Five Years of Wow
I’m staring at the blinking cursor on an empty page. This page. And it occurs to me that five years ago today, Skype was that cursor. An impatient speck on the world’s radar screen, vying for attention that would help write a new chapter in the history of communication.
With the benefit of five years of hindsight, Skype’s success now appears so logical, so natural. As if Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis and their skeleton crew of Estonian programmers had planned it all along.
Hmm. They simply couldn’t have predicted where this journey would take them and millions of others – who, among them, have clocked up more than 100 billion Skype-to-Skype minutes. Visionary foresight is one thing. But expecting Skype to have touched close to 350 million users by year five, to have enabled billions of conversations, enriched and even enabled millions of relationships, and along the way to have helped transform one of the largest industries in the world? That would have been downright delusional.
]]>So I can only imagine how the founders must have felt at the point of singularity. Before the Skype universe began. On August 29, 2003.
That universe is still expanding rapidly. And at age 5, we are still only at the very beginning of our journey. With our massive and passionate community of users, our 6 consecutive quarters of profitability, and over $500M annual revenue run-rate, we’ve got a super-charged platform from which to keep innovating, questioning the status quo, and fighting on behalf of people everywhere to set the world’s communications free.
This is a responsibility which I, and all of us at Skype, take to heart. After all, we know history won’t judge us on our early success, but on how we build this into a great and enduring legacy.
When I think of the future, I think of Skype as liquid communication. Instead of being condemned to a frozen shape like the telephone, it will flow into any device whenever you want and wherever you are. And, like water can turn into ice or steam, Skype can shift its form to match what you need at the moment: from voice to video to IM to SMS to filesharing.
Skype blurs the line between the real and the virtual. It bends space and cuts through time. Today, when a conversation wants to be had, technology is not the bottleneck. But technology isn’t the goal either. There’s no question in my mind about what stands at the heart of the communication revolution. So, as we celebrate the first five years of Skype, let’s raise a toast to the human desire to connect.
And to the promise of the blinking cursor.