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Skype Mostly Rocks as a Killer App for Startups

When you are a startup company you learn pretty quickly that your technology infrastructure is based on compromise. There are many aspects of your company that you simply will not consider accepting anything less than exemplary. Your customer service, attention to detail, daily planning, product performance – these all must be super great in order for you to compete.

But when it comes to things that you don’t directly control, like the quality of your communication tools, you can either choose not to engage in this battle by throwing more money at the solution than may be necessary and walking away knowing that you don’t need to worry about its performance, or you can dig your heels in and pay less with the compromise of lesser performance.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been an entrepreneur for so long, 23 years, and it sickens me to think of all the money I’ve spent on phone service over the years, but the voice communication battle is one that I’m willing to engage in.

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Enter Skype. I had heard about Skype from Adam Curry and his podcast. It’s unbelievably inexpensive. Free actually when you make and receive calls from other Skype members. And Skype is a free download. So talking within our Showcase U team spread throughout the country using Skype was a no-brainer. That is, once I got my internet connection issues straightened out – no small task working with Comcast.

The only hardware I needed is a microphone for my computer since Skype uses the internet connection and your computer to make calls. I even purchased a camera so that we can see one another on video while we talk. I was skeptical about this at first, after all I’ve been talking on the phone for 47 years without video. But I have found that it really does enhance the communication experience.

All that is nice and efficient as an internal company communication tool. But I have enhanced my Skype account to include the ability to make outgoing calls, unlimited for $3/month, and to receive incoming calls, unlimited for $2/month. I receive calls on my computer, complete with caller ID and a forwarding option to send calls to my cell.

I LOVE how little I’m paying for phone service. BUT I admit that the quality of each call varies based on the consistency of a strong internet connection. I expect that issue will continue to improve as it has over the few months I’ve been using Skype, and I’m willing to live with it in the meantime.

So Skype mostly rocks. And that’s good enough, for now.

About the Author: Joel Welsh

Joel Welsh, Chief Community Officer, is also the CEO of a new startup company ... Showcase U. Joel shares behind the scenes key decisions being made in the "Birth of a Startup" and knocks it out of the park to [...]

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