A few weeks ago a coworker insisted that I install Skype for chatting at work. I’m currently employed by a startup with no offices yet, so I work out of my house. For this application Skype has worked extremely well. I can setup conference calls in a matter of seconds and get everyone onboard to discuss development issues. One of the top selling points for a startup is that the calls are free and easy. As long as you have bandwith you can call anyone else on Skype. One minor issue is that the person hosting the conf call has to have a decent amount of bandwith as bandwith seems to increase linearly with number of attendees.
While this is all great, what has been even better is getting friends and family onboard. I’ve moved away from my family in Michigan and married a California girl and live in the Bay Area. This means that keeping in touch with everyone has always been a bit of a pain. With Skype though you just press the call button and are instantly connected. With no monetary cost and little time cost required to communicate I’ve found that I actually chat a lot more with my family.
Another strange thing that has occurred is that people will just randomly call other people throughout the world and chat. I was contacted by a woman in columbia yesterday that just wanted to chat. I was a bit rude at first because my first instinct was that it was a scam and I was waiting for the viagra pitch. However, she was nice and just wanted to say hello. Didn’t have anything to really talk about so that was about it, but it was just a different experience.
Another positive experience involved keeping in touch with friends that have moved all over the world. A couple of friends from college moved to Korea. One was home visiting her family in Arizona while the other was still in Korea when I found out that they were on Skype. I set up a conference call and it just worked beautifully. It was like they were right next to me. This is surprising since I have called them in the past on normal phones and the delay was so bad that simply talking was almost impossible. Now that I know that I can chat with them almost instantly it’ll make keeping in touch that much easier.
I really think that as more people discover the power that this has that the telecoms are in trouble, my family skpes me instead of calling 100% of the time now. The telecoms are going to have to find a way to make money off of maintaining their networks as phone revenues dry up.