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Boo Hoo: A Dot Com Story Paperback – 6 Jun 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; New Ed edition (6 Jun 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099418371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099418375
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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." (BBC.co.uk)

"The game would be to bring boo.com 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

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Nov 2001
Format: Hardcover
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 By Jonathan Kettleborough VINE VOICE on 14 Nov 2002
Format: Paperback
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 By Bernard Hawkes on 14 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
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 night...you may well lose a nights sleep...but enjoy anyway!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caterkiller on 3 Dec 2004
Format: Paperback
It is difficult to know where to start with this book, there were so many problems with boo.com'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 boo.com.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Curns VINE VOICE on 7 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
What a fascinating book. Take two Swedes, a desire to be "cool" and throw $135 million at them! Ernst Malmsten's story of boo.com 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.

Boo.com 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 By James Neophytou on 21 Dec 2001
Format: Paperback
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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