Happy birthday to us! Here at Skype we’re lucky to have spent the past decade doing what we love: helping people do things together, whenever they’re apart. We’re proud to say that more than 300 million people around the globe use Skype to stay in touch with those who are most important in their lives, from friends, to family, to business connections.
In honor of our 10th anniversary, here on the Workspace blog we’re spotlighting 10 small businesses we’ve encountered through the years who have all found interesting – or even unusual, in some cases – ways to reach new audiences with the help of Skype.
Now that’s what we call 10 for 10!
- Author and entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz, known for penning popular business books (“The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” and “The Pumpkin Plan”) and for his appearances on the “Your Business” segment on MSNBC, keeps up with a manufacturing shop he owns in another state via virtual tours with the manager over a Skype video call.
- Ryan Frankel founded VerbalizeIt to provide real-time translation services on calls. His company offers bilingual translators to instantly join Skype conversations between people who speak different languages, ensuring cross-cultural business dealings run smoothly.
- When business consultant Mike Wittenstein couldn’t make it to a conference he was keynoting – in Australia – he didn’t let that stop him. Wittenstein delivered his speech over Skype, with the help of an on-site camera that let him see the audience. Although he gave the only remote presentation, he later learned it tied for the highest ratings.
- Russell Valvo is a sales manager at AIRDEX, a Las Vegas manufacturer of lightweight shipping containers. He shows his company’s wares to customers around the world via Skype video and, when he encounters a language barrier, simply translates what he wants to communicate using Bing, then drops the text into a Skype IM chat.
- MySkinPrescription.com is the brainchild of Dallas-based celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. It provides personalized skin-care coaching to women around the world through Skype video calls, counseling on everything from sun protection to nutrition to proper cleansing.
- Students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and mental health issues can find support through the UK’s Diverse Learners, an organization that helps students overcome learning obstacles through individualized guidance during Skype video call sessions.
- Personal trainer Marc Thompson dreamed up VirtuFit.net to expand his client base outside his Delray Beach, Florida headquarters. He now trains clients in the U.S. and abroad through Skype video, and even started a Virtual Personal Trainer (VPT) accreditation program so other trainers can become certified in this type of work.
- No matter where they live, men who crave custom-made apparel can turn to Second Button, a bespoke shirt maker in New York City. The company enlists stylists to video call with its clients, talking men through the process of taking their own measurements properly.
- Eating without meat is a whole lot easier than it used to be, thanks to Jenné Claiborne and her company The Nourishing Vegan, which uses Skype video calls to instruct people on vegan cooking in their own kitchens.
- Greg Bell’s company Advansys develops software for collaboration and office productivity. Skype is the nerve center of his entirely virtual workforce; he and his team use nearly every Skype product available – Skype Manager, subscriptions, screen sharing, Skype Numbers — to communicate amongst themselves and with clients, and they maintain a huge archive of group-chat conversations for ongoing reference.
And finally, a bonus way we saw Skype used over the past year — BlogHer Entrepreneurs ’13. Skype had the pleasure of hosting the conference, which celebrates women entrepreneurs and innovators. Among an extremely inspirational lineup of speakers was Skype CMO Elisa Steele. Despite being in London, Elisa was able to kick off the day and give her opening remarks via Skype!
Many thanks to all the entrepreneurs and small businesses who make Skype integral to the work you do! We’d love to hear from you – connect with us and join the conversations on Twitter or Facebook, or search for the Skype for Business group on LinkedIn and jump in there.
Here’s to the next 10 years …