Yesterday we spent 7 hours locked non stop in a conference room at Fon with our partners from Skype and Index Ventures. It was the four of us plus around 15 members of the Fon management team, who would join for specific segments of the meeting. The following is picture of them with Niklas.


People often wonder how disruptive companies are built. In my view they are built by implementing disruptive strategies and these are made by combining a HUGE idea with a ton of little details that make that HUGE idea work. The HUGE idea at Fon is to write a code that links all disjointed WiFi. But other than the fact that is not trivial to write such code yesterday, we spent 3 hours working on tactics to make sure this code ends up in at least 3 million wifi routers around the world, so they can become access points of a radical new global community. This community will be free for those who contribute to build it, say the lucky 3 million foneros (some Bills some Linuses) and for payment –but a very low payment (2 euros per day)– for those who use it and have not built it (around a billion potential “aliens” as we call users who consume, but do not contribute, WiFi).

The three of them, Danny, the hands on VC, Janus, master disrupter, and Niklas, the voice of reason, all contributed with very good ideas to make the new FON firmware, software and systems which will be launched in two parts, late June and late August, MUCH better. These ideas range from very little improvements to major improvements, overall they related to making Fon more community based. For example, when we launch the Bills by the end of June –Bills being the foneros who install hotspots not to roam the world for free, but to make money–, Danny thought of adding a Bill ranking that showed how each Bill was doing in relation to all other Bills in terms of successful capture of Aliens. Cool idea, we will try to implement it.

So far Fon has around 40,000 registered foneros who are all Linuses, but we know there are many Bills waiting to join and while Linuses are of a cooperative nature, Bills are competitive by nature and the ranking is perfect for them. We also spoke a great deal about the open source nature of Fon and about how to invite programmers to build improvements to our code. There were many other ideas but I can´t give all of those away! First, in any case, I have to share them with our partners at Google and Sequoia.

I have built other companies in the past, but I never had a chance to work with such an amazing team of partners and I try to make the best of the resources available to Fon. Their power combined with the incredible list of good ideas that I get from readers of my blog are helping us make Fon a great collaborative effort. We know that what we are trying to do at Fon, namely to build an alternative to the 3G networks that is free to foneros and very affordable to aliens, a community that is not so much focused on business travelers which 3G can handle, but one that will support the heavy loads of the new generations of gadgets, PSP, DS, Kodak Easyshare, iPods, Skype Communicators and services like MobiTv, requires tremendous ingenuity which will come with special purpose gadgets…

Overall, I have just one thing to say: thank you all for contributing to el Movimiento Fon.

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Benedikt on May 31, 2006  · 


I was thinking about fon in a sas radisson hotel the other day. They had a free wifi conection in the hotel. And even though I have followed you guys for a while, this was my first connection to a free wifi outside of our office. It was real easy to handle and did offer a good connection speed. So in a way, it was good advertising for free wifi networks. Would hotel coops make sense for fon? Especially since most of them are located in central places?

Regards from Hamburg


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Peter Schuepbach on May 31, 2006  · 

Just wanted to let you know that we are testing here at GenevaLogic FON routers with our classroom management software Vision6. Since we are in more than 50’000 classrooms all over the world we would like very much to promote FON to schools. Look forward to the new versions and the next moves to come! Thanks again for the great suprise for our tests!

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Martín Varsavsky on May 31, 2006  · 


Fon is in favor of free WiFi wherever it is, but in order to truly promote free WiFi Fon believes in the principle of donors and recipients. If you donate somewhere in the world you roam the world for free. In the case of hotels some want to give free wifi and we take them as linus, and others want to sell their wifi and we take them as Bills but they cannot charge more than 3 euros per day so with Fon wifi is either free or affordable.


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thomas on June 1, 2006  · 

Still, the problem is wi-fi is in practice free almost everywhere (in NA), except in places like airports which have the concessions and captive customers (and those are the proven ones that can make money), the rest is covered by metro wi-fi and others; even the hydros are doing it and they have a huge physical advantage.

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Martín Varsavsky on June 1, 2006  · 


This is hardly the case in most of the world. In any case, Foneros enjoy free wifi where is free and where other foneros are.


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Antoin O Lachtnain on June 4, 2006  · 

Martin, how could you not remark on what a good-lookin’ crew of people you’ve got working on FON in Madrid!

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swaption on June 14, 2006  · 

I am looking at the photo… Martin you should try to get more women in the company. I think we have to start breaking the cliché.

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