- I started Fon because I wanted WiFi everywhere. I recommend that your next start up solves a problem that is dear to you.
- The Stop sign system is a waste of energy. They should replace Stop signs for Yield signs.
- Twitter should allow you to hyperlink, it would look better and save characters.
- Small victory in the world of the intercontinental traveler, an empty seat next to me.
- If you want to understand Wikileaks 250K cables at a personal level think what would happen if all your emails were visible to everyone
- As a father of four I can tell you that there is nothing genetic about sharing. The younger, the more selfish
- Fashion can be interesting but expensive clothes rarely are
- Having oil makes countries dumb
- It is absurd to speak about gender equality, genders are by nature different. Feminist objective should be “equal pay for equal work.”
- Twitter is like a classroom, of all the people you follow there are always a few who raising their hands all the time
- Frequently people ask me to invest but even more frequently they ask me if I have key managers to recommend. People are more important than money
- I know people who never update their software and somehow, they seem very happy
- Religion is a proof that absurdity is more comforting than ignorance.
- Unread messages should self destruct after a week and sender notified.
- One of the key uses of Skype for me is that green check showing me whether I have connectivity or not.
- There is a fine line between experience and prejudice
- Europe must introduce the concept of personal bankruptcy if it wants people to take the business risks that innovation requires.
- Entrepreneurs who are afraid of VCs taking over their company forget that VCs are VCs because they cant be entrepreneurs.
- As much as you may like your smartphone or iPad, dont you love it when you go back to your laptop?
- 3G is great (when you can’t find WiFi)
- A weakness of democracy is that it takes very different skills to get elected than to govern.
- Made in USA sells in USA, made in Japan sells in Japan, made in Germany sells in Germany, made in Spain does not sell in Spain, why?
Quoring is very similar to blogging. Indeed an open source clone of Quora will probably fork out of WordPress soon and already it is not hard to hack a Quora out of WP.
But Quora is better than blogging in one aspect. It addresses the key flaw of blogging, and that is fairness. In blogging, a lucky few who write get a significant number of readers. Blogging is frustrating for most others. The internet is littered with abandoned blogs that few read. Bloggers then lose interest. The way Quora addresses this is that it invites “blogger types” but forces them to behave differently, to take turns at blogging. Quora is like a blog in which, if you choose the subject, you can’t write the article, and if you write the article you cannot choose the subject. Quora has a teacher who does not allow one student to answer questions but actively seeks classroom participation.
Last night at the Village Pub in Silicon Valley (Woodside, CA), we launched the Fonera 2.0n WiFi router – available for sale in Europe (€79) on September 15th and in the US ($99) on October 15th. The Fonera 2.0n is similar to the Fonera 2.0g but has a much more powerful processor and is built around the 802.11n standard which means that it has greater range, bandwidth and speed than its predecessor. The launch was attended by 30 of the most important bloggers, Twitterers and news organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Economist.
Thanks to Loic Le Meur and Geraldine who organised a great event.
Here is the full press release.
A few pictures below. You can also see nice pics of the dinner @briansolis
Martin Varsavsky + Nina Wiegand – FON
Loic Le Meur + Geraldine Le Meur – Seesmic
Bernardo Hernandez – Google
Michael Arrington – TechCrunch
Seth Sternberg – Meebo
Gabe Rivera – TechMeme
Dave McLure – Founders Fund
Jeremiah Owyang – Forrester
Brian Solis – Future Works
Joanna Rees – VSPCapital + John Hamm
Ariel Pohler – Textmarks
Jeff Clavier – SoftTechVC + Babette Clavier
Dave Morin – Facebook
Brittany Bohnet – Google
Randi Zuckerberg – Facebook
Louis Gray – louisgray.com
Jack Dorsey – Twitter
Jennifer Leggio – ZDNet
Robert Scoble – RackSpace
Erik Lammerding – Apple
Paul Boutin – New York Times
Troy Wolverton – San Jose Mercury News
Martin Giles – The Economist
ijustine – Twitter star
@veronica – another Twitter star
A Femtocell is a router slightly larger than the Fonera that transforms a cable or ADSL home line signal into a 3G signal. But unlike Wi-Fi, 3G signals are private, so only the operators can authorize Femtocells. They have been designed with the exclusive purpose of giving better indoor mobile coverage for their owner. So currently Femto are the opposite of Fon which is designed to give coverage both to the owner and into the streets. But while Femto seems to be limited in order to protect telcos, it is interesting that Fon has been able to team up with many telcos including BT, SFR, Zon and others to build WiFi networks geared outdoors. Why? Because nowadays big telcos are competing with each other, not only in the marketplace trying to lower customer acqusition costs and churn. Behind the market wars there are the capex wars, and Fon helps 3G operators to unload 3G traffic through WiFi thereby reducing hugely expensive 3G capex.
Now Ubiquisys has another interesting way to unload 3G traffic and that is to create micro cells that cost 100 euros vs 300,000 to the tower and to ask customers to use their own DSL/Cable/Fiber connections to send the traffic that normally goes through these towers. So think of the combination, think of a Femtofonera a Fonera that creates both a WiFi and a 3G network out of the Femtofonero home and gives the Fonero free WiFi and 3G roaming in exchange for helping build the network. Now that is a powerful concept, especially for the 2% of the population who could be Femtofoneros.
In this post I am interested in your opinion so here are two surveys.
The polls are in Spanish because they are a continuation of a Spanish blog post. The first poll deals with a 100 euro FemtoFonera that ONLY improves your coverage at home but does not give you free 3G roaming. No la compraria means I would not buy it. Si la compraría means I would buy it because not only it´s like a Fonera 2.0 but also I get good 3G coverage at home.
The second survey is about whether you would buy for 200 euros, a FemtoFonera that, aside from giving you better coverage in your house and having all of the functions of a Fonera 2.0, gives 3G coverage to others, and therefore gives you free roaming – meaning free 3G access in your entire country – in exchange for you installing one. Again, no la compraría ( I would not buy it) vs la compraría (I would buy it).
Here´s a video showing the concept and a Femto from Ubiquisys.
So far I have had 3 Kindles. The first two I got from Jeff Bezos (thank you!!). They did not last much in my hands. Alexa my eldest daughter got the first one and Isabella, my second daughter the second one. They use them a lot. They read more than I do, they deserved them. When I was going to get my own Kindle I learned that the Kindle 2 was coming out and I waited. I bought one last week. And I love it even though in Europe the wireless does not work and it does not come with WiFi. I see the Kindle as a great single purpose device, right up there with the iPod or the Nikon D90 (my favorite digital camera). It does what it says it does: it makes you read books in digital format. It also has some other advantages like instant search for unusual words, or the ability to write notes with out destroying the original document (i.e. the book).
Now here´s a comment about digital rights infringement and the Kindle. If you go from simplicity to complexity and organize books, songs and movie content, as you go along the scale, you jump orders of magnitude in file size. A book, like The Age of the Unthinkable by my friend Joshua Ramo, which I just ordered for my Kindle, only has 368KB in file size. A song tends to occupy around 10 times more than a book. If they ever made The Age of the Unthinkable the Movie, the file size, even compressed, will be 200 times bigger. In other words you can fit 200 books in the file size of a very compressed movie. Still it is surprising to see that there are very few torrents made of say the New York Times Best Seller list (if there are I have not found any). And the whole best seller list and more would be a smaller file than just one movie. Very easy to copy in any P2P system. So far the only books that I see torrents for are computer books, books for geeks.
Personally I think it is a matter of time until book torrents or book file exchange become common. But it is suprising that right now there are perfectly legal ways of downloading books. You can go to ManyBooks.net and legally download thousands of books for your Kindle for free. And these are books that Amazon actually sells. Here for example is how you can download Rashomon a book I read in college for free. And here´s Rashomon for $3.99 if you care to pay for it. And ManyBooks.net is not fighting digital rights but rather giving books for free whose rights have expired. But it is surprising that even though these books are free only 6000 were downloaded this week.
Now one reason why torrents, and P2P may be less common in the world of reading is that there aren´t so many people who actually read books compared to people who listen to songs or watch movies. Or that those who do are less tech savvy, older, or maybe less likely to want to break the law in the countries in which downloading movies, books and songs for persona use is illegal (in Spain where I live downloading content for personal use is not punishable by law). But if I were in Amazon shoes I would do what Apple does. As we know most iPods are not loaded with content whose rights are owned by the iPod owner. But Apple tells you “do not steal music” and the rest is up to you. They make a lot of money with the gadgets themselves (disclosure I am an Apple shareholder). In my view Amazon should do the same thing. While books themselves are not pirated mainly because the cost of printing in bulk beats the cost of printing at home, and also because people just love books as objects, books lose their love appeal when they go digital. Especially on the Kindle as they all tend to look alike. So if Amazon does things right, soon the only object people will love is…the Kindle. And Amazon will design a gadget in Seattle, have it made in China for $50 and sell it for $359. And others will make them for much less, as others make MP3 players for much less. But if Amazon gets things right. People will want the Kindle.
During our last trip to Morocco which resulted in our engagement, Nina and I both took Netbooks. She took her fancy MacBookAir. I took the MSI Wind that my friends had turned into an amazing triple combo of Mac, plus Ubuntu, plus Windows XP.
Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but thanks to a special install by some friends, this 400 euros machine runs all three operating systems. And on top of that the battery lasted over twice as much as the MacBook Air, it has 3 USB ports instead of one and for pictures it had a great SD slot that of course Apple would never install because it would ruin its hardware aesthetics. In the desert climate, with a rare connection to electricity, frequent dust and sand, the MSI Wind performed like a star. Why am I telling you this?
Because when I shared my enthusiasm with Jordi Vallejo, from Fon, he told me that the managers at MSI Wind loved Fon and it turned out that this was the case cause they loved the idea of doing a Fonera 2.0 / MSI Wind bundle which we launched today in France, Italy and Spain with more countries coming soon.
Basically, we are selling both the MSI Wind and the Fonera 2.0 for only 379 euros introductory price. I hope you like the MSI Wind as much as I do, because it has become my portable computer of choice beating not only the MacBook Air, but all the other netbooks I tested including the Dell Mini and the Asus EeePC. Here´s the link to order the bundle in Spain.
I would also like to share with you what the blogs say about the Fonera. And for technical questions I recommend you read this.
Yesterday we had our first in person presentation of the Fonera 2.0. It was in Paris. During this presentation I announced that the Fonera 2.0 will go for sale everywhere in Europe on April 21st. USA and Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan will start in May. The promotional price for the launch will be 49 euros.
Here´s a video in English that explains some of what the Fonera 2.0 does which is basically to upload and download while you take your computer somewhere else and to convert 3G to WiFi.
Here´s a video of the event. It is in my poor French which is only as bad as Emilio Botín´s English as you can see in this video. In case you don´t know who Emilio Botin is he is the CEO of Banco Santander.
The unofficial unveiling was very understated and included pasta dinner, Spanish wines and French Cheeses at my Paris flat in Place des Vosges. Nina and my two sons were there. In an informal atmosphere with discussed the pros and pros of this new product (sorry, I just can´t get to say pros and cons). Reaction of the unveiling in my Spanish blog was very negative probably because we did not do the unveiling in Spain but then the French have adopted Fon in bigger numbers something the Spanish Foneros still can´t stomach.
Here are some pictures of the event.
Here´s one of the articles that were published after the event that includes a comparison chart.