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The Inspiring Eight: Xiaomi Founders

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Xiaomi Founders,eight Chinese masterminds,The Inspiring Eight successful entrepreneurs,Xiaomi Industrial Design,Startup Stories,2017 Most Read Startup Stories,Inspirational Stories,Top Chinese entrepreneurs


The most important thing is to focus, focus, focus. – Lei Jun

As the world grew attached to the Internet and smartphones, eight Chinese masterminds came together to create a phone that took that took the world by a storm! Lei Jun, Zhou Guangping, Huang Jiangji, Li Wanqiang, Hong Feng, Lin Bin, Liu De and Wang Chuan created one of the best brands to emerge from China.

Let’s take a look at these successful entrepreneurs.

1. Lei Jun


Jun Lei is the lesser known founder, chairman and CEO of the company. He was part of the founding team of Kingsoft in 1992 and became its CEO in 1998. He is at present the 12th richest man in China and the 22nd richest man in the technology sector according to Forbes. Jun’s net worth is estimated to be around $ 6.8 billion.

“When facing many complicated issues, I think confidence is the most important thing,” Lei Jun.

2. Lin Bin

Lin Bin is the President of the smartphone company. He graduated from Drexel University with a Master’s in computer science and went on to work with Microsoft. He also became the engineering director for Google Global and the vice president of the Google China Institute of Engineering. In March 2015, Lin Bin was ranked as the 87th richest man on the Forbes Billionaires List, with an estimated net worth of $ 13.2 billion.
3. Li Wanqiang

Li Wanqiang, is the current head of Mi.com ecommerce team and the vice president of Xiaomi. Li headed the MUI and Mi.com teams when the company was founded. He also worked at Kingsoft as the general manager of Kingsoft Dictionary, chief designer of the UI Department, director of Design Center and director of Internet Content. He is considered to be one of the earliest UI and HCI experts in China.
4. Zhou Guangping
Senior Vice President and Director of Xiaomi’s MI Phone Team, Guangping Zhou initially worked at Motorola as the Chief of Hardware R&D of the Ming series. He was the senior director of the Motorola Beijing R&D Center. He also served as the chief engineer and director of the R&D Center of Motorola Personal Communication Department, vice chairman of the Mobile Patent Committee in Motorola China Research Academy and the vice chairman of Cellphone Quality Control in Motorola Asia Pacific. He has a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech University in Electrical Engineering and currently leads the Hardware and BSP teams.
5. Huang Jiangji

Computer Science graduate from Purdue University Huang Jiangji, worked for Microsoft from 1997 – 2010 where he became the Principal Development Manager. He has served as an independent director for Xiaomi since January 2015 and currently leads the Mi WiFi and Mi Cloud teams. While at Microsoft, he oversaw the development of products such as the high performance analysis system of Microsoft’s business servers and B2B systems.
6. Hong Feng
Vice President and head of the MUI division of Xiaomi, Hong Feng has a Computer Science and Engineering degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Purdue University. He has also worked at Siebel and at Google as the Senior Product Manager of Google China and has led the Google China team.
7. Wang Chuan

Vice President Wang Chuan graduated from Beijing University of Technology with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. Before Xiaomi, he founded Thunder Stone Technology Ltd., in 1997 and led the company to be the largest audio visual entertainment equipment supplier in China. Wang is currently the CEO of Beijing Duokan Technology Co., Ltd., which he founded in 2010. He became the Vice President of Xiaomi in 2012 and is the current director for Internet TV related products such as Mi TV and Mi Box.
8. Liu De

Liu De was one of the only 20 Chinese students to receive a diploma from Art Center College of Design in 80 years. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design and returned to China to establish the Industrial Design Department at Beijing University of Technology. Liu founded and served as chief designer of New Edge, an industrial design company in 2013 and was also a partner of Rethink Concept in LA. He is the vice president of the company and leads Xiaomi’s Industrial Design and Ecosystem Development programs.

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Storage For Rent: This Startup Idea Is Seeing A Huge Demand During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Storage For Rent: This Startup Idea Is Seeing A Huge Demand During COVID-19 Pandemic

If you could travel six months back in time and tell yourself how the world would look now, you might have dismissed it as a hoax.  The world changed suddenly when the COVID-19 virus broke out and started spreading across the world.  The virus which manifests in the form of a flu before attacking the respiratory system currently has no vaccine.  This forced governments across the world and India included, to enforce a strict mandatory nationwide lockdown.  

The lockdown was initially announced in India for just three weeks and many businesses and startups never expected it to go beyond a month.  However, the lockdown is still continuing albeit with a few relaxations, but many industries continue to be badly affected by it as they saw zero revenue in the last three months.  Many organisations and businesses have made the shift to remote work as their offices remain to be closed for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus.  

As software companies continue to declare work from home for the foreseeable future, many employees are looking to return back home from technology hubs like Bengaluru and Hyderabad so as to save money on huge rents in the metropolitan cities considering their offices are not opening anytime soon.

ALSO READ: How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

This is where a unique concept where companies offering storage spaces for long term rent is seeing a huge spurt in demand.  As software employees in Bengaluru are slowly vacating their accommodations to move back home in order to save on rental expenses, they have no place to store their personal belongings.  Firms like SafeStorage, Storagians, StowNest Storage and MyRaksha, which provide the service (storage for rent,) have seen a spike in clients and quotation requests.  Even some gyms and restaurants, both of which are yet to reopen completely, are offering their facilities for storage in order to reduce their own rental expenses.

ALSO READ: How The COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Startup Investments And  IPOs In 2020

These storage firms offer facilities like pickup services, CCTV monitoring and individual locker facilities apart from providing insurance coverage against theft, natural calamities and fire.  Ramesh Madisetty, co founder of SafeStorage, says “We have 13 warehouses with 1.16 lakh sq ft space in Bengaluru.  We have signed up for another 27,000 sq ft facility near Whitefield.  There is a 10x jump in enquiries due to Covid-19 , from 30 to 300 now (sic.)”

Another company named Storagians, which offers storage for rent in Bengaluru has already run out of storage space and are having to turn away customer requests.  Prasanna Kumar, founder of Storagians says “Unfortunately, we are turning down customers’ requests due to the non availability of slots sic.)”

The average monthly rent is based on the volume of goods.  While goods accommodated in 1BHK are charged a monthly rental of Rs. 2,500-3,500 and it will be Rs. 4,500-5,000 for 2BHK.  As more and more enterprising people are embracing this concept, many others are racing against time to get their own facilities up so they can offer storage space for rent.  This concept will continue to see a huge demand as long as companies keep working remotely.

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4 Things To Know About Instagram Reels

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4 Things To Know About Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is the latest offering from the photo sharing platform Instagram and was launched as a replacement for the video sharing application TikTok.  Instagram Reels was launched only last year and was being tested in Brazil where it was called Cenas.  TikTok was enjoying an unrivalled popularity in India as it became a means to keep boredom at bay during the nationwide lockdown which was imposed in light of the COVID-19 virus.  TikTok amassed more than 200 million users in India and this is mostly due to the cheap internet plans rolled out by Jio Telecommunications, which made the internet accessible to every person even in the remote corners of India.

However, the Indian government announced that it would ban 59 Chinese applications in which TikTok was one, along with WeChat, Helo, Cam Scanner and many others.  This left a sudden void in video making applications, and Instagram realised the need for urgency to capitalize on this void.  Therefore, Instagram immediately pushed their latest feature Instagram Reels which lets its users create 15 second videos with music from Instagram’s database.  These videos look very similar to the ones made on TikTok and therefore Instagram is hoping to entice TikTok users to come onboard their platform.

Instagram users can open the explore tab on their mobile app and can see videos made from Reels.  These videos are displayed on the top of the explore tab and take up half the screen space to ensure more visibility for the feature.

Here are 4 things you need to know about Instagram Reels:

1) Create 15 second videos:

A user can use Reels after updating their Instagram application which is available for both Android and iOS users.  The Reels option is displayed when a user swipes right on their Instagram home screen.  A user can record upto 15 seconds of video and can string multiple 15 second videos to make a Reel.  

2) Reels can only be edited in App:

The Reels can only be edited in the Instagram app where users have a plethora of filters, music and video effects at their disposal.  The Reels can be reviewed to see how they look when they are stitched together (if two 15 second Reels are merged.)  The Reels can be deleted and re-recorded if they are not up to the mark.

3) Reels can be shared as a story or made public:

Unlike the normal Instagram Stories which can only be shared with your followers, Reels can be made public so they can be displayed on the explore tab for everyone on the platform to view it.  If you share your Reels to your Stories or in Direct, they will disappear after 24 hours. You can also save Reels to your drafts for posting later.

4) Featured Reels:

According to Instagram, Reels which may be watched by a lot of people depending on the cultural relevance and relativity to the audience will get a featured tag to them.  These featured reels will only be chosen from public accounts.

The chances are high that Instagram Reels feature is rolled out to almost everyone using Instagram in India.  Let us know if you began experimenting with it and created cool videos!

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5 Books For Every Entrepreneur In 2020

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5 Books For Every Entrepreneur In 2020

It is easy to talk about entrepreneurs and look at them with envy for pursuing their passion but what no one knows is the amount of sweat, blood and tears which go into making an entrepreneurial dream come true.  Entrepreneurs are expected to be highly competitive in the cutthroat market and at the same time continually strive to set an example for others to follow.  The sad truth however is that not all entrepreneurs succeed in their mission because some may give up midway through their entrepreneurial journey, or some might run out of cash while some are just not able to scale up their business.

Many successful entrepreneurs have documented their journey and their thoughts in autobiographies or novels for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking inspiration.  These books would manage to scale up your game, improve your business strategy, potential to connect with new people and most importantly would give you courage to persist on your journey.

Here are five books in 2020 which every entrepreneur should read

1) The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss

Published in 2011, this book is still relevant even in 2020 as Eric Reiss outlines a guide to help entrepreneurs to develop methods to manage their startups/businesses.  Entrepreneurs can set their strategies according to their needs and runway cash to optimise their business opportunities.  The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs, in companies of all sizes, a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it is too late.

2) Zero To One: Notes On Startups Or How To Build The Future by Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is the co founder of PayPal and an entrepreneur as well as a venture capitalist.  Zero To One tries to teach entrepreneurs about how Peter Thiel thinks , his approach towards business and how one can shape the future of their startup.  WhilePeter Thiel was teaching a class at Stanford University, a student named Blake Masters took notes which led to the book Zero To One released by both Thiel and Masters.

3) The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Bob Dorf and Steve Blank

This book is touted to be the perfect guide for any entrepreneur to scale their business.  This book has detailed step by step instructions on building successful, scalable, profitable startups.  The Startup Owner’s Manual is so popular that it is taught in university courses at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia and many other universities.  The Startup Owner’s Manual follows the theory of customer development, agile, and lean engineering.

ALSO READ: Five Steps Entrepreneurs Can Follow To Identify New Business Opportunities

4) The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino

Although first published in 1968, this book is still a bestseller and widely read by entrepreneurs.  The book aims to serve as a guide to philosophy of salesmanship, and success through the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance. The Greatest Salesman In The World is written in the form of ten scrolls.

5) Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston

This book is a collection of some really unique interviews done by Jessica Livingston with some of the greatest startup founders in Silicon Valley like Apple, PayPal, TiVo, Yahoo, and TripAdvisor.  This book aims to offer wisdom and insights straight from the mouths of some of the most influential entrepreneurs.

Let us know if there are any other books which deserve to be read in 2020.

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