April 10, 2020
By Brett Grischo


It’s weird what earliest childhood experiences stick as memories versus the ones that disappear forever, going uncredited over time like a tree falling in an empty forest. For some reason, I can remember being in the car with my mom and sister when we picked up my dad at the train station one day in January, 1972. I wasn’t even five-years old yet. The only reason I know the date is because I looked it up based on remembering the experience. My dad said he read about a new show for kids that we were going to watch together. For some reason I remember getting excited about this.

January 1972 was the debut of Zoom, a tv show starring kids, for kids. It’s the first time I heard of a P.O. Box. I didn’t know why they didn’t just use their mailbox like normal people. I also learned that nobody looks good in horizontal stripes and that my sister was super irritating with how easily she mastered the Ubbi-Dubbi language. That wouldn’t be the first nor last time my sister irritated me, but that’s off topic.

Upon researching the start date of Zoom, I didn’t realize it only ran for six years and then a new version was launched in 1999 and also lasted six years. Why am I rambling on about Zoom? Well, because until recently, Zoom has always meant the TV show or the sound a kid would make racing toy cars around the floor.

Nowadays? Zoom means a virtual happy hour or a team meeting on your computer utilizing the Zoom website/app. Zoom Video Communications, Inc., went public in May of 2019 and got up to around $100 per share in the summer before dropping and remaining well below $80 until February of 2020. Then the corona virus turned our world upside down, forcing the global economy to basically operate from home or shut down completely.

Zoom Video shares closed at $151 last Friday and people use the word like they do Kleenex and Google. “Hey, lets all Zoom on Friday for happy hour!” Or the CEO says, “Set up a Zoom for tomorrow morning,” and the employees groan because they have to remember to wear clothes and look presentable, at least from the shoulders up. How did Skype and the other video conferencing options get blown away by Zoom so quickly?

The Zoom stories are already becoming legendary. My museum client told us on Zoom about their previous meeting where one of the participants thought she had turned off her video while she took her laptop to the bathroom and ended up having a not so private tinkle. Another friend just sent a video of a team zoom meeting where one of the participants didn’t know he was on camera while he was stark naked apparently looking for his clothes on the floor. I just wonder what he was doing completely naked at basically the start time of the meeting!

I also read about a woman that did a video happy hour with her friends and somehow made herself look like a potato. Her next video conference was for work and she forgot to change herself back from being a potato. And then she couldn’t figure out how to change it anyway so she just completed the meeting as a potato.

Its not all fun and games though. Today, Zoom stock is down a whopping $25 from last week at $125 a share. I’m assuming that is in large part due to security breaches they have had recently. Now I understand why my teacher friend didn’t want to participate on his last Zoom meeting request.

Hopefully Zoom fixes that soon and we can have our business meetings and happy hours as potatoes or professionals without any worries. Rodger Sherman of The Ringer did a nice write-up of the eight types of Zoomers. Which one are you?





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