Miloje Sekulić

Archive for December, 2009

VIPer or “Is it time for my retrirement?”

Exacty ten years ago, in the late autumn of 1999, I came upon an advertisement where the Alternative Academic Educational Network (AAOM) invited interested parties to a semester of postgraduate studies titled “Contemporary business and global computer networks”. Tijana and I applied, passed a few selection rounds and set off into the world of the Internet. We met Varagić, Vukmirović, Pocajt… that’s how it began. After that, there was no way back. Instead of engineering railroads for high velocity trains or, in the least, roads, I was smitten by the Web and began to dream virtual dreams.

For those born after 1985, Serbia was a pretty dreary place in ’99. After the “people’s events”. year’s of wars that we didn’t participate in, the mass exodus of the young and educated, hyperinflation the likes of which the world hadn’t seen before and the total collapse of a society and its values, we were greeted by the NATO bombings. After that came the tilting of the widmills that we called the reconstuction of the country, at the epicenter of which, working as a construction engineer at the CIP Institute of Transportation, was I. To me, the Internet and the dream of success on it represented something that could probably be best defined as a light at the end of a tunnel. There were a few comedic events along the way, like the time I convinced a friend living in Canada that an investment of $800 into the domain was an entirely sound one. I just never quite managed to realize what was supposed to be on that domain. There were successes, of course. I created the business magazine with the largest readership in the country, created another success story with partners (until the synergy between us faded), founded and developed the first e-PR department in any PR agency in Serbia (and wider) and successfully worked for some truly big clients there, pumped up Lepota i zdravlje (Beauty and Health) to a million page views per month and today we have launched VIPer.

VIPer is a Futuremedia project in which I am the general manager of the online project. This is a sort of mash-up of Twitter and Facebook, essencially a Fan Social Network. What makes it unique is that, at this moment, there are 65 more or less VIP personalities, who are generally popular in the region and whose identities are vouched for by the editorial boards of Svet, Scandal and Hello!, have already opened profiles and are able to let their fans know what they are up to through the Web or by sending a simple SMS, a service provided by aour project partner KlikMee. The fans, other than following their favorite stars, have several communication tools available to them and others are being developed.

Will it work? I am entirely convinced that this project will explode around the New Year as the mainstream stars line up their end of the year gigs and appearances. Excel Sheet says that VIPer will see its first revenue in April. I believe it will be so. I have great interest in its success as I have managed to struggle out a profit share.

Will I retrire after this, the biggest project of my career? Of course not. The time has come for the past decade and the sacrifices made to pay up and pay out. In every sense.

Posted in internet in Serbia,my internet project | 1 comment