Originally posted on Author's LinkedIN page here.
How much quicker can top silicon tech companies morph their popular software apps in the ever changing business landscape? Last years rising star in the software industry, Slack, has finally announced video conferencing is officially a free add-on to the popular messaging platform (Slack). Zoom Video Conferencing recently announced, Zoom 4.0, which includes Facebook and YouTube Live streaming integration for Webinar users (YouTube). Both red-hot tech companies are dipping their toes into major markets with simple product add-on’s that could really shake up the industry.
Let’s start with Slack. CEO Stuart Butterfield raised $200 million in investment funding at a $3.8 Billion dollar valuation in 2016 (Fortune). The messaging app quite simply works very well. It worked so well the user engagement numbers just made sense and investment dollar started flowing in after the first few years of business success making Slack the fastest-growing software company in history. Our company loves slack and although the video conferencing add-on isn’t perfect, it’s a nice free feature. Nobody is going to complain about a new feature when it’s free. But what's the long-term plan for Slack And video conferencing? Will they become a competitor in the video conferencing industry? They have certainly taken a stronghold in unified communications and messaging. Will a super simple, no frills video calling add-on turn slack into the ultimate team collaboration tool? Maybe...
Now let’s talk a talk about Zoom. CEO Eric Yuan recently raised $100 million in investment funding valuing his Zoom Video Communications at roughly $1 billion dollars (Forbes). Just like Slack, the platform simply works very well, in a market where their competitors still frustrate users over all the little things. Our company also loves Zoom and although live streaming with Zoom Webinar isn’t exactly broadcast quality, it’s a nice feature for common users. I personally, asked Eric to add YouTube Live support before Facebook Live was even a thing. I thought Zoom would be afraid of losing Webinar licenses and relevancy to free live streaming platforms and never expected the feature to see the light of day. But instead, Zoom made the right choice in a bold new world and added live streaming as a feature for all Webinar customers.
If you look at the core sales/marketing pitch for Slack and Zoom these new feature add-on’s are hardly mentioned. They are the result of forward thinking CEO’s who understand how fast software companies must evolve to stay relevant. Both companies have clearly mastered their core offering which they continue to develop. It’s interesting to me how quickly software companies can integrate and grow from a core platform. From messaging to video conferencing and video conferencing to live streaming, the hottest tech companies are extending out their core services reach. But will the overextend themselves?
Having followed Eric Yuan for over 5 years as one of the first official Zoom partners and a very early customer, I have to say Yuan gets it. In today's technology market, you have to give the customer exactly what they want and amaze them when the short time they will spend evaluating your service. In fact, OTT (Over The Top) is now becoming a popular marketing strategy in today's overcrowded marketplace. Funny enough, Butterfield’s company Slack, became famous with one simple feature “Be Less Busy”. The popular messaging app claims to reduce internal email by 48% and I have to testify that it’s true (Slack).
Good apps are worth using. Great apps have the power to transform the way you do business and eventually your team just can’t live without them. Overachieving and surprising customers with new features is great, but it’s only important when your core app is amazing. I highly recommend Slack and Zoom for companies looking for the competitive edge in video and team communications. Will these hot new tech companies overextend their resources in search of new features? I’m guessing it’s just the beginning for new feature add-ons that surprise and amaze us in 2017.
Until Next Time,
Paul Richards, Chief Streaming Officer, CRS
Source 1: Sack Blog - Slack Calls now with 100 percent more video - https://slackhq.com/slack-calls-now-with-100-more-video-50bf365a0d98#.f9cxtez45
Source 2: Forbes - How Zoom CEO Eric Yuan turned frustration into a 1 billion valuation in 6 years - http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2017/01/17/how-zoom-ceo-eric-yuan-turned-frustration-into-a-1-billion-valuation-in-six-years/
Source 3: Zoom’s YouTube Channel - Zoom 4.0 -
Source 4: Fotune - Slack Raises $200 Million at a 3.8 Billion Valuation - http://fortune.com/2016/04/01/slack-raises-200-million-at-3-8-billion-valuation/
Source 5: Slack Official Website - https://slack.com/is
Source 6: Wikipedia - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-top_content