Okta Sees a COVID-19 “Zoom Boom”

If you have an office job, you likely now WFH (work from home). The odds are that you have found yourself on at least a handful of video teleconference calls in the past four weeks. There is no question that video conference services have been the backbone of the information workforce during this month of “stay-at-home”. Teachers, students, courtrooms, and television shows are going live from homes all over America.

In the process of doing research, I happened to find this April 8th post by Hector Aguilar, Okta’s President of Technology, How COVID-19 Is Changing the Way We Work: Zoom Boom + MFA is the Way. Okta is a leader in identity management and Multi-Factor Authentication. Therefore, Okta has a unique and vast window into the usage of cloud services.

We all know anecdotally that Zoom usage has been rocketing. This is the first data that I have seen comparing Zoom to other video conference services.

Percentage Increase in Unique Daily Users of Zoom, Cisco WebEx, and Ring Central from 2/24/2020 to 3/27/2020
Source: Okta

From February 28 to March 27, Cisco’s WebEx and Ring Central’s unique daily users were up about 50%, but Zoom’s were up 200%.

Zoom’s adoption has been nothing short of incredible. From yoga teachers to grandparents, people are thrilled with its ease of use. I have used quite few of the video conferencing services. Out company tried Zoom over two years ago and never looked back. Both the ease of use and the pricing were  a world apart from the other services.

Zoom has had a challenge-laden couple of weeks as the onslaught of users and attention by security analysts have exposed vulnerabilities. Some, such as “Zoom-bombing,” where intruders disrupt a session, can be managed with existing policies. Others are more serious. Zoom is reporting fixes weekly. They report that they have removed the use of the Facebook SDK in their iOS app, which was sending user data to Facebook.

School districts have banned usage of Zoom. There are three class-action law suits against Zoom.

Zoom announced yesterday that they have formed a CISO Council and an Advisory Board to look at ways to address Zoom’s security and privacy issues, with CISOs from VMware, HSBC, NTT Data, Netflix, and more participating. In what would appear to be a major coup for Zoom, Alex Stamos, former CSO at Facebook, now at Stanford, tweeted on April 8th that he will join Zoom as an outside advisor.

I’m optimistic that they will resolve most of these issues. Zoom has a lot to gain by doing so.


April 9, 2020

Initiatives for Legal Diversity & Inclusion at SF Summit


San Francisco Bay Bridge

San Francisco Bay Bridge

On a glorious November day in San Francisco, Bloomberg Big Law Business hosted their “Diversity and Inclusion Conference.” The conference was held at the Bloomberg offices on Pier 3, near the Ferry Building and within view of the Bay Bridge.

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Memorial Day Reflections

Memorial Day 2015

As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend – a happy family holiday that for many marks the unofficial start of the summer – I have been wondering what Memorial Day is really about.

Is it about grilling food outdoors with friends and family? Is it about making a family trip to the beach? Is it about watching sports? Or is it about something else altogether?

Wikipedia tells us that Memorial Day is a Federal holiday honoring members of the United States Armed Forces who have died in war or while otherwise serving their country1. It began as Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War, because on this day, the living would honor the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. Memorial Day became an official Federal holiday many years later in 1971.

On the first Decoration Day, May 30th 1868, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. This tradition has endured, and today, a single American flag is placed on every single grave in the Cemetery on Memorial Day.

More recently, the “National Moment of Remembrance Act” was passed in December 20002. The Act asks that at 3pm local time on Memorial Day, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect in honor of the men and women of the United Sates who have died in the pursuit of freedom and peace”.

So this coming Memorial Day, however you choose to observe it, you have the option to join many others, and to pause for a moments silence at 3pm to pay tribute to those who have given their lives so that the rest of us can enjoy ours.

– Matt

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!

From all of us at Mobile Helix, may your days be merry and bright!

For this short week, here are three of my favorite reads. If you read one thing this week, read Paul Graham’s post.

How to be an Expert in a Changing World

america-astronaut-astronomy-2422 Earth

This post by Paul Graham resonates for me as it echoes my own view that embracing change and exercising creativity are keys to success.Two quotes, “…have an explicit belief in change,” and, “When experts are wrong, it’s often because they’re experts on an earlier version of the world.” Paul Graham is one of the founders of Y Combinator, the startup incubator which broke the mold and has had success beyond the odds.


IDC Reveals Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications and Solutions Predictions for 2015

I find several of IDC’s findings to be optimistic with respect to enterprise mobile application development adoption, but I would be perfectly happy if they were proven out. For example:

  • 35% of large enterprises will leverage mobile application development platforms to develop and deploy mobile apps across their organizations in 2015.
  • The number of enterprise applications optimized for mobility will quadruple by 2016.

How Customer Success Meaningfully Reduces Cost of Customer Acquisition

Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint does the math. Customer success can have a significant impact on customer acquisition cost (CAC) for SaaS companies. The key is in customer referrals.


My Favorite Reads of the Week

Each week I share a few of the more interesting tech and business pieces which I have read. Uber and Barbie got a lot of ink last week. You probably read enough about Uber, but did you see the scorn of the book, Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer? If Barbie wants to become a real developer, she should review the list of highest paying programming languages.

I. These Are The Highest-Paying Programming Languages You Should Learn, Ranked By Salary

Interesting list. It tops out with Ruby-on-Rails at $109K/year. But becoming a Salesforce architect pays almost twice as much. By Lisa Eadicicco, @LisaEadicicco, in Business Insider.

Credit Jeff Sheldon

Credit Jeff Sheldon

II. 50% of CIOs Think Mobile App Development Takes Too Long

In this post, Eric Carlson, @ericjohncarlson, of Propelics refers to new data from a recent Kinvey survey entitled, The State of Enterprise Mobility. The survey data indicate that the average app takes 8 months to develop at a cost of $270K. Kinvey, Propelics, and Mobile Helix each provide ways to make the development of enterprise mobile apps easier and quicker.

III. Georgia Tech Student Rewrites Barbie Book

Did you read about this last week? A blog post about the 2010 book, Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer, went viral. As one Amazon reviewer had written, “Barbie admits, ‘I’m only creating the design idea, I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game.’”  In response, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech wrote a “remix” of the book with Barbie a full-fledged developer. You can view, and even download, the remix here. From hometown paper, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Adam Carlson, .

IV. 2015 Corporate Equality Index 

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 13th report on workplace LGBT equality across U.S. enterprises has been released. This year 386 businesses earned the top score of 100%. The Legal sector is the highest scoring sector. Law firms make up 89 of the top scoring entities.150 companies in the Fortune 500 achieved a 100% score.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

–Maureen, @MobileHelix

My Favorite Reads of the Week

From my favorite recent reads, a 13-year old develops a Braille printer which Intel invests in, the legal destiny of APIs, what is COPE and signs that you have found your life’s work.

I. This 13-Year-Old Is So Impressive, Intel Is Investing Hundreds Of Thousands In His Startup

LEGO® lovers alert: Inspiring story of Shubham Banerjee, 13-year CEO of the Braille printer-maker Braigo Labs. Take a look at the terrific photos of the prototype which he made with the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set. By Eugene Kim, @eugenekim222, in Business Insider. 

II. COPE Offers IT and Workers an Alternative to BYOD

This is an informative piece which irons out the difference between COPE (Company Owned, Personally Enabled) and COBO (Corporate Only, Business Only) and BYOD programs. From what I see in the industry, I have a hard time envisioning most companies footing the bill for smartphones and service packages for all of their information workers. In the BlackBerry era, phones were mainly issued to executives and customer-facing employees. Today, most employees in information-related jobs want and need mobile access. Will an insurance company provide smartphones and service packages for 20,000 employees? Tom Kaneshige, @Kaneshige, provides a clear contrast of these approaches, in CIO.com.

III. 8 Signs You Have Found Your Life’s Work

Does your life’s work feel like “work?”. Is committing to you life’s work an honor? Ask yourself these 8 questions from Amber Rae, @heyamberrae, in FastCompany.

IV. Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court to Rule APIs Can’t Be Copyrighted

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, @EFF, has filed a brief with the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing on behalf of 77 computer scientists that the justices should review a finding that application programming interfaces (APIs) are copyrightable. This case began several years ago when Oracle sued Google over its use of Java APIs in the Android OS and has broad ramifications in software and hardware development.

–Maureen, @MobileHelix


"Design Tools" Miguel Angel Avila

“Design Tools” Miguel Angel Avila

My Favorite Reads of the Week

Each week I post a few of my fave reads related to tech and business. This week: addictive apps, being a minority in tech, what you owe your employer, and why some workers don’t love BYOD.

VW bus

Why Your Workers Hate BYOD

Hoping to get away without sharing your location with your law firm IT department? Using a health-related app on your personal smartphone? Device management by employers is getting some backlash. Tom Kaneshige, @kaneshige, writing in CIO.com, explores these concerns with BYOD. Disclosure: our Mobile Helix Link mobile app does not track employee movements or capture information regarding personal apps.

Five Things You Owe Your Employer – And Five You Don’t

Liz Ryan, @humanworkplace, CEO and founder of Human Workplace, with some solid pointers. For example, you do owe your integrity; you don’t owe your soul.

The Other Side of Diversity

A sobering narrative of Erica Joy’s career moving from “a young black lady to a black woman in the predominantly white male tech industry.” From Alaska to the San Francisco Bay area and points in-between.

Why Messaging Apps are So Addictive

Who doesn’t want to build a habit forming app? Nir Eyal, @nireyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, outlines how hooks work in apps. This is good stuff.

–Maureen, @mobilehelix

My Favorite Reads of the Week

Slack’s $120M raise was big news this week. Learn why selective wipe on mobile devices is not enough on its own. Of course, Tim Cook, CEO of arguably the most admired company in the world, delivered a significant message.

I. Tim Cook Speaks Up

In an essay in Business Week Apple CEO, Tim Cook, @tim_cook, wrote, “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” Cook decided that the potential good of his message on human rights and equality out-weighed his own valued privacy. Beautifully written.

II. Selective wipe: The secret to getting users to report lost mobile devices

Employees are often reticent to report a lost or stolen mobile devices to employers for fear of losing personal data if the device is wiped. It is important that IT use a mobility solution which allows selective wipe of data. Selective wipe means, for instance, that only business content on a smartphone or tablet may be wiped, not personal content. The next challenge is that employees need to be informed as to what the company procedure will be when a device is reported lost. In this piece in InfoWorld, Ryan Fass, @ryanfaas, makes the case that transparency and communication when a device is lost need to be part of the company’s mobility policy.

III. Stewart Butterfield explains why Slack is now worth more than $1 billion

What is Slack? One of the fastest growing enterprise software companies in history. The Slack platform was released to the public in February 2014. It is used by 30,000 teams to send over 200 million monthly messages. Slack raised $43M in April and just raised an additional $120M at a $1.12 billion post-money valuation. Writing in Fortune, Dan Primack, @danprimack, interviews founder and CEO, Stewart Butterfield, about Slack, the competition (HipChat and Yammer), and selling his first company, Flickr, to Yahoo.

IV. Following iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Launches, App Marketing Costs Hit an All-Time High

The launches of the new iPhone 6 phones sent an influx of new users to the App Store for mobile apps. Sarah Perez, @sarahintampa, explains in TechCrunch that advertising costs to win them over are up. In addition, the upgrade to iOS 8 caused users to have a free up a lot of storage space on their devices, which lead to users deleting many apps.

–Maureen – I tweet at @mobilehelix

My Favorite Reads of the Week

So many articles, so little time. Each week I post a small number of pieces which stood out to me and which were well-worth the time to read. Which of your recent reads do you recommend? Let me know at @mobilehelix on Twitter.

I. Why Public WiFi is a Public Health Hazard

We all know that public WiFi is not secure. Maurits Martijin, @mauritsmartijin, writing in de Correspondent, spends the day visiting cafes in Amsterdam with a hacker who makes child’s play of capturing passwords and spying on personal information. Chilling.

II. In Conversation: Marc Andreessen

The Netscape creator turned Silicon Valley sage on why optimism is always the safest bet.

I don’t know how Marc Andreessen @pmarca, does it. I have a hard time keeping up with simply reading everything that he writes and all of the interviews that he gives. Andreessen sees more new technology than almost anyone else alive. He is very generous with his insights, and yes, optimistic, opinions. Terrific interview by Kevin Roose, @kevinroose, in New York magazine.

III. Silent Benefits of PR

Twice an entrepreneur, Mark Suster, @msuster, is now a General Partner at Upfront Ventures in Los Angeles. He fittingly calls his blog, BothSides of the Table. His perspective is so clearly that of someone who has been there and who has figured out what works when it comes to building a company. Mark’s writing reflects a lot of wisdom and compassion. I always learn something from Mark. Here he points to reasons to do PR beyond customer acquisition, such as fund raising and business development.

IV. Yahoo, Marissa Mayer and the Leadership Question

Yahoo’s stock was up after last week’s earnings call which revealed results which were better than expected and increased revenue at Tumblr. Katie Benner, @ktbenner, in Bloomberg View, writes about Yahoo and Mayer’s leadership, strategy and team building. I just finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which is terrific.

Contrast Mayer to Steve Jobs. He got away with being a tyrant because of his sheer genius in product intuition and creativity. Jobs was bursting with vision and was a stickler about building teams of A players.


Favorite Reads of the Week

Each week I post a few of my favorite pieces in technology and entrepreneurship. This week’s range from income inequality to the internet of things.

I. Why Inequality Matters

From Bill Gates, @BillGates, thoughts about wealth and income inequity after he read, and spoke with, Piketty.

II. What we’ve learned listening to 6,000+ people complaining about email

What people say is broken about email, from Alice Default, @alice_default, content marketing wiz at email inbox company, Front.

III. Here’s What Hackers Do With Your Data

“…cyber criminals make around 10 times more money hacking someone’s medical information than from stealing their credit card details.”
From Natasha Bertrand, @NatashaBertrand, in Business Insider.

IV. The Key Financing Attributes Of Startups In The Billion Dollar Club

How did Uber, SpaceX and Square get there? Recent WSJ data shows that there have never been as many privately held companies with such high valuations. There are 49 startups with one billion dollars valuations. Ten years ago they would have gone public.

Tomasz Tunguz, @ttunguz, venture capitalist at Redpoint slices the data by sectors (Consumer, Enterprise, etc.) showing how much was raised, valuation and valuation efficiency. Another terrific analysis by Tunguz.

V. How the Internet of things could transform the enterprise

How the IoT has the potential to benefit our lives.

By Sanjay Poonen, @spoonen, the executive vice president and general manager for end-user computing at VMware.