My friend the Spanish/Argentinian entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky is speaking on the panel about blogging and business at Les Blogs. He says that his new wifi company, FON, hasn't spent a cent on marketing and advertising. Business is spreading largely through the online word-of-mouth.
FON actually got started just a couple months ago with a blog post Martin wrote, brainstorming about how one could create a new kind of distributed wifi network. In early October he started the company. In late October he got Boingboing-ed. Now it's a rapidly-growing company, launching today in France, already launched in Spain and Sweden.
In a nutshell FON creates a system, using P2P principles, by which members can share wifi with one another. The objective, Martin writes, is "turning millions of wifi installations into a unified wifi FON network with a standard interface to accept all kind of wifi enabled devices."
Martin just asked me to join the company's U.S. advisory board. We've got a dream team going, including my friends Ethan Zuckerman, Dan Gillmor, David Weinberger, Joi Ito and Ejovi Nuwere. Very exciting!!
For more about FON, click here.
UPDATE: Ethan has a very good post explaining how FON works. He discloses, as should I, that Martin has offered to share some equity with advisory board members. Ethan mentions that his participation has more to do with his confidence in Martin and interest in the idea - and its potential application in developing nations - than in the equity. In my case, I agreed to be on the board before Martin said anything about equity.