Newsmaker of the month: The phenomenal rise of Zoom
In a year of remote work, if there’s one thing that has enabled corporate communications, it has to be technology that helped employees connect over video conference. On top of the list is Zoom. A number of companies also turned to technology platforms they were already using including Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, Cisco WebEx, Skype, etc.,
Zoom stood out because it was easier to use and had a 40 minute free to use option. By March 2020, Zoom had become one of the world’s most downloaded applications; repeatedly breaking its own record by touching millions of downloads a day. The growth was also reflected in the stock market. Zoom’s stock was valued at $40 billion as much as Uber. By October 2020, the company’s year-on-year revenue growth had soared 367 percent, reporting a total revenue of $ 777.2 million.
But the year 2020 was not all that rosy for the company. As the application started to boom, there was increased scrutiny of the platform. There were a number of privacy and security issues that were raised. Amid increased criticism, the CEO apologized, while taking responsibility for the issues. Since then, the company has been sharing regular updates on the use of personal data and encryption policies.
The TIME magazine recognized Eric Yuan, the CEO of the company as the businessperson of the year – describing his role, the magazine noted that “Yuan soon found himself serving as the world’s relationship liaison, social chair, principal, convention-center host, chief security officer, and pallbearer.” Yuan’s own career journey served as a lesson in leadership and entrepreneurship.
With increased scrutiny of its business and leadership, there was bound to be increased scrutiny of the workplace culture. The company was better placed when it came to workplace recognition. Zoom had already ranked among companies with the happiest employees in 2019. And despite a roller coaster of a year, the company managed to retain a spot among the best places to work.
As the pandemic is brought under control and workplaces open up to employees, Zoom will have to reinvent itself for a hybrid world of work – one where the consumption of video services will continue but it will not serve as a replacement for human interaction.