2B Perfectly Honest (2003) is a strange movie about a young and ambitious entrepreneur Frank. The movie starts around the time Frank and his friend and junior partner Josh are losing their ad agency. The failure of his business is a financial loss to Frank, so much so that he had to move back to his parents house. However, Frank doesn’t share the news of the closure of his ad agency with his parents and continues to pretend going to work every day. During one of those days, Frank comes up with a new idea to start an internet-based business: web-boards. Web-boards are virtual cousins of billboards. Just like advertisements on billboards in the real-world, Frank’s idea is to put up advertisements on the internet by buying websites of companies that failed during the dot-com bust. Frank thinks the idea has potential and seeks external funding to finance his new venture. He meets with venture capitalists for some early-stage funding. The rest of the movie is strange- The best I can say is that an ambitious young entrepreneur ends up working as a paramedic. Life does have a funny way to twist and turn!
For some reason, watching 2B Perfectly Honest reminded me of Kevin Ham. His name may not ring any bells for most people, but Business 2.0 refers to him as “the man who owns the internet“. Estimates of his net worth ranges anywhere from 300M to 1B US Dollars. He owns hundreds of thousands of domain names that he sells or puts advertising on them to sell to other companies. He made his money buying cheap domain names that became available after the dotcom bust and he was so good at doing what he did that today he is the biggest player in a business where there are many other millionaires who own hundreds of thousands of domain names. His latest idea, a pretty creative one, is to partner with the government of Cameroon (yes, you read correctly. It’s a small country in Africa! ) to put advertisements on websites ending in .cm so that anytime anybody clicks on these advertisements Ham and the government of Cameroon get a share of the pie. (No points for guessing why .cm websites and not others).
Why did Frank in the movie remind me of Kevin? In a way the two men couldn’t have been different- Frank was a failure while Kevin is a living legend in his line of work (There’s even a Kevin Ham fan site!). What made Frank seem similar to Kevin was that the simple brilliance of their idea. In 1999-2000 Kevin Ham was a nobody, it just the last seven years he has become a success story buying, selling, trading, and dealing in domain names.
The movie is not as good as I would have liked it to be, but it may still be worth watching for people interested in entrepreneurship. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you are not interested in entrepreneurship or internet-based businesses then don’t watch the movie.