Amber: Hi, I’m Amber Ambrose, welcome to BusinessMakers USA, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Today my guest is Derek Pando from Zoom, the International Marketing guy from Zoom, actually.
Derek: That’s right.
Amber: Welcome to the show.
Derek: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Amber: What is Zoom? I saw it all over the Houston airport and now I want to know what it is.
Derek: I think the best way to describe it is just frictionless video communications.
Amber: Frictionless, I like that.
Derek: Whether that’s you talking to a co-worker on your laptop or joining a webinar for a company you are trying to learn more about, or a conference room that has cameras built into it that’s powered by video, we’re in the middle of it.
Amber: We were talking about how there are other platforms to do this. We won’t name them, but they always tend to be glitchy, and it’s not because of the technology, I don’t think. I think it’s because different people have different Wi-Fi speeds, or they’re connected to an ethernet. There’s a lot of factors involved. How do you guys overcome that challenge to be frictionless?
Derek: I think a lot of it goes back to how we were founded. Our CEO is a guy named Eric Yuan and he helped create WebEx, which is a very popular, especially among businesses, video conferencing and screen sharing solution.
Amber: That was owned by Cisco?
Derek: Eventually bought by Cicso and eventually they wanted to, Eric was like, ‘Hey you know what? Technology has changed, people have changed, we need to kind of build this thing from the ground up.’ They said, ‘We’re not really interested in that,’ as a lot of big companies do. He said, ‘You know what? I’m going to leave and build Zoom.’ He took a lot of the top engineers and basically all the expertise that he had with the industry, and he architected it so that whether you are on a low bandwidth, or you are on a phone, or a laptop, or in a conference room, it works. In such a crowded market where there are so many competitors, if it didn’t work better we probably wouldn’t exist. A lot of it is the technology that we built for the modern, video powered world.
Amber: Makes sense. What markets do you serve? I know you have kind of niches within different areas.
Derek: Yes. There’s a million different applications. It’s fun, in the marketing department I get to see kind of some of the stranger applications of Zoom.
Amber: Ok, well I’m going to stop you right there because now I want to hear some of the stranger things.
Derek: Not strange but just different. Think of, like, people who teach yoga classes over Zoom.
Amber: Oh, cool.
Derek: Or, we see people that use it to coordinate—at our user conference last year, Zoomtopia, there was a university in Southern California where they use it for their rapid response team in the case of a potential school shooting. Before, everybody was supposed to go meet in one place to kind of coordinate emergency response, but they were like, that doesn’t make any sense. We can’t have people—
Amber: It takes extra time.
Derek: It takes extra time, we can’t have people running around a campus when something like that is going on and so now Zoom is part of their emergency response. They stay where they are, whether it be on a phone or computer, and they coordinate with the police and all the different members of the university that need to be involved in something like that. Another great use case is there are hospitals that use it to bring people into the healing process that wouldn’t normally be able to be there, especially for children. They’ll Zoom in a parent on an iPad as they do a therapy, whereas maybe the parent, if they had to drive from wherever they work, they wouldn’t be able to. If they can Zoom in for half an hour they are able to participate and encourage and help with the learning.
Amber: I like the Zoom in.
Derek: Zoom in, that’s right.
Amber: I like puns, what can I say? I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but those stories are really fascinating because it’s as creative as your customers can get with the platform, but there are some bigger use cases.
Derek: Where we started when we first saw a lot of traction was in the education industry. The whole California State University system uses Zoom, and we have universities like Stanford who leverage it help do everything from virtual classrooms, to virtual office hours, to inviting guest speakers in virtually. We also see large businesses that use it to coordinate internally with their colleagues and other offices in the same country or outside the country, as well as like if you’re selling around the world and you want to see people and you want to show them your products, they do it over Zoom.
Amber: Wow, that’s great. Another thing that you guys do that I find fascinating is that you throw an entire conference, starting last year.
Derek: We Do. That it was our first one, Zoomtopia.
Amber: Zoomtopia. Just for the users of your product?
Derek: That’s right. Basically, one big goal when we do a user conference like that, and that is to give a group hug to our customers and let them know we appreciate them, and inspire them, teach them, and bring them all together so they can meet each other.
Amber: So, what can you find other than the group hug, which is wonderful.
Derek: We had Bob Myers, the General Manager of the Warriors, to inspire people and talk about leadership. We had break out sessions where people could learn about how to use Zoom in different ways and improve how they rolled out across the company. We had Weezer come play that evening at the party, so it’s a mixture of we want to teach people, we want to help them network, and then we also want to have people have a good time.
Amber: And entertain, yeah. Well, let me know who is coming in October.
Derek: We haven’t announced it yet. I know who it is, but I can’t tell you, I’m sorry.
Amber: Ok, my lips are sealed because I don’t actually know so I can’t unseal them anyway. Well, Derek, this has been very enlightening and thank you so much for being here today.
Derek: No problem, thanks for having me.
Amber. We are going to be paying attention to Zoom.
Derek: Sounds great.
Amber: Thanks again for joining us today on BusinessMakers USA, coming to you from San Jose, California. I’m Amber Ambrose, this is Derek Pando.
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