Today the Financial Times Rankings came out and I was very pleased to see that the school where I have been teaching entrepreneurship for 9 years, Instituto de Empresa, has been ranked first in Spain, 3rd in Europe and 12th in the world. Congratulations to everyone at IE!
We now have our American maps up and running and the first American foneros.
In America sex is obscene. In Europe money is obscene. In America burping and farting demand and excuse. In Europe they are ignored out of deep sense of embarrassment. In America 80% of the people consider themselves religious, in Europe 20%. With this background, how does FON communicate it´s message?
Well first let´s list the messages that FON wants to communicate.
Ejovi presented FON at the O Reilly conference. I went to speak at Davos instead. Fortunately I had been warned that somebody really smart had to show up at eTel. In the meantime we are getting more American coverage.
Just came back from DLD 06. Americans may have the best technology companies but Europe gets the upper hand on great technology conferences. What I like about the European events is that they take place in beautiful cities, DLD in Munich, Les Blogs in Paris and SIME in Stockholm, that they have fantastic nightcaps, and that they bring the best selection of American participants. Why are the best speakers in the world American? Is it because the American speakers are just great or that the ones who make it over here are chosen by Europeans? Mine was an all American but me panel, and it was a pleasure to be part of it.
WiFi paraphernalia anyone?
Having managed three ISPs, Viatel, Ya.com and Jazztel I think that this senior American executive is clueless. Liberalization: it all started in America. But with the Bush Administration, monopolists are having a ball. Witness unbundling, Americans invented it, we copied it in Europe, now Americans lost it and we get much more bandwidth for less money than in the States that it´s not even funny. And that´s with the euro at 1.2. With ideas like selective speed management soon America will revert back to the Internet Dark Ages of dial up.
Yesterday I met with David Bitton, the founder of Wengo. Wengo is a new company, very similar to Skype but in open source and not p2p. Skype is of course much much larger and still growing at amazing speed but Wengo while three months old, is getting its own group of fans within the opensource community around the world. They are also doing some remarkable software developments. At one point in the meeting David took out this Qtek phone with a Wengo client. I was impressed. It is a beautiful phone and the fact that operates both over wifi and gprs makes it very useful. It is a phone that is crying out “please give me FON: wifi everywhere”. It is the first good looking wifi phone I ever saw.
In the world of firmware one figure truly stands out and that is Brainslayer, the famous German hacker. I came accross Brainslayer enquiring about who the best firmware writers in the world were and when I found out that his software was in use by around 100,000 access points I was super impressed. I contacted Brainslayer, Sebastian Gostchall over Skype and he responded. Two days later he was collaborating with FON in Madrid. We are very lucky to have him.
I have been an avid user of Netvibes since Tariq Krim, its founder showed it to me in Paris a month ago. Using Netvibes I came accross the whole culture of RSS feeds and OPML files. Basically an RSS feed is distilled content from a web site as seen in another website, it´s pure text content without the graphics. An OPML file is a collection of RSS feeds. Thus if you and I exchange OPML files you will get my collection of RSS feeds and I will get yours. I already did this with Lance Knobel for example and through him I learned about many interesting new interesting feeds. Looking at this new environment two opportunities come to mind. The first one is adding graphics to RSS feeds. Graphics say a lot about a site, when I am deprived of graphics I am deprived of information. The second idea is to start an OPML exchange where people on the net exchange OPML files basically revealing their reading preferences to each other.