You know your business is doing wonders, when its name becomes a verb. Skype is one such company. It started off as an idea which was developed across borders, and reached nooks and corners of the world. Back in 2003, Niklas Zennstrom from Sweden and Janus Friis from Denmark had the idea for a web platform for calling, video conferencing and instant messaging, but they needed support to develop it. They reached out for help to developers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn in Estonia. What this tri-country union resulted in is what we have come to use and love as Skype.
Outsourcing in the primary stages itself hasn’t always resulted in a great product, leave alone a success story. But, Skype’s beginnings show us how with the correct resources, and a shared dedication towards an aim can do wonders. Skype became a huge success within a couple of years, and in 2005, eBay acquired Skype Technologies for $2.5 billion.
The number of Skype users across the world kept rising. The Skype website says that in 2010, the service had an average of 124 million connected users per month in the second quarter. 40% of the 95 billion minutes of voice and video calling by Skype users, was video. These figures were huge, and they spell out the amount of success Skype enjoyed as it completed 7 years. It was exactly these statistics which got Microsoft interested in the company, and in 2011, Microsoft bought Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion. A 2014 estimate claims that Skype had an international traffic of 214 billion minutes.
What started off as an idea of a couple of people, with some support from another country altogether, has become an outsourcing success story 12 years later. Outsourcing a project to someone abroad is always tricky, and will remain so. However, with the endless possibilities of communication (Skype itself being one of the most important facets), geography is becoming less risky and long distance professional relationships are becoming more and more fruitful.
Skype outsourced the very first steps towards their product. Many a times, start-ups prefer doing everything on their own, but this is a good example of how outsourcing the various primary steps involved in building a product or a service can prove beneficial. It is important to focus on your core competencies and let the experts, no matter where they are, take care of the other aspects. Skype outsourced the development of its website, which is its service platform. Similarly, a start-up food takeaway joint can outsource their kitchen duties to a caterer, and partner with them as the business grows. If you grow taking your service providers with you, you maintain their trust, their dedication towards your work, while ensuring you do not have to worry about how to get some of the work done. You can also absorb them into your company as an employee or a partner, if that works out best for the venture.
Taking the smartest and the most profitable step, despite the risk involved, can reap sweet fruits; and Skype’s story is a testament of the same.
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