Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun's 2022 speech: Insights from the trough of life

Xiaomi founder, chairman, and CEO Lei Jun held his third annual speech. It took about 3 hours to share the many experiences in his life before he founded Xiaomi. Frustration and confusion, as well as some insights into the process of crossing the trough.


Lei Jun said that in 2010, he founded Xiaomi. "In the past 12 years, I have also experienced countless difficulties. Today, Xiaomi, who is 12 years old, will still be with everyone and always maintain a love for this world. Life is long, no matter what, let us keep the faith and always believe in beautiful things. Things are about to happen."


The following is Lei Jun's public speech:


Hello everyone, today is my third annual speech. In the past three years, the world has undergone tremendous changes, which have profoundly affected our lives and work. How to face these continuous and huge changes, many people feel confused and even very anxious.


In today's speech, we will not talk about Xiaomi, but a different topic: how did I go through the trough in my life, and what important insights did I gain from it? This time I talk about three stories. The first story is that I encountered the dilemma of "product failure, business collapse, and the company almost closed" when I was very young.


The story begins thirty years ago. In the DOS era, WPS was very popular, and it was installed on almost every computer in China. At the same time, there is also a big worry. Microsoft has entered the Chinese market with Windows and Office. We must develop new office software as soon as possible so that we can have a chance to compete for head-on with Microsoft Office.


The newborn calf is not afraid of tigers, we didn't think about it, we started to work directly, and gave the project a majestic name called "Pangu". We hope that Pangu will open up the world on the Windows platform and push the glory of WPS to a new level.


For a small domestic company to compete with Microsoft, this difficulty is really not that big. For this grand dream, we pressed almost all of our family assets and transferred almost all programmers, working day and night for three whole years. By April 1995, Pangu was finally released.


Retreat for 3 years, just waiting for the day of Dacheng, we even carefully prepared the celebration banquet in advance.


Life and death


Pangu's setback

But no one thought that the sales were extremely bleak, less than one-tenth of what was expected. My mentality collapsed directly, and the mood of my colleagues also fell directly from the cloud to the bottom. There was no way, I tried my best to give you all the blood and encourage you to continue to work hard. In this way, we persisted until the end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996, and Pangu still did not make any progress. The bigger trouble is that WPS can't sell anymore, and its revenue has dropped sharply.


The company is at the point of life and death. At the age of 26, I was the general manager of Beijing Jinshan. It was the first time I faced such a dilemma, and I was a little helpless. Every payday is the hardest time for me. I remember that at the worst time, there were only hundreds of thousands in the account, and the salary would not be paid the next month.


Colleagues were also desperate, many people left, and the office started to feel a little empty. At that time I often couldn't sleep through the night. I still remember that many nights, I sat alone on the sofa, quietly looking out the window, watching the lights in the opposite building go out one by one, and then watching the sky light up little by little. This kind of pain, only those who have experienced it can really understand.


The Story of Zhandian

How can a golden signboard like Jinshan and such a good product of Pangu not sell? I couldn't figure it out a bit, and I was determined to "stab to the end" and go to the front line to figure out the problem. I decided to go to the station store to sell the goods myself. The station shop sells goods, I was very confident at first. I deliberately chose the largest software store in Zhongguancun at that time. Although I have no sales experience, the products are made by ourselves. I believe that I have no problem and can handle it.


When every customer enters the store, I greet them directly as if I see relatives, warmly receive them, and explain them carefully. Sometimes, with a client, I can go on and on for half an hour. Over and over again, for eight hours all day long, dry and dizzy. When I got home that night, I didn't even want to eat, I just lay on the bed and fell asleep.


I am a programmer who sits in front of a computer every day and writes programs. The first time I stopped at the store, I stood there for eight hours. The degree of hard work, everyone can understand when you think about it.

Such a hard day, how is the performance? I'm really embarrassed to say that I didn't sell any of them. "It must be bad luck", I encouraged myself, after all, it was the first time I did it, it didn't matter, I continued to work hard the next day. The next day, I stood down for the same eight hours, but still, one set was not sold, and I was a little stunned.


On the third day, there was still no harvest, especially when I saw that other shop assistants made one order after another, I doubted myself a little, and really felt that the sale was not easy. On the fourth day, I simply stopped selling. What are you doing? See how others are selling. So, I followed the best sales in the store all day and really learned a lot.


For example, as soon as I see a client, I will talk incessantly, and he, in fact, does not have much truth. He listens to the client's thoughts first and then speaks according to the client. I understand technology, and I always hope to explain the technology clearly, but it is easy to complicate the problem, and he always holds the product or the promotional page, and in a few words, the customer will understand. What I admire most is the ease with which he communicates with clients. Communicating with strangers has always been a huge challenge for me.


On the fifth day, I practiced while pondering, and at noon, it finally opened! At that moment, I was so excited that I won the whole world. I gradually found the feeling of communicating with clients, and my self-confidence began to recover. On the fifth and sixth days, my performance gradually improved. On the seventh day, I actually became the sales champion in the store, which is incredible!


Zhandian's harvest

At this point, you may think that I am telling the story of "a salesman's seven-day crash". In fact, this is the story of "a head of R&D went deep into the sales front line and stood in the store for seven days after the product failed." Station shop, is very tired, but the harvest is huge.


Let me give you an example. At that time, computers were just beginning to become popular. In the days when I was in the store, there were always a few customers every day. As soon as I entered the store, I asked if there was any software for getting started with computers. I can't figure it out a bit. If I can't learn computers, I can't read a book. Why should I buy a software to teach? I always persuade them very patiently, "There is really no such software. If you go out and turn left, there is a bookstore. Just buy a book and follow it."


After being asked many times, I finally realized that since so many people want to buy it, isn't it over to make one? To be honest, compared with Pangu, this kind of software really has no technical content. We immediately developed one, called "Computer Introduction", and brought it to the market at the fastest speed. The result was a huge success, quickly climbing the software bestseller list.


In these 7 days of selling goods in the store, I have learned: as an engineer, you must make products that users need, not products that seem to be just tall. As long as you can make products that users want, sales are not a problem. With this epiphany, it's easier to make products. Later, we successively released more than ten successful software such as "Kingsoft PowerWord" and "Kingsoft Drugbath".


Looking back at the problem of Pangu, the reason is very simple, it is because of "closing the door". I'm very fortunate that if it weren't for this crisis, I might not have had the chance to make up for such a crucial lesson. This store experience has also become the most valuable asset in my future career. After standing in the store, and going to the store again, the feeling is completely different.


When I go to the store, I am not only looking at the products but also think about other people's storefronts, such as decoration, moving lines, shelves, piles, posters, etc. Since then, no matter how busy I am, I will definitely find time to visit the store. Even if I travel abroad on business, I will do everything possible to learn from the best local retail stores. I have some knowledge of the retail industry.


In this way, Jinshan found a way to live! But I myself fell into new confusion and began the darkest period of my life.


Lost and hesitant


Bars

At that time, I had been immersed in the emotions of Pangu's failure and was very depressed. Competing with Microsoft, there is absolutely no hope of winning. If it's just a struggling company, this is definitely not my pursuit. I completely lost my ideals, and at the end of April, I handed in my resignation letter directly. I begged Bojun to keep me repeatedly and finally decided to let me rest for half a year.


In the face of such adversity in life, here is a question for you: how do you decompress? At that time, my method was to often go clubbing with a few friends. At that time, disco was very popular, we could dance wildly all night without much rest.

It was also at this stage that I started to fall in love with heavy metal rock. It was completely unacceptable before, but now it's different. Being immersed in music can temporarily forget all your troubles. During that time, I often went to bars, and I really thought about whether I should change careers and open a bar in Sanlitun.


BBS Forum

Soon, I found something more interesting, which was BBS. I have enough time to soak in CFIDO BBS all day. At that time, the Internet was not yet widespread, and CFIDO was a network of telephone dial-up connections built by enthusiasts, which gathered a large group of geeks in China. On BBS, you can freely communicate with distant friends, which was a very magical thing at the time. This kind of magical feeling is especially like the metaverse of today.


In this way, I found new sustenance. At that time, posting on the forum was quite demanding. Everyone has dial-up Internet access, and Internet access is very expensive. If you keep posting watery posts, you're bound to be scolded. At that time I had enough time to carefully prepare each post.


And I have a particularly strong advantage, that is, typing is super fast, and I can write a hundred posts a day in many cases. One of the longest posts, written from night to dawn, has about 10,000 words. To this day, I can still find a few posts I wrote back then on the Internet.


In this way, my posting volume is often ranked at the top of the whole station's top letter rankings. There are actually quite a few crazy people like me. At that time, I knew a friend in the forum who posted hundreds of posts every day. He typed very quickly, but he couldn’t type blindly. , known as "Two Fingers Zen", it is said to have broken several keyboards.


The more posts I write, the more I become a moderator. Don't think that the moderator is not a big official, there are still a lot of things, a bit like today's "group owner". First of all, I have to post myself, then I have to bring a lot of friends to play with, and I have to be responsible for the atmosphere. The most difficult thing is that everyone often quarrels because of different opinions. Solving various disputes among netizens has become the most important job for moderators.


In order to be a good moderator, I often start surfing the Internet at 7:00 in the morning, and I have been busy until the early morning as if I was more tired than going to work. However, it was very fulfilling. Some friends think that I am escaping reality and not doing my job properly, and some even feel sorry for me, thinking that I am wasting my life. For this concern, I am very grateful, but not particularly appreciative. For the past six months, there is no purpose, it is very pure play, and it is very happy. Even in such a relaxed atmosphere, my mood is also recovering a little bit.


Windfall

It took me years to realize the true value of this experience. When I founded Xiaomi in 2010, the first step was to do a good job in the forum. We were very successful, and in less than a year we became the hottest mobile phone enthusiast forum. How did you do it? In fact, it's nothing, it's just the tricks I learned when I played BBS when I was a moderator.


Many people always feel that reading novels, surfing the Internet, and playing games will only be boring. My personal experience is that entertainment is also a good way to learn, as long as you have a certain amount of self-control.


Without any purpose, learning something is very easy and fast. However, you have to play a bit of a trick. Don't play blindly. Playing blindly is just a waste of time. Back then on BBS, I also met a lot of friends, some of whom are very successful today: There is a programmer named Ma Huateng in a pager company called Runxun. There is another one, who is an engineer in Ningbo Telecom Bureau, named Ding Lei.


I didn't ask why they had such high enthusiasm and spent so much time in the forum back then. But I believe that this experience had a decisive influence on their later careers. During the six months that I was immersed in the forum, I gradually recovered. In November 1996, I ended my half-year vacation and officially returned to Jinshan.


The main reason is that we can't let go of the glory and dream of National Software. We are determined to fight a "protracted war" with Microsoft: while fighting with Microsoft on the frontal battlefield of office software, while making various applications and games, making money to support the family, and fighting to support the war


A small company that almost closed its doors has re-emerged after more than 20 years of painstaking management. Today, WPS has more than 500 million monthly active devices. I am especially proud of what WPS has accomplished. We found the interview video from nearly 20 years ago on the Internet, let's watch it together.


Missing the Internet


The environment has changed

Just when I was burying my head in rebuilding Jinshan, the world outside had been turned upside down: Across the ocean, Netscape went public in 1995, Yahoo went public in 1996... The first wave of the Internet has flourished. Soon, it also started in China. NetEase was founded in 1997, and Tencent was founded in 1998. The first wave of the Internet in China was surging.


And I was busy making software, and unknowingly, I passed this wave. It wasn't until October 1998 that I really realized that the wave was unstoppable. I persuaded the board that we could strike fast with an acquisition.

Over the years, there have been many rumors on the Internet. Some said that Ma Huateng wanted to sell QQ to me when he started his business, but I didn't buy it; some said that Ma Yun first asked me to invest when he started his business, but I didn't invest; these rumors made me seem like Very unsightly. Here, I want to clarify, they didn't find me, these are all rumors.


There's only one acquisition I've seriously talked about, and that's NetEase. At that time, NetEase was established more than a year. The company had about five or six people. It mainly provided personal homepage hosting services. It did a very good job. It even helped Guangzhou Telecom to build an email system. I offered a price of 10 million, which was quite a lot at the time, but Ding Lei quickly refused.


Just 2 months later, NetEase raised US$10 million, with a valuation of more than US$60 million, or about 500 million yuan at the US dollar exchange rate at the time. What a crazy time, I don't understand it, but I'm blown away.


Joyo Network

If the acquisition fails, we can only do it ourselves. After trying for almost a year, I have a certain understanding of Internet business. At that time, I thought I fully understood, "The Internet is a tool. All companies will use it in the future, and e-commerce is the most promising." Doing e-commerce, do what you say. In May 2000, Joyo.com was officially launched, selling books and audio-visual products online.


This time, I was full of confidence, determined to win, and insisted on paying for it myself. At this moment, the global Internet bubble burst and entered the cold winter of the capital market. This situation has not shaken our determination, the first investment of about 20 million, all from Kingsoft shareholders.


The essence of e-commerce is retail. I used all the experience of the station store in the past, product selection strategy, pricing model, store layout, etc., and we quickly applied it to e-commerce. At the same time, we have also made great efforts in management. The core of e-commerce is operation, and every detail needs to be done very carefully.


Every morning when I go to work, I first check all the banner ads and product links on the homepage. I can always find some linking errors. This reminds me of the most important thing I've learned from software engineering: "What can go wrong, it will go wrong". Every night, we insist on reviewing and summarizing the business of the day, and only leave work after finishing the get off work.


Every week, I have to buy a lot of orders on Zhuoyue.com to test our selection and logistics. As a result, my bookshelf is full of books, movies, TV shows, and music CDs, many of which are not even packaged. During that time, my colleagues especially liked to come to my office for meetings, and when they left, they took a few books from the bookshelf.


Joyo.com has also made a lot of pioneering innovations, creating the earliest multi-site warehousing, the earliest self-built logistics, etc. In addition, the 4-hour delivery service between Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen is hard to imagine. These were already 20 years ago. We started from scratch, and within two or three years, became the largest B2C e-commerce company at that time.


There are still many friends who remember that they bought "Westward Journey", "The Little Prince", "Tokyo Love Story", etc. on Zhuoyue.com. These are the first generation of Chinese e-commerce hits.


Financing

The business of excellence is very smooth, but there is only one difficulty: not enough money. E-commerce platforms are too expensive. After the global Internet bubble burst, the capital market was sluggish and financing was very difficult. At that time, VCs were basically foreign capital. For local entrepreneurs like me who have never studied abroad and whose English is not good, it is even more difficult to find the money. We talked to at least 30 companies, and basically searched all the VCs we could find, but no one was willing to invest.


Later, there was really no other way, only to raise 1 million US dollars from friends, Kingsoft shareholders had to add another 1 million US dollars and barely completed the financing. But in just one year, it burned out again.


The entrepreneurial process of Joyo.com is the process of desperately looking for money, which is quite torturous. By September 2004, we couldn't stand it any longer, and we had to reluctantly sell Joyo.com to Amazon and became Amazon China.

No one expected that just over half a year later, a new round of Internet boom has come again, and B2C e-commerce has ushered in a prosperous era of comprehensive rise. Joyo.com was founded after the burst of the Internet bubble and before the full rise of e-commerce. It was truly an unforgettable experience.


Resolve the pain

Many people have asked me, do you not regret selling Zhuoyue? I gritted my teeth and said, no regrets. The sale of Joyo.com was a heavy blow for me, and it was extremely painful in my heart. First of all, emotionally, it was like losing my own child. During that time, I tried my best to cut the connection with Joyo.com, forcing myself not to go to Joyo.com's office, to buy things from Joyo.com, and to try my best not to see my old colleagues.


What is even more painful is that, as an entrepreneur, I have missed the entire Internet era. During that painful torment, I repeatedly asked myself, where did we lose? Seems to be very unlucky. First of all, "Jooyo.com was founded after the burst of the Internet bubble." As soon as we came up, we lost at the starting line and missed the best timing.


Then, "Joyo Network fell before the full rise of e-commerce", we have insufficient financing capacity, no funds, and no confidence to persist until the moment of victory. Entrepreneurship does require luck and a precise grasp of the general trend. This is also the reason why I put special emphasis on "windows" later. After more than half a year, I slowly slowed down and thoroughly understood some things.


"The Internet is not only a technological revolution but also a conceptual revolution; in the future, the Internet will be integrated into all walks of life." The reason I figured out is essentially the "Internet thinking" and "Internet +" that everyone talked about later.


With this kind of thinking, my way of looking at many issues has changed dramatically, and I have re-scanned some new opportunities in the industry with a new perspective. For example, in 2005, there have been rumors in the market that 3G networks are about to be launched. I vaguely see a big opportunity.


Mobile Internet


The next opportunity

After in-depth research, I am more and more determined: we are about to usher in the era of mobile Internet, and the next ten years will be the decade of mobile Internet, and the scale will be ten times that of PC Internet. After thinking about these things, I made a decision: act now.


First, I want to be the first batch of real users. To truly understand the mobile Internet, there is only one way to use it yourself. This is a "dumb" way, but the best way. More than a decade ago, the market was dominated by feature phones and the wireless network was 2G. With such a small screen and an unbearably slow Internet speed, using such a mobile phone to surf the Internet makes you think it's very frustrating.


People with computers are absolutely reluctant to use mobile phones to surf the Internet. But no matter how difficult it is to use, I have made up my mind that from now on, everything will be done on the phone, and try not to use the computer. In this painful process, I have a deeper understanding: where there are pain points for users, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs.


Later, I made various product ideas for the mobile Internet, which is how it came. Second, I want to be the earliest participant in this wave. The quickest way is to invest in a group of startups with angel investing. A few months later, I invested in the first one, and later invested in more than ten. Among them, the most famous is the UC browser. In the process, I became more and more convinced that a new era has really come.


Leaving Jinshan

In 2007, Kingsoft finally went public. Then, I left the company that I had been fighting for 16 years and started a different life. For the next three years, while doing angel investing, I systematically reflected on and summarized my past experiences. This series of reflections has fully prepared me for the next journey.


Always believe that good thing are about to happen

Today I want to share with you three stories about the low points in my life. In the face of these setbacks and failures, I have also been lost, shaken, and even given up. Without these setbacks, without the accumulation of these setbacks, I would not be where I am today.


No one likes setbacks and failures, but everyone will inevitably experience them, and even many people are experiencing them now. Since these pains are unavoidable, what we can do is face these pains, persevere in the pains, and let the pains shape us to be better. This is the meaning of pain and the gift of setbacks. And all the setbacks, failures, and even those seemingly pointless things that kill your time will become your most valuable assets. Life is long, no matter what, let's keep our faith: always believe that good things are about to happen.


Lei Jun's first business thinking book "Xiaomi Entrepreneurship Thinking" was released


The three experiences of Zandian, bubble forum and Joyo.com mentioned today have all made crucial preparations for the establishment of Xiaomi. On April 6, 2010, in an unremarkable office in Zhongguancun, Beijing, I drank a bowl of millet porridge with more than ten colleagues and founded Xiaomi. In the blink of an eye, Xiaomi is already 12 years old.


On the 10th anniversary of Xiaomi, we conducted an in-depth review and summary for half a year, and the harvest was particularly great. At that time, I had an idea to write down these thoughts and summaries, so that more Xiaomi students can understand and share them with all their friends who care about Xiaomi. But this matter is more complicated than I imagined. We put a lot of effort into it, and it took us two years to publish it today. This is "Xiaomi Entrepreneurship Thinking".

This book contains a lot of my thoughts before and after the founding of Xiaomi, as well as Xiaomi's entrepreneurial journey, Xiaomi methodology, and some practical cases. It has just been put on the shelves of various e-commerce platforms. If you are interested, you can buy it now. Do you still remember the three iron laws of Xiaomi? "Technology-based, cost-effective as the key link, make the coolest products".


We have always attached great importance to technology investment. Last year, our R&D investment was 13.2 billion yuan, and this year it is expected to reach 17 billion yuan. In the next five years, R&D investment will exceed 100 billion yuan. It is the never-ending spirit of innovation and increasing investment in research and development that ensures that we can continue to develop the coolest products. Later, I will bring you the heavyweight new products, as well as some new progress in our scientific and technological exploration.


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Headphones, Watches, Supreme Gift Box


Xiaomi Buds 4 Pro: Immersive Music Live Space

Hi-Fi sound quality + independent spatial audio, feel the shock of the music live scene anytime, anywhere, 48dB intelligent dynamic noise reduction, immersive enjoyment without interference. *48dB noise reduction depth data comes from the test results of the China Metrology Institute. The actual effect varies depending on the user's ear size, selected earplugs, ear canal structure, wearing posture, whether chewing, exercise, and other conditions.


Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro: an eclectic mix of business and fashion

The Mi Watch S1 Pro features a sapphire glass mirror and a pyramid-textured crown, a new 12nm dedicated processor chip, higher performance, and a battery life of up to 14 days. 100+ multi-style dials meet your daily wear needs.


"Premium Gift Box" Set

The classic limited gift box set, to meet your business and leisure needs, whether it is a business occasion or a fashion party, a gift box, all done.


Mi Pad 5 Pro 12.4, dual experience upgrade for entertainment and office


The Mi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 brings a larger screen, a better-looking design, and longer battery life. With the newly upgraded MIUI Pad 13, whether it is the business office or entertainment life, it is more convenient.


K50 Extreme Edition, wild performance roars


K50 Extreme Edition, wild debut tonight! The Snapdragon 8+ is violently tuned, with powerful performance; exclusive customization, 1.5K innovative straight screen; 120W fast charging, 5000mAh long battery life... The flagship high-end experience is all in the K50 Extreme Edition.


Xiaomi smart ecological new products


Mijia Smart Smoke Purifier P1

The Mijia Smart Smoke Purifier P1 creates a high-speed cyclone smoke lock system, which locks smoke efficiently at the source, and instantly absorbs smoke when tilted backward.


Mijia Partition Washing and Drying Machine 15kg

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Xiaomi autonomous driving debut


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CyberOne: A more human-like robot, born


Xiaomi's first "full-scale humanoid bionic robot" CyberOne debuts. "Brain" is smart: it can perceive 45 kinds of human semantic emotions and distinguish 85 kinds of environmental semantics. Developed "cerebellum": Xiaomi's self-developed whole-body control algorithm enables the coordinated movement with 21 joint degrees of freedom.


"Vision" keen: Mi Sense visual space system, 3D reconstruction of the real world. Strong "limbs": 5 joint drives in the whole body, peak torque 300Nm.


Xiaomi Technology Ecosystem


Above, that's all we have for today. Xiaomi is building a new technology ecosystem. Starting from smartphones to wearable devices, and smart homes, to smart manufacturing, smart electric vehicles, and bionic robots, Xiaomi is building an ever-expanding technology scene and providing a wealth of smart terminals and services. Focusing on people's life and work, better serving people, and closely connecting people and everything, is the core concept of Xiaomi's technology ecosystem.


What runs through all scenarios and terminals is Xiaomi's continuous integration and evolution of the technical system. This fusion system is already very complete and continues to evolve. For example, the CyberDog vision system has achieved the "focusing on everything" function of Xiaomi mobile phones; Xiaomi's self-driving progress is very fast, thanks to the Xiaomi artificial intelligence laboratory founded in 2017; Similarly, many technologies in the autonomous driving department are also applied in On CyberOne, it constitutes the brain of the bionic robot.


12-year-old Xiaomi is still evolving. Together with everyone, Xiaomi will always maintain a love for the world, so that we can find opportunities in changes, find exits in challenges, and make our world a better place.


thank you all!

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