Good read as always from Tyler Brule in Saturday’s FT. Today he tells a story about some Japanese colleagues who asked “What is ‘Twitt-ah?” which reminded us of our own story.
During the height of the dot-com boom when we were working with Bertelsmann launching a couple of on-line book ventures to (try and) compete with Amazon I remember sitting in an office in London’s Newman Street presenting what I thought was some pretty basic online / internet concepts. During the presentation my team made regular mention of the big brand names online at the time, folks like (I’m showing my age here); Lycos, Excite etc.
After about 30 minutes of blank faces, one of the senior members of staff at the back of the room, tentatively put their hand up and said “Sorry, I have a question… “
He continued “… what exactly is a Ya-Hoo?”
As avid readers ourselves we were first off shocked that in a room full of people working for a (traditional) book club none of them had seemingly ever read Gulliver’s Travels and secondly, when we picked ourselves up off of our chairs we realised at that precise point what little chance books online, aka BOL.COM as it was to be known, had of success.