Starting a business is the best way to invest in yourself
Science and technology maker: as a famous art youth in the technology circle, which moment will make you happier and complete a beautiful code or music score? Or get cheers and applause from the outside world?
Huang Dongxu: in a long period of time before I started my business, the moment when I finished a piece of code and a good tune was the happiest for me. But after starting a business, I found that the happiness of really helping others is stronger, which is why pingcap has been open and shared until now, actively helping users in need to solve problems, and this business itself makes people very happy.
One of my personal characteristics:Compared with the perfection of things, I hope I can complete a beautiful and elegant work, and follow the inner beauty, so I will not feel too tired no matter how hard I work.
Science and technology maker: why do you choose to create pingcap, like all in’s interests, or pursue a business success?
Huang Dongxu: I had the answer when I was very young. I began to contact computers and learn to program in the third grade of primary school, because I liked computers so much that it affected the entrance examination of junior high school – the junior high school that my family hoped I would go to needs examination.
Of course, my parents will be very angry. They think it’s the computer that delays my study and intend to stop me from continuing to learn programming.Although I was not old at that time, there was a strong sense in my mind: there should not be only one possibility in the world, and life should not be designed by others for you.I firmly told my parents that I would continue to learn computer. From that day on, my life has been choosing to do what I like.
The creation of pingcap is also based on interest. Our main product, tidb, is a fusion database product oriented to online transaction processing / online analysis processing.If I just make a distributed database, there are many models in the market, but they don’t interest me and are not beautiful enough. I can’t make the distributed and elastic expansion achieve my satisfaction at the same time.
At that time, the two papers spanner / F1 of Google really ignited my entrepreneurial enthusiasm. It solved the problems of relational database, elastic expansion and global distribution for the first time. At that time, there was no open source implementation in the community. If it can be done, it can subvert the existing relational database market. So Liu Qi and Cui Qiu and I decided to build a new database for the future, and we set two major directions early: open source and globalization.
▲ three co founders of pingcap, from left to right: Cui Qiu, Liu Qi and Huang Dongxu.
Science and technology maker: what is the initial experience of entrepreneurship?
Huang Dongxu: the first step is a bit casual (laughter). One day, several founders had a meal together. Cui Qiu said that I knew an investor. Shall we talk about it? I didn’t expect that the financing was very smooth. Even without BP, I drew the structure on the whiteboard. After hearing idea, the other side felt like deciding to try it together. The first step is to go out in a more casual way. There is no big and vigorous planning, no systematic planning of business models, and no discussion on how to sell. Let’s do it first.
When we did, we found that we underestimated the difficulty of entrepreneurship. At that time, there were three main problems:The first is the issue of talents,Where to look for people, find people do not come;The second is to underestimate the difficulty and workload of the product,When I imagine the future, I think it’s not half a year’s work. As a result, after half a year, it took another two half years to finish it;The third is to complete the business closed-loop,Since we are an independent company, we have to have management, sales, human resources and finance. But at that time, we had nothing and nothing.
It’s amazing (laughter) to think about it later. I’m brave, butI don’t think we, as technicians and technicians, are afraid of problems. If we encounter problems, we will find solutions. If we solve one problem, we will have two, three, 100 When all the problems are solved, it will be done.
Lack of trust in the period of rashness
Maker of science and technology: among the three questions you mentioned, can you share the ways to overcome the difficulty of recruiting? This is a common problem faced by many teams?
Huang Dongxu: I think in the initial stage, professional ability is necessary, but it is not as important as we think. For example, if we want to make a database product facing the future, we must recruit friends who have done traditional database experience? Not necessarily,There are two more important points. One is the execution. The other is the confidence and enthusiasm of this person for the project,Compared with professional experience, pingcap prefers to dance with dreamer, and wait for the company to be larger to complete the necessary professional areas and grow together with the company.
So we still need to talk about ideals, have a consensus on goals,“He’s very interested in it.” a friend who gives you that feeling should try to stay.
Science and technology maker: the lack of workload estimation can be solved by experience accumulation. The third problem is the closed-loop business model. We set up a branch in Silicon Valley. Do you think there are more business talents there who can help pingcap?
Huang Dongxu: as mentioned above, before tidb wrote the first line of code, it was planned to be an open-source and global product. All our internal and external communication was conducted in both Chinese and English. This project belongs to enterprise basic software,We believe that there are two technological Highlands in the world, one is Silicon Valley, the other is China. These two places have the world’s top technology and user scenariosTherefore, in the initial stage, our plan is that the two bases work together, and talents, tools, infrastructure and information can be shared.
But whether it’s talent or capital, these resources are there,The problem is not that there are no resources and talents, but that resources and talents do not trust you,The shortage in the early days of entrepreneurship is mostly caused by distrust. So the founding team should make every effort to build up trust and good reputation brand, and then recruit people and sell them with half the effort.
It’s really hard at that stage without popularity. I’ll try my own way. For example, I often go around and share the title of CODIS (the open source project led by Huang Dongxu during the pea pod period). That project is quite famous (laughter). I’ll turn to tidb halfway.
Open source vs charging
Science and technology maker: has the open source model ever been questioned?
Huang Dongxu: in the early stage, our project has been delayed for a long time. In the process, there was a voice saying, “if this thing is so awesome, it’s better to sell it in closed source.”.It’s about managing expectations for investorsThis may be a detail that will be ignored by start-ups. I think pingcap did a good job and grew up with investors in the process of discussion.
In fact, general software can be quickly made to sell closed-source products, which may be the right way in other companies. butFor basic software products, I think open source is the only way.Moreover, the initial growth curve of open source software is very gentle, and it will suddenly start to explode after accumulating to a certain node.
Science and technology maker: what is the node time for the explosive growth of tidb?
Huang Dongxu: in the second half of 2017, Moby began to use tidb, and then today’s headlines share the use cases of tidb. Two enterprises with special enthusiasm have verified our products, and the community has grown by an estimated 10 times in a short period of time.
▲ Huang Dongxu shares the future of database at the tidb DevCon 2019 conference.
Founder of science and technology: has the team ever wavered from its establishment in 2015 to its outbreak?
Huang Dongxu: it was really stressful at that time. I even doubted whether the direction was wrong. Thank you to our first user and our first customer, a game company, for choosing to trust us.The expansion of MySQL is a common pain point, which will be needed by enterprises of a certain scale. The problem is why we should trust you and why we choose you when we don’t know who you are.With the first benchmarking case, the product effect is verified, and it is proved that tidb is not an air-to-air assumption, but a good product that can help others. At least we will not waver any more, so in fact, users help pingcap eliminate the uncertainty.
Next, we all moved forward steadfastly, no longer making waves for external feedback – Keyboard man has always been available, everyone knows.
Maker of science and technology: the choice between open source and charging?
Huang Dongxu: mainly for this matter, which should be free and which should be paid, after all, revenue flow is also very important. But I have my own principle in this matter, for example:We are building a highway. I hope there is no toll station in this road. If open source is a necessary condition for the success of users for any product, component or tool, open source is necessary. In the end, we make money from the food and drink in the rest area, realize the benefits in the “optimization” level, and set no obstacles in the “use” level.
I know that this may be too idealistic design. There’s a saying that strange goods can live in. It’s a common open-source charging mode to set up a card at the most critical position. But so far, I still want to stick to it. I always think it’s necessary to help more people. When you have a large number of users, there are many ways to make money. Tidb is a good example at present.
Entrepreneur Huang Dongxu
Founder of science and technology: has your role in the team changed in the past five years?
Huang Dongxu: there is no change in what we do, but the proportion of work has changed a lot.The founder is a special type of work. You have to take the ultimate and highest responsibility. If you need it anywhere, you need it immediately. There is no excuse. You need to write code, meet customers, help the sales station, help the market think about how to do the activities, and even do online services.
Pingcap is a child. At the beginning of his parents, he had to make a lot of shit and pee around him every day. But since 2018, he has been in middle school. He has his own opinions and choices. This year, he feels more intense. He has been admitted to the University. As a parent, he needs to do a good job in supporting, and there will be more worries in the future.
Taking this topic as a reference, I think about these five years. I feel a lot and have learned a lot.After all, no one is born to be a parent, but after having a child, they must assume the responsibility of their parents, and cannot set boundaries, “this part is not my responsibility, I don’t care.”.In other words, I quite like this feeling. When I study technology, I ask myself to become a full stack engineer. I also need to learn everything when I study musical instruments.
Founder of science and technology: if you have an opportunity to meet a person who has passed away and communicate with him for one minute, who will you choose to meet? Ian Curtis? Steve Jobs? Or Chairman Mao (Huang Dongxu is familiar with Mao Xuan, especially on protracted war)?
Huang Dongxu: first of all, it won’t be Ian. I like post punk, but I don’t like Ian’s view of the world. Similarly, I like nirvana but I don’t like Cobain.(thinking for a while) Turing.
Science and technology maker: why choose him?
Huang Dongxu:OneIt’s to ask him to think about the nature of computing and intelligence. It’s to tell him that the world has changed a lot because of him, and what his original ideas have become.
▲ Huang Dongxu never hides his respect for Turing.
Science and technology maker: among the friends who have been mentioned about this problem, all of them hope to gain some wisdom from each other. You are the only one who wants to tell each other something.
Huang Dongxu:I think the world owes him.
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