My 7-Year Itch

GoodbyeUhuh, it’s true. After seven years in a relationship, it’s usually time to see other people 😉

Last Thursday , I became a civilian again, returning to a world where people pay for cellphones, where flights, trains and hotels cost money, laptops aren’t free and the English language rules 😉

I came to Freeserve in 1999 with four other colleagues, when we were a startup in the midst of the first dotcom boom. One IPO, two CEOs and three brands later I’m leaving to join the second era of the web and return to my startup roots. It was fun, inspiring and exhilarating being part of the first generation of our company…and a privilege to work alongside some of France Telecom’s brightest minds from Boston and San Francisco to London and Paris, but most memorably, in Leeds 🙂

As corporate R&D becomes eclipsed by garage entrepreneurs and technologists, most of our team is also heading for greener fields; Mark Taylor is joining Eircom as head of content, Ian Pringle will be heading up telephony startup Intelleme and collectively we’ll be launching a think-tank for emerging technologies – Carbon Imagineering – a vehicle for our startups, consultancy and publishing projects, operating in the US and UK. Funny, I always seem to leave as part of an exodus…

Thank you to everyone, inside and outside FT, who has supported our research, been an audience to our ideas and sought our insights. I’ll miss you.

It’s easy to overlook the impact that Freeserve, Wanadoo UK and Orange have had. We were there – right there – at the birth of the Web. We weaved its nerves from copper, glass, radio, pixels and code, enabling others to create ‘a new mind for an old species’…

The future’s even brighter 🙂


Imran Ali • Acting Director of Technology Research
Orange Home UK plc
The Malthouse • Chadwick Street • Leeds • LS10 1LJ
+44 7808 786814


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