Accelerating Innovation | Skype Journal | VoIP

Unbound Spiral: 26488 + 40% vs Yesterday

September 16, 2003 11:02 AM

A recent comment on my blog asked why the hype about Skype? "Aside from quality, why is everyone going crazy over Skype. I have used yahoo, netmeeting, and dialpad with success." I've tried them all too. What's inspired me to keep plugging away and digging deeper on Skype is it's base architecture. All the other systems use some form of centralized directory. Centralized directories create control and incur costs. Decentralized directory systems and input systems appear to create new markets. eBay never decided what should be auctioned, only how to auction it. eBay facilitates connectivity between buyer and sellers - flow and thus trade. I suspect if Skype or an open source substitute comes along it too will facilitate connectivity and create new markets around new very low cost voice exchanges.

If nothing else Skype is changing perspective on VoIP. Today I see 26488 users up +40% from the 18869 I saw yesterday about the same time. A good part of my practice has been scenarios for the last few years. While Skype should not be "news" to telecoms, MS or Yahoo for it's potential. I'd like to know how many have really thought it through and if even aware. Then what action and scenarios are they using to challenge their strategic thinking. Will US Telecoms be the next RIAA?

This link below to a comment sums up why it sounds good to me. It also suggests a solution is required for directory security. Can someone track this down and verify one way or the other? True or False?


An interesting editorial, but you might be wrong. My take on Skype is that it is using P2P technologies for the "white pages" portion of the VoIP network, not just in peers communicating directly. Super-peers store portions of these white-pages. Just as super-peers in Kazaa store indexes to music files stored on other peer machines, these super-peers store indexes to the phone numbers of other peers. They aren't clear if they are using this approach, but it's my take when they say "the network works just like Kazaa". This is also an unsecure approach, which is probably why they aren't publicizing it in detail. These super-peers could "lie" and reroute calls to the wrong peer, just as super-peers in Kazaa can "lie" about what music files are stored where. When you tell the system to find the phone number for 510-938-2222, it probably actually initiates a "search" on the network of super-peers to resolve to the actual peer that has this number, just as it would "search" for madonna.mp3.

This is an important approach, by the way, because if we don't need to maintain massive white pages servers then we can significantly reduce the capital needed to build such a network. In fact, we can reduce it down to such a marginal cost that businesses aren't needed to build these networks at all. The network, including the white pages, self-organizes out of the peers themselves. This network can then be used to build VoIP apps, virtual hard-drives, etc. I have been working on an open-source project named P2P Sockets that is attempting to achieve this; check it out at p2psockets.jxta.org. One significant issue that needs to be solved before this approach is tenable is that these white pages need to be secure even though they are also decentralized and human-friendly.
Comment at Rebels Without Cause


I really enjoyed this post from Jibbering Musings below. He's right. Skype is not a IM replacement. My words were probably sloppy earlier. However I remain convinced that it is a threat to the MSN AIM etc systems as all of them provide and have that centralized server. Some of the other points he makes... just reinforces to me the business opportunities that will emerge from a winner in the decentralized VoIP space. I think voice is also a bigger motivation for adoption than text. This voice solution may lead more people to trying IM.

I don't agree, Skype is a one at a time (currently one to one) communication mechanism. You can only talk to one person at a time, and whilst you're in that conversation you're out of communication with everyone else, even if they develop an answerphone system, you'll still have to listen to each message. Speech is a very slow medium of communication, and it requires full attention. You can't talk on skype whilst in your office, or in the middle of cooking a meal, or doing any other task that takes you away from your computer momentarily. (I have a bluetooth headset which solves some of the problems - but popping to the toilet, or to the door, or somewhere out of bluetooth range is still impossible)
refer Jibbering Musings.for more

More Skype enthusiasm:

CNet.  State regulators attempt to control VoIP phone services (Vonage).   Here is a more informative bit of analysis from Jeff Pulver.  LOL.  Let them try that with Skype. [refer J Robb]

Hope my Skype Blog Button left now works

So, you can Skype me TDavid of www.makeyougohmm.com answers my request for a Skype me link. Heres his explanation and the HTML tag and heres my Skype me link. Youll need to download and install Skype. On the this looks like a viral winner... [refer Ratcliffe]