The First Challenge (part 2)
Brandie noticed a small technicality in the way mobile phone companies handled text messaging between two people that used different phone companies.
Specifically, she learned that phone companies did not yet have the capability to accurately count, reconcile and charge the other phone companies for the monthly difference in text messages sent to and from each other.
What this meant was that if FanBox could somehow get access to the text messaging gateway of only one mobile phone company anywhere, it could possibly enable users to send free text messages to any mobile phone in the world (from the FanBox website).
In turn, that accomplishment might give FanBox some leverage with the mobile phone companies – in ways that were not yet fully understood but seemed worth trying.
So, Brandie started calling mobile phone companies around the world, one after another, asking to speak to their President.
She wanted to speak to their presidents to ensure that if she was able to convince someone, that they would be the “decision-maker”.
Of course her requests to speak with their Presidents were rejected -- each and every time.
After trying to speak to the Presidents of over 500 different phone companies around the world, she was actually able to connect with the President of a mobile phone company based in South Africa -- Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN).
On that call, she was able to intrigue their President enough about FanBox's mission to convince him to travel to San Diego, California, to meet. He agreed.
On his visit, the President was very intrigued by FanBox's mission and approach to jump-start the knowledge revolution.
On his way back to the airport, he gave Brandie a firm handshake and said "We've got a deal", and the deal was inked and finalized in a contract within 3 weeks.
That deal gave FanBox users the ability to send FREE text messages to virtually any mobile phone in the world.
Users loved the ability to send free text messages from the Web to mobile phones, and word-of-mouth about FanBox exploded.
In the first 6 months, over six million people registered to use FanBox (still using the SMS.ac name) -- shattering the world records set by Hotmail and Napster -- who both had about 1 million users in their first 6 months.
FanBox (SMS.ac) now held the world record for the fastest product launch in history. (Source: USA Today, and Fast Company)
More importantly, FanBox now had daily communication with millions of the customers of the world’s mobile phone companies.
In the next chapter, we'll discuss how this gave FanBox new leverage with the world's mobile phone companies.
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