A simplified synopsis of Zoom

garyorenstein
2 min readApr 2, 2020

Zoom took off because it just worked. And the video was default on. No more, “how do I turn this video on?”

“I just worked” meant a simple download and install process was imperative.

Yes, Zoom could play by the all the exact rules, but then the installation experience would be terrible. Users would face opt-in after opt-in, with settings, check boxes, and dialogues…a near-impossible path for novice or non-technical user.

Essentially we’re talking about Zoom grabbing control of your computer and that is needed to make a seamless video conferencing experience. Having a user configure all of those permissions is too much to ask, so the software installation process becomes aggressive.

But there’s another aspect of sharing data and what happens with that data. On that front it appears that the company is on the road to recovery, at least according to the CEO’s blog post yesterday.

On March 29th, we updated our privacy policy to be more clear and transparent around what data we collect and how it is used — explicitly clarifying that we do not sell our users’ data, we have never sold user data in the past, and have no intention of selling users’ data going forward.
- Eric S. Yuan, CEO, Zoom, in a blog post on April 1, 2020

It’s one thing to take control of a computer so that you have amazing video conferencing. It’s another to have less than perfect privacy setups in place.

Reality appears to be that Zoom went from 10 million daily users to 200 million daily users in 3 months and is largely keeping up with demand as far as I can tell. That alone is amazing and outstanding.

I’ve had a number of personal and professional experiences with Zoom in the last month and many more before that. All have been great. But there are also people now making their livelihood professionally and personally with Zoom. It is a transformational story.

Long story short, it is the best product in its class, by far.

Before reading the Zoom blog post, I shared on Twitter,

There is way too much talk about Zoom and not enough talk about viable alternatives that just work
7:52 AM · Apr 1, 2020·Twitter

Regardless what you think of Zoom, there is not enough talk about the next wave of video conferencing giants.

I’m not talking about Cisco WebEx or Microsoft SkyTeams, or Google meets Hangouts meets Hangout Meets. I’m talking about something new.

Some folks are talking about https://jitsi.org/. That may be a place to look, but Jitsi is still developer-centric. Zoom has push-button functions for launching a registration-based webcast that instantly turns into a webcast on-demand. It is easy and slick.

So now we wait. Hopefully Zoom will appease more of the people who have called them out. And maybe we’ll see a push-button SaaS ecosystem develop around Jitsi.

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