BLOG STARTUPS, VENTURE AND THE TECH BUSINESS

May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

Scott Derschlag, Skype COO: TLH notes from the Nantucket conference

Skype is a Ferrari that is running on 3 cylinders: [sounds like someone hyping a car company to me]

  • huge success engaging users (400m)
  • weak on monetization ($550m, $1.30/user)
  • customer service is a challenge with a user base the size of the European union


Fremium is a subtle strategy:

  • different customers have different behaviors
  • some pay, some do not, but they provide bandwidth and processing power,
  • some users are viral, some are not
  • 35% of calls are video, much stronger personal connection between people who video-call


Mobile is a strategic imperative

  • Mission is to enable the world’s conversations
  • Aim to be available for post load for all the smart phone Oss
    • Pre load with major OEMs
    • Operator partnerships to deliver a strong customer experience
  • More than 1m iPhone downloads in 36 hours, now millions, lots of use
  • Mobile Skype is #1 user request
  • Rolling out across Nokia M Series and Series 60, think that will drag other OEMs in
  • Seeing a shift in operator interest
    • see download numbers
    • very successful with Hutchison in UK:  have sold 500k pre-pay Skype phones, very profitable for them
    • sell a £1.99 SIM for any unlocked phone that allows full Skype use


eBay acknowledges limited synergies; they have kept Skype separate and focused on revenue growth

  • Have been able to stay focused and get things done


“It is quite tough to block Skype, even with deep packet inspection”

To Bob Metcalfe:  “We built the entire company around your law, Bob, and it’s doing pretty well.”

Derschalg:  “Voice is just another app; the user’s communication needs are much richer.  Skype puts the user in the center of the map, not the device or the network, as others do.  You (the user) can create your communications world with Skype, and take it portably with you, across platforms.”

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