I am loosing out on points because of my strategy, I raised finance by dumping my stock, lowered my debt and researched like mad to capture a large market share latter in the game. Does fortune favour the bold or the heavily indebted (mildly leveraged by game standards), the leveraged unfortunately.

    There are also gaming mechanisms to stop mavericks like me, I crashed my own company share price (my colleagues left the room at this point) and could then buy it all back at a far cheaper rate, but players are only allowed to by back 5% of the outstanding shares per turn. With no strings attached, this was easy financing in game terms, so points are lost for using it. Borrow lots of money and pay interest, have some points! Weird.

    I do think this is a very enjoyable exercise, if we really did loose 3,200 players in one turn it would be shame!

  3. I agree the scoring system is a bit odd. I’ve been penalised for my ostensibly destructive behaviour in round one too, but it was all focused on benefits to come later. Problem is I’m not sure if my later benefits will enable me to score heavily enough to make up for my woeful round 1 showing. I had intially thought you were only assessed on your final round balanced scorecard – hadn’t realised until this week that your points in each round counted too. Oh well. There’s always next year…

    Aphra – don’t get depressed about 42 in round 1 – I only got 36! I improved to 47 in round two so at least I’m heading in the right direction.

    Happily I am still unable to access the league table for some reason so I can’t get depresed about my current standing at least…

  4. Yes, I would not be too worried about scores either – I am sub 40 for each round! It is an academic exercise so I am already setting my pre-excuses as to why I am scored far lower than my maverick company should be. I hope that it is one of those games where you just can not score near 100% every round my aim was similar to yours and I took a hit right at the start so as to play the long game and recoup any loss, time will tell I suppose.

  5. This is the link to the Fantasy CEO results page, log in to see all.
    I also have compiled the results in order of points;
    Top ten so far are 🙂

    Rank Total
    1st – – 112.69
    2nd – – 103.32
    3rd – – 101.55
    4th – – 99.65
    5th – – 99.25
    6th – – 97.82
    7th – – 97.25
    8th – – 96.81
    9th – – 96.79
    10th – – 96.11

    Good luck all
    Shane
    ‘Keep it Unreal’ 🙂

  6. Thanks for all your hard work Shane.

    I’ve removed the names from the ranking because the Times are restricting them to a password controlled part of their site, and I don’t want either of us disqualified for breaching privacy rules and ts and cs.

    If you want to see Shane’s spreadsheet, and you can convince me that you are an entrant in the competition by sending me an email with your name and most recent scores to astrea_gw at yahoo dot co dot uk, then I’m happy to email the spreadsheet to you if Shane’s ok with that.

    If you want to log in and see the table on the Times’s site you need to click on the links in the lists of averages rather than the log-in box on the right of the page.

    Good luck everyone

    Aphra.

  7. Hey Shane,

    Where did you find the results? Does the total of 112.69 include the Recap score as well?

    BTW, I am also participating the simulation.

    K

  8. Hi K-man

    If you follow the link Shane’s put there and click on the links that say “Log in to see full results” you’ll get to a series of tables showing the full list. It is not at all clear how they’ve been ordered though. If you use the username and password boxes to the right, which is where I always go wrong, you’lll get to to your own personal results which are useful, but in a different way.

    Yes, the scores on the tables are aggregated.

    All the best

    Aphra

  9. Hi Aphra,

    That ‘log in to see full results’ link takes me to another screen that asks for a name and password. I have tried my usual name/password that I use for foundation xls but this combination does not work.

    Can you tell me which login/password should I use and where can I get it? What is the help line email address?

    Good luck!

    K

  10. nooooo don’t post the scores, my fragile genius cant handle the fact that I make poo look professional

  11. No, plans to post the scores. Just wanted to see how I am doing overall.

    K

  12. The user name is case sensitive for this login text box, try capitalizing your user name it should work then.

    Like the rest of the competition, there are some quirks, niggles that could do with some ironing out 😐

    Best of luck in round 3 😉

    Shane
    ‘Keep it Unreal’ 🙂

  13. I checked the tables on the link given above but the order doesn’t make sense to me.
    Or, do they just go according to registration time?
    mmm?

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