Zoom CEO Eric Yuan says that one key piece of advice helped him survive a chaotic, high-growth year: 'Enjoy everything'

  • Zoom CEO and founder Eric Yuan spoke to Business Insider co-editor in chief Alyson Shontell about the company's massive growth during the coronavirus crisis earlier this month at the Web Summit Conference.
  • Yuan shared one of his biggest pieces of advice for other entrepreneurs: "You have to enjoy everything: Enjoy the ups, enjoy the downs." 
  • Zoom's massive year was not without growing pains, as the firm scrambled to accommodate unprecedented growth, but Yuan said he appreciated working harder to get through it. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Zoom has had an eye-popping year of growth because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

During a wide-ranging interview at the Web Summit Conference on December 3, Business Insider's co-editor in chief Alyson Shontell asked CEO Eric Yuan about his advice for other entrepreneurs.

His guidance was surprisingly simple:

"Building a sustainable business is a long journey: Sometimes we have ups and downs, you lose a customer, you win some customers, a lot of things," he said. "You have to enjoy everything: Enjoy the ups, enjoy the downs." 

2020 brought both for the company. 

When the pandemic shuttered offices and forced people to stay home, demand for the video conferencing platform spiked, from companies that needed to use Zoom on a daily basis, schools that relied on it for teaching, and individuals who wanted to chat with friends and family. That huge influx of new users propelled its revenue to surge more than 500% since the beginning of the year. It brought in more money during its second quarter than it did in the entirety of 2019. 

But that growth didn't come easy.

"From an outsider perspective, the growth is great," Yuan said before admitting that, internally, Zoom needed to go into crunch-mode to accommodate its new user base. 

"We started from enterprise, and now we've got to embrace the consumer: It's very different," Yuan said. "So we had to learn quickly — take actions quickly — to adapt to that."

The company hired around a thousand new employees and Yuan's own work hours stretched — he once had 19 Zoom meetings in a single day, he said. As the company tried to adjust to its onslaught of new users, it dealt with an avalanche of security and privacy issues. After people criticized Zoom for advertising end-to-end encryption (which it did not have), the company admitted its mistake and updated its security, ultimately leading to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in November.

While that amount of whirlwind change was difficult, Yuan unequivocally relished it. 

When asked how his life has changed this year, he said that the biggest difference has been that he's been appreciating all of the effort more than ever. 

"I do not think anything's changed except I do enjoy more work, more long hours," Yuan said. "I do enjoy that because I have more responsibility. Because we are helping people stay connected during the pandemic crisis."

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