Lei Jun: How did I get through the trough of my life and how did I get through confusion and anxiety
The reason for the failure of Pangu Software: Disengage from the masses and work behind closed doors
When I was younger, I also encountered product failures, business collapses, and even close company closures. This story begins 30 years ago.
It was 1992. At that time, WPS was very prosperous, and it was installed on almost every computer. Jinshan was in full swing. But we still face huge hidden worries, because that year Microsoft, that is, windows and office, entered the Chinese market. Jinshan must immediately develop a new set of office software to survive.
Newborn calves are not afraid of tigers, we didn't think about it right away. We gave the project an imposing name: Pangu. We hope that Pangu Software can break new ground on the Windows platform and push the glory of WPS to a new height.
But just think about it, how can a small domestic company compete with the global giant? This project is not that easy. We recruited almost all the programmers and took out the company's assets. We worked day and night for 3 years. In April 1995, Pangu office was finally completed.
We have been in retreat for 3 years, and we are waiting for this day. We have even arranged a celebration banquet, but no one expected that the sales of the product would be disastrous after it was launched, even less than 1/10 of the expected price. My mentality collapsed, and everyone's mood quickly fell from the cloud to the bottom.
What should I do? I tried my best to fight for everyone and encourage everyone to continue to struggle. By the beginning of the second year (1996), the situation had not improved, Pangu's sales had not improved, and what was even more troublesome was that WPS could not be sold.
The company is in an existential crisis. That year, I was 26 years old and was the general manager of Beijing Jinshan. It was the first time I was faced with such a situation and I was a little helpless, especially the few days when the salary was paid every month was particularly difficult.
In the worst month, there were only a few hundred thousand yuan in the account, and it was very difficult to even pay the next month's salary. During that time, I often had insomnia and could not sleep overnight. For many nights I sat alone on the sofa, watching the lights in the opposite building go out one by one, and then saw the sky light up little by little. This pain can only be understood by those who have experienced it.
My colleagues were also very desperate. They left Jinshan one after another, and the office that used to be very lively gradually became deserted. Those days were especially difficult.
As the person in charge of R&D, I don't understand a little: Why is Jinshan such a good signboard, and Pangu such a good software not selling? I decided to go to the bottom of the stick and go to the front line to figure out the problem.
I made a lot of determination to go to the station store to sell.
I found the largest software store in Zhongguancun 30 years ago. At the beginning, I was very confident. Although I didn't make sales, I made the product, so it's definitely no problem.
On the first day I went to Zhandian, I saw every customer as if I saw a relative, and greeted them with great enthusiasm, sometimes even eloquent. In such a wave after wave, I stood for 8 hours, chatting dryly, and as a result, none of the sets were sold. On the second day, it still hadn't sold. I'm a little confused.
On the third day, there was still no harvest. Especially when I saw other clerks closing one order after another, I doubted my ability at that moment; it was also at that moment that I realized for the first time that it is not only difficult to do technology, but also difficult to do sales.
On the fourth day, I decided not to sell the goods, and see how others sell them. I followed the clerk with the best sales performance to see how he received customers and sold products. Turning around in such a day, there are still a lot of gains.
For example, when a customer came into the store, I greeted him enthusiastically and talked to the customer for half an hour; but he didn’t talk much.
I feel that I understand technology, and I especially want to explain the technology to customers clearly. If the other party has different opinions, I will talk to people. In short, "I must convince you that it doesn't matter if you don't buy the product. We must explain the truth." . That's not what he did when he sold it. He took a software package and a leaflet, and explained it to the user in a few words. If he really couldn't do it, he would show you a computer demonstration.
The purpose of selling is not to explain the truth to users, the key is to let users accept it comfortably. This gold salesman is very easy to communicate with users, and I am a programmer, and it is difficult for me to deal with strangers.
On the fifth day, I pondered and practiced. After a long time, I finally closed the first order. At that moment, I felt as if I had won the whole world, and I was very excited. After the first order was sold, I found the feeling little by little, and the performance improved little by little. On the seventh day, I actually became the sales champion in our store.
I told this story to my colleague, and he said that you were telling the story of a salesman who was quick in seven days? I said that I was talking about the story of a research and development leader who personally went to the sales front line to stand in the store for seven days after the product failed in order to find out the reason.
R&D leaders rarely do this after the product doesn't sell. It's because I did it, and today I think it's a huge gain.
In 1996, computers were just beginning to become popular. Every day I have several users in the store asking me if there is any software for getting started with computers.
I can't figure it out, I just need to buy a book to learn computer, why should I buy software? I always go out of my way to discourage users, there is no such software, you can just buy a book and follow it. Until I was asked countless times, I suddenly realized: wouldn't it be enough to make a tutorial software?
This type of software has little technical content compared to Pangu. I immediately organized a team to develop a software called Getting Started with Computers, which was quickly brought to the market without advertising.
As soon as it was launched, it sold well, and it immediately went on the best-selling software list.
This process gave me a huge shock. I rethought and understood a very simple truth: we must make products that users need, not products that look tall. As long as the product is what the user wants, selling is not a problem.
With this understanding, it is not difficult to make products.
Later, we launched a series of explosive products: Kingsoft PowerWord, Kingsoft Duba, etc. Kingsoft quickly found a way to survive. Looking back at the problem of Pangu, it is actually very simple. It is to separate from the masses and work behind closed doors.