Looking back at 2007, looking forward to 2008

While 2006 was a year of transition with the break after Zingy and the creation of OLX, 2007 was a year of consolidation. I put my disagreement with the acquirer of Zingy behind me. I made two new Internet investments. OLX continued to grow slowly but surely – we now have over 80 employees and are present in 40 countries in 12 languages.

I continued to travel far and wide for OLX and hope that there will be less business travel in 2008. On the personal side, my life has been more boring, though I did manage to go heli-skiing in British Columbia, kite boarding in Cabarete (Dominican Republic) and hiking, biking and rafting in Costa Rica. I am also continuing to (very slowly) work on my tennis game, open mindedness, patience and humility.

The best books I read in 2007:

My best blog posts in 2007 were:

I predict 2008 will be a year of slow growth:

  • It will continue to be too early to tell whether OLX will be a success or not – given the non viral nature of online classifieds, this project is going to take years.
  • Two of my Internet investments will enter the Alexa top 50 – one is Badongo.com, the other I will talk about when the investment officially closes in January 2008.
  • One of my investments is likely to fail.

I have not yet decided whether I will be foolhardy enough to make predictions on the global economy and the US election. Stay tuned 🙂

Happy New Year!

Newsletter

Select list(s):
  • Fabrice great blog, I really admire your ability to tell a great story, after listening to your interview on Venture Voice. I have 2 Questions, Is it sad to see Jamba/Jamster as the king of ringtones now or are you at this point completely detached from your old company?, It seems the artists/ringtones on Zingy are 5 years out of date, just my opinion…( no I take that back, as I’m writing this I went to the site to see if my statement is true, go to the “pop” category and the first artist your hit with is Paula Abdul ). Second question is what do you think of this idea for a website, think Youtube/wikipedia,,, lets call said site “show me.com” on the website users upload videos on how to do things, anything from how to ride a bike to tear an engine apart….the users upload the videos, and in exchange they receive a percentage of the income the ads on their pages generate. Think of a generation of people who learned a good majority of their knowledge from this site, imagine someone asking a child “where did you learn to tie a shoe?” and their response is “show me.com” , yes other user generated sites have the category of “how-to” already on their sites, but I feel they treat this how web companies in the late 90’s treated “search”, they felt it was something “extra” and not worthy of much attention, this site would also kind of remind me of the monopolistic trend that E-bay sets, meaning if you can’t sell something on Ebay, it won’t sell any where else, so if your not able to find a video tutorial on “Show me.com” more than likely you won’t find it any where else. You’ve had success with other companies, what are your thoughts on this idea?

  • Jerome: I left Zingy over 2 years ago (in 2005), I really don’t know what they are up to. The current ringtone leader seems to be http://www.thumbplay.com/

    Regarding your idea, it sounds like a “user generated about.com”. It feels like a good idea, but can you really get users to post things that are monetizable? I also doubt that sharing the very small ad revenues will be all that motivating for most. People do it for the pleasure of educating others or for fame (e.g.; Wikipedia). You should also note that what you are describing sounds an awful lot like http://www.wikia.com...

    One last thing, I know better than to judge ideas. What strikes me as a good or bad idea – may or may not be good or bad. The first time someone told me they were creating a ringtone company in France, I told them they were crazy that no one would ever pay for them. A few months later he was very successful and I decided to copy him 🙂

  • Thanks Mike and Fabrice for taking the time to respond. Mike I read the date on the article and it blew my mind it was dated for 1/3/08. I’ve been thinking of doing a site like that for less than a year. Of course I thought I could do it far cheaper than 5 million.