Had a nice visit to Skype Estonia. Apparently they have been very good at keeping the secret about acquisition rumors, and I'll have to respect their privacy, but can share a little.
I thought everyone would be drunk by 4pm on the day of a big exit, as is more than typical back home. But on an internal webcast they emphasized eight times that it was business as usual. And it was. Since I visited in November, they have almost tripled their team and were growing out of their secret location.
While hanging out in the kitchen, I found a copy of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Nice. Guess this is where I can slot in the wiki plug, Skype has always run on wikis inside (and another well known communication tool). Maybe the first significant exit for a wiki-based company?
One of the guys I was hanging out with is the father of blogging in Estonia. His offspring is still relatively small, about 1 thousand active blogs, but my sense is that may change soon, especially with Share Skype as a corporate communications case. The work Lenn Pryor is doing with the Skype developer program is pretty significant, they have more to do, but this is one API-based developer program that is starting to make sense. Joining eBay increases the scale of the platform and community that holds it responsible. Quite different from the small startups that try to position themselves with proprietary APIs as a platform when they have no community.
Meg Whitman apparently mentioned in the conference call that Estonia was seen as a key pool of talent. This is absolutely the case, but the labor market for the best people is really tight, which brought up my key issue of how open Estonia should be.
When I visited last year I had the sense that this is where the real hacker entrepreneurs were. Committed for the love of the product, respect for the technology, interest to understand social patterns and a vision to be fulfilled. This time there were new faces amongst the backdrop of a very big deal. In a couple of hours they are all headed to celebrate, as they should, maybe I'll stop by.