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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Alexandrescu

Why Zoom is super successful while being a sub-standard app?

Before March 2020, Zoom was hardly a top-player in the video conferencing market. The market was saturated with lots of solutions like GoToMeeting, Webex, Hangouts, Skype, Whatsapp and so on.

In my opinion, Zoom is sub-standard app, haunted by a ton of security flaws, spaghetti code, and Chinenglish prompts like "System need your privilege to change". End-to-end encryption claimed by Zoom is actually a false promise - they are just changing the definition of end-to-end (which normally means user-to-user), interpreting it as Zoom-to-Zoom. Many serious institutions and companies simply banned Zoom because of its issues, which include allowing uninvited guests to join a meeting.

And yet, somehow, Zoom managed to be hugely successful in the past weeks, despite many analysts considering it to be more like a computer virus, rather than a conferencing solution (Zoom begins to install itself BEFORE you hit the Install button).

So why the amazing success?!

1. It just works - there is no other solution in the market which allows people to connect so fast and so simple. Lots of people caught on the wrong foot by the Coronavirus crisis needed a quick way to get started and Zoom delivered just that. The concept behind Zoom's architecture is successful because it's not being bound by the need to maintain legacy code and backwards compatibility. They simply used the latest technologies when developing the software.

2. Positioning - Zoom didn't try to pretend that is a fancy Enterprise solution. Instead, they made accessible something that was usually an IT-support-enabled process. And since most people are not security experts, simplicity just worked for them.

While i honestly believe Zoom to be a really poor and even dangerous app (i very much prefer Hangouts and Slack), i believe there is a big lesson to be learned from their story: keeping things simple and being relevant to people's needs is today's key to success. So instead of focusing on doing things 10% better than established competitors, the trick is to find a way to do things different than your competition.

And yes, I've seen this approach working first-hand at Mediapost Martech. We became HubSpot Gold Partner after just 3 months of activity BECAUSE we did just that: we kept it simple, clean and relevant and we approached things differently than the "original recipe".

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