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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.


  This incident has inspired me a lot, and I am very fortunate that without the crisis of 1996, as an engineer, I would not have had the opportunity to make up for this important lesson. Looking back, it is no exaggeration to say that this experience in the store has been a huge and valuable asset to my career.
  I especially like shopping, and I go to the store whenever I get a chance. When visiting a store, I not only think about other people's products, but also about the decoration, moving lines, shelf placement, stacking, posters, and salesman's words of other people's stores.
  Thirty years ago, the domestic retail industry was relatively backward. Whenever I had the opportunity to travel abroad, I would definitely take the time to visit other stores. Some stores are so big that I can spend a whole day in the store, touching every box in there and trying to remember every detail in my head.
  That's it, I gradually gained a certain understanding of the retail industry, which later helped me a lot.
The darkest period of time: I lost my ideal and lost my fighting spirit

  Jinshan found a way to live, but I fell into even greater confusion. I encountered the darkest period of my life.
  At that time, my expectations for Pangu were too high, and I was always immersed in the emotion of Pangu's failure, and was very depressed. In the face of Microsoft's competition, I do not see a glimmer of hope. As a barely-living business, it wouldn't appeal to me at all.
  What I felt at the time was that I had lost my ideals and completely lost my fighting spirit. At the end of April 1996, I submitted my resignation letter.
  Many people are in pain and confusion, and I don't know how you deal with this kind of challenge. I didn't have any new ways to play at the time. I often went clubbing with a few friends. That's when I started to like heavy metal rock.
  I used to think these kinds of music were very loud, but when I was particularly depressed, I started to like this kind of music instead. I was immersed in the music and I could temporarily forget all my troubles.
  Because I often go to clubs, I was seriously thinking about opening my own bar in Sanlitun, and I did some research on it. It didn't take long for me to come across something more interesting: BBS forums.
  At that time I had enough time to soak in CFIDO all day. CFIDO was not yet popularized in China at that time. It was a network built by a group of enthusiasts who dialed into the network by telephone, mainly forums.
  In those days, it was very magical to communicate freely with distant friends online. I was hooked as soon as I started playing and found new sustenance. Because of the need for dial-up Internet access, the network fee is particularly expensive. You need to prepare each post very carefully and reply to other people's opinions very seriously.
  I'm a programmer, I can type blindly, I type super fast, and I can write a hundred articles a day. Because I wrote fast and long, I quickly made it to the CFIDO rankings, often in the top three.
  Because of the frequent posting and many posts, I soon became a moderator. Don't look at the officials, there are still many things to do. Being a moderator is a bit like a neighborhood committee aunt. In the forum, people often quarrel because of disagreement. You need to do work for everyone to soothe their emotions. At that time, I often got up at seven in the morning and started to work until the early morning or even the middle of the night.
  At that time, I was immersed in the forum, and some friends thought that I was running away and not doing my right job; some even felt sorry for me, thinking that I was wasting time and life. I am especially grateful to these friends for their concern, but I am a bit different from their views.
  I think the purpose of doing things in life should not be too strong. Even if you do something meaningless, it is actually valuable. I didn't have any purpose for half a year. I played very purely and was very happy. In this relaxed atmosphere, my mood gradually began to recover.
  During the days I spent in the forum, I met a lot of friends, and two of them became very famous later: Ma Huateng, a programmer in the company, and Ding Lei, an engineer from Ningbo Telecom Bureau.
  It was during those six months of carefree days that I recovered step by step.
Entrepreneur's biggest pain: we missed the entire Internet era

  In November 1996, I officially returned to Jinshan. I still can't let go of the glory and dream of National Software, and I still want to fight a protracted war with Microsoft.
  After going back, we fought with Microsoft in the frontal battlefield of office software, and opened up a guerrilla warfare behind the enemy - made a lot of software games to earn money to support our family, and fight to support the war.
  Just such 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. We can't simply say that we have beaten Microsoft, but it is amazing to be able to achieve the scale of today and become the second largest in the world.
  Just as I was burying my head in rebuilding Jinshan, the world outside had undergone earth-shaking changes.
  On the other side of the ocean, Netscape was founded in 1994 and listed in 1995; Yahoo was founded in 1995 and listed in 1996. The first wave of the Internet boomed.
  At that time, the whole world was in the midst of the Internet boom, and China followed very quickly. In 1997, NetEase was founded; at the end of 1998, Tencent was founded; and in 1998, Sina and Sohu re-launched after changing their names. The first wave of the Internet in China also began.
  It wasn't until October 1998 that I felt the unstoppable wave of the Internet for the first time. But at that point in time, we are already half a beat late, what to do? I recommend a board buyout so that it can strike quickly.
  In the past two decades or so, there have been various rumors in the market, saying that Ma Huateng wanted to sell QQ to me when he started his business, but I didn't buy it; he said that Alibaba asked me to invest when he started his business, but I didn't. It seemed that I was stupid and had no vision.
  I make it official: neither of them have approached me, it's all rumors. The only one I've really talked about seriously is NetEase.
  They had been in business for over a year at the time. I especially liked NetEase, so I found Ding Lei and planned to buy the company for 10 million yuan. 10 million yuan was still a lot of money at that time, and there were only five or six people in their company at that time.
  Ding Lei refused. Two months later, Ding Lei told me that he raised $10 million and the company was valued at more than $60 million. According to the exchange rate at the time, the valuation exceeded 500 million yuan.
  At the time, I was shocked and felt that the Internet was really crazy.
  The acquisition failed, so I decided to do it myself. At that time, my energy was all on the software, and my understanding of the Internet was still in the use stage. One day after more than a year, I have a new understanding of the Internet. I think that all companies will use the Internet in the future, and e-commerce has the most opportunity.
  In May 2000, Joyo.com was officially launched. For the Internet, I was determined to win and full of confidence. Many people wanted to invest in Joyo, but I refused. The first financing was 20 million yuan, all from the shareholders of Jinshan.
  E-commerce is essentially retail, nothing more than selection and pricing, store decoration. I quickly transplanted these traditional retail ideas to e-commerce. The second feature of e-commerce is operation, which requires a lot of details. At that time, as soon as I went to work every morning, I clicked every link from last night, and I found errors every day.


  I'm a programmer, what's the most important thing I've learned while doing software? What can go wrong must go wrong. So be sure to check, do every little thing with a serious spirit, and you will definitely be able to do it well. At the same time, I ask that after the end of each day, I must do a summary and review that day, and see how the competitors adjust and improve the next day.
  In order to test the service of Joyo.com, I buy a lot of things on Joyo.com every week, all kinds of books, movies, TV shows, music CDs.
  In order to figure out how to do a good job of e-commerce and services, we have also done a lot of innovation. We have created the earliest multi-site warehousing in China, with warehousing in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. We also started to build our own logistics at the earliest. In order to ensure the quality of service, we even exaggeratedly proposed: arrive in 4 hours from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
  In this way, in two or three years, starting from scratch, we became the largest B2C e-commerce company in China at that time, and the business progressed very smoothly.
  There is only one difficulty - no money.
  It is too expensive to be an e-commerce platform. First of all, that time was the cold winter of capital; secondly, the VCs at that time were all foreign capital, and it was difficult for local entrepreneurs like me to raise funds with foreign capital.
  In the end, when there was no other way, a friend's company invested 1 million US dollars, and Jinshan's shareholders added another 1 million US dollars, and barely completed the second round of financing. By 2004, I couldn't stand it any longer, so I could only sell Joyo.com to Amazon, which would later become Amazon China.
  When I visited Bezos a few years ago, he said to me as soon as we met, sorry for not taking care of excellence. It's painful to look back on this journey.
  Half a year after the sale of Joyo.com, a new wave of Internet boom has begun, the prosperity of B2C e-commerce has come, and the entire e-commerce industry has risen in an all-round way.
  This is how I summarize Joyo.com: It was founded after the dot-com bubble burst and before the rise of e-commerce. After selling Joyo.com, there are always good people who ask me not to regret it. I gritted my teeth and said I had no regrets, but my heart was actually very painful and tormented.
  On the one hand, entrepreneurs are like children to their companies, so it's especially painful at that stage. I asked myself to try not to go to Joyo.com's office, nor to see my old colleagues from Joyo.com as much as possible. On the other hand, the bigger pain for entrepreneurs is that we have missed the entire Internet age.
  During that time, I repeatedly asked myself, where did I lose? At the time I mostly thought I was out of luck.
  It's a joke, but the more I think about it, the more I think, first of all, we're too careless and procrastinating about timing. Why was it founded after the dot-com bubble burst? Why can't it be sooner? As soon as we got up, we lost at the starting line and missed the best time to start a business. Secondly, we are not capable enough to persevere until dawn.
  This incident gave me a lot of inspiration: starting a business requires a little luck and an accurate judgment of the general trend. No matter how smart and hard-working you are, never underestimate the importance of vents.
  Why do I talk a lot later? Many smart and hard-working people don't care that much about the importance of opportunities, but opportunities are actually very important to everyone.
Where there is pain for users, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs

  During this process I often asked myself: what is the Internet? Does the Internet still have a chance? What can we do next?
  After repeated and in-depth thinking, my understanding of the Internet has taken a big step forward.
  In 2005, I said that the Internet is not only a technological revolution, but also a conceptual revolution. The future Internet will integrate all walks of life. With this high-dimensional understanding, I re-scanned the entire industry, and at that point in time I vaguely saw a huge opportunity - the mobile Internet.
  After in-depth research, I firmly believe that the next 10 years will be the era of the mobile Internet, and the mobile Internet will be larger than the PC Internet. I was a firm believer in this at the time and preached it everywhere at all meetings and occasions. It's no use bragging, I decided to act immediately.
  I mainly do two things: first, I want to be the first real users; second, I want to be the first participant in this wave.
  It sounds easy, but it's hard to do.
  At that time, the mobile phone was a feature phone, the screen was small, the network was 2G, 2.5G, and the speed was very slow. My idea is that, no matter how difficult it is to use, from today onwards I will try to use only my mobile phone to surf the Internet instead of a computer.
  In this particularly painful torment, I saw many opportunities for the mobile Internet later, so pain is not necessarily a bad thing. Where there is pain for users, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs. I use it every day, and it hurts every day, but it still persists for about 10 years.
  At that time, I was looking for it all over the street, and I said to everyone: Who is doing mobile Internet, I am willing to invest money. I've been involved in a slew of startups using angel investing. The first one was cast in January 2006, and more than a dozen have been cast in succession since then. The most famous is UC Browser.
  In 2007, Kingsoft finally went public, and I left Kingsoft, which had been struggling for 16 years, and started a different life. In the next 3 years, while doing angel investment, I systematically reflected and summarized, and prepared meticulously for the next journey.
  Without the accumulation of these setbacks and failures, Lei Jun would not be where he is today. No one likes setbacks and failures, but it is inevitable that we will all experience setbacks and failures.
  I believe that many people are in frustration and failure, confusion and anxiety at this moment. Since these pains are unavoidable, we should not escape, face these pains, move forward in the pains, and let the pains shape us better.
  All the setbacks and failures you experience, even those seemingly pointless things to kill time, will become your most important and most valuable possessions.
  Life is long, no matter what, let's keep our faith: always believe that good things are about to happen.


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