The Aardvark Hall of Fame

This is just a quick post in honor of Aardvark (@vark) and my experience with the service that was apparently worth 50 million Google dollars.

Think before you Aardvark.

In the beginning, I was utterly annoyed to get rather irrelevant questions from Aardvark flooding my inbox.  “What time is it in France?” would get my blood boiling. Are these people just trying out the service or is Aardvark going to be the answer for lazy internet users? In short, I replied “10:46am. Time to quit Aardvark.” 

Just don’t make me repeat myself.

While the company definitely needs to  fine-tune its service, I’ve actually grown more and more fond of the silly questions I receive. The subjects I have signed up for are France, San Francisco and Sushi – thus, a majority of the questions I receive are: “What is the best hostel in Paris?”, “Where is the best place in France?”, and “Where can I get the best sushi in San Francisco?” – hopefully Aardvark will eventually recycle my response for repetitive questions (or make the answers public) so that I stopped getting harassed. 

An Aardvark a Day.

But I’ve grown fond of the sillier questions I receive to the point where I now look forward to Aarvark questions.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Why is it snowing in Paris in February?

Because it is cold.

2. Where can I rent a Castle in France?

It’s called a château. Ask King Albert II of Belgium if you can borrow his in the south of France.

3. I just discovered sushi and I really like it. I eat it a lot. If I eat too much sushi, will I die?

(I actually took the time to explain a little about mercury and food poisoning for this one. Sushi is close to my heart.)

4. What is the goal and/or meaning of life?

Not to ask impossible questions on Aardvark.

5. “Will ya help meh with how/which sports should I do to lose weight and gain height.which sport or which positions(exercises) do you suggest me?”

This question was my all-time favorite and it includes the original spelling errors and everything. Although I didn’t answer. I’m still trying to figure out why I received it in the first place.

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I’m Putting My Money on MyFab

Sequoia and Benchmark, you may want to listen. Jeff Bezos too.

MyFab: THE next hot start-up to come out of France.

First off, let me say that I do not write this for just any old company and it is very likely that this will be the only post of its kind for a long time. I normally would be inclined not to broadcast something so incredibly favorable about a particular start-up – but MyFab is just too damn good for me not to do so.

Now, I’m no expert but personally I think MyFab is going to be the next-best-thing to come out of France – start-up wise. That is, if it isn’t already.

iWhat? MyWho?

The company is French but first made a splash in Silicon Valley in the summer of 2009 when they closed a €5 million round, including funding from BV Capital. MyFab’s unique e-commerce model is an on-demand platform that lets users buy high-quality products directly from manufacturers. Translation: up to an 80% price reduction on incredibly chic  furniture, jewelry, etc. The site also makes use of a “voting system” whereby their customers can vote for future products to be made and receive a addition discount on the items once they go into production. I think it’s just brilliant.

First Vente-privée, now MyFab.

French e-commerce must be doing something right. Vente-privée made headlines a while ago with the potential $2 billion Amazon acquisition. I’m pretty sure MyFab won’t enter the US market and go unnoticed either.

A few other unique e-commerce business models have caught my eye as well – including Sokoz and Voyagerpouruneuro.com – which integrate a timed or game-like aspect into shopping.

France e-commerce businesses may’ve had a bit of a slow start but looks like it’s getting ready to take off…

Check out my lastest article in TechCrunch Europe on MyFab’s US launch and follow MyFab on Twitter: @MyFabFrance (in French) or @MyFabGermany (in English)