The CEO of Zoom just gave a fascinating interview about what happened to Zoom last month. Every smart business leader needs to be careful

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It is a story about an interview with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan and the challenges Zoom has faced in the past month or so.

You might find this interesting if you are a Zoom customer, or even if you are one of the millions who have only been introduced to Zoom in the past few weeks.

But if you’re running a business – really, any business in almost any industry – you’ll want to pay close attention to the key points to remember.

It’s exponential and rampant growth – and why it’s not always a good thing.

From 10 million to 200 million users

Launched in 2011, Zoom has enjoyed great popularity as a transparent video conferencing service, primarily for businesses. He normally has about ten million free and paid daily users.

during in the past month, following the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom has become ubiquitous. More than 200 million people used Zoom daily in March, according to a company blog.

Most new users use Zoom for free – schools, local communities and even friends hosting virtual happy hours.

This massive growth has been accompanied by scrutiny and serious privacy concerns. Some of my colleagues here at Inc.com have done a great job of chronicling everything (like here, here, here and here).

“I hope we can go back”

Against all of this, Yuan’s interview with the Wall Street newspaper Saturday, and his previous blog post last week, are fascinating.

He regrets the security breaches (“I really messed up”) and says he barely sleeps at night.

But there is also the feeling that Yuan, as a Newspaper to put it, “pays the price for the well-meaning decisions he made early in the coronavirus crisis” – things like opening the platform for free to healthcare professionals and lifting the normal 40-minute time limit for the free version of Zoom for many schools.

Although the interview clearly shows that Yuan has no regrets, he adds: ” [a]At this point, Zoom’s mass popularity is something Mr. Yuan suggests he would have preferred not to have. ”

In fact, Yuan says it himself:

“I hope we can get back to business customers after that. But the good news – if we can learn the hard lessons and get better and stronger and we can win back the users in a year or two or three, it might have been worth it … But the journey is so painful. ”

Who are your customers?

But uncontrolled growth is the lesson. IIf you’re running a business, the Zoom experience provides a good opportunity to think about the key questions to ask yourself if you see an opportunity to grow quickly. For example:

1. Are new customers really the customers I want?

Zoom added 190 million free users, with no indication that most of them will become paying customers. It can happen in any business – even if the scale is very different.

A classic example: a company offers a special discount or a free offer, but finds that the people who take advantage of it will probably never become loyal and regular customers.

2. Is my infrastructure configured to serve all these new users?

As Yuan said in his blog post, “We now have a much broader set of users who use our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we never anticipated …”

Remember to define the infrastructure broadly. A florist or restaurant that suddenly adds 1,000 new customers must ask: can we get the supplies and drivers we need to service them?

3. Will I be distracted from my real customers?

This is the key problem with Zoom now. From Yuan’s blog: “Over the next 90 days, we are … [e]freeze a feature block … and move all of our engineering resources to focus on our biggest trust, security and privacy concerns. ”

It’s commendable – but it creates a lot of distraction from other things the company prefers to do.

4. Is there another benefit?

One of the benefits for Zoom is that many more people are now familiar with the platform. Before these security concerns arose, the company received a lot of good publicity.

There is also just the intangible benefit of doing something good for your community.

However, the main lesson for business leaders in any industry is to think carefully. Everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes things that look great don’t work.

But if you want to make big strides and potentially add a ton of new customers quickly, at least do it intentionally.

Published on: Apr 5, 2020

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are theirs, not those of Inc.com.

This is a story about an interview with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan and the challenges Zoom has faced in the past month or so.

not

You might find this interesting if you are a Zoom customer, or even if you are one of the millions who have only been introduced to Zoom in recent weeks.

not

But if you run a business – really, any business in almost any industry – & nbsp; you will want to pay close attention to the key points to remember.

not

This is rampant exponential growth – and why it’s not always a good thing.

not

From 10 million to 200 million users

not

Launched in 2011, Zoom has grown in popularity as a transparent video conferencing service, primarily for businesses. It normally contains & nbsp;ten million free and paid daily users.

not

during in the past month, following the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom is & nbsp; become ubiquitous. & nbsp;More than 200 million people used Zoom daily in March, according to a company blog.

not

Most & nbsp; new users use Zoom for free – schools, local communities and even friends hosting virtual happy hours.

not

This massive growth & nbsp; has resulted in scrutiny and significant privacy concerns. Some of my colleagues here at Inc.com have done a great job of chronicling it all (like here, here, here and here). & nbsp;

not

But for the sake of brevity, let’s just say that & nbsp; if the FBI issues a security warning about your business, or a phrase like “Zoombombing” & nbsp; enters the shared lexicon, which is probably not a good thing.

not

& apos; I hope we can go back & apos;

not

Against all of this, Yuan’s interview with the Wall Street newspaper Saturday, & nbsp; and his previous blog post last week, are & nbsp; fascinating. & Nbsp;

not

He regrets the security flaws (“I really messed up”), & nbsp; and says he barely sleeps at night.

not

But there is also the feeling that Yuan, as a Newspaper to put it, “pays the price for the well-intentioned decisions he made early in the coronavirus crisis” – things like opening the platform for free to health professionals and lifting the normal 40-minute time limit for the free version of Zoom for many schools.

not

Although the interview clearly shows that Yuan does not express any & nbsp; regrets, he adds: “[a]At this point, Zoom’s mass popularity is something Mr. Yuan suggests he would have preferred not to have. “

not

In fact, Yuan says it himself: & nbsp;

not

“I hope we can get back to business customers after that. But the good news – if we can learn the hard lessons and get better and stronger and can win back the users in a couple of years or three, it would have been may have been worth it … But the journey is so painful. “

not

who are your clients? & Nbsp;

not

I root Zoom here, although I know there are many alternatives. & nbsp;

not

But uncontrolled growth is the lesson. IIf you run a business, the Zoom experience presents & nbsp; a good opportunity to reflect on the key questions to ask yourself if you see an opportunity to grow quickly. For example:

not

1. Are new customers really the customers I want?

not

Zoom added 190 million free users, with no indication that most of them will become paying customers. It can happen in any business – even if the scale is very different.

not

A classic example: a company offers & nbsp; a special discount or free offer, but finds that people who take advantage of it are unlikely to become repeat customers.

not

2. Is my infrastructure configured to serve all these new users?

not

As Yuan said in his blog post: “We now have a much wider set of users who use our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges that we had not anticipated … “& nbsp;

not

Remember to define the infrastructure broadly. A florist or restaurant that suddenly adds 1,000 new customers must ask: can we get the supplies and drivers we need to service them? & Nbsp;

not

3. Will I be distracted from my real customers?

not

This is now the key problem with Zoom. From Yuan’s blog: “Over the next 90 days, we will be … [e]freeze a feature block … and move all of our engineering resources to focus on our biggest trust, security and privacy concerns. “

not

It is commendable, but it creates a great distraction from other things that the company would prefer to do.

not

4. Is there another benefit?

not

One of the advantages for Zoom is that many more people are now familiar with the platform. Before these security concerns arose, the company received a lot of good publicity.

not

There is also just the intangible benefit of doing something good for your community.

not

However, the key to remember for business leaders in any industry is to think about everything. Everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes things that look great don’t work.

not

But if you’re going to take big steps and potentially add a ton of new customers quickly, at least do it intentionally.

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