China Food

Dialogue vitality forest Tang Binsen: millionaire, pirate and product manager


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see how three very different qualities come together in him.
 
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Text: Song Wei, Li Shiyun, Huang Junjie; Editor: Huang Junjie   

Source: latepost (ID: Post)

 
Tang Binsen, a serial entrepreneur, has worked hard in the Internet circle for ten years and made a lot of money, but he did not get a reputation matching his ability to make money. In 2016, he stepped into the beverage industry, where he finally became an internet tycoon.
Yuanqi forest, founded by Tang Binsen, sold 100 million boxes of sugar free water this year, 80% of which came from offline sales. Yuanqi forest has rushed into the offline channels firmly controlled by traditional beverage enterprises. The revenue from selling drinks this year is expected to be 8.3 billion yuan, catching up with one-third of nongnongshan spring, which has been established for 25 years.
A group of young people who play games have created the biggest entrepreneurial success story of the whole Chinese consumer industry in recent years – which few people could have imagined a few years ago.
Tang Binsen, 38, probably didn’t think of it. After more than ten years of entrepreneurial career, he has succeeded, but he mainly invested in short-term and fast return businesses such as web games, navigation stations and tools going to sea. Until Tang Binsen found the big industry of beverage, an industry that has not been successfully transformed by the Internet. He tried to push down the rules and create new rules. This is related to his character and him The self-confidence brought by continuous entrepreneurial success has a lot to do with it. Coupled with fresh money, everything looks so lively – just like the Internet in China in the past decade.
In Tang Binsen, you can see three remarkable characteristics: he is as rich as a super millionaire, has savage expansion ability like a pirate, and thinks and learns like the best product manager. These three advantages ensure that when he enters any industry, he may not succeed, but he can turn the industry upside down.
Tang Binsen and his entrepreneurial story are likely to become a classic case of business school in the future. This case may be about success or failure, but it must be wonderful.
The following is an interview with Tang Binsen by latepost later:
Later: the first explosion of Yuanqi forest is bubble water, but this success has not been copied to other categories. Why?
Tang Binsen: it’s impossible for every product to explode, but each of our products sells well in their respective categories. It took two years to burn tea to become the second sugar free tea beverage, and the first is the Oriental leaves listed ten years ago. The annual sales of bubble water is about ten times that of burning tea.
“Late”: ten times worse.
Tang Binsen: because the latter category is small.
Later: are there any other categories as big as bubble water?
Tang Binsen: mineral water, milk.
In those days, there was a thinking on the Internet that an email does not support large attachments, so you can do one that supports large attachments. If a chat software is stuck, then you can do one that does not. I call this playing method sending sub questions. Mineral water does not belong to sending sub questions, and its technology is already very good. Our company has a project initiation list. First, it depends on the size of the market and second, whether the ingredient list can be compared with others Good people. The share of vitality forest in carbonated drinks is still low. There will be more room for development in the future, and there will be categories as large as bubble water. The threshold for milk is also high, but we have the opportunity and need the best milk and factories. Factories and pastures are under construction one by one.
“Later”: have you found some uniform playing methods or formulas that can replicate the success of bubble water?
Tang Binsen: in fact, it is the good raw materials that dare not be used by competitors. If a food and beverage enterprise wants to cater to the taste of users, adding sugar is the lowest cost, adding sweeteners (sugar substitutes) is expensive, and some sweeteners such as aspartame are cheap but taste bad.
Four years ago, we seized an opportunity to take the lead in using the best sugar substitute erythritol, which is 30 or 40 times more expensive than aspartame. We are the first to dare to use such a good sugar substitute to Chinese users. We also use the most “gas”, so the bubble water tastes very gas. But it will make it easy to explode in production, and the gas explosion will bring a loss rate of 5%.
At that time, R & D saw that our gross profit was only 10 points. He said that the boss could not carry it for three years. Then he left.
Later: but Yuanqi milk tea uses crystalline fructose. Is this the best raw material you can provide to users?
Tang Binsen: milk tea is a difficult product. If you reduce the sugar level, you must feel bad to drink. It will be more difficult to drink erythritol. We can’t help adding a little fructose. You say I’m sweet. You see how sweet others are. Many milk tea ingredients have such a long list, and the cost of connotation is only 50 cents. It can sell 10 billion yuan a year. This kind of product is common in China.
Later: you can’t say it’s a good product just because it’s better than a poor product.
Tang Binsen: so we know our mistakes and change them. All milk tea produced after April this year has removed crystalline fructose.
The Chinese market needs good products. Many enterprises build strong channels. As long as they have goods and throw them into the channels, consumers don’t have much choice. But now the information is symmetrical and the channels are flat, so products have opportunities. This has also happened in the game industry.
Three waves of people were the first to change their vitality. They were all professionals in the beverage industry, with many rules and regulations. Later, I simply found some young people playing games. I said not to discuss the cost with me, but to make a product I want to drink. We have a principle that before the product goes on the market, ten people around us must buy a box, and everyone around us can buy it to show that the product is reliable. Last year, we took the initiative to take off a product – fruit tea. I told the team that it is selling a little because we have channels. But we can’t.
Later: it is said that vitality is like a game company. Many teams are racing. Only those with good data will give resources.
Tang Binsen: I think good and bad things are not subjective, but relative, that is, one in a hundred or one in a thousand. Therefore, the product concept of vitality is not to say good or bad, but to say how many times you have tried. Some of our departments have a trial and error budget of tens of millions a year. They test the data from taste and packaging, and finally choose the one with the best data.
Game companies are particularly resistant to trial and error, because failure is normal in this industry. Traditional enterprises want to improve the success rate of products. We admit that we don’t know the future, so we should reduce the cost of every trial and error – these are two worlds.
Tardiness: how do you make employees feel that the company is willing to bear more trial and error costs through the mechanism?
Tang Binsen: we don’t encourage employees to do things that only focus on the present and have short-term effects. The rewards are retroactive. For example, this year we awarded an award to the tea burning team – called products to change the fate of the company, and rewarded the whole team with shares of the company.
Later: how much of the methodology of Yuanqi forest and zhixingtong, the game company you started before, is reused?
Tang Binsen: I said before that strategy should learn from secondary market investors, management should learn like “Pirates”, and products should learn from game companies. Buffett can get profits by using his brain, so what he thinks most about the strategy is the people in the secondary market. Many companies seem to be well managed, but in fact, it is because of their business. If the company can lead the team well without making money and cattle, it is a pirate – working hard and doing dirty work.
In terms of product capability, game companies are very strong. They produce a lot of products every year. If one cannot be connected, it will die. Many Internet companies have strong product capabilities on the surface, but it is enough to produce one product. They are maintaining this product at other times.
Later: what have you done right in imitating game companies in products, channels and marketing?
 
Tang Binsen: in the past, convenience stores and husband and wife stores rarely connected to new products, because many new brands can’t afford it, so these husband and wife stores can’t make money.
Once the channel is closed, accept the rules. In the first year, I told the team to do a good job in the snack bar downstairs. The second stage is to obtain the recognition of peripheral convenience stores, and then enter the mainstream convenience stores. The third stage is to build a team from scratch, enter the husband and wife stores, and finally sink the market all over the country, which is a long process. Now we have 6000 dealers nationwide, covering 800000 terminals, and 10% are convenience stores.
Later: it seems that the success path of Yuanqi forest is no different from that of traditional consumer goods companies. It is nothing more than big stars, big advertisements and big channels.
Tang Binsen: last year, we only did a focus (advertisement), a station B (party) and named the three programs of Hunan Satellite TV. We hope that vigorous users will have the lowest proportion of advertising and channel costs.
Later: but your advertising is very fierce.
Tang Binsen: advertising is to compete with your opponents. In doing business in China, if you don’t make key efforts at the critical time, you will miss the opportunity.
“Late”: how to get through the advertisement?
Tang Binsen: we spent the same money on the b-stop party as some title merchants, but do you remember their advertisements? I don’t remember. If we want to name the best program of the day, just say one product – bubble water. At that time, the team was opposed, but I didn’t think it was an important thing. Spending more money and less money was not the main contradiction.
“Later”: there is always money in the words.
Tang Binsen: it’s all a lesson. At that time, we were the first game company to release farm games in the United States, but we didn’t dare to spend money. Our opponent Zynga lost $10 million a month and smashed it to death and 50 million days of life. Listed 12 months later, with a market value of US $10 billion. Later, I concluded that every seven years in my life, I will encounter a flush card. If I don’t play all in, I won’t play.
Later: why seven years?
Tang Binsen: if you have good cards every year, it means that this card is not good enough. If you have a chance every day, it’s not an opportunity.
“Later”: what are some things that farmer Shanquan can do but you can’t do?
Tang Binsen: we develop our own intelligent freezer, which can remind the salesman to make up when there is no goods, instead of going to the site for inspection. The farmer didn’t do this.
Later: Coca Cola has only one product for a long time. Why do you want to make so many single products? For benchmarking game companies, for example, supercell does not win by gambling on the probability of developing a large number of products.
Tang Binsen: when you read the book creative company, you will understand that the high-quality products seen by users are internal failures many times. If I make a bad product and throw it into the market, it’s not called trial and error. Trial and error is to try in many directions and push it down again and again.
Later: now colleagues have replaced aspartame in bubble water with erythritol. What is your competitiveness?
  Tang Binsen: we upgrade every six months. We remove common preservatives such as sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate from the bubble water. Moreover, hypoglycemia is a worldwide trend, and we will continue to reduce it. In addition to erythritol, there are also Stevia glycosides, Lohan fructose and other sugar substitutes for product iteration. But these sugar substitutes are more expensive.
Later: the price of erythritol is rising rapidly. Will it go upstream to control raw materials in the future?
Tang Binsen: This is not what the boss thinks. I only solve big problems, such as building a factory.
In March this year, an international giant cut off our supply chain and immediately stopped cooperation by putting pressure on our OEM. Our channel has also encountered challenges. We won’t encounter such things when we were very young in the early stage, but we will encounter them after development. So we have to build our own factory, and we have to build a more beautiful factory to become a scenic spot that can sell tickets.
“Later”: This is contrary to your theory when playing games. You once said that the best business is to use a very thin product to hit the global market, rather than a very heavy product.
Tang Binsen: it used to be thin, but now it should be heavy, because the times have changed and the industry is different. Why build a factory? Because we want to shorten the ingredient list and make bubble water without preservatives, but domestic factories can’t do it. We can only do it ourselves.
At that time, the production team said that there were two plans to build a factory. One was twice as expensive as the other, but it could be produced aseptically. What do I mean by aseptic production? He said that bubble water could not use preservatives. I said that needless to say, that’s all. Because there is no preservative, we have to make sure that the bottle cap is hard to screw. Many consumers complained, so we introduced a bottle cap technology from Germany to solve this problem. It costs more than 20 million to improve a production line alone, and a lot of money needs to be invested every time the production line is upgraded.
 
Supply chain construction is a very slow process, but it is not difficult, that is, spending money.  
Later: you were a vigorous investor rather than a founder at first. What made you decide to end up in person?
Tang Binsen: there were three groups of people, but there was no one to take over. At that time, good entrepreneurs went to P2P and o2o. That was my worst time. At worst, I filled it with a lot of money myself.
“Later”: “charge” money.
Tang Binsen: Yes. Our first product cost $5 million. We invited a friend to drink. He didn’t drink a mouthful. The seller proposed to sell the goods in the sinking market. I said that our future brand would be ruined. In the end, it cost 1 million yuan to destroy it, and the group of beverage experts they were looking for left. The second group of people, I said to engage in full ownership, low base salary and high performance, but I left again.
At that time, cok (smart star Tong’s game “clash of kings”, the dispute between kings) made a lot of money. Everyone thought that Lao Tang, what are you doing with drinks. Ask me every time, do you still do it? I said I must be the last to give up. In 2016, I took over Yuanqi forest to do it myself, also to show my determination to do it.
Later: in 2014, you were 32 years old and sold zhixingtong. Why did you sell it? Today, the rise of a new generation of game companies such as MIHA tour proves that there is still a lot of space in this field.
Tang Binsen: they love games. I don’t love them. I just want China to be promising. I don’t play games either. Playing games every day is like going to jail and making money.
“Later”: I don’t like games, but I still make so much money. Is it cool?
 
Tang Binsen: I’m not happy. The year we sold the company, we were the third in China’s game industry. I also tangled, but later I figured out that when making major decisions in life, I can’t settle accounts, and the pattern will be very small. What do you want to do in the next 20 years? Even if you don’t make money. I said I definitely didn’t want to play games.
The company sold 2.7 billion, and my friends thought I lost money. Because the profit of that year was 150 million, the profit after selling increased sevenfold.
“Later”: it means that the person who takes over the offer will run the company better than you.
Tang Binsen: our business foundation is very good and our team has been very stable. In 2008, we played games and went to sea. We were the first. But in 2014, all overseas games were Chinese companies. I have proved that it is possible for the Chinese to make this track. When the mission is completed, I find it boring.
Later: it sounds like the standard for you to end and start a thing is whether the Chinese have done it on this track. Game is, so is consumption.
Tang Binsen: knowing a person depends on how he earns his first pot of gold. The first pot of gold in my life was earned as a graduate student of Beihang in 2004. I took part in the programming competition overseas and beat foreigners to become the first, earning 250000 euros.
At that time, the competition was at the 3GSM exhibition in France. We were a Chinese team and had no relatives. Then we saw Huawei’s booth. They are the only Chinese enterprises in the exhibition. Do you understand the feeling of finding relatives? We also went to the Huawei team and said that you see, we are also Chinese. Therefore, Yuanqi forest later had a brand label, that is, Zhonghua Youwei.
 
Later: you are a serial entrepreneur. What do you think you are good at and not good at? You also made a cloud computing platform, but failed.
Tang Binsen: there is no such thing as being good or not. Everything is fate.
To stand at thirty is to try and break through more. Find and focus on what you love. But in the end you will find that it is life. The quality of your business itself determines who is the cow *. The three largest Internet companies in China, South Korea and Russia are search engines, social networking and e-commerce.
Some people stand at fifty, are not confused at forty, and are stupid at thirty when they know their destiny; More people can’t stand at 30 or 40. The rhythm can’t be wrong. Many Internet bigwigs hit a big opportunity, and they didn’t think much. But we really need to find opportunities, so we should continue to start a business and find answers. This is called “nomadic people”.
“Later”: don’t you want to find a fertile market?
Tang Binsen: so I’ll make drinks.
Later: is it because it’s a big business, not because you have a sense of mission.
Tang Binsen: I established Challenger capital in 2014 with the mission of “promising China, challenging giants, investing in good products and trusting young people”. “Zhonghua Youwei” means that there are no Chinese enterprises in the top ten of the industry, we should invest; “Challenging giants” is that I think there is no new concept in the world and we should focus on old business. At that time, many industries were selected according to this logic.
I think many companies must understand the strategy. I believe that the Chinese are very good *, so I want to find foreigners as competitors. Buffett has a saying, if you want to win the championship, don’t share a card table with the world champion. I think the best card table is to compete with foreign capital, not with local enterprises, because local enterprises are very good *.
I also invested in a company called Tiger securities. At that time, the founder wanted to make stock speculation software. I said that if I wanted to do it, I would do big business, and if I wanted to do it, I would do it as a securities company. If the opponent is a $100 billion company, you are a cow *, if the opponent is a $100 million company, it’s useless.
“Later”: you are often evaluated, and your achievement motivation is obvious. When you do something, you often think not about how valuable it is, but how to win and how to win the most.
Tang Binsen: if you want to create value, you must win. If a man does not win the war, he cannot create great value. The scholar is very good, and the bandit is also very good. The best thing is the person who integrates the scholar with the bandit. So it’s important to win.
Later: are you a scholar or a bandit?
Tang Binsen: I’m the one who integrates the scholar with the bandit.
“Late”: a big gambler.
Tang Binsen: big bet and big win is a result. The key is that you should have continuous toughness. Our company has a culture. Not playing old strange games is not a good game. It depends on how many times you encounter things that make you want to give up. The more you want to give up, the more it means.
“Later”: how many times have you thought about giving up the vitality forest?
Tang Binsen: many times.
Later: what happened from feeling good about the industry to settling down and making good products?
Tang Binsen: because I see that most consumer companies that do well in the Chinese market are foreign-funded. I want to make a good drink worthy of the hard-working Chinese people, just like coca cola in the United States and nestle in Switzerland.
“Later”: some people think that at the beginning, vitality attached to Japanese brands is an opportunity and a brand failure, because today Chinese consumers pay more for made in China.
Tang Binsen: we really set up a Japanese company. There are more than a dozen people doing R & D in Japan. A year later, we thought something would go wrong, so we told the team not to do it. So we later emphasized the words “burning” and “気”. We want to sell whisky all over the world with big Chinese characters like Suntory in Japan.
“Later”: but this “Yi” is Japanese.
Tang Binsen: the whole Asian culture is deeply influenced by Chinese culture. We can’t strictly define whether it is Japanese or Chinese characters.
Later: the brand core of consumer goods is very important. Coca Cola has emphasized the word enjoy in the past few decades. What is the brand core of Yuanqi forest?
Tang Binsen: Plain is true. We hope to become consumers’ light companionship. I once wanted to make an advertising film. Others sent you 999 roses, and I will accompany you to work on time. We want to provide more people with a more inclusive and high-quality life.
Later: what is the difference between building a food and beverage Empire today and the old foreign food and beverage giants?
Tang Binsen: we don’t build, we solve the problem. In the process of solving the problem, the territory gradually became clear. Does hard work work?
Later: what company will Yuanqi forest eventually be?
Tang Binsen: a problem-solving company. If a problem is solved well by the existing company, it is meaningless for you to do it. It is robbing others’ cake. The world will not reward the company robbing others’ cake. The whole human information system is constantly encouraging better behavior towards mankind.
Later: what is the ultimate problem to be solved by mankind?
Tang Binsen: the ultimate human problem has nothing to do with me. I can’t solve it, and I don’t have that level. However, I believe that the beverage market will not win the game in the end, and the growth of physical consumption will not win the virtual market for a long time. Products that meet the high-order needs of human society will become more and more important, and the proportion of products that meet the basic needs in GDP will become lower and lower.
Games are the ultimate direction of mankind. In the past 100 years, it is the history of constantly moving real things to the virtual world. Don’t you think people realize themselves in a real world, which consumes too much environmental resources? The game is to make people realize themselves in the virtual world, which is environmentally friendly and efficient.
I don’t play games, but I like the things at the bottom of the game, such as IP. IP and brand are very similar. In the future, Yuanqi forest may develop IP together with the game company I invested in, otherwise it will be empty again.
Later: under what circumstances will vitality forest be eliminated by the market?
Tang Binsen: elimination is doomed. With the emergence of young companies and young people, this industry will have a future. As a leading company in the industry, the best strategy to make the industry better is to die. If you don’t die, if you live as an old company, the industry will have no future.
“Later”: some people say that internal vitality makes employee motivation like a pirate, not on seniority, but on merit. If you do well, you will be rewarded with options, and if OKR is not completed well, you will directly deduct options.
Tang Binsen: I was born to like a pirate team. One of the basic laws of vitality forest is that we must not suffer losses when dealing with honest people, be cruel when dealing with bad people, and not be egalitarian when dealing with excellent people. My personal shares in Yuanqi are no more than 50%. There are more than a dozen investors. The rest are team members, and 20% of the employees are shareholders of the company. I think a company organization should have a brotherhood and bandit friendship, should not be too professional, and should have a sense of piracy. That is, we are equal and simple, and a group of loving and righteous people do a meaningful thing. We should not set too many rules and regulations, so that people are getting farther and farther away from each other. We should be more sincere and simpler.
Later: your colleague said that you send hundreds of thousands of red envelopes on wechat every year.
Tang Binsen: I often do some value questions and answers, and give red envelopes to those who answer correctly. For example, ask “what idiom of our company is this thing against?”
“Late”: for example.
Tang Binsen: “communication problems, two people are fools”; “A good company is a gym, a bad company is a pig farm”. The gym is that you are very tired when you work and feel good after you work. Pig farms are cool when they go and slaughtered when they go.
Later: there are thousands of people in Yuanqi forest. Have you ever thought about how to manage tens of thousands of people?
Tang Binsen: if there are tens of thousands of people, managing the product team is the most important. The problem of management will become simple with systematization. In contrast, it is difficult to find the core problem. What problems does the company exist to solve? If you don’t figure it out, you are right tactically and wrong strategically.
Later: how much money do you care?
Tang Binsen: the company rarely gets approval from me.
Later: under what circumstances will compromise?
Tang Binsen: I am authorized in most cases, so I rarely compromise anything.
Later: when will the power be collected?
Tang Binsen: when some key and others dare not make this decision. There is a kind of decision that you do right, and everyone will never feel the value of right. There is also a problem. It must be because you didn’t do it.
Later: Several executives in the early days of vitality left to start a beverage business. How do you think of this?
Tang Binsen: I’m used to it. Bless them. A senior executive who went out gave me a box of Maotai last year. I said no. he had to give it, so he wanted it. It’s not good to return it.
If you want, a good company will not let good people leave. If you leave a bunch of rotten people, it means that the company is a cow *. If all the people leaving are talents, it means that the company is stupid *.
Later: you also recruited executives who resigned from byte beat. Does that mean byte beat is a cow * or a fool *?
Tang Binsen: this person is recruited because he loves the product and doesn’t worry about money.
“Later”: an investor wants to ask you, why are the terms given to investors so harsh when Yuanqi forest financing? You are also an investor. Do you want to be treated like this by entrepreneurs?
Tang Binsen: does this investor want to invest?
Later: he wants to vote.
Tang Binsen: isn’t it over? I didn’t force you anyway. We set this valuation at that time. They were all robbing. Grab it. I said whoever comes will give it to whoever. I don’t raise the price, just create this atmosphere, and everyone rushes in.
“Later”: what projects will be done by the vigorous forest itself, and what projects will be invested by the Challenger?
Tang Binsen: what vitality forest can do, the Challenger doesn’t do it, and the challenger can’t solve the problem.
Late: like Baijiu?
Tang Binsen: Baijiu, beer and vitality are also being made. The boundary is still not clear. Wine can’t be too anxious. You see, the consumer goods that survived in China are state-owned enterprises because they are slow. We also recently invested in a British children’s food company and bought an oat milk from Australia. Our idea is to serve the global market with the best things in the world.
Later: how to select the CEO of the acquired consumer goods brand?
Tang Binsen: to see if a founder has made money is the simplest and rudimentary way to prove his ability. Once, Shen NANPENG (founder of Sequoia China) asked me whether the “vitality 28” project was good? I said the boss earned 20 million by starting his own business. You can do it.
Later: I heard that you often bet with people. In March 2019, you bet with an investor whether it’s OK to bet a lot.
Tang Binsen: there were two bets, one Ruixing and the other pinduoduo. I bet neither. Finally, pinduoduo lost. Ruixing won and just hedged. (wechat’s gambling chat interface is shown here)
The book reaction tells a story. At that time, no one thought the war in Lebanon would last more than ten years. Everyone thought it would end in one year. But in hindsight, we all think it will be at least 10 years. The advantage of betting is to let you remember your decision at that time. I also like to keep a diary. I can always see how stupid the decision was at that time *.
Later: what are you good at gambling?
Tang Binsen: cognition. So in my own company, I will basically win. For example, I said to raise the price of drinks. My colleagues said that raising the price would affect the sales volume. I said, would you try it?
Later: why didn’t you like pinduoduo at that time?
Tang Binsen: I also reflect that I understand the logic of making products as a platform – this is wrong. Companies that make products can’t burn money. If users really love your things, you shouldn’t lose money. So at that time, I thought pinduoduo had too many subsidies, probably because the platform was not good. I didn’t expect to make up for it. The platform must be rewarded because it improves the efficiency of products, which is a different story from the product company.
“Later”: in addition to the hobby of keeping a diary, I heard that you have been watching “news broadcast” for decades.
Tang Binsen: I used to watch it every day. Now I’m too busy. I can only watch it every week for seven days. Fast forward and finish it in 20 minutes.
You don’t know what to think, do you? The video hotspot of Xiaomi TV. Click in to have a “news broadcast” channel, which can be played back.  
Later: what will you stop when you see?
Tang Binsen: what projects and roads have been built and how to help the poor in this place. I have loved watching since I was a child. I see what positive changes have taken place in the country every day.
“Later”: I loved watching “news broadcast” since I was a child. What was your ideal at that time?
Tang Binsen: I wanted to be the mayor of Hefei, but I failed to join the party. He was a monitor in high school and was removed. Because I said to my head teacher, “you have a problem with this (mathematical) solution.” the teacher was stunned and asked you what the situation was.
Later: if you were the mayor of Hefei, would you invest in Weilai?
Tang Binsen: I don’t know. Maybe I think in that system in another way. People’s values are formed when they are young, so I can know when a person is singing.
“Later”: you were born in 1982. Your friends said you loved singing “on the side of the water”. When were you born?
Tang Binsen: Ren Zhengfei and I are of the same generation. Because I grew up with my grandparents. My grandmother sang Teng Lijun’s song and my grandfather sang “sing the motherland”. I would cry when I heard “sing the motherland”. Do you understand?
I also like to sing “daughter country”. I think Tang Monk can pass other levels. The most difficult level is daughter country. I often say that the boss must have mental strength, not mental strength. So I think Tang Seng is the best CEO.
Later: you have expressed your admiration for Huawei many times. Why do you admire Huawei most?
Tang Binsen: I think Ren Zhengfei is a person who speaks basic laws in vernacular.
When I was in college, I especially wanted to ask the school why it didn’t teach us Java and PHP and always told us about computer systems. I think these things have something to say and can’t solve the problem. I want to write code and build a website. I even want to sign up for a crash course on some website. Later, I understood that some things change. Today you need Java, tomorrow you need PHP, and in two years you need something else. Those things are not worth learning. What is really valuable is the most basic things such as systems, languages and mathematics.
The same is true for enterprises. Ren Zhengfei is right. There is no reason. Someone will buy tofu when it is well ground. There is a business model of business schools in the world, which is to make money by selling courses and induce everyone to speed up. But the real educational institutions are Harvard and Yale. They teach the first principles. He expects students to donate money to him, so he must find a way to educate students well.
Later: but you also attended China Europe Business School and lakeside college.
Tang Binsen: I had nothing to do. I never thought class was important. I made friends.
Later: who is your friend in your heart?
Tang Binsen: once I told freshmen in Central Europe that there should be four principles for going to business school: first, don’t face opportunities, but face the general trend of the future. Second, don’t make business partners. Make spiritual friends. Many people go to business schools to do business. This kind of person gets worse and worse. I think a CEO is very lonely and needs some people to drink and chat. Third, don’t just look for things that change, look for things that don’t change.
 
Later: it’s a good summary, but that’s what Bezos said.
Tang Binsen: I don’t care if I quote it. I like to study what people who have made money say. Bezos, jobs, Buffett, I don’t believe what others say.
 
Later: you like to use two words, one is “Niu *” and the other is “silly *” to describe many things. Why?
Tang Binsen: simple and direct.
Later: is there an intermediate state?  
Tang Binsen: is the intermediate state important? Most of my own situation is like this, occasionally cow *, occasionally stupid *.
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