Image via WikipediaConsumers frequently dislike telcos. In the case of the ISPs we built, Viatel, Jazztel, Ya.com and Fon we have generally been liked because we have been on the other side, against the former monopoly and for the consumer. But when I read about the large telcos/cable co´s in the States getting sued right and left for traffic shaping, I have to say that I do feel a bit sorry for them. What is happening now is that on one side content rights owners are trying to use telcos to enforce their rights against consumers and on the other telcos are trying to save their business model by slowing P2P traffic. Some ISPs, like Carphone Warehouse have made it clear that they will not act as the policemen of the content industry. Others have mixed feeling as on one side P2P is a clear bandwidth driver (many people buy bandwidth to download illegal content fast) but on the other it overloads their networks. In my view what is needed here is some guidelines similar to those that force the food industry to disclose food ingredients. Government Telecommunications agencies should force ISPs to share with the public what is it that they do to shape traffic and allow them to make better offers that involve true faster connections at higher prices for those who would like to pay for them. As it stands the internet is full of web sites that try to tell you what they think ISPs are doing and it is one big confusion out there.
I’m beefing up FON’s board and decided to ask former Jazztel and Ya.com colleagues to jump on the FON bandwagon. And I’m thrilled they’ve accepted. On the Ya.com side, we have Alvaro Ibanez (a.k.a Alvy), who’s very well known here in Spain with Microsiervos and Internality, and Jon Berrojalbiz, who started the very successful TradingMotion . On the Jazztel side, I’m joined by former managing director Antonio Fuentes, who has partnered with me on Sybilla and who is its CEO.
Sometimes, we have parties and get-togethers with all those who worked at Jazztel and Ya.com in the early days. For me, they’re like Christmas parties in the office, with a strong feelings of déjà-vu mixed with memories of intense work.
How many entered these companies as employees and left as entrepreneurs? What about Miguel Salis, ex CFO of Jazztel, who is now building wind farms across Spain valued at over 200 million euros.
And Axel Serena, other one who really made it and who, I’ve heard, is about to lift off pretty soon.
What do I want from people who work for me? Well, basically I’d like to see my employees enjoy their last stint as an “employee” with me!
Jon, for example, had the the entrepreneurial spirit in his early 20s. I met him in 1999 when he was still a student but had already registered the domain favoritos.com, which I liked very much. When I saw that he owned it, I asked him if he wanted to sell it to me. Jon simply answered : “I know who you are and if you interview me,I will give it to you”. From there, we started working together, him, first as an employee, then as a partner and now as business buddies. Ya.com and Jazztel were, more than anything, made up of people who dreamed of creating something. For those who are nostaligic, here is an old powerpoint that tells the Ya.com story from the very beginning.
Last Saturday I started FON. It´s been the craziest 6 days of my business life. And my business life is not short. I started Viatel, Jazztel and Ya.com. But in those three cases the launch itself was not an event. I don´t remember the actual first week of Viatel. I had the idea in 1990, a sort of virus that reverted the calling patterns of international telecom networks and gave foreigners US dial tone. It was a big idea, but it took me maybe a year of hard labor to get to the level of global awareness that I have achieved in 6 days with FON through my blog. And it took 10 years and a great team effort for the company to be worth over $1bn.
Urban Capital, Medicorp Sciences, Viatel, Jazztel, Einsteinet, Ya.com…