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

7. What are the Conditions for Other Entrepreneurs to be Equally Successful?

7.1 Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

To repeat from section 5.1.c: There may be thousands of entrepreneurs with innovative projects ready for the market. Each of these projects may have the potential to prosper, but not all of the projects will prosper.

Fred Hirsch refers in his book "Social Limits to Growth" to Philip H. Wicksteed, who wrote that whereas Napoleon might wish to encourage the belief that every soldier carried in his knapsack a marshal's baton, it was obviously impossible that every as distinct from any soldier could rise to the position of marshal.

"For the existence of one marshal implies the existence of a number of soldiers who are not marshals." [Note 232]

Every but not any entrepreneur can turn into a billionaire. But advance in the society is only possible by moving to a higher place among one's fellows by improving one's performance in relation to other people's performances, or with Hirsch's words:

"If everyone stands on tiptoe, no one sees better." [Note 233]

Probably, it will not be easy to make the right people interested. In section 4.3.a, Daniel Roth described how Friis and Zennström tried to attract venture capital investments:

"When the two started Kazaa, they couldn't get a call returned. ... Without Kazaa, they would likely be just two European entrepreneurs trying to get some attention."

7.2 Answering Research Question 3

What are the requirements for other entrepreneurs to be equally successful?

If you want to be successful like Friis and Zennström, you must realize that:

  • It is an effect to be a billionaire, not a cause. Being rich, famous, and successful are effects that are caused by something else.
  • The cause for success may be a combination of good ideas, hard work, and preparation to be lucky by consciously adapting for the situation

The cases of Kazaa and Skype show that Friis and Zennström could create a large profit by letting the customers do both the work and the marketing:

  • Friis and Zennström took advantage of a known, but unused technology and perfected it before they brought it to the market
  • They let their customers build the network by themselves simply by offering the tools
  • They let their customers do the marketing as well

"Go, and do thou likewise," or

"Don't be afraid to take a chance or to make a fool of yourself." [Note 234]

7.3 Considerations of Validity (2)

Repeated from section 2:

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 my judgment after the actual study was carried out:

  1. Validity: Yes, the study seems to be a valid combination of data and relevant theories. I provide the details for my answer to research question 1 in the sections 5.7 and 5.8. My suggested answers to the research questions 2 and 3 draws on that as well. As I expected, the examination of research questions 2 and 3 depend on the examination of research question 1.
  2. Reliability: Yes, the study seems reliable. I have preferred contemporary sources and have made notes to avoid "post hoc" mistakes. I have kept a sharp eye on the relations of cause and effect and have been aware of the conditions of survival. The guesses for answers 2 and 3 are less reliable, but as Huff notes: "Extrapolations are useful, particularly in that form of soothsaying called forecasting trends (section 6.3)
  3. Representability: Yes, the study seems representative, but as it is a single-case study, it is only representative of the cases of Kazaa and Skype. Much information stems from more than one source, and I have made notes if the sources differed.
  4. Method and design: Appropriate, as it appeared to be possible to combine the various written sources with the chosen theories.