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Community Activation

Skype is a brilliant example of the power of nurturing communities with a high-quality product, continued innovation and ease of connection. While recognizing that in this instance it’s also the essence of the product, that’s a sub-text.

Compare Skype to Vonage for a second and you will see what I mean. I "joined" Vonage about four months ago. They treat me just like SBC or Verizon. Every add-on costs more. I get a bill and little else other than the product. The quality is pretty suspect. And while cheaper than Verizon, it ain’t cheaper than Skype.

Then there is my Skype account. I get more and more value from neat add-ons developed by Skype and its community. The price and quality are much better than anything Vonage offers. And the community just gets better as a result of this innovation. Then vSkype comes along and adds to my Skype experience with video calling. Bam! The community activates and becomes more valuable – to Skype and to each other. vSkype’s CEO says in an email that in the first 36 hours they had 50,000 downloads while some 8 hours later they zipped past 100,000. That’s momentum.

Skype Journal has a terrific interview with Stuart Jacobson. In the Participatory Era Skype is establishing an incredible lead over Vonage – in participatory terms,

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