Friis & Zennström's success with
Kazaa and Skype
Kazaa logo Skype logo

2. Design of the Examination

2.1 Selection of the Case Study Method

I want to describe current entrepreneurship and have chosen to narrow my study to focus on the two connected cases of Kazaa and Skype.

There is a general problem with case studies one cannot generalize from a case study to the world outside the case. I am aware of this problem when I propose answers to the research questions 2 and 3, which precisely are attempts to generalize the findings in the case.

The study is based on secondary sources only and not on personal contacts with people directly involved. The description of the cases is partly based on Danish newspaper reports 2000-2005, partly on news found on the Internet. Further I use information from literature on economics and organization.

As the paper is mainly based on newspaper reports, there may be a problem with the sources and the press bias. Newspapers like to tell exiting and entertaining stories. We have heard about Friis and Zennström's success. The main bias is that the press cannot predict who will have success. I will discuss this in details in section 5.5.

2.2 Considerations of Validity (1)

There are four considerations one should take into account before and after an empirical social study:

  1. Validity: Is this study actually examining what it claims to examine?
  2. Reliability: Is the study carried out in a sufficiently exact way?
  3. Representability: Is the data representative of the case?
  4. Method and design: Are the chosen methods and combinations of data appropriate?

Here is a judgment before the actual study was carried out:

  1. Validity: The problem is to combine the data with relevant theories so that the research questions are answered in an exact way. The examination of research questions 2 and 3 depend on the examination of research question 1.
  2. Reliability: Does the newspaper articles contain the relevant information, and is the information extracted properly? Research question 1 is closely connected to the newspaper sources. In my arguments I hope not only to describe, but also to explain why Friis and Zennström had success. This depends on a successful combination of data and relevant theories. My proposed answers to research questions 2 and 3 will mostly consist of extrapolations of my answer to question 1.
  3. Representability: The study consists of two connected cases. This means that the data must be representative for the cases, not for business life in general. The sources in the case seem relevant, and the employed newspaper articles contain several points of view. Especially in the computer section of the daily Politiken are a series of interviews with Janus Friis' own words.
  4. Method and design: The chosen method and design are promising.