Back in 1999 and 2000, when I was writing Catch of the Day, a daily column about start-ups for Red Herring, my co-worker Jeff told me I needed to launch a new column called "That's the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard" to cover all the boneheaded pitches I got for companies that were too sickly to write about.
A few months ago, as this second Internet bubble began to inflate, Jeff told me I needed to really--finally--launch That's the Stupidest Thing, specifically so I could write about Zaarly, based on the coverage it got on TechCrunch.
CEO Bo Fishback is a big, twitchy man who seems uncomfortable sitting still. He is enthusiastic and eloquent about the idea that Zaarly is based on. I'd fund him if I was in a position to do so, even if I wasn't convinced (and I'm not) that Zaarly will be as big as Fishback says it can be. And how big is that? "It's the first idea I've seen in my life that will be bigger than a $50 billion company," he says.
Fishback calls Zaarly a buyer-powered market. Other markets--eBay, Craigslist, Macy's, Wal-Mart--are seller-powered. People with things to sell offer them up, and if you're looking for something, you check out what they have. On Zaarly, if you want something, you broadcast that desire; if someone has it, they find you.… Read more