Foboko.com is an amazing new platform to download, create and discover eBooks from independent and inspiring authors. We caught up with founder Nicolas Gremion to talk about his Internet beginnings, taking a year off to travel, and why HE is his biggest cheerleader.
How long have you been involved with the Internet?
I bought my first computer, a Dell with a ferocious Pentium II chip, when I headed to university back in 1999, but that was mostly used for writing essays and conducting research via HotBot. My founding of Paradise Publishers a little over 6 years ago was my first foray into the Online world from a business perspective. While I was captivated by the potential of eBooks, my first step was to hire a professional Webmaster, as the technical side of things has never been my forte.
What time do you usually start work each day?
I start at 8:00 a.m. sharp every morning. Having a “proper” work regimen helps me (and our team, I believe) focus and remain productive.
Do you have an office or work at home?
Although we now have a main office, up until 2 years ago, we all worked from home. In fact, this allowed me and my wife to “travel” for a year. We rented apartments in 6 different countries, ranging from Italy to India, for 2 months at a time, and set up shop from there. For someone who’s maintained at least one job since he was 9 years old, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to mix a little pleasure with business.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
I’ve discovered that keeping scotch in the office is a real timesaver, as I no longer have to spend my evenings at the pub. In all seriousness, though, between work, my evening Spanish classes, and life’s errands, the weekdays don’t allow for too much R&R. I do love to unplug on the weekends, though; I’m the kind of guy who always likes to be productive. So if we don’t head to the coast, which we often do, you can find me puttering around the garden or pretending to be a handyman on some home project.
When do your best ideas come to you?
They could come at any time, which is why my computer is usually full of open windows, Office docs, and Internet tabs. I like to keep items open and jump back and forth as ideas develop. Everything’s a work in progress that can always be improved upon.
We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
My desk is uneventful at best. I share it with the office printer, my calculator, laptop, and notepad. Besides that, there’s my coffee and water. As cheesy as it sounds, visual clarity gives me mental clarity, whereas a messy desk drives me friggin’ nuts.
Favorite book? Author?
The “Mr. Men” (ex.: Mr. Happy) series of children’s books by Roger Hargreaves are important to me, as they taught me to read. Nowadays, I love discovering new authors who publish under our original website, Free-eBooks.net. There are scads of undiscovered authors out there, beyond the New York Times Best-Seller Lists, providing great reading. I urge everyone to explore a little more!
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
Ha! I actually see it from a different angle. I’m not putting my life on hold, but pursuing my life’s ambitions. A successful business can greatly improve one’s life in many ways, and that’s worth working toward. As our business grows, so do my horizons.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
Perseverance is key. We’re bombarded nowadays with news of new ventures being bought out for billions, but I’d like to remind new entrepreneurs that most businesses do take time to flourish. So as that clumsy kitty on those popular posters often reminds us, “Hang in there, baby!”
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
Not to sound selfish or arrogant, but it’s really been me. And that’s not because I don’t have caring people around me – I do, and I am blessed for that. It’s mostly because 1) I keep my emotions closely guarded and 2) believing in yourself and your product/service, as an entrepreneur, is crucial. Especially in moments of doubt, which will happen, you must remain mentally tough.
Can you share numbers?
Stats change quickly, but here goes:
- 1.25 million+ members
- 1,800+ new members per day
- 1 million + unique monthly visitors
- 10,000 + eBooks downloaded daily
- 336,000 + mobile app installations (growing by approx.15,000 monthly)
- 93,000 + Facebook fans (growing by approx.10,000 fans per month)
We’re 16 strong now in the company, with 6 years of continued revenue growth.
Where can our readers reach out?
You can always find my latest musings on my personal blog, NicolasGremion.com. Or you can drop by Foboko; it is a social network, after all, so we can “friend” one another there and connect.
Thanks Nicolas! I have a great idea for an eBook about living in London when I was 20. It’s a crazy tale and sure to be a Foboko best-seller. Now all I need is, oh, let’s see…a year of free-time? I’ll work on that…