The Importance of Happiness

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Yosemite National Park, California; photo by the author

Zoom has filed to go public. Its financial performance is nothing short of remarkable; Alex Clayton’s usual outstanding job of analyzing the filing is a must-read. In summary: For the twelve months ending January 31, 2019, revenue was $330 million, a year-over-year increase of 118%; gross profit was 81% of revenue, exceeding the SaaS public market median by ten percentage points; and net income was positive, which is uncommon at IPO.

What stood out most to me from the Form S-1, however, is a letter written to potential investors from Eric Yuan, Zoom’s founder and CEO. The letter, which I’ve reproduced below in its entirety, is the clearest and most earnest argument for customer and employee centricity I’ve ever seen.

Thank you for reading our prospectus and considering an investment in Zoom. As the founder and CEO of Zoom, it is my privilege to share with you what we’re all about.

Life is about the pursuit of happiness. The greatest, most sustainable happiness comes from making others happy. Delivering happiness is what we do at Zoom.

Ten years ago, I was an engineering leader at a major technology company. I would visit customers, and they would tell me how unhappy they were with the technology in the videoconferencing market. This made me unhappy. There had to be something better — something designed for modern video communications, something that would deliver happiness. I knew that we would have to start from scratch to do it right.

This experience underlies the Zoom happiness philosophy. Our focus is to keep both our customers and our employees happy. The sum of their joy is greater than its parts. Our customers and our employees make each other happy. We live this philosophy every day. We take care of our customers and employees. We built a video-first communications platform that is scalable, user friendly and reliable. We respond to our customers’ emails (quickly), talk with them face-to-face on Zoom, really listen to them and build the features and products they ask for (also quickly).

Happiness delivers results. In 2018, our average customer Net Promoter Score was over 70, demonstrating that our high-quality, easy-to-use platform is making customers happy. We have consistently earned high scores across customer review sites, including Gartner Peer Insights, TrustRadius and G2 Crowd. And let’s not forget our employees. Zoom has received multiple awards from Glassdoor based on high ratings and reviews from our employees.

We deliver much more than what people expect from video communications. Our team comes to work every day because our platform transforms the way people work together. For example, a medical care team discusses the plan to transition a pediatric patient off his feeding tube, the world’s largest brewery explores opportunities for using blockchain to pay its farmers, a state park brings students on an underwater exploration in Lake Tahoe — all face-to-face on Zoom. We are proud that our platform helps users around the world build trust, strengthen relationships, move faster and get meaningful things done.

It’s been over seven years since I founded Zoom, but this is just the beginning. There are a lot of people and companies that benefit from Zoom, but there are still plenty that haven’t yet explored the possibilities that Zoom can bring to their organizations. I want to give them video communications that make them happy. Video is the future of communications. If our customers are happy, the sky’s the limit. We must stay humble and paranoid about our customers’ and employees’ happiness.

We have a lot left to do. If you join us in this journey, you will become an integral part of this work and our family. Caring is our company’s core value. We care deeply for our community, our customers, our team and our company. And today, we want to add you to that list.

And now, back to work, and back to making people happy.

Zoom made me so happy last year that I wrote my first blog post about the importance of video conferencing. I was a believer then and am even more of a believer now. I’ll post Eric’s letter in my next office and ask everyone with whom I work in the future to read it.

Congratulations, Eric and Zoom, and thank you.

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Written by

Chief Customer Officer at Brightflag. I write about issues relevant to and situations faced by SaaS companies as they scale.

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