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Johnny Cash helps urban education.

 

The First Challenge (part 1) 


The challenge with transferring money -- compensation -- from Knowledge Consumer to Knowledge Worker -- is easy to understand:

 

The vast majority of users of the World Wide Web do not have an electronic way to pay for something.

 

Most Web users do not have a credit card or bank account number that can be used to pay for something on the Web.

 

There is simply no way to stuff cash into your PC's floppy or CD drive, to send money electronically via the Web.

 

And so the Knowledge Revolution is virtually on hold.

 

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With over 5 billion mobile phones in use globally, however, today most Web users do have a mobile phone.

 

What if FanBox could get electronically connect to the billing systems of the world's mobile phone companies?

 

Then, simply by entering their mobile phone numbers into the FanBox web site, users could pay for content (knowledge, media, blogs, music, video and film, etc).

 

The charge would then appear on their phone bill or get deducted from their phone's pre-paid balance -- and FanBox could then route the money to the owner of the content (the Knowledge Worker).

 

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Accomplishing mobile billing connectivity turned out to be the mother of all challenges.

 

But FanBox employees have always been up to taking on huge challenges.

 

This seems to stem from a belief that the employees share, a “Core Value” as they call it.

 

FanBox employees have four (4) core values -- and one of them is WTAWTAW (pronounced W - Tah - Tah) -- and it stands for “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”.

 

We'll discuss all four Core Values in another chapter, but for now, what WTAWTAW suggests is that "there is ALWAYS a real solution for accomplishing absolutely ANYTHING you can imagine".

 

WTAWTAW suggests that the solution is not always immediately apparent, but the more you believe in your idea, the more likely "people, events, situations or circumstances will mysteriously arise to your rescue".

 

There are many examples of breakthroughs and coincidences that allowed FanBox to move forward when it hit an obstacle -- simply out of everyone's belief in WTAWTAW as a Core Value.

  

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In order to achieve mobile phone billing system connectivity, FanBox employees met with mobile phone companies all over the world.

 

Overall, the idea was interesting to phone companies, but they all asked the same question:

 

"What other mobile phone company have you done this with"?

 

And FanBox's answer was always "None… You have the opportunity to be the first!"

 

This was not an answer they wanted to hear.

 

Opening up their billing system to an outside company seemed completely out of the realm of possibility and reality for these multi-billion dollars companies.

 

Over a three-year period, the FanBox team met in-person with mobile phone companies from over 100 countries – asking for mobile billing connectivity.

 

Each and every time, FanBox employees were rejected.

 

Given the company's lack of financial resources, all that travel was paid for by employees using their personal credit cards, family members, and even by taking out mortgages (loans) on their homes.

 

As the months passed, the dream of igniting the knowledge revolution sometimes seemed further and further from reality.

 

All of the employees eventually ran out of money as they rushed around the world to speak to mobile phone companies.

 

The level of sacrifice on their families and personal lives was severe, as they often went weeks at a time without a solid 8 hours away from work.

 

Even when they weren’t working, they couldn’t stop thinking about the challenge… surely if they could just think harder, they could find a way to solve the issue.

 

They knew that time was not on their side. With each passing week and month, they were more likely to run out of sources of money to pay their rents.

 

They knew that most of the other employees were running out of time too, so they felt guilty with every moment that they weren’t at least mentally wrestling with the challenge that, as the core value WTAWTAW suggested, surely had a solution.

 

This inability to “turn off their brain” for even a little while, over a long period of time, for many people created “mental burnout”.


FanBox employees were often mentally exhausted – and the more exhausted they were, the harder they wanted to push their brains to get solutions.

 

In those days, “burnout” – a condition where the employee basically breaks down mentally and emotionally, was the number one reason that employees were forced to leave the company. It was often a matter of survival from a health perspective.

 

In other words, mental burnout was a much bigger issue for employees than running out of money – which is surprising because there was absolutely no compensation for years.

 

The idea that motivated FanBox employees was so powerful that once they understood the implications of solving the challenges, they would always “find a way” to make ends meet – even if that meant giving up their apartments to live with a friend or stranger, going without any money whatsoever for entertainment, health care or, sometimes even food.

 

Indeed, malnutrition (caused by employees not eating) become such a big issue that a group of employees started providing other employees with lunch and dinner, to make sure they could and would eat on a regular basis.

 

Today, lunch and dinner are provided to FanBox employees, who still often simply “forget to eat” for many hours.

 

There is ample proof at FanBox that an idea has the ability to inspire and lift people to levels of existence where their bodies will simply not crave energy from food for long periods of time.

 

It was a tough time indeed, and many questioned the wisdom of not raising money from investors, to buy time for the company to figure out how to convince the mobile phone companies to take a chance and open up their billing systems to FanBox.

 

But each time the employees discussed the merits of raising money, they ended up reminding themselves that if they did take money from investors, they might sacrifice their ultimate objective of giving most of their revenues back to the community and to the local charities – something that will be discussed in a later chapter.

 

They also knew that there still existed a large amount of other challenges still ahead of them to bring the entire vision to life… so if they started taking money from investors, they would need to continue to do that for years, until all those challenges were solved.

 

That would mean that eventually they would lose control of the company to investors, who rightfully would be looking to maximize profits to themselves and their funds – hence the company’s mission would ultimately not be realizable as those investors would, of course, refocus the company on maximizing profit to its shareholders.

 

Having had prior experiences, they also realized that the largest likelihood for success would arise out of whatever path created the most team motivation – and motivation was clearly maximized by the simple fact that time was not on their side.

 

In other words, they believed that not having millions of dollars in the company's bank account created a sense of urgency that would force the breakthroughs and creativity needed to solve the many challenges ahead of them.

 

On the flip-side, they feared that being well-capitalized might make everyone a bit more “fat, dumb and happy” – meaning it would rob them of some of their motivation -- which would have a detrimental effect on their ultimate success – even though in the short term having money would make them both look and feel more successful.

 

Later, when we take a look at some of the inventions that arose out of the team’s struggles, it becomes easy to understand and even quantify that line of thinking….

 

When we do, it will become more apparent that perhaps most, if not all of FanBox’s breakthroughs and inventions resulted from the high levels of pressure that the team operated under.

 

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It was a very tough time, and this period lasted for over three years.

 

The team simply did not give up hope or quit.

 

Some people were forced to quit -- usually because of mental and emotional burnout -- but when they did, they made sure to train a replacement, who took on their challenges with new energy and excitement, amidst the heroic examples that the past and current employees had left.

 

Surely if just one mobile phone company could give FanBox access to its billing system, the concept could be flushed out with live customers, and that would make it easier for other companies to jump on-board.

 

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WTAWTAW suggests that there is always a way… and to find that way, you need to keep at it ... not give up... and keep trying different approaches.

 

If an approach fails, learn why it did and add that to the list of successful “knowledge nuggets”.

 

No idea or approach is “too dumb or not worth trying”.

 

One of the employees, Brandie Smith, had such an idea – which we’ll explore in the next chapter.

 

  >> Next Chapter >>

902 Comments

This is awesome information johnny I like to learn about everything here at fanbox it is giving me a much better understanding of what fanbox is and how it works.

40 months ago

FanBox give member alot of chance to making money!

22 months ago

interesting!!!

5 months ago

thank you Johnny!,..very, very interesting this post! Now I understand a lot of things about FanBox!
yesss,...you are a real teacher!

40 months ago

very informative! Good. Thanks For sharing JC

20 months ago

wow..very nice article..it will help us a lot!

40 months ago

At one time or the other, we have continued to hear that necessity is the mother of invention.
Utmost in the mind of the FanBox team was to achieve success without compromising the objective of their mission.
It must have to be admitted that it takes a lot for a people to accept difficult challenges without evidence of green light at the other end of the tunnel.
Fear of failure has never been a product in the bag of a visionary.

Yes, anyone can avoid failing by not seeking challenge. It is when one travels outside their comfort zone and braves through difficulties, one truly experiences accomplishment, fulfillment, and appreciation.

We all read history, and it has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

Finally, John Dewey, had this to say: “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes. Genuine ignorance is profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, can't terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas.”

17 months ago

Wow! The sacrifice of Fanbox employees is astounding, mind boggling, unbelievable, fantastic and great! The belief that your employees have in Fanbox is super! The amount of sacrifice they have put in, I'm speechless....so awesome. How much more we can appreciate the effort and what they had to give up to make this happen. Thank you each and everyone of you guys....your efforts are paying off step by step. Great blog JC!

40 months ago

You said it all those I want to say... :) Really this FAnBox history is so amazing... and why only now my curiosity leads me here... this awesome site... Thank you JC!!!

26 months ago

Wow! I am touched of how the Fanbox employees sacrifices and their will to make their visions into reality. Thanks for sharing this to us!!!

40 months ago

The organization, Fanbox, certainly has been a pioneer in trying news things and in succeeding. I hope this organization continues to grow and improve.

40 months ago

I AM SO GRATEFUL TO HEAR SUCH A STORY. I now feel guilty that I suspected Fanbox staff are just pulling our leg. I am sorry for those who left ahead before this time but left well. I pray that they will be successful!

40 months ago

interesting!!!

39 months ago

wonderful!!!!!!....post!

39 months ago

great post

39 months ago

you are amazing.

39 months ago

As everything has history of its own so.... does fan box as unique & interesting as the fan box, itself!!

39 months ago

Have you ever heard of a website that pays its users to post content regardless of the quality of their writing? This is pretty extraordinary already, and their mission statement is wonderful. I would like to be a part of this project!! So far, I am amazed and delighted with Fanbox!

39 months ago

More blogs to earned money is a nice thing..

39 months ago

some great stuff you wrote. i learned a bit i didnt know for sure! It sounds like big brother with all the capability and phone access etc but i really dont worry about it as a honest decent person. Thanks for the read. Its funnyt my brother in law said he thought one of our neighbors was in on creating or invention of text messages somehow and it wasnt to long ago as i had verizon stores in ohio and remember training on simple phones and t9 type was the big deal. lol its amazing. I must say i can get lost for hours on this darn computer. Have a great day and i really enjoyed several of those posts or work on your part

39 months ago

very interesting

38 months ago

is fine

38 months ago

is nice

38 months ago

good post

38 months ago

nice post!

38 months ago

good

37 months ago


Great info Johnny keep up the good work we need the input, I,m still learning everyday is a learning day for me thanks for sharing Giitalian.

37 months ago

so nice

37 months ago

Inspiring....

37 months ago

good informative post, thanks

37 months ago

thanks for sharing this. great story. very motivational

37 months ago

It's awesome.. Wel I am spreading knowledge and teaching to my friends, relatives, colleagues, and trying to cover the whole city by promoting fanbox. Wel I want to open a office in my city so I can make fanbox to reach ever one. My main motto is every one should join it from my country and it should become world's biggest user interface and earning website. A team which would give a new and fastest technology to keep the pace with the development of every moment in technology, applications etc. My email ID is 007.jeetu@gmail.com you can contact me..

37 months ago

great one thanks johnny.

37 months ago

Nice post

20 months ago

i feel pity for you guys. salute coz you guys dont give up. your idea n sacrifice will be pay.

37 months ago

Very very nice johnny... im proud that im in fanbox... i love fanbox

37 months ago

thank you, I will continue reading your posts to know more about the fanbox misions !

37 months ago

thanks for providing with this information, will keep on reading.

37 months ago

read and comment abt it.... nice info to read...

36 months ago

nice

36 months ago

great post

36 months ago