How did Eric Yuan create Zoom (ZM: NASDAQ)? From collecting scrap copper in China to working for Cisco in Silicon Valley, Eric took risks to pursue his dreams.
But according to him, happiness is the key reason for his success. That’s not what you usually hear from successful CEOs!
Eric was born in Tai’an Shandong Province, China, in 1970. As a fourth-grader, he collected scrap copper to help his family.
He studied mathematics in college and got his master’s in geological engineering in Beijing.
While in Japan on a training course, he saw Bill Gates speak. It was a pivotal moment for Eric.
He decided that he must go to Silicon Valley to be part of the dot com boom. He also set himself the goal of starting his own company.
After nine attempts, Eric Yuan finally got a visa and moved to Silicon Valley in 1997.
Despite speaking little English, he got a job at video conferencing firm WebEx based on some telephony programming he’d done as an undergraduate. Eric began learning English from his co-workers.
In 2007, Cisco took over WebEx. And within a few years, Eric became VP of Engineering.
He had made it: Silicon Valley, a big tech firm, and a high paid position. But he wasn’t happy.
“I was absolutely miserable at Cisco. I viewed WebEx as my baby and had no control over the customer experience.”
“I was embarrassed because I did not see a single happy customer.” “To me, unhappy customers are a sign of failure.”
Eric had also not given up on his dream of starting a company. So he decided to risk leaving Cisco to start his own video conferencing company: Zoom. His wife was against it, by the way.
From the start, the culture was the foundation of the company.
“Company culture is my number one priority … culture has to be established on day one.”
And do you know what the main focus of Zoom’s culture is? Happiness!
“Make sure every employee when they come to the office every day is happy. If they don’t feel happy, they are not going to deliver happiness to the customer.”
In 2019, Glassdoor ranked Zoom as the second-best place to work in the world.
How has Eric Yuan achieved this? By hiring a Chief Happiness Officer, of course.
He has also made “Care” a core value of the company. He also talks a lot to his employees and thinks continuously about culture.
Since Zoom’s IPO in 2019, the share price has increased by 678%. Revenue has increased by 924% from 2017 (see chart below).
Of course, the pandemic has been a boon for the company.
Usage has increased by 1900% since December, and sales have increased by 355% between May and July, compared to the same period last year.
The share price is up 532% since January 31, and momentum has been up and up (see chart below).
Growth has accelerated in September despite some profit taking for tech overall.
Although you can’t return and invest in the stock in January, there appears to be more upside to the stock. The next earning call is December 4.