The first time I used Zoom, it was for a job interview. It was terrifying. Videoconferencing wasn't a normal way of working for me, and the thought of sitting there staring at my computer screen--while someone stared back--was not my idea of a relaxing interview scenario.
I mean, I've used FaceTime, which made it possible to connect face-to-face with friends or our family on our iPhones. When I travel, I love to FaceTime with our kids in the morning before they get on the bus. Of course, now, there's no traveling, and there's no school bus.
Now, I use Zoom for four or five hours a day. In fact, I manage a team that is fully remote, and we've been that way for as long as I've worked at this company. Zoom is simply how we hold meetings.
Of course, it's also now how everyone holds meetings. That explains why the company, which went public in April of last year, is currently worth more than the major airlines. All of them. The whole industry.
Zoom 2019 market cap: $18.8B-- Will Hershey (@maybebullish) March 23, 2020
Airlines 2019 market cap: $78.1B
Zoom current market cap: $44.5B
Airlines current market cap: $27.0B
Note: Airlines includes Delta, United, American and Jet Blue.
Here are five things Zoom has done that every business should consider:
1. Make It Easy
For a long time, videoconferencing was something that required downloading software, understanding how to set it up, and complicated dial-in processes. Zoom, on the other hand, is pretty much as easy as FaceTime.
Just click on a Zoom link in an invitation and it will launch your meeting. If you don't have the Zoom app installed, it will prompt you to download and install. It's fast and simple, which means that it's something that even the least tech-savvy among us can handle.
2. Make It Accessible
You can also use it on any device. It works on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, desktop, or Android device. That means pretty much anyone can use it, well, anywhere. Which, if you think about it, is just another way of making it easy.
Of course, it's also a valuable lesson for every company. The more ways your customers can use your service or buy your products, the better. The reason Zoom took off right now is because everyone can use it no matter how they connect to the internet.
3. Make It Affordable
Also, it helps that Zoom is free to use. I don't just mean for joining meetings; that's true of a lot of videoconferencing services. You can actually host Zoom meetings for free, which hasn't been true of its competition. (In fairness, many of them currently are offering free versions to help companies as their workforce is suddenly working from home.)
Zoom didn't invent the freemium model, where a company offers a limited version of its service for free, and then charges for additional features, but it certainly mastered it in a highly technical market where it hadn't really been done before. As a result, millions of people are using Zoom in really creative ways to stay connected both for work and personal reasons.
4. Make It Reliable
Speaking of those millions of people, Zoom has held up remarkably well considering the surge in usage over the past few weeks. Sure, it's had a few glitches, but when you think of the sheer bandwidth and data processing that has to happen to make real-time video meetings possible, it's actually pretty impressive that the whole thing hasn't collapsed.
Of course, in Zoom's case, a lot of people are depending on its technology holding up. A lot of companies are using Zoom to stay connected and keep their teams productive, which means there's no margin for downtime.
5. Make It Fun
Finally, Zoom is actually pretty fun. For example, instead of hosting a meeting where everyone has to stare at you in your kitchen, you can add your own background so that it looks like you're on the beach or in outer space. You might think those types of features are totally unnecessary, and you'd be right. They aren't. That's why they're fun. And, to be honest, right now, everyone can use a little fun.