September 3, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting, widespread pivot to working remotely drove explosive growth in Zoom usage: from about 10 million daily participants in Zoom video conferences to 300 million worldwide. Aside from the platform’s adoption by businesses, there have been a variety of other, more social applications in the time of quarantines and restricted travel, from remote weddings to yoga classes.
Earlier this week, Fox Business reported that Zoom Video Communications, the Silicon Valley technology company founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, had achieved a market capitalization of $125 billion, surpassing IBM.
However, on the latest Walker Webcast—conducted, fittingly enough, via Zoom—Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker noted that Zoom had been garnering superlatives from Wall Street analysts well before the pandemic upended daily life. He cited the company’s ability to rapidly scale up and accommodate this spring’s dramatic growth in demand as a testament to the kind of platform Yuan has built.
Meeting that demand is a task Yuan and his team take quite seriously. “This is a critical time,” he told the webcast audience. “We need to do all we can to help people stay connected.”
Yuan enumerated some of the drivers behind Zoom’s widespread acceptance. One is his goal of providing a “frictionless experience” regardless of how many features are added to the platform. Another is an open, transparent culture for both Zoom’s users and its team members.
Still another is responsiveness to problems as soon as they arise. “Speed is everything,” said Yuan.
What today is known as the Zoom platform might well have been brought to market by Cisco Systems, Yuan’s then-current employer, had his pitch for a smartphone-based videoconferencing app gotten a positive response in early 2011. It didn’t, though, and Yuan departed to launch his own venture.
A Chinese native who was inspired to join the U.S. tech scene by seeing Bill Gates give a speech in Tokyo in 1994, Yuan knew early on that he’d want to form a company of his own. “It’s hard not to think about entrepreneurship when you live in Silicon Valley,” he said.
Replays of the Sept. 2 webcast are available by clicking here.
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