Sunday, June 2, 2019

Strong convictions precedes great actions

In 1997, Eric Yuan joined a video conference start-up Webex as an engineer. Webex went public in 2000 and was eventually acquired by Cisco. Yuan was given an opportunity to lead Webex engineering group in Cisco. Over a period of time, Eric grew unhappy because he believed that the product sucked because of the following reasons:
1. Each time users logged on to a Webex conference, the company’s systems would have to identify which version of the product (iPhone, Android, PC or Mac) to run, which slowed things down. 
2. Too many people on the line would strain the connection, leading to choppy audio and video. 3. And the service lacked modern features like screen-sharing for mobile.

Eric tried to convince Cisco decision makers to consider making the changes to make Webex more useful and desirable but couldn't manage to do it. As a result, he decided to move on from Cisco and later found Zoom recently raised its IPO, price of $36 per share, valuing the company at $9.2 billion and making Yuan a billionaire.

Story source: Forbes article

One of the things that amazed me about this story was Eric's conviction about where Webex was going wrong and the extension of that conviction that led him to start Zoom to fill the gaps he saw at Webex. 
A lot of us find ourselves in similar situations at work where our ideas and solutions find no place in decision maker's list of priorities. 
What do we usually do ? 

More often we don't choose to pursue our path and surrender to the suggested path because we choose to believe less in our ideas and thought-process. We choose to embrace a lesser version of ourselves. One thing that bears mentioning in this case is that the odds of success that Eric achieved is probably one in thousands or even less but still lack of conviction is something that plagues individual's growth even for initiatives with lesser things at stake.

The learning that stands out for me is that we shouldn't change our beliefs, thoughts and ideas at the first glimpse of rejection. We should figure out alternate means to express, present and convey them and be creative in finding alternate routes to success.

I am no expert at teaching anyone about conviction but i at one area where i successfully applied power to conviction was in my running career. When i started running longer distances, I did face resistance from my family and closed ones (being from a family where there weren't any active sportspeople). To be fair, there was a degree of loving concern behind the resistance. They didn't want me to get injured or over-exert myself. While i listened to the concerns and tried to explain my point of view as patiently as possible, I didn't drop intensity in practice, training and in running long distances. My conviction in what i was doing lead me to run 17 full marathons (including 2 100Km runs, 1 75 km run) and several half marathons and a shorter distance runs.

Images source:

No comments: