The two largest internet shareholders of Fon are Google and eBay. As Fon grows and we try to look into how to collaborate with these two giants and FON, who seemingly have so little in common between them and with us, I realized that there is one element in which we are all in sync: we all specialize in making better use of what there is, of what exists.

eBay is the largest e market in the world, but eBay is also the largest e flea market in the world. What eBay discovered really is that there was tremendous value in second hand merchandise, in old merchandise. That time is a continuum, that novelty is abitrary and that the old, as vintage shops have shown, can also be a discovery.

Google´s realization was the same. While Yahoo (other than their search engine) is mostly about what´s happening NOW, Google is mostly about what already happened and is valuable to those who look for it. Indeed the term search can also be reminiscent of rummage, you search at Google, you rummage at eBay; you are basically doing the same thing, going over old information/stuff that is novel to you.

Personally, I think that what Google and eBay are doing is great. We cannot build a disposable culture in a non disposable planet. At FON we are doing something similar. FON is adding code to routers that changes them from a stand alone product serving one owner to a social product serving that owner and others. We are also recycling, we are also making better use of a scarce resource, spectrum. We are building a global wireless network out of what´s there already. There is WiFi everywhere, our software networks it.

eBay allows you to enjoy things other people don´t need. Google allows you to find what other people have created. FON’s software generated infrastructure allows FONeros to enjoy each others routers. In these way all three companies help you make better use of what there is. That´s what we all have in common.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Christian von der Ropp on June 24, 2006  · 

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