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You’ve probably never heard of Eric S. Yuan. I hadn’t until I got the urge to write a blog about ZOOM Video Conferencing. Eric Yuan is the genius who pitched the idea of a smartphone-friendly video conferencing system to his then employer, Cisco Systems. When his plan was rejected, he left Cisco and formed his own company with his innovative system as the lead product. That company is ZOOM Video Communications Inc. with which many of us are very familiar.

ZOOM is technically a computer software company that offers a “communications platform that connects people through video, voice, chat, and content sharing. It has an easy, reliable cloud platform….for mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.” If you’ve ever participated in a ZOOM call you’re familiar with what I’m saying. It’s a wonderful tool for business, education, and family interaction.

In the 1950’s, television was fascinated with science fiction. Every Saturday morning, “Captain Midnight,” a former WWII pilot, fought the forces of evil with the help of people under his command. When he communicated a mission to his subordinates, he called them on a “video phone” — he could see who he was talking too, and they could see him. It was amazing to this 10 year old! Well, Capt. Midnight’s video phone is now a reality thanks in part to ZOOM.

To be fair, ZOOM was not the first company to introduce such a system. Skype, WebEx, and Google all had videoconferencing software systems, but it was ZOOM that developed a system that was simple and easy-to-use. Video quality was better, and users grasped the ease of use  with virtually no problem.

ZOOM focused on business meetings, small business conferencing, family get-togethers, and small group lectures. Since it was designed to be very easy to use (and it is), it rapidly became a popular communications tool. ZOOM, the company, was founded in 2011, and had its initial public offering (IPO) of stock in April 2019. Soon thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic did wonders for ZOOM’s profits. In fiscal year 2020, before COVID-19, profits totaled $22 million (not bad). In fiscal year 2021, profits rose to an astounding $672.3 million! with total revenue of $2.651 billion. This moved Eric Yuan’s net worth to an astounding $16.4 billion. 

ZOOM’s core products are ZOOM Meetings (#1 product), ZOOM Phone, ZOOM Chat, ZOOM Rooms, ZOOM App Marketplace, ZOOM Conference Room Connector, ZOOM Video Webinars, and ZOOM Developer Platform. ZOOM Meetings can host up to 250 participants for as long as 24 hours, but “can support up to 1000 participants for 30 hours.” That makes our weekly 6-participant, 90-minute call a small player. ZOOM reports an average of over 200 million daily users and 56,498 companies that benefit from the “Meetings” software! 

Of course, you can make a ZOOM call for free, but your call must not exceed 40 minutes. I have subscribed to their “Pro level” package that permits me any number of calls and participants for any length of time for $14.99/month. 

Security early on was a problem for ZOOM users. Hackers could gain access to calls and Zoombomb a conference. Apparently, it was bad enough that Google banned its employees from using ZOOM for security reasons, and because Google has a competing product of its own. ZOOM now claims security problems have been corrected. In the almost 100 times I have used ZOOM, I have not experienced an interruption or a hack. 

Skype, WebEx, Google Duo, Go-to-Meeting, Vonage, Google Workspace, Fuse, Mitel, and LogMeln are the top competing products. But how often have you heard let’s make a “Fuse call” or a “Mitel call?” Never in my experience.

Sandy and I have friends of 70 years with whom we still keep in touch. We have traveled together so many times, we’ve lost count. When the pandemic hit, we started having ZOOM calls one day every week because we weren’t able to travel. Every Thursday, at 3:30 pm Arizona time, 5:30 pm Chicago time, and 6:30 pm Indianapolis, Maine, and Florida time we have a ZOOM call. So for 82 consecutive weeks, the 10 of us at 6 locations, ZOOM together every Thursday afternoon. Not everyone participates every week because conflicts arise, but all of us have been true to an unwritten, unexpressed commitment to keep on ZOOM-ing. 

The ZOOM communication system was a real blessing in November, 2020 when our longest, truest, and best friend, Mark Southerland, passed away suddenly. ZOOM calls enabled us to share in the moment with his wife, Jean, on a more personal, intimate basis. Face-to-face communication has so much more meaning even if it’s through a computer. Our weekly communications have continued, and will for the foreseeable future. 

When families are apart at holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. ZOOM calls are a great way the family can share in the event on a personal level. When COVID-19 prevented our church SENIORS ministry from meeting last year, ZOOM came to the rescue and kept the ministry alive and communication active. 

We can thank the genius of 51 year-old Chinese-American Eric S. Yuan. Had he not come to the U.S. in 2007, ZOOM might be a Chinese company, and look much different. Because Yuan was free to develop his idea on his own, and form his own company, Americans have benefitted. If you find a way to improve upon an already established product, success will come your way. Eric Yuan was named Time Magazine’s 2020 “Businessperson of the year!” His business has grown very fast driven by a disastrous worldwide event. But because of ZOOM, relationships may be better now than they were before. 


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  1. I enjoyed zoom calls during the pandemic. The younger generation (kids) were able to add different names and comments. It was funny to see this happen. But we had no idea how it happened.

    Classes are on zoom now. Lifeline learning has taken a new Avenue for us.

    Interesting article. Thanks

  2. I enjoyed zoom calls during the pandemic. The younger generation (kids) were able to add different names and comments. It was funny to see this happen. But we had no idea how it happened.

    Classes are on zoom now. Lifeline learning has taken a new Avenue for us.

    Interesting article. Thanks

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