I am inviting my Tumblr Friends to learn about George Mobile and sign up for a #free trial: Save Money, Stay Social. You will get free long-distance calling and text for one month. How does that sound? Fair deal?
Click the link to see the video and learn more before signing up. No strings attached; and, you can even invite your friends to save even more money!
It’s Saturday morning and I woke up with two things on my mind: Silicon Valley and “…what am I doing?”
My financial advisor/rainmaker/stickhandler/VC has made arrangements to meet potential investors and business development targets in Menlo Park and Palo Alto this coming week. Emails are flying back and forth promising all sorts of talking points etc. It doesn’t seem real. Maybe it’s because I have heard so many stories of Startups going to Silicon Valley to camp out and knock on doors until one opens up to make their dreams come true. I don’t feel like I’ve worked that hard on it, yet I have this opportunity and it is frightening. If it’s for real, this could be the start of something big for our startup.
As any Startup, we are bootstrapped and nurturing our progression along with vapors. Real hard currency is needed to fuel the work-machine, let alone marketing. And, the more you need it, the harder it seems to obtain. So, here I sit looking ahead and fiddling about trying to figure out whether I have everything necessary to support my “ask” and bring home something tangible. I still have time, and the anticipation is like not being able to breath. There is a sense that I need to succeed there or all is lost and hopeless.
I need to get over all that and treat this like any other pitch - it isn’t for everyone. And, we wouldn’t want to align with just anyone anyhow, right? There are lots of fish in the sea. Ya, that’s it.
Now, back to rearranging the numbers - hockey stick or bell curve? Which would they prefer to see?
Skype represents new wave of trickle-up technology
The purchase of Skype earlier this month highlighted three important themes: verbs are good, big companies like making money and businesses are getting more consumerized every day.
We’ve known for years that when a specific consumer brand name becomes the generic equivalent for the entire category (Kleenex, Xerox, Aspirin) that it was worth a lot of money. Products so honoured sell for premium prices and generate premium margins.
Historically, leading-edge technology was pioneered in the enterprise, and then trickled down to consumers over time. At one time, touch tone phones, laser printers or computers were only found in offices.
In 2011, we are seeing the reverse. Having a solution that is robust, well tested, scalable across tens or hundreds of millions, requires minimal training and that users actually like to use turns out to be a good thing. Any multibillion dollar tech company knows a lot about developing software, Skype’s buyer included. But “beta testing” on the scale of a global consumer offers a new development model, even for the tech experts.
This consumerization of enterprise information technology is becoming the new normal, at least some of the time. Enterprises are adopting tablets that started as consumer toys and businesses are using Twitter and Facebook for key marketing and customer service tasks.
Read more at www.theglobeandmail.com
Look for more consumer technologies and companies to be adopted and purchased by big tech companies that are primarily business focused.
A big wave surfer tells his story about how he swam with sharks at the link below. How can you do this in your everyday business? What can we learn from his shark experience? Three tips for swimming with sharks at sea or on land:
1. Know when you are in shark waters: Half the exercise is situational awareness;
2. Know when they are feeding and avoid: You are not food and you don’t want there to be any mistake - so avoid selling in a buyer’s market;
3. Know how to recognize their curiosity and avoid posing a threat: Find a common ground where you can communicate rationally.
Investor Info, Video, Press Kit here: http://georgemobile.posterous.com/
George helps friends connect FREE from their smartphones wherever they are in the world. George works over any 3G, 4G, LTE data plan or Wi-Fi for FREE. No contracts, no log-ins or passwords. George is like Skype, but without the need to add contacts. George simply allows you to access your native address book to connect with friends. And, unlike Viber, George gives you the option to make calls or send/receive sms with phone numbers anywhere in the world!
It remains to be seen what their strategy is actually striving for in terms of revenue objectives. There is risk to integrating an otherwise dependable platform. Namely, “….why was I here again?” or too many function’itis.
Microsoft’s Skype Deal: How to Make it Work
11:14 AM Friday May 13, 2011
by David J. Bryce | Comments (7)
Skeptics are panning Microsoft’s decision to acquire Skype, arguing that the price of $8.5 billion (more than 30 times earnings) is too expensive. But with Skype, Microsoft vaults itself into the world of “free products” in a significant way. How Microsoft leverages those product users going forward — and whether it can retain and grow them — will be the true test of success for the acquisition.
The potential here is significant. Cloud services are considered to be the future of computing. For 170 million product users, Skype provides an on-ramp to Microsoft cloud offerings and other products. It gives to Microsoft a brand-aware user base keen to communicate, in the cloud, across a richly connected social network. It provides significant opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell, advertise, or bundle paid offerings. And by integrating Skype with its free cloud offerings — such as its free version of Office software — Microsoft multiplies the linkages and the revenue potential.
At the same time, Microsoft envisions deep integration with existing pay products, such as Office and its corporate communications offering, Microsoft Lync. Clearly, the company aspires to move into the stream of demand flow toward increasingly ubiquitous face-to-face communications across all devices.
But the acquisition also presents a significant conundrum: How will Microsoft integrate and leverage Skype without destroying what has been successful thus far — the free business model and the potential of the user base? Can the company simultaneously manage a world of free users supported by advertising and premium service offerings — and a world of paying customers looking for best-in-class communications applications?
The challenge is not an easy one, as Microsoft’s own experience makes clear. While it has launched free versions of its Office software to the cloud, the dependencies of these offerings on the pay product remain strong and the pay product seems to get all of the support. Meanwhile, both cloud and pay Office are under heavy assault from free product threats such as Google Docs.
The way to support — or avoid killing — a free product model is by structuring the internal organization in a way that delivers the right incentives. As I and my co-authors, Jeff Dyer and Nile Hatch, explain in “Competing Against Free,” our article in the forthcoming June issue of the Harvard Business Review, internal structures can easily get in the way of running a successful free business model. P&L organizations are typically designed to tightly link a product’s cost to its revenues but they also stifle flexible thinking — about how to grow users independent of revenue, or how to get revenue from sources other than price.
Fortunately, in Skype, Microsoft is buying a company that has figured out how to make money off of free products. That’s why appending Skype onto the Microsoft organization structure as a separate, autonomous division makes a lot of sense. However, while this approach promotes the free products business model, it makes tight integration with other products more difficult. If the company pushes too aggressively for integration with pay products or if the demands for direct revenue from products that integrate Skype begin dictating resource allocation, then the autonomous divisional structure could break down. If this winds up recasting P&L responsibilities and incentives toward pay product managers, Microsoft may lose free product users as it begins to appear advantageous to ignore them in favor of customers for pay products.
Can both goals be pursued simultaneously? Of course they can, but getting the right internal structures to facilitate this is tricky. Any move away from divisional autonomy could have negative consequences. Still, one approach is to coordinate the work of the Skype revenue team with other revenue teams in the company such as those responsible for Bing revenues. This leads to broader, more integrative thinking about revenue sources across product platforms. Leave the Skype unit to promote product development and user growth. Meanwhile, allow development teams to integrate Skype-like communications functionality into products but require them to coordinate with Skype development teams to be sure that revenue models and brand usage don’t negatively affect the free user base.
Some may argue that integrating Skype with Microsoft pay products has the potential to deliver greater incremental revenue than does supporting the free business model, so Microsoft should just let that model die. But the Skype unit is approaching $1 billion in revenue with free products already and much more may be on the way. With competitors using free products to rapidly stake claim to territory in the cloud, this may be Microsoft’s best chance to leap forward with a serious presence in that space. It should do everything it can to capitalize on the opportunity.
David J. Bryce is an associate professor of strategy at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management.Read more at blogs.hbr.org