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Boo Hoo: A Dot.Com Story from Concept to Catastrophe [Kindle Edition]

Ernst Malmsten
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

boo hoo is a gripping, insider's account of the rise and fall of this most controversial of internet startups - a global, online retailer of sports and designer clothes.

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"Such a dazzling version of the boo phenomenon that as readers turn the pages they will be rooting for the company to survive even though they know the story ends in disaster." (The Sunday Times)

"Boo Hoo is an engrossing account of how two childhood friends persuaded some of the world's savviest investors and fashion houses - including Bernard Arnault's LVMH and the Benetton family - to fund a sports and designer clothing company to the tune of $100m." (The Guardian)

"[his] tale captures the hype and excitement of developing what was seen by many as a ground-breaking company with state-of-the-art technology- Along the way, it tells of endless rounds of raising finance, glamorous parties, staff clashes and bitter sparring with the press." (

"The game would be to bring to market, when it would soon be worth more than $1 billion and make its backers rich. Can all this have happened last year? It seems more like a tale from a different aeon, but the lessons it teaches are timeless." (The Spectator)

"Reading [this] has the fascination of watching a high-speed car crash replayed in slow motion. You know what's going to happen, you can see the confident glow on the drivers' faces, but can't warn them about the curve in the road that is coming to unstick them. Schadenfreude is irresistible. And yet everyone walks away unhurt." (The Independent)

Book Description

Related TitlesVenus in Copper, ('91) 0091748186The Iron Hand of Mars, ('92) 0091753333/099200910Poseidon's Gold, ('93) 0712658319/ 099831902Last Act in Palmyra, ('94) 0712659366/ 0099831805 Time to Depart, ('95) 0712659315/ 0099338815 A Dying Light in Corduba, ('96) 0712659412/0099338912Three Hands in the Fountain ('97) 0712677917/0099799510 A Course of Honour ('97) 0712677240/ 0099227428 Two for the Lions ('98) 0712677968/ 0099799715One Virgin Too Many ('99) 071267702X/0099799715Ode To A Banker ('00) 0712680349/0099298201

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 694 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0756783305
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital; New Ed edition (31 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OYF4LM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,822 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Just in case anyone had forgotten how insane things got in the internet in 1999, this should refresh their memories. What was everyone thinking? The really scary thing is that it's hard not to get excited all over again when reading this book. It moves really quickly and has loads of interesting characters. Having worked for a startup myself, it was all really eerie. Like probably everyone else, I don't agree with what these people did, but it's hard not to be fascinated all the same. Although I'm not an especially fast reader, I sailed through this in three days.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only real life could be like this 14 Nov. 2002
By Jonathan Kettleborough VINE VOICE
Much has been written about the dot com boom and the dot bomb bust. Of all the companies involved, Boo must surely rank amongst the greatest.
This book takes you from the early days where the germ of an idea was taken around Europe to be funded by some of the biggest names in glabal fashion. Read how Boo worked at breakneck speed to build the impossible and then weep as you see it all fall apart.
The excesses for me were the hightlights. On being told that they had a security issue at their office, most people would have installed iron bars - not Boo. They hired in a team of ex Gurkhas to mind the business - excess indeed.
The book excellently shows the passions, greed and determination of the dot com world. If you want to know what it was all about then read this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
O.K. so I was passing through Gatwick airport on my way to Lanzarote for a sun and sea and relax holiday - and spent an avid seven days unable to stop reading Boo Hoo! What a book, o.k. easy to throw bricks but overall it takes you into a world where few of us will ever venture. If you have just half a toe in the business or internet world just get it and read it - it's mesmorising! Whether you love it or hate it, this was for real!
I have never in my life read a book twice...Boo Hoo I shall read again. The outcome was easy to see, but amazingly so many trillion'aires could not even see it...what the hell are they doing in business? There's a moral to it all somewhere!! Enjoy Boo Hoo but be warned dont start reading it at 8.00pm one may well lose a nights sleep...but enjoy anyway!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Swedes should stick to furniture 3 Dec. 2004
It is difficult to know where to start with this book, there were so many problems with's business plan. Their project was undoubtedly ambitious: launch a fashion retail website across Europe and the US but in planning the project the boo founders believed that THEY were the fashion house,not a retail business. They did not need to buy/lease offices in downtown London, Paris and New York (three of the four most expensive cities on Earth) and their spending beggers belief: [...] per day for an interim CFO, recruiting superstar hairdressers to design a hairstyle for their "virtual shop assistant", and writers from Vogue and Vanity Fair for their stillborn virtual fashion magazine. Guys: stick to the basics; locate your ONE office in the cheapest part of Indiana/South Wales, hire any accountant as FD (a company turning over [...] in 3 months does not need Warren Buffet), and focus on your core activities: you do not need eighteen seperate IT vendors to run your company website and back office. Malmsten does at least lay out a lot of cold facts in this book and does not give us a hard luck story (which would have been pretty hard to do after spending shareholders capital on 5 star hotels and flights on Concorde). I urge anyone with a business idea to check this out and avoid the pitfalls of
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where are you now, Miss Boo? 7 Aug. 2002
What a fascinating book. Take two Swedes, a desire to be "cool" and throw $135 million at them! Ernst Malmsten's story of is a warning to all new enterprises everywhere: get some strong financial controls and make sure you stay in charge of your costs. Most of all, it tells us that there is no substitute for some experience when running a shop.
I was sceptical that Ernst et al. would hide behind others and not shoulder the blame. However, what comes through clearly is the founder's vision, belief and desire to build a world class product as well as the management's failings when developing that business. It is possible to read much by what is not said, as well as what story is directly told and in that, an incredible tale unfolds before you.
The book is well written and highly addictive. As the inevitable end approaches it becomes one of those books you pick up all the time, even just to read the next two paragraphs. As a story it is thoroughly thought-out, well-paced and fascinating. As an insight into online business history it may be one-sided and sometimes lacking but it remains compulsive reading and a captivating look a never-to-be-repeated economic boom (and bust) time. became synonymous with the "live the high live, party hard" culture that many cash fuelled Internet start-ups went (and spent) through. "Live hard, die young and leave a beautiful corpse" could almost have been written of Miss Boo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable. I read it over a weekend. 21 Dec. 2001
A really cracking read. So much so that I hear the film rights have been snapped up by the "Bridget Jones/Notting Hill" team.
So this is what happened. High on innovation, and low on control. Too much focus on branding, style, global domination and high living, and not enough attention to technology and cost control. More attention was focused on worrying about Miss Boo's hair, than on making sure the systems and finances could cope.
Fascinating insight into an entrepreneur's mindset and his valiant efforts to keep the dream alive. The telling sentence in the whole thing is when he is told that there is one thing worse than having a high burn-rate (the speed at which a dot-com spends money) and that is not knowing what it is.
You feel the founders and employees went through in a year what most companies experience in a decade. We'll look back on the dot-com era as the birth pangs of the new technology, and new focus of globalisation through the web.
Ernst Malmsten will be seen as a frontiersman of the new West.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars If you want to lissen to someone moan about screwing ...
If you want to lissen to someone moan about screwing up then go ahead but it's not overly productive try E-commerce get it right if you want e-commerce insight.
Published 4 months ago by DanDan
1.0 out of 5 stars Is it deliberately offensive?
Amazing story of the utterly self centred and unapologetic nincompoops who wasted over 100 million dollars of investors money by overreaching, lying to everyone and ignoring... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bilbobaggins121
1.0 out of 5 stars Cathartic for the writer, a misery for the reader
The founders of boo crashed and burned millions. This book chronicles their how little they contributed to society but felt they were making indelible progress. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. Geoffrey Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone working in or interested in eCommerce
A great story, well told. You're willing Ernst and Boo to succeed all the way through, knowing of course that they won't. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Battyonline
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I quickly became immersed in this great account of the setup and ultimate demise of boo. Highly recommended, great little read.
Published 19 months ago by markboli
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!

A scary tale of spot-the-gaffe. Many of the gaffes are obvious and jaw-dropping - the endless frittering of other people's money, etc. Read more
Published on 4 May 2012 by bluegrass
5.0 out of 5 stars Brought back memories...
I worked for a company that burned through more money than (yes that's hard to imagine I know!).

This book brought back a lot of memories of the 000's. Read more
Published on 11 Feb. 2012 by J. George
4.0 out of 5 stars one lesson...
As a sequence of disastrous events, sure, a story arises by default and if you want to read it all, that's up to you, but one lesson arises early one: the duo in this saga made a... Read more
Published on 28 Sept. 2011 by Dames
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story even better that it is all true
If you're looking to read up on how not to do an e-commerce company than this is the book to get. I was enthralled all the way through and was shocked at the quick ending of a... Read more
Published on 15 July 2010 by S. Rafiq
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ Great service, great product
I was very happy with ther service and enjoyed the book.

I would use this provider agin ...with pleasure
Published on 16 Nov. 2009 by James
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