Zoom’s Harry Moseley on being part of a ‘virtual company’

6 Jan 2020

Image: © Andrei/Stock.adobe.com

Since leaving Ireland 40 years ago, Zoom CIO Harry Moseley has made serious waves in the world of technology and finance.

A lot of Irish exports have experienced great success in the USA: Kerrygold, Enya and St Patrick’s Day festivities, to name a few. In the world of tech, one of the first names that might be on the list when considering the modern Irish diaspora is, of course, the Collision brothers.

Yet another Irishman abroad that should also come to mind is Harry Moseley, current CIO of video conferencing company Zoom and ‘CIO Hall of Famer’, who is frequently cited as a superstar in the field and can namecheck Credit Suisse, The Blackstone Group and KPMG on his lengthy CV.

Moseley had initially intended to retire in 2017, yet just when he thought he was out of the CIO world, Zoom pulled him back in.

‘When we went public, our CEO and founder ran the entire roadshow over Zoom. He never left home, he never left the city, never got on a plane’

He recently appeared on the Digital Irish podcast, a series produced by the non-profit of the same name. Speaking to host Patrick McAndrew, Moseley outlined how his childhood in Rathfarnham, spent helping in his father’s bedframe factory, led to an illustrious career that brought him to New York almost 40 years ago.

Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, Moseley’s Irish brogue has toned down considerably since he left Ireland in 1977. He studied engineering, maths and computer science at Trinity College Dublin and, once he’d finished, left the country two days later with the British Steel Corporation.

“When I was graduating, it was called the ‘brain drain’. Everybody [got] a good education, but not a lot of career opportunities. When great companies came to Trinity or to UCD at the time to talk about careers and jobs, they were literally all over the world. There wasn’t an awful lot in Ireland.”

‘Virtual company’

Moseley now comes back to Ireland relatively infrequently, and when he does make it here, it’s primarily for personal reasons rather than business, with perhaps a short hop on the way home from central Europe.

He said that fast-growing platform Zoom has no intention of setting up an Irish office. The company’s European headquarters is in Amsterdam, and that sufficiently services most European companies. It also has an office in London, which covers Ireland’s business.

“Our workforce is very, very largely distributed,” he explained. “When we went public, our CEO and founder Eric [Yuan] ran the entire roadshow over Zoom. He never left home, he never left the city, never got on a plane. Think about the [carbon footprint] impact of that.”

It’s first and foremost a “virtual company”, he added. There’s no tricky supply chain element. Employees of the company seldom fly places, opting instead to rely on the firm’s own tech to facilitate international meetings online.

Doing roadshows over Zoom seems to have worked for the company. Zoom raised $356.8m in its IPO last year and stock was trading as high as $66 a share on the day of its debut. Even after the dust had settled, Zoom was at one point the most valuable tech IPO of 2019.

Zoom has 14 offices around the world and 17 data centres, including the aforementioned London office. But Moseley doesn’t anticipate that the UK’s departure from the EU – which is expected to go through in 2020 – will impact the company’s business. “I don’t know what I don’t know,” he said. “But on the surface, I can’t see how Brexit would have an effect on our ability to operate”.

To hear more of Moseley’s business journey that began in Ireland, check out his edition of the Digital Irish podcast here.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic