An Interview with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan About Surviving COVID and Building Moats
Zoom 首席执行官 Eric Yuan 就 COVID 的生存之道和建立护城河接受采访

Good morning, 早上好、

I am pleased to welcome Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan for a Stratechery Interview. Yuan was an early employee at WebEx, which was acquired by Cisco in 2007, where he became Vice President of Engineering. After failing to convince Cisco to rebuild WebEx around a better video experience Yuan left the company to do just that: Zoom Video Communications was founded in 2011, and IPO’d in 2019.
很高兴邀请到 Zoom 创始人兼首席执行官 Eric Yuan 接受 Stratechery 的采访。袁曾是 WebEx 的早期员工,该公司于 2007 年被思科收购,他在那里担任工程副总裁。在未能说服思科围绕更好的视频体验重建 WebEx 之后,袁离开了这家公司:Zoom Video Communications 成立于 2011 年,并于 2019 年上市。

However, the truly formative experience for Zoom — the time it reached that most aspirational of goals, which is becoming a verb — was the COVID lockdowns. Suddenly every company, school, and family needed a video conferencing solution, and Zoom was, by a significant margin, the best product on the market.
然而,对 Zoom 来说,真正意义上的成长经历是 COVID 封锁事件。突然之间,每家公司、学校和家庭都需要一个视频会议解决方案,而 Zoom 在很大程度上是市场上最好的产品。

We talk about all of these topics in this interview: Yuan’s background growing up in China, starting Zoom, and whether or not COVID was good or bad for the company. We also talk about how Zoom is expanding beyond video calls, including chat, its contact center service, and why Yuan thinks AI makes Zoom’s product that much more defensible in the enterprise.
我们在这次采访中讨论了所有这些话题:袁在中国的成长背景、创办 Zoom 的过程,以及 COVID 对公司来说是好是坏。我们还谈到了 Zoom 如何将业务扩展到视频通话以外的领域,包括聊天、联络中心服务,以及为什么袁认为人工智能让 Zoom 的产品在企业中更具防御性。

As a reminder, all Stratechery content, including interviews, is available as a podcast; click the link at the top of this email to add Stratechery to your podcast player.
请注意,所有 Stratechery 内容(包括访谈)都可以播客形式提供;请单击本邮件顶部的链接,将 Stratechery 添加到您的播客播放器中。

On to the Update:

An Interview with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan About Surviving COVID and Building Moats
Zoom 首席执行官 Eric Yuan 就 COVID 的生存之道和建立护城河接受采访

This interview is lightly edited for clarity.

Topics: 主题
Background | Founding Zoom | COVID Challenges | Building a Moat | Team Chat | AI and Contact Center | COVID Benefits | Consumers and VR
公司背景 | 创立 Zoom | COVID 面临的挑战 | 打造护城河 | 团队聊天 | 人工智能与呼叫中心 | COVID 的优势 | 消费者与 VR

Background 背景介绍

Eric Yuan, welcome to Stratechery.
埃里克-袁,欢迎来到 "战略"。

EY: Thank you, my pleasure.
EY: 谢谢,我很荣幸。

So with these interviews, particularly the first time I talk to someone, I always like to ask about their background and how they got where they are, and I’m particularly excited to do that for you; it’s just such a fascinating story. Something that strikes me, growing up in the 70s and 80s in China, because of all the upheaval, you really got that aspect of there being diamonds in the rough, people that just seemed to come out of nowhere or a place you wouldn’t expect to be a great entrepreneur or CEO. That certainly seems to be the case for you. Is that a fair characterization?

EY: Yeah, thank you, Ben. I think it’s fair because I was so lucky because when the first wave of the Internet Revolution was born and I decided to move to Silicon Valley in 1997 to embrace the first wave of the Internet Revolution. That’s why I joined WebEx as one of the first in several —
易:是的,谢谢你,本。我认为这很公平,因为我很幸运,因为当互联网革命的第一波浪潮诞生时,我在 1997 年决定搬到硅谷去迎接互联网革命的第一波浪潮。这就是为什么我作为几家公司中最早加入 WebEx 的原因。

Right. But before then — there’s a lot of stories of entrepreneurs at that time, “Oh, they got a computer when they were young,” and all these sorts of things. When was the first time you even used a computer?

EY: When I was in my sophomore year in college. 1989, I think.
EY: 我上大二的时候。1989年吧。

Yeah and you were studying math just because that’s what you were good at and it crossed over seamlessly?

EY: That’s right. My major was applied mathematics, my minor was computer applications.
EY: 没错。我主修应用数学,辅修计算机应用。

Interesting, that’s what I’m getting at. You could go and minor in computer applications having never seen a computer before because that was just the state of affairs then.

EY: It was very expensive to have a computer at that time.
EY: 当时拥有一台电脑非常昂贵。

Yup. One of the bits of lore in your story is that video conferencing came from your desire to see your girlfriend who was a ten-hour train ride away. Was that actually part of the story or is that sort of a nice retconning? “I’m in charge of a video conferencing software now, I actually always wanted to do this.”
是的。你故事中的一个传说是,视频会议源于你想见到你的女朋友,她要坐十几个小时的火车才能到。这真的是故事的一部分吗?"我现在负责一个视频会议软件 其实我一直想做这个"

EY: Yeah, so Ben, you are so right on. There were so many stories about that, it’s just to make it very accurate, actually, when I started Zoom, it was nothing related to that. However, when I have a team, suddenly I could connect the dots, meaning when I was in college back in 1987 and my girlfriend lived in a different city, it is really hard to see her, probably only twice a year, more like a daydream, “Imagine you have a small device where you can just one click and talk with her, see her”, that’s more like a daydream. But afterwards, I never thought about that of how to build a product. When the end product was ready, I realized, “Ah, that’s something I thought about it before,” so that’s the story.
易:是的,本,你说得太对了。关于这一点的故事太多了,为了准确起见,其实我刚开始做 Zoom 的时候,跟这一点没有任何关系。然而,当我有了一个团队后,我突然就能把这些点联系起来,也就是说,1987 年我还在上大学的时候,我的女朋友住在不同的城市,要见她一面真的很难,大概一年只能见两次,这更像是一个白日梦,"想象一下,你有一个小设备,只需轻轻一点,就能和她聊天,见到她",这更像是一个白日梦。但之后,我再也没有想过如何打造一款产品。当最终产品准备就绪时,我才意识到,"啊,这是我之前就想过的。

Yeah, it’s like the Steve Jobs quote, you see the dots very clearly when you look backwards even if you didn’t see them at the time.

EY: Very true. EY: 非常正确。

So you work for two years to get a visa, you come to Silicon Valley, you join this startup called WebEx. Again, was that just a lucky circumstance that you happened to join a company that was doing video conferencing? Were you taking any job you could get or was that something you were seeking out?
你工作了两年才拿到签证,然后来到硅谷,加入了一家叫 WebEx 的初创公司。再次问一下,你碰巧加入了一家做视频会议的公司,这只是一个幸运的情况吗?你是随便找了一份工作,还是你一直在寻找这样的工作?

EY: It’s a good question. By the way, WebEx was not a video conferencing company, more like a web-conferencing company. Essentially, it was designed for facilitating screen sharing, back to early 2000.
易:这是个好问题。顺便提一下,WebEx 并不是一家视频会议公司,更像是一家网络会议公司。从本质上讲,它是为促进屏幕共享而设计的,最早可以追溯到 2000 年初。

Yeah. I guess it wasn’t really possible to do video sharing then.

EY: You are so right as there’s no video camera at that time, bandwidth also was limited. So yeah, so I was very lucky. I knew one of the co-founders of WebEx and they gave me an offer of an H-1 working visa. Finally, I got here, and just started writing code, so I guess probably whatever the product they wanted to build at that time, I would write code so I could survive.
易:你说得太对了,当时没有摄像机,带宽也有限。所以我很幸运。我认识 WebEx 的一位联合创始人,他们给了我 H-1 工作签证。最后,我来到了这里,开始写代码,我想不管他们当时想做什么产品,我都会写代码,这样我就能活下去了。

You mentioned you didn’t even really get to a computer until your sophomore year in college. Coding, was that just something that you just picked up right away, just came naturally to you?

EY: Prior to moving here in the Valley, I already spent a few years on coding, because back then, for me to make a living, I had to write code, I had coding skills. However, I probably stopped for a while because I also built software and also sold software, not 100% of the time focusing on the coding. But after I moved here, I had to, so I worked very hard to write code.

Founding Zoom 创始变焦

So Webex gets acquired by Cisco. At this point, you are quite senior at WebEx and then you become quite senior at Cisco and as lore has it, you wanted to rebuild the whole thing and I think you actually dropped an important point here, WebEx started just screen sharing in a super low-bandwidth environment, you couldn’t even do video conferencing, video conferencing gets tacked on, was that the primary catalyst? It’s like, “Look, we can do video now, we should restart from there,” or what was your thinking around that?
Webex 被思科收购。此时,您在 WebEx 的职位已相当高,然后您在思科的职位也相当高,正如传说中的那样,您想重建整个公司,我认为您在此放弃了一个重要的观点,WebEx 一开始只是在超低带宽环境下进行屏幕共享,您甚至不能进行视频会议,视频会议是附加的,这是主要的催化剂吗?就像 "看,我们现在可以做视频了,我们应该从这里重新开始",或者你们是怎么考虑的?

EY: That’s exactly right. So back then, I never thought about leaving WebEx because I was a part of the early founding team. I wrote a lot of code, I was a Vice President of Engineering. You feel like, “That’s my baby.” So every day I spent a lot of time on talking with customers, trying to solicit their feedback.
EY: 正是如此。当时,我从未想过离开 WebEx,因为我是早期创始团队的一员。我写了很多代码,是工程副总裁。你会觉得 "那是我的宝贝"。因此我每天都花大量时间与客户交谈,努力征求他们的反馈意见。

Back then, every morning when I woke up, I really did not want to go to the office because I did not see a single happy WebEx customer. I felt the pain, so I wanted to fix it. However, they all told me that, “Eric, you are wrong, the future is reading about it, the new architecture, video is about something else.” So it took me one year, I failed to convince others, so finally I decided to leave.
那时,每天早上醒来,我真的不想去办公室,因为我没有看到一个满意的 WebEx 客户。我感受到了痛苦,所以我想解决这个问题。然而,他们都对我说:"埃里克,你错了,未来是阅读,是新的架构,视频是其他的东西"。就这样,我花了一年时间,没能说服其他人,最后我决定离开。

Having grown up from China, coming from a much poorer background and then coming to Silicon Valley, suddenly you’re massively successful. Did you feel more of a cultural challenge in doing the startup thing? You mentioned your wife was opposed to it, whereas you have a lot of Americans, they went there, “Yeah, I’m going to do a startup, I’m going to do five startups, I’m going to do a gazillion things.” Was it almost like you were dragged kicking and screaming to, “I have to do this because Cisco won’t”?
你在中国长大,出身贫寒,然后来到硅谷,一下子就取得了巨大成功。在创业过程中,你是否感受到了更多的文化挑战?你提到你的妻子反对创业,而你有很多美国人,他们去那里,"是的,我要做一家创业公司,我要做五家创业公司,我要做无数的事情"。你是被拖着去 "我必须这么做,因为思科不会这么做 "吗?

EY: So if you live outside of Silicon Valley, it’s hard, right? However, if you live in Silicon Valley, I feel like I do not think that’s the case. The reason why, in Silicon Valley, the culture is extremely inclusive. As long as you work hard, you have ideas, a lot of people around you, they would like to proactively support you. That’s my experience. I feel very lucky, after a few months, I lived in the Silicon Valley since 1997, I feel already very familiar, a lot of friends. So that’s why I never feel like, “Ah, this is a culture gap, you need to learn this, learn that.” I think naturally, I feel like I’m part of this startup entrepreneurial ecosystem.
易:所以,如果你住在硅谷以外,就很难,对吗?然而,如果你住在硅谷,我觉得情况并非如此。原因就在于,硅谷的文化极具包容性。只要你努力工作,只要你有想法,你周围的很多人都会主动支持你。这就是我的经历。我觉得自己很幸运,几个月后,我从 1997 年起就住在硅谷,我觉得自己已经非常熟悉了,有很多朋友。所以我从来不会觉得 "啊,这是文化差异,你需要学这个,学那个"。我觉得很自然,我觉得我是这个初创企业生态系统的一部分。

For sure, you are a part of the startup scene. However, The reason I resonated with that story is, my wife, I was married here in Taiwan, and she did not like the idea of me going off on my own and doing my thing at all. I had a nice job with a Silicon Valley company making good money. It’s like, “Why on earth would you do that?”, and so I was reading a Forbes profile of you, and they mentioned that bit about your wife was pretty nervous about you doing a startup. and I was like, “Oh, I can relate to that. I know what you’re talking about.”

EY: Yeah, my wife was nervous, but she was neutral, meaning she did not say no, so that’s very lucky.

So when you started Zoom, was the thesis just about video, what was the balance with the cloud, smartphones, that sort of thing? I think you’ve mentioned just building something like a platform to start. What was your approach from day one when you’re leaving Cisco, Cisco won’t do it, what is the core thesis behind Zoom?
那么,当你创办 Zoom 时,你的论点是否只是视频,与云计算、智能手机之类的东西之间的平衡是什么?我想你已经提到过只是建立一个类似平台的东西。当你离开思科,思科又不愿意做的时候,你从第一天起的做法是什么?Zoom背后的核心理念是什么?

EY: I think it’s a great question. I thought about three things back then. First of all, you have to have the best video quality, that’s number one. Number two, in terms of usability, it has to have an extreme ease of use. Make sure anywhere, without any learning curve, you know how to use it. Because otherwise, look at other products, take WebEx for example. It’s a very clunky experience, shame on us, I was part of that, the product is so hard to use, that’s the second thing. The third thing, you’re so right on. It’s more like a mobile experience, how to support an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, you have to rebuild the product. Make sure in terms of supporting all kinds of form factors, that user experience, I think those three are probably the top reasons I felt like I can build a better solution.
易:我觉得这个问题很好。当时我想了三件事。首先,你必须拥有最好的视频质量,这是第一点。第二,在可用性方面,它必须非常容易使用。确保在任何地方,无需任何学习曲线,你就知道如何使用它。否则,看看其他产品,以 WebEx 为例。它是一种非常笨拙的体验,真为我们感到羞愧,我也是其中一员,该产品非常难用,这是第二点。第三点,你说得太对了。这更像是一种移动体验,如何支持 iPhone、iPad 和安卓手机,你必须重建产品。确保支持各种外形尺寸,确保用户体验,我想这三点可能是我觉得我可以建立一个更好的解决方案的首要原因。

With regards to ease of use, I think what’s remarkable about this point of view is number one, it’s obviously right, but also number two, I think this is a part where Silicon Valley can sometimes get it wrong, because everyone there is nerdy and can use computers and it’s very easy to skip over the “normal person” problem. Was this basically the pain of having to go to work and hear your customers unhappy? Where did that obsession with making it trivial to join a call come from?
关于易用性,我认为这种观点的可贵之处在于:第一,它显然是对的,但第二,我认为这也是硅谷有时会出错的地方,因为那里的每个人都是书呆子,都会使用计算机,很容易跳过 "普通人 "的问题。这基本上就是上班时听到客户不高兴的痛苦吗?让加入通话变得微不足道的执念从何而来?

EY: Normally you’re joining a business call like this, it’s extremely important, you schedule the call, you only have one hour. You may want to make sure for the first few seconds, just one click, you can talk to someone. Otherwise, you waste the first few minutes, and guess what? You lost your productivity. The product has got to be extremely easy. One click join, talk with someone, crisp, clear audio and video quality. I think that is very important because I started working on in this industry since 1997, so I understood the customer’s expectation.
易:通常情况下,参加这样的商务电话是非常重要的,你安排了通话时间,你只有一个小时。你可能要确保在最初的几秒钟,只需点击一下,你就能与某人通话。否则,你会浪费最初的几分钟,你猜怎么着?你的工作效率就会下降。产品必须非常简单。一键加入,与人通话,清晰的音频和视频质量。我认为这一点非常重要,因为我从 1997 年就开始从事这个行业,所以我了解客户的期望。

This is how you pitched it to VCs, right? You’re just like, “Hey, just click on, we’ll join a call.”

EY: It failed. I pitched very hard, but nobody thought I was right.

But wasn’t that part of the bit, you walk into a meeting, say, “We’re going to join a Zoom call right now,” they had never installed it, they’d never been a part of it, and it was suddenly working with no blockers. You don’t have to install software, you don’t have to do X, Y, Z.
他们从未安装过 Zoom,也从未参与过 Zoom,而 Zoom 突然就可以使用了,而且没有任何阻碍。你不必安装软件,不必做 X、Y、Z。

EY: To be fair, most of those VC’s, they understood the importance of ease of use. However, back then, their thought was, you really do not need to have a new solution. Given that there were so many solutions already there, very collaborative, free product, paid product, big names, they did not think I can pull it off.

Why were you convinced? And I will say, as a Zoom user, even today in 2024, Zoom quality is still the best. I do a lot of simultaneous video and screen sharing and things like that. Even today, every other product spins up my fans, it gets glitchy. Zoom is still flawless, the resource usage is way lower. Why did you know or why did you have confidence that you could actually do it, make a better product? That’s the other cliche of Silicon Valley, everyone’s like, “I’ll just make a better product”, and usually, number one, that’s not enough, and number two, it’s trivially caught up with. What did you know that made Zoom better?
你为什么会被说服?我想说的是,作为 Zoom 的用户,即使到了 2024 年的今天,Zoom 的质量仍然是最好的。我经常同时进行视频和屏幕共享之类的工作。即使在今天,其他任何产品都会让我的风扇运转不起来,出现故障。Zoom 仍然完美无瑕,资源占用率也低得多。你为什么知道或有信心能做到这一点,做出更好的产品?这是硅谷的另一个老生常谈的问题,每个人都会说:"我只要做出更好的产品就可以了。"通常,第一,这还不够,第二,这也是琐碎的事情。是什么让 Zoom 变得更好?

EY: Thank you Ben. Love what you said, Zoom product needed to be the best. So the reason was that, again, I’m still humble, but I do think I spend way more time than anybody else on talking with the customers. I really spend a lot of time trying to understand why they like this feature, why they don’t like that feature, what’s a pain point? I did not talk one or two, I talked to many, many customers and realized even if there were so many products out there, no one liked those products in the market. Then I realized if I can build a product can truly deliver happiness to those users, I think I might have a chance.
EY: 谢谢你,Ben。我喜欢你说的,Zoom 产品必须是最好的。原因是,我仍然很谦虚,但我认为我比任何人都花更多的时间与客户交流。我真的花了很多时间去了解他们为什么喜欢这个功能,为什么不喜欢那个功能,痛点是什么?我不是跟一两个人谈,而是跟很多很多客户谈,然后发现即使有那么多产品,市场上也没有人喜欢这些产品。然后我意识到,如果我能打造一款真正能给用户带来快乐的产品,我想我可能会有机会。

I guess you’re not going to give away the secret sauce, but when you got started, was there any thought to having — you were setting up engineering abroad, was there an aspect of that this is going to be a cost advantage in the long run or was just that, “I know a good team that’s going to do it for me”? That was pretty innovative at the time, leaving aside the product, just the general structure of Zoom.
我猜你不会透露秘诀,但当你开始创业时,有没有考虑过--你在国外设立工程公司,有没有考虑过从长远来看这会是一个成本优势,或者只是 "我认识一个很好的团队,他们会为我做这件事"?撇开产品不谈,仅就 Zoom 的总体结构而言,这在当时是相当创新的。

EY: It happened naturally because when I was at Cisco, I was a corporate vice president, I managed over 1,000 engineers and when I decided to leave, many engineers they wanted to quit their jobs to join me and it happened to be some of the good engineers, they had many years experience to build Webex, and they are part of the original Zoom team.
易:这是自然而然的事,因为我在思科时是公司副总裁,管理着 1000 多名工程师,当我决定离开时,许多工程师都想辞职加入我的团队,其中不乏一些优秀的工程师,他们拥有多年创建 Webex 的经验,是 Zoom 原始团队的成员。

It just happened that you happen to have your big R&D in China? Was there anything about China that was better at video conferencing, or that’s just an accident of history?

EY: It’s just by accident, because Webex hired a lot of engineers prior to the Webex going public, which was the year 2000. They hired a lot of people, a lot of engineers lived there, they work hard and I happened to know them. When I started, it just happened naturally.
易:这只是个意外,因为 Webex 在 2000 年上市之前就聘请了很多工程师。他们雇了很多人,很多工程师住在那里,他们工作很努力,而我碰巧认识他们。当我开始工作时,一切就自然而然地发生了。

COVID Challenges COVID 面临的挑战

One of the things that I think people forget, obviously one of the seminal moments for Zoom is COVID and what happened then, but Zoom was a rocket ship before then. You had already IPO’d, you were profitable when you IPO’d, you were growing very well, the stock was up and to the right. Is there a part of you that wishes COVID never happened and you had been able to continue on that path?
我认为人们忘记了一件事,显然,COVID 是中联重科的开创性时刻之一,但在那之前,中联重科就是一艘火箭船。你们已经首次公开募股,在首次公开募股时就实现了盈利,发展势头很好,股价也一路上扬。你是否希望 COVID 从未发生过,而你能继续沿着这条路走下去?

EY: If you ask me the question even two-and-a-half years ago, I also give you the same answer. Yes, I really wish there was no COVID. Zoom would be a much better company today and COVID, I did not think really helped us that much except for the brand recognition. For everything else, I feel like there was a negative impact to our business in terms of culture and growth and the internal challenge, or the competitive landscape. Everything else, I feel like it’s not good for us.
易:如果你在两年半前问我这个问题,我也会给你同样的答案。是的,我真希望没有 COVID。除了品牌知名度,我认为 COVID 对我们的帮助并不大。至于其他方面,我觉得在文化、发展、内部挑战或竞争格局方面,都对我们的业务产生了负面影响。其他一切,我都觉得对我们不利。

If you look at the financials, your stock is barely up from pre-COVID levels, which seems again, very unfair relative to your growth since then, if you just erase those two periods. But then also you mentioned the culture aspect, was it just you had to hire so many people so quickly just to handle the amount of people that were using the product?
如果你看一下财务数据,你的股价几乎没有超过 COVID 之前的水平,如果你抹去这两个时期,相对于你之后的增长,这似乎又是非常不公平的。不过,你也提到了文化方面的问题,你们是否不得不这么快就招聘这么多人,以应对使用该产品的人数?

EY: Yeah, that’s right. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis we had a little bit over 2,000 employees. We truly focused on the quality rather than quantity in terms of hiring Zoomies and the company culture just delivered happiness, values of care. I knew a lot of employees, they all trusted each other, great culture. That’s the dream company I wanted to build. But during COVID, within a short period of time, you had to hire a lot of people to scale up your business. But again, that’s not sustainable. Looking back, we also made a mistake, we should not have hired so many employees because that’s more short-term planning, and our solution was not sustainable, it did cause a cultural issue.
EY: 是的,没错。在 COVID-19 危机之前,我们有 2000 多名员工。在招聘 Zoomies 时,我们真正注重的是质量而不是数量,公司文化传递的是快乐和关爱的价值观。我认识很多员工,他们彼此信任,公司文化很棒。这就是我想建立的梦想公司。但在 COVID 期间,在很短的时间内,你必须雇佣很多人来扩大业务规模。但这又是不可持续的。回过头来看,我们也犯了一个错误,我们不应该雇佣这么多员工,因为这更多的是短期规划,我们的解决方案是不可持续的,它确实造成了文化问题。

And you had to fast-forward and some of those people had to be let go, which none of that is very fun and I’m sure you would’ve liked to avoid.

EY: From the very beginning, every time during our e-staff meeting, I always said, “Let’s not grow our business too quickly”, focus on the culture, quality, and hopefully in the company history never lay off employees, I talked with our e-staff executives many, many times and we managed relatively well until COVID-19 crisis.

You mentioned the competitive aspects. Is this just a bit where you feel like your competition reacted much stronger and more quickly than they would have otherwise if it hadn’t been the case that suddenly everyone needed video conferencing?

EY: Absolutely right. All of a sudden, competitors realized, “Wow, this is very important”, how to support remote work, embrace hybrid work and they put more resources into it. I’m not saying they are focused on innovation, it’s just more like copy whatever we have, essentially more like a standard, look at the product experience or feature set. Essentially it’s just following what we did before. For sure, that’s from a competitive landscape perspective, there’s a little bit more pressure than before.
EY: 完全正确。突然之间,竞争对手意识到 "哇,这非常重要",如何支持远程工作、拥抱混合工作,他们为此投入了更多资源。我并不是说他们专注于创新,只是更像是复制我们的东西,本质上更像是一种标准,看看产品体验或功能集。从本质上讲,这只是在沿袭我们以前的做法。当然,从竞争格局的角度来看,压力比以前更大了一些。

Did the work-from-home part of your thesis exist before COVID, that more and more people are going to work this way and they need a good video conferencing software, or was it just really like no, we just need good video conferencing software and that happened to explode with COVID?
在COVID之前,你的论文中就有 "在家办公 "的部分,即越来越多的人将以这种方式工作,他们需要一款好的视频会议软件,还是说,你的论文真的只是说 "不,我们只需要好的视频会议软件",而这恰好与COVID一起爆发了?

EY: I think it’s both. On one hand, we knew video conferencing will play a big role no matter what you do, whether work, learn, or play. However, just during COVID more and more people started to work remotely and now now hybrid work is becoming mainstream. Tools like this, like video conferencing will stay, and more and more people, they are going to count on Zoom to improve their remote work productivity.
EY: 我认为两者兼而有之。一方面,我们知道无论你做什么,无论是工作、学习还是娱乐,视频会议都将发挥重要作用。然而,就在 COVID 期间,越来越多的人开始远程工作,现在混合工作已成为主流。像视频会议这样的工具将继续存在,越来越多的人将依靠 Zoom 来提高他们的远程工作效率。

Building a Moat 建造护城河

You said something on your recent earnings call, that, “Your platform moat is deeper.” This obviously matters, you’re competing with companies that are number one, very aware that they need good video conferencing solutions, and then number two are “free”. You take something like Microsoft Teams as an obvious example: you probably already have Office 365, so what is that moat? You called it a platform moat. What does a moat mean for Zoom above and beyond, “We’re just a better product”? From my perspective, I use Zoom because it’s a better product, but I’m also a very small business so I can afford to spend extra on seats, so I’m not buying 10,000 seats of Zoom, I’m buying two or three. What does that moat mean for you today?
你在最近的财报电话会议上说过,"你的平台护城河更深了"。这显然很重要,因为你们的竞争对手首先是那些非常清楚自己需要好的视频会议解决方案的公司,其次才是那些 "免费 "的公司。以微软 Teams 为例:你可能已经拥有 Office 365,那么护城河是什么?你称之为平台护城河。除了 "我们只是一个更好的产品 "之外,护城河对Zoom意味着什么?从我的角度来看,我使用 Zoom 是因为它是一款更好的产品,但我也是一家非常小的企业,所以我有能力在席位上多花一些钱,所以我不会购买 10,000 个 Zoom 席位,我会买两三个。今天,护城河对你意味着什么?

EY: So the moat, I think ultimately a few things. Number one, it’s not only just meeting but also we have a full collaboration communication platform. We have phone, we have a team chat solution also is free, and also there’s white-board and note-taking and also have email and calendar and we’re going to introduce new collaboration tools as well. Ultimately any user can live within a Zoom platform can get most of the work done, this is the entire collaboration suite.
易:那么护城河,我认为归根结底有几个方面。第一,它不仅仅是会议,我们还有一个完整的协作交流平台。我们有电话、免费的团队聊天解决方案、白板和笔记,还有电子邮件和日历,我们还将推出新的协作工具。最终,任何用户都可以在 Zoom 平台上完成大部分工作,这就是整个协作套件。

Second, AI is going to play a big role. You look at the total cost of ownership, I think the other competitors are not free for AI. When it comes to AI like Bing and you use Zoom, you can take all those AI features at no additional cost. You look at other competitors, $30 per user per month. Essentially you get a free product, after you’re stuck with that product, guess what? They are going to charge you more. That’s not our practice.
第二,人工智能将发挥重要作用。从总体拥有成本来看,我认为其他竞争对手的人工智能并不是免费的。说到人工智能,比如必应,如果你使用 Zoom,你可以免费使用所有这些人工智能功能。你再看看其他竞争对手,每个用户每月 30 美元。从本质上讲,你得到的是一个免费产品,在你使用这个产品之后,你猜怎么着?他们会向你收取更多费用。这不是我们的做法。

Because you’re in a different place. That’s an interesting flip on the head, you’re the one providing free features, not them. I mean, you talk about in startups, particularly enterprise startups, they’ll have a land-and-expand strategy. You need to get a foothold in a company, and then you’ll expand within the company and you’ll add on features. Because of COVID, you’re everywhere. Everyone already has Zoom and so it kind of feels like it’s like a dig-and-expand strategy. We need to dig in so we don’t get kicked out and then we have to also add on new features and plans and things along those lines.
因为你在不同的地方。这是一个有趣的反转,是你在提供免费功能,而不是他们。我的意思是,你说到初创公司,尤其是企业初创公司,他们会有一个 "登陆-扩张 "战略。你需要在一家公司站稳脚跟,然后在公司内部扩张,增加功能。有了 COVID,你就无处不在。每个人都已经有了 Zoom,所以感觉这就像是一种 "挖掘-扩展 "战略。我们需要不断挖掘,以免被淘汰出局,然后还要增加新的功能和计划等。

EY: Yes, that’s right. Unfortunately during COVID, for sure, many businesses also oversubscribed because when they sent all the employee including the front desk staff member back to home, they all needed to have Zoom license. Now I do not think they need all those licenses anymore so that’s the reason why a little bit of down-sell and a challenge we were facing over the past 18 months.
EY: 是的,没错。不幸的是,在 COVID 期间,许多企业也超额认购了,因为当他们把所有员工包括前台工作人员送回家时,他们都需要 Zoom 许可证。现在,我认为他们不再需要所有这些许可证了,所以这就是我们在过去 18 个月里面临销售下滑和挑战的原因。

Team Chat 团队聊天

Do you feel like you were slow to really build out and expand on the chat functionality in particular? Messaging is an obvious counterpart to video conferencing, but the Zoom product was pretty basic for a long time. You’ve been focusing on that much more now, but was that just a COVID overhang thing? You didn’t have time to get to it?
你是否觉得自己在真正建立和扩展聊天功能方面进展缓慢?与视频会议相对应的信息功能显而易见,但 Zoom 产品在很长一段时间内都非常基础。你们现在更注重聊天功能了,但这是否只是 COVID 的过人之处?你们没有时间去做吗?

EY: I think first of all, the product works extremely well, our Zoom Team Chat product. Whenever those customers realized Zoom has a free Zoom Team Chat, they tested it out, they found, “Wow, I did not know that it works so well.” After that they would like to deploy Zoom Team Chat and recently a big company, they deployed over 70,000 Zoom Team Chat licenses, they like that experience, and then shame on us because we did not do well on marketing front. Most of the Zoom customers did not realize Zoom has a great very competitive Team Chat product, so we’ve got to make sure the customer realize Zoom has a product like that.
EY: 我认为首先,我们的 Zoom 团队聊天产品效果非常好。每当这些客户意识到 Zoom 有免费的 Zoom Team Chat 时,他们就会测试一下,发现 "哇,我不知道它的效果这么好"。之后,他们想部署 Zoom Team Chat,最近一家大公司部署了 7 万多个 Zoom Team Chat 许可证,他们喜欢这样的体验,然后为我们感到羞愧,因为我们在营销方面做得不好。大多数 Zoom 客户都没有意识到 Zoom 拥有一款极具竞争力的团队聊天产品,因此我们必须确保客户意识到 Zoom 拥有这样一款产品。

If you compare it to Teams, the way I characterize Teams is it’s Microsoft’s attempt to have an operating system in the cloud. It’s this centerpiece and everything plugs into it and they have APIs for developers, build apps for it and all that sort of thing. Is that a direction Zoom wants to go or do you see value in not being that, taking the opposite approach?
如果将它与 Teams 相比较,我对 Teams 的描述是,它是微软在云端操作系统上的一次尝试。它是一个核心,所有东西都可以插入其中,他们为开发者提供 API,为其构建应用程序,诸如此类。这是 Zoom 想走的方向,还是你认为不走这条路、采取相反的方法很有价值?

EY: So I think we look at everything from a customer perspective, we give a customer choice. If a customer says, “I like the Zoom platform, I want to use everything from Zoom”, we give them everything and if a customer says, “I like a Zoom meeting and a Zoom phone or Zoom whiteboard, I might use another competitor chat solution,” that’s okay. We also integrate with other solutions as well. Again, we just look at it from an end user perspective, we’re all for the flexibility. Ultimately this is the open system, we do not want to focus on a closed system, you have to deploy everything for one company. That’s not healthy from any user perspective.
易:所以我认为,我们从客户的角度看待一切,给客户提供选择。如果客户说,"我喜欢 Zoom 平台,我想使用 Zoom 的所有产品",我们就给他们所有产品;如果客户说,"我喜欢 Zoom 会议和 Zoom 电话或 Zoom 白板,我可能会使用其他竞争对手的聊天解决方案",我们也会给他们所有产品。我们也会与其他解决方案集成。同样,我们只是从最终用户的角度来考虑问题,我们追求的是灵活性。归根结底,这是一个开放的系统,我们不想专注于一个封闭的系统,你必须为一家公司部署一切。从任何用户的角度来看,这都是不健康的。

I like how you put that — look at it from the customer perspective, because what I just articulated with Teams is very much the Microsoft perspective. They want to regain their position as being the center of everything, and sometimes you just want to use chat, you don’t actually want all this stuff that goes with having hooks into everything and all these sorts of pieces. I would say that Slack’s gone in that direction as well and just having look, “No, it’s chat, it works really well. We don’t need to layer all this other stuff on” seems very compelling to me.
我喜欢你的说法--从客户的角度看问题,因为我刚才对 Teams 的阐述非常符合微软的观点。他们希望重新成为一切的中心,而有时你只是想使用聊天工具,实际上你并不希望所有这些东西都与一切挂钩,以及所有这些碎片。我想说的是,Slack 也是朝着这个方向发展的,它只是在说:"不,这就是聊天,它真的很好用。在我看来,"不,这就是聊天,它运行得非常好,我们不需要在上面再加这些东西",这样的想法非常有说服力。

EY: Agree. That’s why I give a customer options. Use Slack and Zoom, it’s okay. Teams and Zoom are okay. Everything Zoom is okay too. However, we want to offer the flexibility to customer, and we do not like this kind of bundling strategy, it’s really not a flexible to customer.
EY: 同意。这就是我给客户提供选择的原因。使用 Slack 和 Zoom 也行。团队和 Zoom 都可以。Zoom 也可以。但是,我们希望为客户提供灵活性,我们不喜欢这种捆绑策略,这对客户来说真的不灵活。

AI and Contact Center

You mentioned the AI bit. AI is something that you were working on for a long time, including with your Contact Center product, before ChatGPT. Was there still a shift that happened, because after the ChatGPT moment, did that actually change your strategy or did that change customer receptiveness to what you were doing?
您提到了人工智能。在 ChatGPT 之前,人工智能是你们已经研究了很长时间的东西,包括你们的联络中心产品。在 ChatGPT 事件之后,你们的战略是否发生了变化,客户是否接受了你们的做法?

EY: I do not think that changed our strategy. However, we did double down on our efforts, and the adoption of AI from a customer perspective is much faster than before. Prior to the ChatGPT era, which started early last year, we already invested into gen AI, and we already have a team. And since last year, for sure, we hired more resources including our CTO, XD, from Microsoft.
安永:我不认为这改变了我们的战略。不过,我们确实加倍努力了,从客户的角度来看,采用人工智能的速度比以前快多了。在去年初开始的 ChatGPT 时代之前,我们已经投资了人工智能基因,而且我们已经有了一支团队。当然,从去年开始,我们聘请了更多资源,包括来自微软的首席技术官 XD。

30 years at Microsoft, you got him at Zoom!
他在微软工作了 30 年,你在 Zoom 找到了他!

EY: Yeah, because he loves the Zoom story and loves our vision, and also our AI story also is very clean as well and at no additional cost, which was a federated AI approach. The cost is much lower than any of our competitors, latency is also much lower. We can apply AI to almost every product line we’re working on, like Contact Center or meeting or phone. That’s the reason why I think AI is going to play a much bigger role because you look at it, total cost of ownership. Zoom is very competitive in terms of price.
易:是的,因为他喜欢 Zoom 的故事,喜欢我们的愿景,而且我们的人工智能故事也非常简洁,没有额外成本,这是一种联合人工智能方法。我们的成本比任何竞争对手都低得多,延迟也低得多。我们可以将人工智能应用到几乎所有的产品线,如联络中心、会议或电话。这就是我认为人工智能将发挥更大作用的原因,因为你看它的总拥有成本。Zoom 在价格方面非常有竞争力。

Yeah. I think Contact Center is interesting. You launched it I believe in February 2022, which was nine months before the ChatGPT moment happened. Were the automated aspects of Contact Center, did that start out being really much more determinative in phone trees and things like that, and then you shifted to be more generative, or how has your view of that product changed over the last couple of years?
我觉得联络中心很有意思。我相信你们是在 2022 年 2 月推出的,比 ChatGPT 时刻早了 9 个月。联络中心的自动化方面,是不是一开始在电话树和诸如此类的事情上更具决定性,然后你们转向更具生成性,或者说你们对该产品的看法在过去几年里发生了什么变化?

EY: I think when we started, we all realized we wanted to build a modern contact center solution and specifically to focus on two things. One is how to embed video into the contact center, at the same time, how to leverage AI as well, that is very important. So that’s from day one, we wanted to focus on those two things. That’s the reason why today when we look at the Zoom Contact Center in terms of key differentiations, it’s really about AI and the video.
易:我认为,当我们开始的时候,我们都意识到我们想要建立一个现代化的联络中心解决方案,并特别关注两件事。一是如何将视频嵌入联络中心,同时如何利用人工智能,这一点非常重要。因此,从第一天起,我们就想专注于这两件事。这就是为什么今天当我们看 Zoom 联络中心的关键差异时,它真的是关于人工智能和视频的。

When it came to launching Contact Center, what was the linkage to your core product? It’s a little different than video conferencing to an extent. Do you sell into companies because they already have Zoom, or is it more a matter of you have this phenomenal video conferencing platform to the point that works really well and you can build different applications on it? Was the go-to market just totally different?
在推出联络中心时,与你们核心产品的联系是什么?这在某种程度上与视频会议有点不同。你们向公司销售是因为他们已经有了 Zoom,还是因为你们有了这个非常好用的视频会议平台,可以在上面开发不同的应用?销售市场是否完全不同?

EY: I think yes and no. First of all, the go-to market was a little bit different. However, the reason why we have confidence, first of all, the product is better. The second thing is the brand recognition, a lot of our customers trust the Zoom brand. They know actually when we build a new product, we work so hard, we do not let them down. However, the decision maker in terms of buying the contact center is different. It’s not a CIO, not a head of IT.
易:我认为是,也不是。首先,市场定位有点不同。不过,我们之所以有信心,首先是产品更好。其次是品牌知名度,我们的很多客户都信任 Zoom 品牌。他们知道,其实当我们制造新产品时,我们会非常努力,不会让他们失望。但是,购买联络中心的决策者是不同的。他们不是首席信息官,也不是 IT 主管。

That’s right. It’s very different, you’re not bringing it in on a low level.

EY: Exactly. That’s the reason why, however, when we talk to the buyers, those buyers they also use Zoom, they trust the Zoom brand, they know the Zoom just works, so when it comes to Contact Center they will very likely to have a same feeling. Yeah, Zoom will make the Contact Center easy to use, for certain quality and so on and so forth. That will help us a lot.
EY: 没错。这就是为什么当我们与买家交谈时,他们也使用 Zoom,他们信任 Zoom 品牌,他们知道 Zoom 就是好用,所以当谈到联络中心时,他们很可能会有同样的感觉。是的,Zoom 会让联络中心变得简单易用,达到一定的质量等等。这对我们帮助很大。

COVID Benefits COVID 的优势

I’m going to reassure you in that you mentioned before, “COVID, it’d be better if it didn’t happen”, I think all those arguments are valid. I look at your stock price, I feel bad for you. However, I feel like it was a good thing for you. I’ve long had the thesis that Silicon Valley enterprise startups in particular, they get a lot of traction amongst a certain type of company. They focus on building the best product and then they hit what I call the Microsoft Wall, where you’re getting into companies and they don’t even give you trial because they already have a solution that’s there. However, COVID forced a trial for Zoom for everyone. It forced you to massively beef up your infrastructure to be able to handle just the sheer amount of volume you did, and now to your point, yeah, the go-to-market for Contact Center is so different than Zoom, but you could pull it off because everyone’s tried Zoom. I feel like COVID was very, very painful for you, and again, you haven’t been rewarded for it from a stock price perspective, but from my perspective you feel like the last indie SaaS company that’s actually meaningfully penetrated tons of enterprises and hasn’t gotten squashed yet.
我要向你保证,你之前提到的 "COVID,最好还是不要发生",我认为所有这些论点都是有道理的。看着你的股价,我为你感到难过。不过,我觉得这对你们来说是件好事。长期以来,我一直有这样一个观点:硅谷的企业初创公司,尤其是在某一类公司中获得了很大的牵引力。他们专注于打造最好的产品,然后就会遇到我所说的 "微软墙",你进入的公司甚至不给你试用机会,因为他们已经有了解决方案。然而,COVID 迫使每个人都试用 Zoom。这迫使你不得不大规模加强基础设施,以便能够处理你所做的大量工作。现在,就你的观点而言,是的,联络中心的市场推广与 Zoom 非常不同,但你可以做到,因为每个人都试用过 Zoom。我感觉COVID对你来说是非常非常痛苦的,再说一次,从股价的角度来看,你并没有因此而得到回报,但从我的角度来看,你感觉就像最后一家独立的SaaS公司,真正有意义地渗透到大量的企业,而且还没有被压垮。

EY: Yeah, I think one thing I realized that’s a lesson learned, I always believed when you have a better product and a better price and a better customer experience, you probably will win. However I think I’m not sure that’s always right.

(laughing) That’s right. I don’t agree with that.

EY: From the very beginning that was my belief because I think employees they are going to make a decision. But given the economic climate, the looming economic problems for the last year, a lot of companies they thought of cost as number one, employee experience number two. For those companies for sure they try to consolidate the cost, however, in terms of the total cost of ownership realized, wow, in terms of support and AI other competitor products are even more expensive.

Well, it is not just that, it’s a lot harder to take Zoom away from all your employees than to even try it in the first place. But everyone’s tried it, so everyone already knows it’s a good product. A lot of startups don’t even get that trial.
不光是这样,要想从所有员工手中夺走 Zoom,比从一开始就尝试它要难得多。但每个人都试用过,所以每个人都知道这是一款好产品。很多初创公司连试用的机会都没有。

EY: You are so right on. That’s the reason why if the CIO says, “We do not need the best product and the cost is important”. Guess what? Those employees or individual departments went online to buy Zoom as well.
易:你说得太对了。这就是为什么首席信息官会说 "我们不需要最好的产品,成本很重要"。你猜怎么着?那些员工或个别部门也会上网购买 Zoom。

Yeah, and they’re complaining, they always say, “This one stinks. Why can’t we go back to Zoom?”
是啊,他们抱怨,他们总是说, "这一个臭。为什么我们不能回到'放大'?"

EY: You are so right. I talk to many company employees, they all complain, “Oh my God, why did our company make a decision to use that product. I like Zoom, I used Zoom before.” Anyways, this is very, very common.
易:你说得太对了。我跟很多公司员工聊过,他们都抱怨说:"天哪,我们公司怎么会决定用那个产品。我喜欢 Zoom,我以前用过 Zoom。总之,这种情况非常非常普遍。

Yeah, that makes sense. The other thing that strikes me about generative AI is figuring out all the particular use cases for it. It seems to me that because Zoom has stayed relatively focused on communication, whether that be video conferencing, whether it be chat, the limitations of generative AI don’t seem to really exist for you. You’re not asking it to do logical thinking, you’re just asking it to summarize and pull out points in a meeting. Is this basically a perfect product for you as far as it comes along and fits what you’re doing perfectly?
嗯,有道理。关于生成式人工智能,还有一件事让我印象深刻,那就是找出它的所有特殊用例。在我看来,由于 Zoom 一直相对专注于交流,无论是视频会议还是聊天,生成式人工智能的局限性对你来说似乎并不存在。你并没有要求它进行逻辑思维,你只是要求它在会议中总结和提取要点。对于你来说,这是不是一个完美的产品,因为它的出现完全符合你正在做的事情?

EY: I think that again, we are going to have a whole platform not only for real-time communication collaboration, we also have a more and more async collaboration. We’ve generated more content. Like a whiteboard for example, how do we use gen AI to create something, like a mind map? Also we have other products in the pipeline as well and also the Contact Center and also the sales department Revenue Accelerator, more and more async collaboration, a lot more content, I think AI is going to play a much bigger role, not only making the product features better but also can completely change those services.

So you’ve talked about how you’re going to use a bunch of different models. You had something you were building yourself for Contact Center originally, then you partnered with OpenAI for some of your summarizations abilities. Number one, is that going to be the route in the long run or do you need to bring more of this internal? And number two, why do you feel you have a sustainable cost advantage, not just from what you’re offering to your customers but as far as your actual cost of goods sold?
所以,你已经谈到了你将如何使用一系列不同的模型。最初,你们自己为联络中心构建了一些东西,后来又与 OpenAI 合作开发了一些摘要功能。第一,从长远来看,这是否会成为你们的发展路线,还是你们需要在内部引入更多这样的技术?第二,为什么你们觉得自己拥有可持续的成本优势,不仅仅是你们为客户提供的服务,而是你们的实际销售成本?

EY: It’s a great question. First of all, our AI approach is a little bit different compared to our competitor, in that we have a federated AI approach. That means we have our own large language model which is open source, we’re also investors and philanthropic. We have a partnership with OpenAI as well. Essentially we put a lot of things together and also focus on the business use case, and also a lot of how to leverage the data we have. Again, we never use any customer data to train our AI. However, just to focus on the business use case, you do not have a huge large language model for a business use case. For business use case, I think how to pick up the right size of large language model, how to know which one to use at what time, what kind of use case. That’s the reason why our cost is much lower and also latency is much lower too.
安永:这是一个很好的问题。首先,我们的人工智能方法与竞争对手相比有些不同,我们采用的是联合人工智能方法。这意味着我们有自己的大型语言模型,该模型是开源的,我们也是投资者和慈善机构。我们还与 OpenAI 建立了合作关系。从本质上讲,我们把很多东西放在一起,同时关注业务用例,以及如何利用我们所拥有的数据。同样,我们从不使用任何客户数据来训练我们的人工智能。然而,仅仅关注业务用例,你并没有一个庞大的业务用例语言模型。对于业务用例,我认为如何选择合适大小的大型语言模型,如何知道在什么时候使用哪个模型,使用什么样的用例。这就是为什么我们的成本更低,延迟也更短的原因。

Why is that the case? Are you running inference in your own data centers? How do you get better inference? How do you keep your costs under control?

EY: It’s just one word, optimization.
EY: 就一个词,优化。

Optimization, I guess that could cover a whole bunch of stuff. Do you see a future where some stuff runs locally, you have applications delivered everywhere? I guess I’m just very interested that you keep pushing on we’re going to have a cost advantage, usually you get a cost advantage from huge investments upfront, I’m not sure that I’ve fully seen that on your balance sheet.

EY: In the future we look at the GPU in the client side on edge, for sure, but we’ve pretty a big role for now still in the cloud side. So when it comes differentiation, as I mentioned earlier, we have multiple models. We have an open source model and not huge large parameters, large language model.
易:未来,我们肯定会将 GPU 应用于边缘客户端,但目前我们在云端仍扮演着重要角色。所以说到差异化,正如我前面提到的,我们有多种模式。我们有开源模式,也有不庞大的大参数、大语言模式。

Yeah, because you’re very focused they run more efficiently.

EY: Yeah, because large models are very slow and very expensive. So to deal with the brand new use case, you do not need it. You look at accuracy, the quality is good enough, and the process, we optimize the infrastructure layer, source code layer and a lot of layers to make sure — again, we have AI team to work on that. So not to just pick up off the shelf a large language model and use that to say, “You are better”, then everybody else will do something similar.
易:是的,因为大型模型速度非常慢,成本也很高。因此,要处理全新的用例,你并不需要它。我们看重的是准确性、质量和流程,我们会优化基础架构层、源代码层和很多层,以确保--我们有人工智能团队来做这件事。因此,我们不会随便从货架上拿一个大型语言模型,然后说 "你更好",然后其他人也会做类似的事情。

China and Security 中国与安全

China’s in the news again because of TikTok, that’s a thing happening on Capitol Hill. You’ve had issues in that regard, you obviously have a team there. In your annual report, in your 10-Ks, there are big sectionss that are highlighting the fact that this could be a challenge for you both on the PR side and on your employee side. How do you assure customers that number one, they shouldn’t be worried about it? And number two, how do you assure investors that, look, we have to put these risk factors in but everything’s going to be fine? 

EY: If you asked me this question in year 2020, probably a lot of areas should have improved. Since 2021, I think we are in very, very good shape. That’s the reason why customers really trust us. We published the semi-annual transparency report. We put a lot of efforts on privacy, security, in terms of the focus here, and investment. 

Ultimately, we’re focused on process, people and product, and we make sure that we’re very, very strict in following our process. Like let’s say take people outside of the country, we cannot access any data here, no matter what kind of purpose, logging, whatever, we cannot access, and we have an internal team focused on the security and code review and a lot of the procedures. Plus look at the product as well, we added a geofencing functionality, and if you do not want to use a data center outside of the country, you can pick the data center you want to use. Again, we heavily invest into this, that’s the reason why we feel very comfortable and we keep everything open and transparent. 

Actually I’m going to say, I think this is an area where COVID helped you as well, because you got all this penetration when Zoom was definitely the best product and it gave you a grace period when these legitimate issues happened, whether it be meetings being canceled with Chinese dissidents or whoever it might be, or questions about data transfer, and you had time to fix it because, I’ll speak for myself, I didn’t want to use another product. It feels like that was where it was painful, but getting a ton of visibility at a time when you were still ahead might’ve been a good thing for you. 

EY: You are so right on. Again, out of that Zoom became a much stronger company on many fronts, this is one of the areas. A lot of areas we improved, enhanced our internal process and the product, so on and so forth. But you can purely look at it from a security perspective, this is very secure from day one. Even in the start of 2020, 2021, look at all of the security companies, they all use Zoom, they have a lot of security researchers, they all test everything, they did not find anything that’s extremely vulnerable. That’s why we have confidence, Zoom is becoming better and better. Again, it’s very secure. Those security companies that use Zoom for many, many years, today they also use Zoom as well.
易:你说得太对了。同样,Zoom 在许多方面都变得更加强大,这是其中一个方面。我们在很多方面都进行了改进,加强了内部流程和产品等等。但你可以纯粹从安全角度来看,这从第一天起就非常安全。即使在 2020、2021 年初,看看所有的安全公司,他们都在使用 Zoom,他们有很多安全研究人员,他们都在测试一切,他们没有发现任何极其脆弱的地方。这就是为什么我们有信心,Zoom 正在变得越来越好。再说一遍,它非常安全。那些使用 Zoom 多年的安全公司如今也在使用 Zoom。

Has this been a learning process for you? Because I think about your obsession with ease of use and getting it started super quickly, and this entailed doing some things that people didn’t like. For example, there was a scandal on macOS a few years ago, about how Zoom was taking advantage of certain system vulnerabilities to install itself and do different things, and I was actually pretty sympathetic to your position in that case. It was like, “The whole idea is someone should be able to join a meeting seamlessly”, but did you have to sort of — we started out absolutely optimizing for ease of use and having a good product, but there’s questions about security, questions about user expectations, that means we have to diminish that to a degree. Has that been a challenge to work through?
这对你来说是一个学习的过程吗?因为我想到你对易用性和快速上手的执着,这就需要做一些人们不喜欢的事情。例如,几年前在 macOS 上发生了一桩丑闻,Zoom 利用某些系统漏洞安装了自己,并做了一些不同的事情。就好像 "我们的想法是,人们应该能够无缝地加入会议",但你是否不得不这样做--我们一开始绝对是为了易用性和拥有好产品而进行优化,但现在出现了安全问题和用户期望问题,这意味着我们必须在一定程度上降低易用性。这是否是一个挑战?

EY: Ben, you are so right on. From the very beginning, our philosophy is do everything we can. Sometimes, to probably try to hack the system, just to see with just a one-click to make the product extremely easy to use. However, when more and more enterprise customers deploy Zoom, we had to change our principle, you have to balance. Sometimes, yeah, to see one-click is important, however you need to make sure there’s not any potential issue, any potential violation to the operating system. Sometimes we have to sacrifice usability for privacy or security, that’s exactly what we did, and we now think security or privacy even more important than that. So, again, we spend a lot of time sometimes introducing new feature. Internally, we build a lot, in a mixture to have a balanced approach.
埃:本,你说得太对了。从一开始,我们的理念就是竭尽所能。有时,我们可能会尝试黑进系统,只为一键就能让产品变得非常容易使用。但是,当越来越多的企业客户部署 Zoom 时,我们不得不改变原则,必须取得平衡。有时,是的,一键查看很重要,但你需要确保不会出现任何潜在问题,不会违反操作系统。有时,我们不得不为了隐私或安全而牺牲可用性,这正是我们所做的,而且我们现在认为安全或隐私甚至比这更重要。因此,我们有时会再次花费大量时间推出新功能。在内部,我们建立了大量的混合系统,以实现平衡。

Consumers and VR 消费者与 VR

You became a verb, one of the most aspirational goals for a company. You’ve penetrated not just enterprise but the consumer space. Is that an area where you’re like, “Okay, that was a fun little game, we became a consumer brand.” Do you have any aspirations in the consumer space long-term, or is it, “No, we’re an enterprise company. That was fun, but never again”.
你成为了一个动词,这是一家公司最令人向往的目标之一。你们不仅打入了企业领域,还打入了消费者领域。你们是否觉得 "好吧,这是一个有趣的小游戏,我们成为了一个消费者品牌"。你们在消费领域是否有长期发展的愿望,还是说 "不,我们是一家企业公司。那很有趣,但再也不会了"。

EY: Ben, that’s a great question. Prior to COVID, I never thought about K-to-12 schools, like my daughter’s school, they are going to use Zoom, I never thought about that. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, given the K-to-12 students and also the grandparents, they all use Zoom. I realize it’s also very important, like a family reunion sometimes on the weekend and it’s very important. 

Again, our focus and bread and butter still on the enterprise business customers. However, the consumers, prosumers are also very important for us because our common value is care. We build a product for what? We really care about the society, care about the community, make sure any event can leverage Zoom either for learn or play and work. 

Yeah, I guess, Eric on the train, that was a consumer use case. That wasn’t necessarily an enterprise use case. 

EY: That’s probably the most important use case. 

Yeah, that’s right. One more question — I think one of the potential theses for VR in the future for enterprise is it gives a sense of presence, it’s better than just looking at you, we can actually feel like we’re in the same room. You’ve been very aggressive in launching an app on the Quest, launching an app on Apple Vision Pro, no problem for Apple getting you on board there. Is there an aspect of this where VR is maybe a long-term threat so you need to get on there quickly or do you think it’s fully compatible with you in the long run? 

EY: I’m very excited about that. I talk about that vision a few years back, imagine a world where we live in the future, just literally one click, Ben, you and I, we can join a Zoom call. I shake your hands, give you a hug, you feel my intimacy and all those features and will be available in the future with VR and AR, and like a Vision Pro or Quest 3, just the beginning now. For the VR and AR era, it’s just the beginning point. In the next few years, I think there will be a lot of different worlds of VR and AR devices down the road and VR will be a huge part of the overall communication and collaboration experience. 

Is Zoom going to keep being the independent underdog that can sell a Microsoft feature? Like I said, Slack got acquired, lots of other companies get to about your size and then they hit that wall. What’s the long term for Zoom? Are you confident you’re going to keep making it as you are? 

EY: Ben, I truly enjoy talking with you, I still have a lot of energy, I want to build the best product for any user for the world. Either focus on the collaboration communication platform or focus on the business applications. Again, we look at everything from the customer perspective. How do you build a better product to make sure users are happy? In terms of a competitive landscape, we just focus on one thing, innovation. We want to spend more time talking to customers, users, we want to be the first vendor to come up with something very innovative. If we keep doing that, we’ll be okay.

I mean, I think so. I think it comes through in this call and I think it comes through in the product. Like I said, I’m a happy user. We’re doing this interview on Zoom, it’s worked well, my fans aren’t spun up, so everything’s good on my side.
我是这么认为的。我认为这一点在这次通话中体现出来了,我认为这一点在产品中也体现出来了。就像我说的,我是一个快乐的用户。我们在 Zoom 上进行访谈,效果很好,我的粉丝们也没有起哄,所以我这边一切都很好。

EY: Ben, thank you. I’m a huge fan of your podcast, I listen to almost every podcast, really appreciate for your great job. Thank you so much, Ben.
EY: 本,谢谢你。我是你播客的超级粉丝,几乎每个播客我都听,真的很感谢你的出色工作。非常感谢你,本。

Thank you for coming on. It was great to talk to you.

EY: Appreciate it. Thank you.
EY: 非常感谢。谢谢。

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