boo hoo by Ernst Malsten, Erik Potanger and Charles Drazin

This is the story of boo the internet fashion retailer that grew and crashed in the 18 months to May 2000. I vaguely remember boo, I went to their website once out of curiosity. It featured virtual sales assistant, but mainly I remember that it took an age to download and was too glitchy to use

This is one of the most purely entertaining books I have read recently. In breathless prose Malmsten describes working up the idea, the rounds of finding capital investors, and burning through £135 million. He had the misfortune of setting out to raise capital in a rising market where getting investors was easy, with the market shifting to one that remembered what fundamentals were.

These were the self styled brightest and the best. Where did they go wrong?

Difficult to say, it depends on how reliable a narrator Malmsten is, I suspect that he was more flaky than he makes out, they all worked long hours, but that is not the same as working effectively. They did all get blindsided by a large number of obvious problems, technical problems, too fast a burn rate on their capital, lack of leadership and strategic decision making. On the other hand they seem to have been effective in addressing issues, able to create and harness enthusiasm, able to cope with considerable complexity.

Maybe he was too caught up in the celebrity culture, knocking back endless vodka and grapefruits, turning up drunk to one too many meetings, too reactive when he should have been proactive.

When I finished the book I checked things out on Google, what had Malmsten done since, helping out someone selling handbags, the short interview mentioned how much he likes to party. There was website set up by an aggreived supplier who never got paid. And an archived version of the website,

it took ages to load the first page, it was quite pretty,

the second page was still loading when I gave up on it