"Like triumphing in Internet without dying in the attempt."
Some of the protagonists of the Internet Spaniard count his beginning and the keys of his success
PEDRO OF ALZAGA
"You are crazy..." It is the flirtatious comment to that there listened the persons who decided to throw themselves to the Network with the only baggage of a project and many desire.
Less than five years ago started, what means an eternity in technology terms, and most of them were employed at something that has not to do with what they do now.
Executives, TV/radio commercials and journalists shared the idea of starting a project that took as a way the unknown international network of that time of telecommunications. Angel Cortés was a seller of mobile telephony, Luis Torrado was managing a small computers shop, Mikel Amigot has just mounted a company of communication and Pep Vallés was a student of economic in the American exile.
They - and many others - discovered that Internet was putting to his scope a way to do new things, although they had to face the scarce culture of networks of beginning of the nonsales.
And the fact is that at that time many people were wondering what was that thing about I interned.
Pep Vallés is a Catalan businessman who takes more than five years immersed in the Internet whirlpool. When he was studying in the University of Maryland, in 1994, it discovered Yahoo!, the famous directory of Internet, and then he knew that it needed slightly equally in our language.
Saying and fact. In September, 95 it saw the light Olé, a service that was born like "the first searcher of the world that is not in English". At that time, Vallés was employed of executive at an Internet provider. "I was more than one year being employed at Olé in the nights and getting up early to go to my work" until the searcher grew so much that did not have any more remedy to take a decision: or to continue of executive or to mount your own company.
And he decided the second thing. "Many called me a madman, but I was thinking that in the life it is possible to be a rider or a horse". During one year, him and his associate they were working from house until they gained the sufficient thing to rent the 15 square meters refreshment stall that was the social Olé head office during 1997.
Today, the office of Barcelona occupies three apartments (included a cellar, "since we keep on belonging to the culture of the Garage") and at her 30 persons are employed the only and exclusively dedicated to the searcher. Also, they have a division in Madrid and tomorrow they jump the puddle to open other one in New York.
For Vallés, the most difficult thing has been to give credibility to his company. "The first time that we went to the Organization of Justification of the Diffusion (OJD) so that they were auditing our service cost us an enormous work. Simply, they did not take us seriously».
Now, the society is signing agreements with diverse companies, between which the publishing group Bertelsmann is, one of the European giants of the communication that, certainly, is a proprietor of the searcher Lycos.
The director of Olé admits that not quite there have been successes. At first they signed a contract with another company for the management of the publicity of the searcher. "If I am careless, they sink the business to me, since in addition to being a leonine contract they did not fulfill the agreed..." Vallés assures. Moral: "I never will deposit the source of my income again in hands of third".
Another critical moment was the buy of the domain ole.com, which was in hands of a few lawyers of the USA, for which Vallés makes sure, enigmatically, that he paid "a heap of money".
In his opinion, the key of his managerial success was "to defend our culture opposite to the Anglo-Saxon one, although some Anglo-Saxon means us want to sell it translated to the Castilian".
For his part, Mikel Amigot was directing a company of communication when it discovered Internet, in the year 1995. His first reaction was to include the Network in his offer of publications of company, and other projects of communication linked straight to his business. The following one was "to fulfill a sleep: to give information".
Amigot wanted to do a newspaper, and he recognized in Internet the way adapted to carry out his project.
He began to write every day a comment about the Network and, at the end of May, 1998, the project of The Compass was published in Internet. A newspaper which head defines like "the newspaper free for Net users" and to which his founder refers, without complexes, like the daily publication "more Well-read and influential of the network".
The comment that relatives and friends were making to Mikel it was very similar to the one that other entrepreneurs have had to hear: "You do not have a five-peseta coin, you work by the piece and the little that you it re-invest desire in the newspaper (...) Is the worst imaginable way of life". Nevertheless, Amigot makes sure that he it has always realized very well: "Internet means to want to change the things".
The biggest success of the Navarrese journalist is, to his judgment, "to have tried to transmit that the future happens for the Network". Amigot admits that the best moments have always come from the hand of his readership &laqno;que even when you are wrong they are capable of expressing his support to you".
The worst thing, as always, comes "when it has to do numbers". For him, it is the moment most afraid by every entrepreneur:, to face at the cost of the sleep.
Another common denominator in the businessmen of the Network is to think that they have a debt to she. In case of Mikel, he thinks to pay it in many period, since his is a project of long duration "I do not want a yacht me to go to Marbella, but to keep on doing information", he makes sure.
The director of The Compass admits that to go out forward is not easy, and less in our country, where "the impossible thing is done so that Internet does not work".
À la carte
The technological odyssey of Ángel Cortés began in 1988 with a computer connected to the phone of house, which serves as virtual forum for the persons. This is, what in the computer slang a BBS is known.
The governing today of News Intercom decided to create an information area in Spanish on the world of the computers. The idea worked and, soon, the news was transmitted to Brazil and Argentina across the incipient network FidoNet.
In 1995 it receives the offer of an Internet provider to move his service to the Network. At first he was combining this work with his work of seller of mobile phones and telephone switchboards. On having finished the day, he was dedicating three hours to preparing the news that on the following day would be sent to thousands of subscribers. It was his bet for the contents in Castilian, and she knew that, sooner or later, it had to work.
In the year 96 there appears the first web page of the service of news, which begins an unstoppable growth up to 25.000 subscribers of nowadays. The comments of his relatives were not differing much of those from the rest of those who have risked in this business: "Internet is very well like hobby, but of that it is not possible to live". Nevertheless, the skepticism of his relatives was a minor problem compared to of explaining to the sponsors the project of News Intercom. "Yes, you have many readership, but: you who are you?".
Nevertheless, despite the eternal problem of the image of mark and the credibility, which did not prevent him from receiving the Award Moebius and that of better journalist of Internet.
Polite it makes sure that to mount a business in Internet is much easier than in the real life, since there are no so many costs to which to face. Although it admits that the same does not happen with the one that makes use of the Network. "The business will not detach until to enter Internet does not mean a kick to the pocket of the persons".
The brothers Germán and Luis Torrado started with a shop of computers installed in a place that "had garage not even category". In 1995, they stole them in the company, and with the money of the insurance they decided to mount another business.
His initial plans were pointing at the creation of a local, exclusive provider for Andalusia. But Infovía appeared and before them the whole national Net users panorama was opened.
In 1995, they were thrown to the investors' search and soon they began to operate like providers of access to Internet. Soon after his appearance, they broke the market with a very aggressive price policy, what cost them a criticism alluvium. "They have been burying us from the first day", they make sure. Many of his acquaintances were auguring the ruin, but they have continued in the breach up to today.
For Luis Torrado, the most difficult moment was to convince the investors of whom it was necessary to re-invest the benefits. "He knew that the things were beginning working but they could get damaged for a strategy question", he insists.
From ends of 97, they appear in scene, Retevisión, France Télécom, Phone companhy, Jazztel and other interested companies in investing in Arrakis. In the end, British Telecom, the cat took to the water establishing a price record on the Spanish market: a number that is about 2.000 million pesetas.
To Toasted he does not like that one speaks about blow with a ball because it seems that they had not deserved this quantity. "The Arrakis accounts have been clean, from the beginning up to the end, and we have sweated up to the last five-peseta coin of this price"... The operation, nevertheless, has marked a milestone on the Spanish market of the telecommunications.
Advices for the Network:
"To believe it really, to have a doubt not even hint and to be sure that somewhere here they are going to spend the things". This conviction accompanied by discipline, steadfastness and a point of rebelliousness and of struggle is the combination that Mikel Amigot considers to be the recipe of the success.
Pep Vallés coincides with the steadfastness and adds the knowledge of the way, the humility and the aptitude to listen to what the people want.
Ángel Cortés it realizes even more well: "It is necessary to be only a lover of what wants to be done and to be capable of taking an idea and of pulling forward..."
Luis Torrado coincides that key only one does not exist, but many parameters to be born in mind. But the essential quality is the common sense. "You can learn many things in the company schools, but in the end you have to decide which can apply themselves and which not". The common denominator of all of them is the praise to his associates and teams: "If you surround yourself with the suitable people you can obtain any thing".
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