I don’t think I need to recap here what 2020 has been like for all of us and how COVID-19 has affected how we connect in person. Connecting online, however we might wish otherwise, simply isn’t the same. It is, however, the next best thing, and I’m incredibly proud that our work at Zenlayer has enabled millions of people around the world to remain connected with each other in so many ways during a year no one could have predicted.

Connection has always been the heart of Zenlayer, and I mean that in both the literal and figurative sense. Our services connect people across oceans so they can talk and interact as if they were just a room away. We now offer direct, accelerated connections to companies like Zoom for seamless video conversations. We provide infrastructure for online education companies like Talk-Cloud, connecting children and teachers to enable learning from anywhere in the world.

Those are obviously key forms of connection, but there are other ways we’ve all coped this year that I think have proved just as important, like streaming television and playing online games with friends. With almost nowhere to go, conversations about the latest Mandalorian cameo or how “sus” we find the pink Among Us player are how we maintain our bonds of friendship. We can’t visit each other’s homes, but we can visit each other’s islands in Animal Crossing.

We’re all experiencing the ups and downs of 2020 together. For all that this has been a frankly awful year in so many ways, it’s made us feel closer even as we’re apart by giving us shared experiences that cross regions and borders. Who now doesn’t have a funny story about a video call gone wrong? We commiserate together and exchange strategies for entertaining cooped-up kids and how to get Grandma’s webcam working from three states away. Even grocery shopping has become a shared adventure.

As we head into 2021, light has become visible at the end of the tunnel. We’re not out yet and I’m sure more twists await us (but hopefully no more murder hornets), but if we take anything away from this year I hope it will be the connections we’ve forged. I hope that these bonds will not only stay strong but also grow and expand. I hope that we remember to stay in touch with Grandma and tell her about how we finally got to go to the beach again instead of playing Monopoly for the 124th time. I hope everyone gets to have that coffee break with co-workers at a real, indoor coffee shop they talked about during the seasonal crunch. I hope we keep talking with our new online friends from Discord and playing games together on Steam.

Joe Zhu, our CEO, likes to say, “When they’re happy, I’m happy,” liberally applying the phrase to employees, clients, and partners alike. I’d like to offer my own version: “When you’re connected, we’re happy.” That’s both we as in Zenlayer and we as in everyone together. 

Here’s to 2021. May it keep us connected.

We’re coming to a city near you! Come grab a drink and a bite with the Zenlayer team as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary!