In many disciplines, going beyond the headline is important, but in the tech space, especially with start-ups (I include in that anyone yet to prove they can make serious money) facts are really important, because many of us tend to slip into la la land when talking about our products/service.
Take a look at this posting from FierceVOIP blog:
Skype scores 12M concurrent customers
Skype watchers noted the big VoIP provider this week enjoyed 12 million concurrent users for a short period. The peak occurred around 19:00 GMT and coincided to a period when both European and U.S. users were using Skype. According to the Skype Journal, the strong rise in usage reflects a recent lift in the take-up of Skype by U.S. customers. Over 80 percent of Skype's user base is offshore from the U.S. and Skype has long yearned for a bigger U.S. audience. The peaks are driven by its European base.
At the same time, Skype claimed to have clocked 100 billion minutes of audio and video usage. What that means is hard to get your head around, other than to note there are now 276 million users with registered Skype accounts. If only someone could work out how to make money from free telephony!
Now, did Skype actually have 12 million concurrent users? NO! They had 12 million on-line at the same time. Impressive, but not the same as 12 million people actually all making a phone call at the same time. Also need to remember that many Skype "users," including me, mainly use Skype as another IM tool, and rarely for actual phone calls. I do have some Euro loaded into my account, for those desperate times when I have wifi and need to call off the IP network (using SkypeOut).
The most important line of the post above was the last line, which is that Skype still has not figured out how to makes gobs of money from its "12 million concurrent users," much to Ebay's sadness (for those of you who already forgot that deal, Ebay bought Skype for billions of dollars, many of us are still trying to figure out why they would have paid anything...).
Call me old-fashioned, but while I love whiz-bang technology as much as the next person, a start-up is [at some point] supposed to actually become a business, which means turning a profit.
Oh, even in business you can be a loss leader at times (see here what my friend Rami Levi is doing to chicken prices in Israeli supermarkets) but that is quite simply a marketing ploy.
Writing a headline is an art, but those only get you so far. After the headline comes reality, and even if Skype really had 12 million people talking at the same time (imagine listening in), if it's gross profit margin is no better than Rami Levi, well, then they better start selling chicken--at least then people will get something to eat after all that talking (as a Vegan, only using chicken to make the point, would prefer tofu!).