Over the last few days, I've been getting many questions about Zoom, so I wanted to write down my thoughts and share my experience working with Eric and the Zoom team. For full disclosure, I'm an investor, board member, happy customer, and friend of Zoom. Given the company's performance, as an early investor, it is obvious I am delighted with the journey. But today, I'm writing this post from the perspective of someone who has known Eric and the Zoom team both personally and professionally for years, as someone who uses Zoom daily, and someone whose household now runs on Zoom. Above all, it is remarkable to me that the company was able to successfully scale to support 20x the number of daily participants, let alone handle the feedback and issues that the new, unforeseen use cases brought. In a matter of days, Eric and his team had already rolled out updates and set in motion Zoom's 90-day plan to build a safer and more secure experience with top security and privacy experts.
I trust Zoom because I trust Eric and his team.
I have known Eric for many years. We first came across Zoom back in August of 2012, and over the course of our friendship and partnership, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the truly talented people that are building Zoom. Eric has been very intentional with his hires and how he leads a values-driven culture. The Culture of Care is real—and that extends beyond employees to customers, partners, community—essentially everyone that Zoom touches. It was real in the early days, and it is still very real right now, even during this pandemic, as Eric and each and every team member works around the clock to keep up with user needs.
I trust Zoom because I deeply believe in their vision.
From the very beginning, Eric's vision has remained steady. His vision was to provide a video-first communication platform to allow people to "Meet Happy." Over the course of his career, he continued to see the frustration that people had using other video communication services. He knew there was a better way, and he set out to build it. Despite the many naysayers, he stayed the course and focused on building Zoom for his customers. He would personally connect with customers asking for feedback, and even to this day, he is obsessed with making his customers happy and successful. Even today, amongst all the challenges the pandemic has brought, he is actively responding to Zoom users on Twitter.
I trust Zoom because it just works.
I first came across Zoom in 2012, and what attracted me to the product was that it just worked. It is easy to sign up, easy to manage, and almost effortless to join any meeting. Even now, when in a short period of time, the company's daily meeting participants have jumped from ~10 million to 200 million, it still just works. At first, Zoom helped me stay connected to my family in Argentina, and it is incredible how things have come full circle. My days start on Zoom, and my wife uses Zoom to work for her non-profit, and my children do their school work via Zoom. Like many others around the world right now, we depend on Zoom to stay connected, engaged with our community, and to keep up with our mental and physical health.
I trust Zoom because they are humble, transparent, and action-oriented.
After years of working across large organizations, Eric took a much different approach with Zoom. He brought on a team of fresh talent, driven individuals who were eager to learn and grow with the company. And even as the company grew and went public, Zoom has stayed nimble. Eric believes that in business, speed is everything—as is feedback. Eric is continually working to make Zoom better, and he is the first to say that he doesn’t know everything. He is always finding ways to learn, and right now, as the CEO of one of the most visible companies in this pandemic, Eric is learning on the world’s stage.
As Zoom scaled to support the unprecedented growth, several security, privacy, and usability issues came to light. Rather than trying to make excuses or deflect, Eric remained humble, transparent, and immediately took action. The team is actively revising the core elements of Zoom to transform it into a privacy-and-security-first business, and they have already made huge strides to address and resolve the issues. Eric put together a council of experienced CISOs to advise the team on all matters of security, privacy, and data. Additionally, the engineering team has pressed pause on any projects they had in the pipeline and are now all hands on deck to ensure every aspect of the product is secure to the highest standards.
I trust Zoom because they have done the right thing, and will always continue to do so.
Eric has always done what is right for his users, his team, and his community from day one. It is ingrained in their culture. As a friend, I can honestly say (hand to heart) that he is a genuine person, always with the best intentions. With his history as an indicator of how Eric conducts business when he says something, he means it. Although, as you learn, sometimes doing the right thing can come at a cost. In the recent case, Eric was eager to extend free service to K-12 teachers that perhaps he went too fast and failed to think through all the implications. However, as a parent myself and with Emergence as an advocate for education, we stand by him that ultimately it was the right decision. In hindsight, it was a learning experience and is now being handled, but above all, we value a CEO or leader who takes action and owns it.
In summary, I trust that Eric and the Zoom team are taking all the right steps to make Zoom better, safer, and more secure for each and every user.
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