Last Tuesday, we did three cities in one day: Munich, Dresden and Berlin. In Munich, we had meetings with Hubert Burda and his team. The professionalism of Burda is unbelievable. We arrived with Christiane where we met a group of 12 editors of magazines and websites. Burda is a type of Prisa but without Sogecable. Hubert Burda himself is a type of Jesús Polana, they’re about the same age, about the same height and both are very successful and very intuitive. One major difference though is that Burda has bet on the internet while Polanco has bet on digital TV. There are great possibilities between Burda and FON but I cannot yet talk about what we’re planning together. When I see the success we have outside of Spain, I wonder why is it that in Spain we don’t meet with Prisa, for example. Nor do we meet with Telefónica. In Germany, we’ve already met with T-Online and they are interested in FON. Many ISPs are realising that converting their clients into hotspots and charging more by doing so is a way to increase both revenue per customer and customer retention.

Then came my meeting with Nicholas Negroponte at the airport in Munich. He was coming in from Switzerland to meet with me and we then flew to Dresden on my plane. I was heading there to meet Brainslayer and Negroponte wanted to present me his $100 laptop because the argentine government is considering buying 1,000,000 of these computers and Educ.ar is in the descision-making process. I really enjoyed listening to Negroponte. He belongs to that small world of big people, big in every sense of the term. He’s a really nice guy, intelligent, concerned and fascinating. Iurgi of FON was with us on the plane, Christiane too and all three of us listened to his presentation very attentively and we then talked a lot about the characteristics of the laptop and the makers of its components. $100 is risky, but for $150 it might be worth it.

Upon arriving in Dresden, we met up with Brainslayer. What a team! Christiane, Brainslayer, Negroponte, Iurgi and myself. Brainslayer showed us around his company and showed us his software. As you know, at FON we have two versions of our open-source software: our openwrt version and our dd-wrt (Brainslayer) version. Negroponte was amazed with all the functionalities of the dd-wrt. It’s truly amazing the things that you can do with a router using this software. You can choose how much bandwidth you want to share, you can block someone from abusing your connection with excessive traffic (eg. using bit torrent for example) etc… You basically can configure it to do ANYTHING you want.

At the end of our meeting, Negroponte left for London and we went to Berlin where we had dinner with a group of foneros. We already have 500 registered foneros in Germany. For me, the country remains the big mystery in Europe. I find it amazing the quality of life here considering the last 10 years have been a real economic disaster for Germany. Apartments and restaurants are cheaper in Berlin than in Madrid. It’s much cheaper because of the economic crisis. There a loads of restaurants but very few clients. And add to that the very high unemployment rate. It’s this kind of phenomena that can be explained in a thousand ways, but none of them matches completely.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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