Zoom IPO: How Eric Yuan Delivers Happiness
By Carl Eschenbach
Published April 17, 2019
Why does Eric S. Yuan make Sequoia so happy?
You might think Sequoia is happy with Zoom’s founder, Eric Yuan, because we’re Zoom customers - and Eric is maniacally focused on making customers happy. That’s true, but it’s not the reason we have in mind.
You might think it’s because we partnered with Zoom - and with today’s public offering, we’re happy with our investment. That’s also true. But it’s not the only reason we are happy with Eric and Zoom.
What truly makes us happy is that Eric is a role model for entrepreneurs everywhere. And as we celebrate today’s IPO milestone, we’d like to share a little about what makes Eric so special.
You won’t often find Eric in the headlines because he spends no calories on self-promotion. He deflects all credit and eagerly accepts blame. And he and Zoom have eschewed the trappings of success that so often accompany even a modicum of good fortune in the Valley. When Sequoia first reached out to Eric in 2014, he told us he admired our work but wasn’t looking for funding. Then he asked for an intro to our IT department, to see if they’d be interested in using Zoom. He cared more about our business than he did about our money - because he was, as he is today, singularly focused on his mission of making people happy.
That clarity of thought is something the best founders share, and it’s one of the main drivers of the performance that’s getting noticed despite Zoom’s under-the-radar approach.
Eric is also tenacious. An immigrant from China who applied for a visa nine times before finally being allowed into the U.S., he finds a way to accomplish whatever he puts his mind to - and has the courage and vision we hope to find in every founder we meet. He became an entrepreneur not because it was en vogue, but because he saw a world in which incessant emails were replaced by face-to-face conversations, where work became both friendlier and more productive. He wanted to build a better future, so he did.
And the rest of the team has followed his lead, sticking to the basics and thinking clearly about what’s right for customers. Like Eric, everyone at Zoom is obsessed with making people happy - including each other. He’s built a very special company with a very special culture, where you can thrive simply by doing the right thing. And he’s surrounded by a loyal leadership team that constantly surprises us with what it can accomplish. Zoom’s product is effortless. It just works. For everyone who interacts with it, Eric and his team have delivered on their promise of happiness.
And of course, that includes us. Ever since Sequoia met Eric five years ago, we have counted ourselves among Zoom’s very happy customers. So to the entire Zoom team: Thank you for making our lives easier, for making us more productive, for helping us connect with each other at a moment’s notice from anywhere in the world. To Eric: Thank you for your partnership, for being an excellent role model to founders everywhere. And, most of all, thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey.