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e-business: Boo makes a point in real life script.

The second series of Attachments kicked off last Thursday a year on from the BBC's first drama based around a real world web site, Seethru.co.uk.

Not even the BBC could have predicted how the Internet or at least people's perception of so-called Internet companies would change in just 12 months.

I didn't actually see last week's episode myself. The reason I missed it was that I was out and failed to programme the video correctly. Despite being fluent in several different programming languages mastery of that jumped up clock that sits below my television still eludes me.

Attachments was a brave experiment by the BBC to build a drama around a real world dot.com. No doubt the BBC had planned this series differently but even they weren't to know that most dot.coms would not make it to their own second series.

By all accounts the second series is playing down the seethru.co.uk connection, concentrating its storylines on the relationship problems people have when they're Net savvy entrepreneurial yuppies working in a Docklands ex-warehouse and far too cool for their own MP3 players.

Although it must be said the site www.seethru.co.uk is still worth visiting and remains in my Favourites list, presumably free funded by the BBC it has endured where others have failed.

At the same time the first Attachments series was running Boo.com were leaders of the dot.com pack. Run by champagne-swilling, Learjet-chartering, impossibly beautiful Swedes Kaysa Leander and Ernst Maimsten, the company was halfway through its pounds 70 million burn up.

This is perhaps the real world drama Attachments wanted to build up to in this series. There is nothing the public likes more than stories of smart young people convincing faceless banks like JP Morgan and Goldman and Sachs to hand over pounds 70 million without having a clue what it was going to be spent on.

Ernst has now written a book explaining everything. The book, to be released on November 1, rather entertainingly called Boo Hoo, is apparently one man 's attempt to put the record straight about certain facts. For instance, they only had 12 Gurkha bodyguards instead of the clearly excessive 40 reported.

You've got to remember that Boo was valued at $125 million by the FT in 1999 and looked like a wise investment. Now the world has wised up and it's possibly harder to get capital for an Internet venture than find an attractive camel that's not already spoken for. The Attachments characters could have developed into Leander and Malmsten, impossibly confident with a line in Internet gobbledygook that made it hard to tell whether they were incredibly stupid or incredibly clever.

The fact they spend pounds 70 million in that most enjoyable of currencies - other people's money - rather indicated that they where the former. Meanwhile real Internet companies with real products and real customers find it increasingly hard to convince anyone, especially bankers, that their businesses are sound ones.

Chris can be e-mailed on chris@webxpress.co.uk. Previous unedited articles can be found at www.webxpress.co.uk
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 30, 2001
Words:520
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