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Entrepreneur Tian Shuo: Listen to what others say, act kindly

Entrepreneur Tian Shuo: Listen to what others say, act kindly

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  • Time of issue:2010-07-08
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(Summary description)"We don't have the arrogant and insensitive character of technical elites. We admit our ignorance and are willing to constantly ask our senior brothers, customers, and people in the circle for advice on how to behave." Originally published in: 21st Century Business Review June 2010 issue.

Entrepreneur Tian Shuo: Listen to what others say, act kindly

(Summary description)"We don't have the arrogant and insensitive character of technical elites. We admit our ignorance and are willing to constantly ask our senior brothers, customers, and people in the circle for advice on how to behave." Originally published in: 21st Century Business Review June 2010 issue.

  • Categories:Industry News
  • Author:
  • Origin:
  • Time of issue:2010-07-08
  • Views:0


——“We do not have the arrogant and insensitive character of technical elites. We admit our ignorance and are willing to constantly ask our senior brothers, customers and people in the circle for advice on how to behave.”

Originally published in: 21st Century Business Review June 2010 Issue Author: Luo Dong

"Hello, who are you looking for? Interview... Please call our vice president Hua Jianfeng, his number is... bye!" After putting down the phone, Tian Shuo adjusted his glasses and explained to the reporter with a little bit of explanation. Said, "It's not Saturday, the front desk didn't come to work, I'll do it for you temporarily."

In fact, this is not Tian Shuo's only "representative" position. His title on his business card is general manager and executive director, and in his daily work, he also serves as administration, human resources, finance, and public relations... as both a boss and a chorus, this This is the most common situation encountered by all entrepreneurs in the early stages of a business.

This means that Tian Shuo has a lot of knowledge and skills to learn from scratch: in the past, Tian Shuo was once a leader in the school laboratory and a screw in the functional departments of foreign companies, pure and stable. But after starting a business, he broke into too many unfamiliar fields. However, the biggest challenge of starting a business is not constantly learning new knowledge in unfamiliar fields, but, as a technician, he has to suppress his desire and love for technology to cater to The development needs of the company and the taste of the market.

When faced with various typical confusions that all technology entrepreneurs often encounter in the early stage of their business, Tian Shuo's solution is: ask experts for help, mentors, customers, senior brothers... Before every major decision is made, he will ask for help. Those experienced and knowledgeable elders and seniors ask for advice, learn everything about the market, customers, company operations and management, and even learn the sophistication and tact that are contrary to technical talents.

In the interview, "the big brother in the circle said" almost became Tian Shuo's mantra. The experience of success or failure of past people has become a valuable asset for Tian Shuo and the others when they make every important decision.

Find a place for technology

In terms of educational experience, I am a standard technical talent: I graduated from Tsinghua University with a bachelor’s degree, completed a master’s degree in Germany, and then returned to Tsinghua to complete a doctoral degree. From my undergraduate to my Ph.D., I have always studied automobiles. 1st place in the class on the subject. When I graduate, I naturally hope to get a position where I can make the most of my technical expertise.

But after getting in touch with some foreign companies in the domestic auto industry, I reluctantly admitted the gap between ideals and reality—the space for my own technical expertise to be used is very limited, and at best it is a very good technical language “speaker”—the local The actual situation is translated to the technical department of the headquarters, and then helps the headquarters and the domestic communication, but my undergraduate knowledge is enough for all this, what is the meaning of the doctoral degree?

One of my classmates, Li Liguo, was in a very similar situation to me. Until my third classmate, Hua Jianfeng, graduated, he didn't look for a job at all, and directly approached me and Li Liguo to discuss starting a business. I think this is the nature of people who have been engaged in technology research for a long time: always hope that they can create something on their own.

In the preparatory stage of starting a business, the three of us were naturally passionate and produced countless good ideas that could solve many existing technical problems in the market. Moreover, our technical capabilities were sufficient to support the realization of these ideas. Everything looks good, right? ? But if controlled by this emotion, it's doomed.

Before us, there were countless senior brothers in Tsinghua who started their own companies, and some of them failed to provide us with a lesson. For example, I often hear that a certain genius in Tsinghua has made a very good product, and people in the circle give him a thumbs up: This system is great! It is too advanced! But the final result is often that their research There is no market for the results, because during the time when they were immersed in development, the domestic market has solved this problem in a very copycat way, and no one uses the "expensive" system they developed. And a big brother in the circle also pointed us in time: 10,000 yuan is too expensive, you still want to sell 12,000? Remember, never tell customers in China that our products are 30% more expensive than others , but the function is also 30% more, but to say that our product price is the same as others, and the function is 30% more.

Therefore, although we were in high spirits at the time and wanted to invest in the R&D project immediately, we still had a "mind" when discussing the project. Everyone agreed on a principle that must be grasped: no matter how good the idea is, no matter how much we think The pursuit of technological excellence must not be out of touch with the real needs of the market and avoid becoming a "martyr". Therefore, every time we generate an idea, we will use various channels to verify whether it meets the needs of the market.

As a result, many seemingly wonderful ideas were stifled in the cradle. We have considered designing solutions for the current situation of fatigue driving of domestic large truck drivers, such as developing a cruise control system for large trucks - it is good to achieve a uniform speed without controlling the accelerator at high speed, but later also found that the Can't go on, why? Because the domestic big truck driver solved this problem with a simple method, and prepared a brick of suitable size to put it under the accelerator, wouldn't it be a constant speed when you step on it...

Childishness and sophistication

After the official establishment of the company, we set four slogans: Innovation, Perseverance, Diligence and Integrity. The first three slogans are easy to understand. For technology companies, they cannot simply imitate external technologies and products, they must focus, not easily change the direction of the company, be diligent, and start a business. I think this is what we survive. Base. But when it comes to "integrity," frankly, we don't stick to it well enough.

In the past, we have always believed that being honest and telling the truth is a responsible performance, and customers will understand and like our sincerity. Therefore, when we talked about business initially, we were based on the principle of integrity, but we paid a lot of tuition fees. When negotiating business with a client, the client gave us a deadline to complete a research project within three months. After we went back, we carefully calculated that we could not do it in three months, and it would take at least four and a half to five months, so we told the client. , five and a half months written on the contract. Such a childish answer angered the customer. If it weren't for our good personal relationship, this business might have collapsed on the spot.

Later, a big brother found out about this and taught us angrily: You kids, just come out, don't know how to deal with people at all. Almost all companies will agree to the three-month deadline requested by the customer! Of course, these companies may temporarily increase their staff after returning, or outsource the business. ?Why do customers entrust this business to you? This incident has given me a deep inspiration, that is, integrity is important, but it must be mastered.

There are many reasons for this. For example, the current domestic environment is like this. If a customer proposes that a project needs to be completed in three months, all competitors will agree to this request without hesitation. You have no confidence in yourself, or your technical ability is not as good as others; moreover, negotiating with customers is not only a question of how to do things, but also a question of how to behave as a person. Refuting the customer's request on the spot will undoubtedly deny their authority and face. In fact, if In the early stage, everyone had a good relationship, and the customer was still very tolerant, especially in the later stage of the project when we learned that we really put our best efforts in doing things, and we did not care about time.

Therefore, when we dealt with customers later, we did not open up and promise everything, because if we couldn't make something, we would definitely go bankrupt, but we would not be cautious about everything. Of course, we will do our best to do what we have promised. This is the bottom line of what can be done. However, when we negotiate projects with foreign customers, we do not follow this principle, because foreign customers like to tell the truth, you can do it as long as you can. Therefore, we have two sets of strategies when talking with domestic customers and foreign customers.

In fact, those of us who have not yet been deeply involved in the world naturally do not understand these "sophisticated" truths, but I think the three of us have an advantage: we do not have the arrogant and insensitive character of the technical elite. We understand our ignorance and admit ourselves. We are willing to treat guests to dinner constantly, and ask senior brothers, customers, and people in the circle for advice on these principles of dealing with others. In addition, when we were in school, people were very enthusiastic and helped others a lot, such as providing free training for companies. Later, when we had something to ask for advice, they were also willing to chat with us and taught us many things.

precious trust

In fact, I think that the problems of business management such as finding the market and dealing with customers are not the biggest challenges for us to start a business, because we can still afford the tuition fees, or if we make mistakes, there is still time and opportunity to correct them, but there are the same Things, I think are the greatest wealth of the three of us starting a business, but there is no room for mistakes and need to be carefully maintained, that is, the trust between us.

Li Liguo, Hua Jianfeng and I are both Tsinghua alumni. We work in a laboratory and have been in close friendship with each other for nearly 10 years. However, after all, running a business is different from my buddies in our student days. Before setting up the company, there was a senior brother who was very serious. He warned us: "Don't look at the three of your brothers, but you must have strict rules and regulations to regulate the business. There are two things that you must do: First, although the three people are passionate and enthusiastic now, It is twisted into a rope, but it must be prevented before it happens, and there must be a restraint mechanism for exiting, because when the company is small, if one person can’t hold on and withdraws to cash out a sum of funds, the company may not be able to do it; secondly, establish A very clear decision-making mechanism with rules to follow when the three conflict and disagree."

We did two things immediately after the establishment of the company: firstly, we stipulated that if someone quits within three years, they can only get back the original principal, and it is impossible to withdraw at a premium price; secondly, for a resolution, three people have at least two Personal consent can only be passed, but I have a veto power, which means that what I want to do may not be done, but what I do not agree with must not be done. This is what we think about it. It is the principle that the minority obeys the majority, but the company must have a head and a veto power. Otherwise, any two people can make a decision. This company has no final decision maker, which is unfavorable to the company's development. .

The reason why I took up this important task has something to do with the personalities and experiences of the three of us. During the division of labor, we asked the tutor how to assign the roles between us. The tutor's opinion is: Li Liguo and Hua Jianfeng are technically geniuses. It would be a pity if they were distracted by the affairs of the company. And although I also come from a technical background, I am not so keen on technology. I am interested in many aspects of business management and market expansion. At the same time, I am more assertive, even paranoid, and I am not so easily affected by the outside world, and I am better in execution. To be tough, this disposition is what startup companies need. In addition, I am usually more responsible for the thinking of the company's strategic level, and even hold several positions, such as finance, so I am suitable for making the final decision.

But so far, I have not used a veto. I think the most ideal way is for three people to discuss, listen to each other, and someone makes concessions to make an adjusted plan that is more in line with the needs of enterprise development. For example, Li Guo once liked a very good factory, regardless of the location or the rent. This is also his dream that has continued to the present when he was a child - to have his own factory and production line, but I completely disagree - it may be The reason for looking at the company's financial numbers every day, I think this investment in fixed assets is too heavy a burden for us, especially now that we can't guarantee continued orders. Liguo and I had our own opinions and quarreled.

In the end, I took a step back, because one of the reasons for the founding of the country moved me: the factory building is the display of our corporate image and credit, and it is self-evident that it plays a role in winning customers. Therefore, the later plan is to rent the factory, but only rent 1/4.

I think the state where the three of us can still quarrel from time to time and solve problems during the quarrel is worth cherishing, and we need to maintain it even more. If I arbitrarily use the veto power, it will inevitably lead to shackles between the three people over time. I also don't want them to look at my face and act, or to cover my thoughts without saying anything. After all, three people started a business together, and no one wants to become the boss of one person in the end, and the other two people work for him, right?

Now, although the division of labor among the three of us is different, all three of us participate together when it comes to the company's major strategy formulation or experience absorption, such as when investors come, visit major customers, and visit vehicle manufacturing plants... Yes Now, here, I have a request: Do you want to take pictures in this column of your magazine? Don't just take me alone, if you want to take pictures, the three of us together.

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