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Boo Hoo: A Dot.com Story from Concept to Catastrophe Paperback – August 9, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Enthralling.” -- The Financial Times

“It seems like a tale from a different eon, but the lessons it teaches are timeless.” -- The Spectator

“readers … will be rooting for the company to survive, even though they know the story ends in disaster.” -- The Sunday Times

From the Publisher

This is the story of how an international model and a former poetry critic from Sweden dreamed up the most ambitious and glamorous internet start–up ever attempted; how they convinced the world’s biggest fashion houses and Wall Street investment banks to invest $135 million into their plan; and, ultimately, how they burned through all the money in just over a year. The rise and fall of boo.com is an insider’s look at the 18 months of euphoria that ushered in the dot.com era.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK; New Ed edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099418371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099418375
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,443,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ernst Malmstein and Kajsa Leander are a pair of chancers from the small Swedish town of Lund. Hardly the best start for building one of the world's biggest Internet start-ups. Malmstein's square glasses give him a kind of Lit-Geek style (although somewhat worryingly his favorite poem seems to be Rudyard Kipling's If) whereas Leander, the Scandinavian ice-goddess with attitude, wan looks could vaguely be described as "Mongoloid Heroin Chic".

The dynamic duo seem to have a talent for spending other people's money, designer labels, name dropping and consuming hard liquor, Absolute with grapefruit, of course. Sometime in the mid-90s they were having some success in Sweden selling English books [...] The venture didn't appear to be very profitable but was at the right place at the right time. They were bought out by a larger outfit and managed to bank a few million. Smarter people would not confuse good luck with talent and would have quit while they were ahead.

However in MalmsteinLeander's case it gave them an appetite for the "vision thing" and entrepreneurship. Flush with success and with Leander having once modeled a few clothes for Beneton, they decide to build an online global sports and urban fashion outlet, the clothing equivalent of Amazon.

Boo Hoo is basically an excuse from Malmstein as to why this all went so wrong, as CEO he recognizes that he is responsible but as he explains over some 300 pages it wasn't his fault. In charge but not in control. For me the book is interesting, for the last ten years I have worked as a Dot.Comtechnical troubleshooter. I'd avoided working for Boo.
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The first insight is into how a dot com bubble project goes horribly wrong from day one, and the second is into the mind of a narcissist. Since Ernst Malmsten is both the founder of boo.com and the co-author of this book, you would expect trenchant analysis of the business and the frenzied Internet bubble of the time. But Malmsten has zero self-insight. He recounts facts and numbers and decision but never once reflects on the rightness or intelligence of those decisions. For example, he and his partner spent two days in New York picking out designer suits and having their pictures taken by top-of-the-line photographers at a crucial point in their company's development. His thoughts on the wisdom of this decision? None. It just happened.

Similarly, Malmsten is told by multiple photography experts that his beloved 3D imaging isn't a ready technology, but he does eventually finds a tiny L.A. company willing to do it for a huge amount of money. Most people might look back and say that this was a missed signal that the whole idea was a non-starter, but not the author. He pushes on as if there was no lesson to be learned.

This book would have been much more interesting if Malmsten had stepped back and let his co-authors Portanger and Drazin do an objective analysis, but unfortunately that's not what narcissists do.
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Format: Paperback
It's been over two years since I've read this book and still thought it was fun to review it. Why? Because this book is the embodyment of the Internet age / bubble. Being an IT business owner I can remember the days when money seemed everywhere and profit was nowhere... sigh, good old times.

This book will take you on a ride in the fast lane and tells about innovation, transpiration and... no common sense. Looking back it all seemed the economy would change, business would never be the same and teens were ready to become millionaires.

This story is the 'Easy Rider' of the internet age. Cult status!
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Format: Paperback
An awesome book, this book reveals the highs and lows of a dot com startup from the "ideas" to the "inverstors". Not really a book about computers and the internet but more about Ideas and people, a great book to read, couldn't put it down, passed it onto a few other people (including my mum) who liked it too. Deffinately worth buying if not only to catch a glimps of a dot com startup caught up in the internet bubble madnes! Hey Ernst how come you haven't reviewed your own book yet?
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Format: Paperback
An awesome book, this book reveals the highs and lows of a dot com startup from the "ideas" to the "inverstors". Not really a book about computers and the internet but more about Ideas and people, a great book to read, couldn't put it down, passed it onto a few other people (including my mum) who liked it too. Deffinately worth buying if not only to catch a glimps of a dot com startup caught up in the internet bubble madnes! Hey Ernst how come you haven't reviewed your own book yet?
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