The weigh-in took place, appropriately, just before lunch on Monday.
About fifteen Hive denizens, including almost the entire population of the sales department, kicked off their shoes, emptied their pockets, and stepped, one by one, onto a digital scale.
Matt McGlinn, Analytics Chieftain (who weighs about 77 pounds sopping wet), was called in to monitor the proceedings and record the weights — in total confidentiality, of course.
Since then, the “BzzAgent Biggest Loser” competition has blossomed from a simple weight-loss contest into a complex corporate endeavor involving sophisticated analytical techniques, high-stakes handicapping, and motivational and relationship-management tactics worthy of Dr. Phil.
The deciding metric of who is the biggest Big Loser will not be the simple reduction in gross tonnage. No, in order to compensate for each person’s individual deviation from his or her ideal Body Mass Index, the winner will be the one who achieves the highest percentage reduction.
Actually, according to Director of Weight Loss Metrics McGlinn, it’s a little more complicated than that. “We also had to correct for that fact that people who are already fairly close to their BMI norm would have a harder time losing weight than those who were significantly off the ideal,” McGlinn explained to 90 Days. In other words, it’s easier to lose the first fifty pounds of flab than the last five. “So we looked at the average deviance for the entire group of losers and then set a handicap for each contestant.”
To avoid any public embarrassment, McGlinn also converted all body weights from kilograms into an equivalency measured in Take5 candy bars. (Sample size.) Balter, for example, weighs in at 4,071 units of BzzAgent’s favorite sweet ‘n’ salty snack.
And so the race is on. Sara, Toof, Devin, Chernov, Rich, Jake, Scott, Brian, John R., Brady, Greg, Mary-Stuart, and Balter himself have eight weeks — until June 23 — to sweat and starve themselves into a lighter state of being.
Each of them has thrown $20 into the prize pot and the entire stash of cash is being held by McGlinn in a completely insecure location that I cannot divulge.
Many Hive denizens have placed bets on their favorite contestants, and some appear to be trying to influence the outcome. So far, the favorite technique is to place tempting treats, such as Snickers bars and chocolate chunk cookies, in close proximity to certain dieters.
The contestants themselves are engaging in a variety of weight loss methods. Scott, for example, indulged heavily in beer and high-density junk foods prior to the weigh-in on the theory that much of the ballast could easily be jettisoned shortly thereafter. Sara is cutting back on mayonnaise and sour cream-based dips. Toof does not deny himself sweets, which he considers essential to normal functioning, but swims daily and eats only a head of lettuce for dinner. (The use of diet aids or appetite-suppressing pharmaceuticals is strictly prohibited.)
Considering the amount of resource going into the management of the Big Loser event, I became concerned that it might have an adverse effect on Hive productivity. To my relief, I was assured that, although there might be a small short-term dip in personal effectiveness, it would be more than offset by the long-term increase in the winners’ (a.k.a. losers) energy, concentration, and confidence — which, as everybody knows, can result in beefy top-line sales, a buff bottom line, and a rock-hard EBITDA.