The way we use tools evolves over time.
The first cameras were used to study optics, not to create images. What started as a military communication network—ARPANET—morphed into the internet we use today. If you look back in time, you’ll notice that we almost always find new use cases for a tool or technology, albeit for a variety of reasons.
The same thing happened with Zoom. Zoom isn’t just a meeting tool anymore.
Once you realize it, you’ll end up looking for a new companion to join your meetings.
Due to remote work and COVID-19, Zoom quickly became a tool everyone needs to do their job. Product managers and designers use Zoom to run user interviews. Sales teams use it to close deals. Team leaders use it to rally their teams around their goals. Hiring managers use it to interview potential employees.
Put another way, Zoom acts as a different tool for different teams. It’s a research tool for product teams, a sales tool for sales reps, a recruiting tool for hiring managers and a collaboration tool for team leaders.
As Zoom isn’t made for any specific use case, anyone regardless of their role can use it.
“It was more holistic in the sense that it wasn’t focused on one use case. It was everything that was communication linked to a video conversation.”
- Oded Gal, Chief Product Officer at Zoom.
Unsurprisingly, it also made Zoom ineffective, particularly for those in customer-facing roles.
The tricky part is, it’s hidden in plain sight unless you observe your behavior during Zoom calls.
If your meetings are meant for a video chat, then Zoom works just fine. But as we mentioned earlier, it’s not always the case. We rely on Zoom to get our job done.
To borrow from Clayton M. Christensen, we essentially “hire” Zoom to help us do a job. And, this, in turn, pushes us to engage in certain behaviors.👇
As we tend to have most of our important discussions over Zoom, we often come across important insights and decisions that we would like to capture and share with others. For instance, if you’re on a sales call, you’ll hear valuable feedback and product ideas that are worth sharing.
You’ll have to either rely on your memory to keep the insights and decisions or take text-based notes to jot down the ideas.
They work up to an extent but both methods are inefficient. Your memory isn’t as reliable as you think and text-based notes fail to capture the insights properly and make it difficult for others to understand the context.
Zoom is a reliable meeting tool, but in this case, you aren’t using it as one. You’re trying to capture and share key moments from a live conversation.
We record some of our meetings as we know they contain valuable information and insights that we’d like to preserve, review, and share. But a majority of recorded meetings go unwatched before they're auto-deleted within 90 days, with the data disappearing forever.
It’s hard to parse the recording and only send the key information you’d like to share with your team.
Even when transcribed, recordings of full meetings have been, for the most part, useless. They're too noisy. Too hard to work with. The effort just hasn't been worth the reward.
We need a way to make video meetings more accessible and shareable—to encourage everyone in your company to leverage the insights and ideas shared in meetings. Clearly, just recording and uploading the meetings to the video conference provider's cloud doesn’t solve the problem.
Zoom is a reliable meeting tool, but in this case, you aren’t using it as one. You’re looking for a searchable repository to preserve, access, and share spoken knowledge generated by your meetings.
There are only two reasons you’d capture information from a meeting.
One, you’d like to share it with others—your team, prospects, customers, etc. Two, you’d like to review it for your own use cases. In some instances, it’s both.
Let us make it more clear with examples.
A sales rep captures information from sales calls to review the conversation and improve the selling process, and also to share valuable product feedback with the engineering team. Similarly, a product researcher captures and shares insights from user interviews to help the product team come up with a stronger product roadmap.
“The real process of making decisions, of gathering support, of developing opinions, happens before the meeting or after.”
- Bill Vaughan
Now you can only analyze, synthesize, and share what you capture. As we just saw, most will try to capture information in one of the three ways: brain dump, incomplete text notes, and hour-long recordings or lengthy transcripts.
If you rely on either of the three ways, you’re spending more time creating something subpar, especially when the discussions happen fast. In other words, you’re preventing yourself from doing the best work.
Think about it. With text notes or recordings, you wouldn’t be able to easily discover patterns from your sales calls, valuable insights from user interviews, or key decisions you’d like to review.
It’s hard to find, review, and compare information from different meetings and equally hard, to share the insights with your team.
This not only impacts what you get out of the conversation and what you share with others, but also the actual work that follows.
Zoom is a reliable meeting tool, but in this case, you aren’t using it as one. You’re trying to discover, organize, and share insights.
The more we use Zoom, the more we expect it out of it. As Zoom can’t cater to our specific use cases, we resort to using ineffective methods and tools.
Whether you use text notes, recordings, or transcripts, there’ll be either information loss or unnecessary friction that hamper your team’s collaboration effort. You can’t get the best out of your conversations over Zoom.
"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."
- Abraham Maslow.
With Zoom, you can meet with anyone, anywhere. But to get your job done effectively, you also need to “hire” a companion.
A companion, that stays in the background without interrupting the discussion, but still enables you to:
Our team and thousands of others at companies like Zapier, HelpScout, ClickUp, let Grain accompany all the important meetings.
Grain enables you to clip and share key moments from Zoom in real-time. Put simply, your annotations are turned into video highlights that can be shared individually or stitched together and shared as a video summary.
Once the meeting’s over, your recording, along with annotated highlights and transcript, will be automatically uploaded to a shared workspace—where anyone in your team can search for keywords and find the exact moment they’re looking for in seconds. You can organize your recordings using #tags and filter them to find what you need.
More importantly, Grain works for everyone, making it easier for your teams to cross-collaborate and saving you from investing in multiple specialized tools for each team.
We both can agree that remote work isn’t a fad and we’re likely to build a distributed team—allowing people to work from anywhere they want. This means Zoom will become more valuable and will likely play a bigger role in our work.
It’s time to stop underestimating the significance of Zoom and realize Zoom isn’t just a meeting tool anymore. To effectively do your job, find a Zoom companion like Grain that helps with your use cases.