On Zoom, Experimentation, and Cat Filters

Thoughts on why so many of us are afraid to go beyond the bare minimum.

Estimated reading: 3 min

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
—Mario Andretti


By now, you’ve probably seen the Zoom cat-filter video that went viral:

If you haven’t, then read the story about it here.

I’d bet my life that Zoom hadn’t queued up this post four days ago.

The data geek in me would love to see aggregate data on the functions that Zoom users invoke during video meetings. I suspect that usage follows a Pareto law: Very few folks take advantage of a tool’s advanced functionality. Put differently, many if not most people stick to the basics and generally lack curiosity.

You’re going to fail on occasion. Experiment anyway.

Exhibit A: Some Zoom For Dummies Amazon reviews mention how my 400-page book is overkill; they only want to know how to do the basics.)

I’d also wager heavily that the same principle holds true with Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other the other internal collaboration hubs that I describe in Reimagining Collaboration. For those people committed to doing the bare minimum with enterprise applications, embarrassing episodes such as cat filters prove their case: Don’t mess with features that you don’t understand, lest you look like a fool.

Simon Says: You’re going to fail from time to time. Experiment with new tools anyway.

You’ll never realize the manifold benefits of contemporary collaboration tools if you’re afraid of making a mistake. Hopefully your misadventures won’t go viral, but everyone gaffes from time to time—myself included. Why not try a new feature—such as applying filters—with some friends first? Or just about any time when the stakes are lower?

Play with your tools from time to time. That stratagem is much better than never noodling with valuable new features because you’re afraid that you might screw up.


What say you?




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