Ok, we had no idea that so many people were going to come to webhotornot so we are taking it more seriously and turning this practical joke into a better tool (or a better practical joke). In the first hours since we blogged this we got over 1000 sites submitted for voting and over 40K votes. Still, we know that Webhotornot is never going to be as popular as Hotornot as we can´t compete with guys trying to get laid (or wank) but even though people will not show so much excitement over rating web sites we can still do a decent sex appeal platform. So this is what we are doing and all this is without consulting Sifry who is asleep now (we are awake in Spain he is asleep in California zzzzzzzzzzzzzz).
-people were submitting so many websites that we did not have time to get the screenshot and most sites offered for voting had no screenshots. Now we changed this and if there´s no screenshot we don´t offer it for voting.
-we are going to make it easier for people to go and vote not only randomly but at least once for the sites they love or hate.
-we are going to have battles for example Techcrunch vs GigaOm so people can have fun (thanks Eduardo Arcos for the idea).
-we are going to introduce a ranking of the 50 hottest sites with more than 50 votes. Then we will change the rankings and let people make their own rankings. The problem with rankings is that they influence outcomes and we will end up with the Google aristocracy problem that some sites always win (but then life maybe like that!)
-we are going to explain to people what this site is about and ask them to vote on sites they have tried and not just on looks.
And now to eat some paella….
I am reading what Techcrunch and Paris Lemon wrote about Webhotornot and they got it wrong. First of all Webhotornot was made in Spain at the Fon Labs based on a funny idea that Dave and I had. Webhotornot is a spoof of Hotornot, a hotornot for geeks. If anything a web doodle a divertimento, a practical joke and if anything useful comes out of this hack that was put together in a few hours by the coders at Fon Labs would be that investors may use it to gather geeks opinions not on babes but on sites. But this site is not a venture, there´s no company behind it or anything and this is not Dave Sifry´s new company!
I have been a telecom/internet entrepreneur for 17 years now. But other than building my companies together with some great employee/partners who have followed me from Viatel, Jazztel, Ya.com, and now Fon I also invest in other people´s companies. My criteria for investing is simple, I invest in companies whose services I like and whose entrepreneurs I admire. Tariq Krim´s Netvibes is a good example. The companies other that I have invested in are on the sidebar in this blog and I would not be surprised if you use some of them. The other day, I was hanging out with Dave Sifry and we were talking about how could we judge how attractive or “hot” a certain new service or web sites were…. and jokingly we came up with applying the concept of “hotornot” but this time, not for babes or dudes but for web sites. Why do this? Well I think there´s a correlation between what folks think is attractive, what they use and….what I may invest in. So here´s Webhotornot, just launched, have fun adding and voting on your favorite web sites.
PS: we are getting so many visitors right now that we are not being able to add screenshots for new sites in time. Please bear with the coders at Fon Labs so we can fix this in the next few hours.
In this article Tony Karon of Time explains to us “Why Davos doesn´t Matter”. The main point of the piece is to say that the people who used to rule the world rule it less now. Instead humanity is now more and more managed by people who don´t go to Davos such as the Chinese leadership or in a strange way, Hamas. For those of us who were at Davos 2000 we can certainly see the change now. In 2000 not only were the most important leaders of the world present at Davos including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair then in power and many others, but the “Davos Man” philosophy was only challenged by the anarchist anti Davos forces who seemed to be more interested in depriving us of junk food than in proposing a real alternative development model. But today as Davos becomes less relevant even the anti globalization forces stopped protesting at Davos and are now focused on other venues. At the same time Davos continues to be a real treat for attendees who see it as an opportunity to hang out with good friends and learn about relevant trends around the world. Those who go to Davos including good friends of mine greatly enjoy it. But Tony Karon has a point and that is that the combined power of Davos attendees has greatly decreased together with the decline on a global scale of the relative weight of USA and Europe. Moreover, even Nicolas Sarkozy who would have been the ideal candidate to revive the “Davos spirit” chose to stay out of the conference not to be seen as part of the “rich and famous” club. The debt implosion of USA and the absurd financial gambles of one of Europe´s largest banks also combined to make the Davos proposition less credible. Would this be the end of Davos? I don´t think so. The World Economic Forum is already making big inroads into the new centers of power in the world such as China (this year I attended the “Davos in Dalian” event in September. So as world power shifts geography…. so will WEF and the new Davos man will be Asian.
Some stories of Meg Whitman´s resignation from eBay seem to say that the $900 million charge that eBay took for overpaying for Skype is what did Meg in and forced her to resign. I disagree. Before going on I would like to disclose that I have met Meg Whitman, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis as investors in Fon, the company I am CEO. Having said this and regardless of how thankful I am that that Meg, Niklas and Janus trusted us at Fon with their investments I think that the press is being to harsh on all three and that both eBay and Skype are fantastic companies/service.
As far as my view of Meg Whitman´s tenure at eBay I find that it so resembles that of Erika Brown at Forbes that I just link the story for you. Here´s the key quote from the story:
She became chief executive of eBay in March 1998. Six months later, she took it public at an initial market valuation of $700 million–that was at the early stages of the Internet bubble. Today, the company is worth $40 billion, which means eBay shareholders have been the happy recipients of a 5,600% return.
And as far as Skype is concerned I believe that not only Skype is the best chat/speech/videoconferencing platform in the world but I also believe that in the next 5 years there will be many new ways of monetize it that have not been discovered as of now. Now there is one aspect that I do agree with the critics and that is that eBay has not done a good job integrating the Skype acquisition into the eBay platform. Skype is not a natural for eBay as PayPal is for example but Skype for example is above all a business communication platform. At Fon, and many companies for that matter we use Skype to communicate internally but we would not use MSN for example. Skype has a fun yet professional look. Skype was made partly for play but a lot for work. How could Skype be of more use to eBay? Well first of all Skype could simply say that is provided by eBay. Reminding 10s of millions of Skype users on a daily basis about eBay´s existence would be a good start. On top of that Skype provides a wonderful visual platform that can be very well adapted for sales. One of the poorest element in eBay I find is that products lose charm, all look the same. I think that it is time for eBay to get a visual revamp and Skype can be a big part of it.
I was reading Spencer Ante´s new blog (Business Week journalist) about how hard this Tech recession will be and I agree with him. I know it could be wishful thinking as I am in a new capital raising round for Fon that I think that this market downturn will be short lived but as he says the fundamentals are not seriously hurt and this investment levels have been reasonable. As I said the Apple shares fall from 202 to 126 low today are one example of a market going manic depressive with the truth most likely being somewhere in between.
In this short video recorded at Seesmic I do something that I never do and that is recommend to buy Apple shares as they fall to $134. Of course you should make your own decisions and Apple shares could fall much further and I could be totally wrong. Still I think that 2008 will be the tipping point year for the Mac, and the iPhone just got started. Much better iPhones will come and with Apple in the unique position of making more $ from AT&T than from selling iPhones well, that is like having bought a chunk of AT&T for nothing.
There are two moments in which human beings seem to completely lose control of their financial life. In both cases it seems to be out of love. The first one is getting married and the one involves putting all personal savings in a highly leveraged transaction called purchasing a home. But somehow this transactions are synergistic as many of a marriage was saved by the risk of insolvency.
Before this video was shot I sat at lunch next to Linda Stone and became very interested in her Continous Partial Attention theories as I thought they could explain why I rarely finish a book. But this conversation was interrupted by the arrival of stunning 37 year old Naomi.
As far as Naomi Campbell is concerned I can only quote my 13 year old son Tom. When he saw her he told me that it was time that pedophilia be redefined. No comment on that one.
You can also watch this video in Youtube
Today at DLD Naomi Campbell made a cameo appearance. As you can see in this video taken from my N95 (iPhone when are you going to film??), Kara Swisher and Simon Levene from Accel were not impressed. In the end Steffi from DLD explains to Kara that “this is Munich” and everyone has fun.
You can also watch this video in Youtube