Episode 4 - Abe Smith, Head of International at Zoom

In this Episode, my guest is Abe Smith. Abe is currently Head of International at Zoom, where he oversees the business, AKA spreading happiness, globally in EMEA, APAC, Japan and Latin America. Over the past few years and throughout the pandemic, Abe has overseen an unprecedented amount of growth and challenge, as Zoom has become a verb and as the technology has taken a central role in the daily lives of businesses, governments, schools, and individuals all around the world. Prior to taking on this role, Abe was President of EMIA at Cision, and has held senior leadership roles focused on emerging markets at Oracle, Badgeville, Mindjet, Cisco and Webex. Abe has established a tremendously successful track record as an international commercial leader and operator, scaling up teams in emerging markets for well over 15 years. See below for the topics we covered during this conversation. How and why Zoom became the verb for videoconferencing despite all the competition in this space The mindset and commitment needed within Zoom to keep the platform and operations running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Responding to huge spikes in demand and never before imagined user scenarios Benchmarking where Zoom was before the pandemic, and how much the company has scaled since then Tactical questions on international expansion - when is it the right time for companies to begin, and what are the pre-reqs? The value of starting with lower complexity markets The role of the pioneer, and setting the foundations for a continental strategy Factors to consider when to move into more complex but large or strategically important markets The level of localization needed to begin selling internationally in the early days, and over time as the sales organization matures The extra-challenging expectations often placed on remote sales teams Ways to create transparency and visibility for remote teams, and to help the organization think from the perspective of those outside of HQ Ways to embrace regional tribes within the company while reinforcing values globally The most important values inside of Zoom, and what it has been like to find and onboard the right people during this period of hyper-growth Speed of Trust - required reading at Zoom Beyond advertising - the importance of product and PR when building a brand like Zoom Advice for a founder or CEO before going into their first international market What it's meant to Abe to be part of Zoom during the pandemic, professionally and personally

Om Podcasten

Welcome to the International Expansion podcast. My name is Ramsey Pryor, and I spent the past five years taking one of Silicon Valley's fastest growing startups into new markets all around the world. Tech companies are able to expand overseas faster than ever before. But there's quite a lot that goes into getting it right, and each new market has its own unique and fascinating set of quirks and challenges. The best way to prepare is to learn from people who have been there before, so I started this podcast to gather the best practices from tech's most admired startups.