The 100 Most Influential People of 2020
Ethan Pines—The Forbes Collection/Contour/Getty Images
By Kai-Fu Lee
September 22, 2020 9:34 PM EDT

Zoom is the defining company of the pandemic era. Eric Yuan’s one-click video-conferencing software company will go down in history as the tool that kept the world turning. The transition from brand to verb is a hallmark for any product. Intense team meetings, joyful weddings and a classroom for millions of students: Zoom is the backbone for it all.

Some called Zoom the accidental beneficiary of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Zoom’s success is no accident. The reason Zoom beat much bigger rivals was that it has a better user experience, with more dependable network connectivity—or in Eric’s own words, “It just works.” And as Zoom faced scrutiny and challenges, Eric responded to them with transparency, accepting full responsibility and committing to clear action.

Eric’s inspiring yet humble leadership style—reportedly admired by 98% of his employees—has ensured Zoom would not only survive this year but flourish, winning our hearts along the way.

Lee is chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures

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