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How get into future success

After graduation, Liu (JD.COM’s CEO) put his dreams of entrepreneurship on hold and went to work for health products company Japan Life, where he quickly rose through the ranks, in 1998 Liu decided to take another shot at starting his own business. With just 12,000 yuan he established Jingdong Century Trading, a consumer electronics shop specialising in magneto-optical products.The business was a success, opening 12 stores in just five years and earning more than 10 million yuan. Then severe acute respiratory syndrome struck. The disease which swept China in 2003, killing more than 300 people, sparked a panic and kept customers at home, leaving Jingdong teetering on the edge of disaster.

“The Sars crisis was a shock to the whole retail business in China,” said Jasmine Sun, an e-commerce and retail expert at consulting firm SmithStreet. “Because of Sars, a lot of people started to use e-commerce so they didn’t need to go out and take the risk of being infected, so there was a boom in e-commerce that year.”

 Recognizing that the demand to buy goods online was unlikely to go away once the Sars crisis was over, Liu threw himself wholeheartedly into e-commerce. He launched his first online retail website in 2004 and founded JD.COM later that year. By 2005, all of the company’s original bricks-and-mortar stores were closed.

The pivot was a risky move. In 2005, after all, JD business had moved online, sales dropped to 30 million yuan, less than half of what it had made the previous year. Liu stuck to his approach, however, and in the five years from 2004 to 2009, the company recorded an average growth rate of more than 300 percent. JD has struggled at times to compete with e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba, which owns Taobao and Tmall. In March, Liu’s company got a much-needed boost from another Alibaba-rival, Tencent, which acquired a 15 percent stake in JD for US$214.7 million in cash. The web giant also transferred its e-commerce businesses QQ Wanggou and Paipai, as well as a minority stake in Yixun, to JD.

Within months of the Tencent deal, Inc debuted on Nasdaq, beating Alibaba to an IPO. The deal also catapulted Liu into the ranks of China’s super-rich. According to Forbes, he is now worth around US$8 billion, making him one of the 100 richest individuals in China. With 84 per cent of voting power under a dual-class share structure, Liu also retained effective veto control over all JD’s future decisions, something no doubt important to a chief executive who is so detail-oriented that he once served as a delivery boy to better understand the company’s logistics wing.

Liu seems determined to go his own way, shrugging off comparisons to others. “Copying business models of any other companies is doomed to fail,” he told Bloomberg in May.

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FastCustomer App

Dialing a customer phone number can be annoying. Whether you have to type in all the random digits, endure hold music, and hope you won’t be disconnected. Well, now you don’t have to go through this any more thanks to the new app called FastCustomer.

FastCustomer allows you to make this whole process easier by providing you with an easy to use platform that handles the task for you. All you have to do is give the app your phone number. Then select the company you are trying to reach from its list of 2,500+ customer service departments. Finally, you press the onscreen button that says “Have someone call me” and within a few minutes, you will get a call from customer service rep from the department you are trying to reach.

As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for any type of problem or annoyances to solve with simple solutions and I believe this is one of those simple solutions.

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eCommerce in China

Personal branding

29-year-old Leo Chen, also known as Chen Ou, has kept a high profile through his charismatic personal branding.Leo Chen, co-founder and CEO of, the first China-based cosmetics group-buying site made himself his company’s public face. The handsome young man has not only starred in a popular online commercial for his company but has also appeared on billboards and various TV shows. He has also kept a high profile by remaining active in social media.

“I endorse my own brand because I think a company’s reputation and value is indelibly linked to that of its leader. The CEO naturally becomes the company’s public face,” he said.

The young entrepreneur also believes that he has an insight into the company’s target female consumers.

“Why do I sell cosmetics to women? Because I believe women like to make themselves look good for people who appreciate them. So men’s opinions are important in women’s choice of cosmetics,” Chen said.His site has ascended to become one of China’s top cosmetics e-tailers through this blanket promotional strategy. The budgeted personal branding, as Chen said, has saved his company about 100 million yuan in advertising expenses.

Leo Chen studied in Singapore from the age of 16. In 2005 during his last year at Nanyang Technological University, he founded Garena, now one of the world’s largest online game platforms. Later he received an MBA from Stanford, sold Garena, and moved his business focus to China.

Initially a cosmetics group-buying site, has grown into a major B2C (business to customer) platform for cosmetics.But before Chen established the site in 2010, he and two other co-founders, both male, had no experience in e-commerce, or in the selling women’s cosmetics.

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Ben Silbermann and Pinterest

Ben Silbermann was born in Des Moines, Iowa to two doctors. He also grew up with two sisters who were also doctors. So naturally, Silbermann thought he would become a doctor himself. But the people he looked up to were not doctors. Silbermann looked up to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs like George Eastman, Walt Disney, and Steve jobs. He looked up to these guys the same way he looked up to Michael Jordan.
Ben started his path to medicine until his junior year in college when he got into business. He began working as a consultant in a firm’s IT group. Silbermann recalls reading through the site TechCrunch and thinking that there was more than building spreadsheets all day and that he was in the wrong place. So he moved out west to Silicon Valley.
Silbermann got a job at google where he made product design recommendations and analyzed data. Again. Ben was not happy with what he was doing on a daily basis. He Wanted to create his own products. So he quit Google and began to look for people that could help him.
Ben teamed up with old college friend Paul Sciarra and created an online shopping app called Tote. This app had a lot of trouble off the ground so Ben and Paul scrapped the app idea and moved forward creating Pinterest.
Ben created Pinterest based on what people like to collect. He says that you can learn a lot about someone through what they collect. In 2010 a program called “Pin It Forward” created a blog chain that really helped Pinterest grow from there.
Today Pinterest has a whopping 72.5 million users and is continuing to grow.

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The Doorman App

Have you ever ordered something offline and when it was delivered to your house you weren’t there? Instead of coming home to find the product you ordered you find a delivery notice. Well, there is a new and innovative app called Doorman that is aiming to solve this problem.

Doorman is trying to eradicate this problem by allowing customers to schedule their own delivery times. Even if it is as late as midnight seven days a week.

Doorman was created by a former Pixar Technical Director named Zander Adel. Zander came up with this idea by looking at the retailers that offer same day shipping. Places like Amazon or Postmates. He goes on to explain that all of the shipping and deliveries are done through companies like FedEx and UPS. As a result of this customers have less control over the time their product is delivered.

Doorman fixes this by allowing customers to give these retailers their “Doorman address” which is a location of the company’s warehouse. The customer will then be able to specify exactly when they want their order delivered.

Doorman has already delivered over 25,000 packages in its first market in San Francisco and is preparing to spread to the east coast.

When looking at how awesome the name of this app is and how cool of an idea it is, I wish I could have come up with it first.

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Flow Hive: How Bees Went Viral

Flow Hive Beekeeping

Bees didn’t used to be a topic of conversation. These days, we’re hearing more and more about how the bee population is in danger, and the repercussions of the bee species dying off. For years, not much was done in the consumer world to combat this. We all worried about prices of honey rising, and maybe planted some wildflowers in our backyards, but that was about it. At least, until the Anderson family came along.

The Andersons have been beekeeping for three generations. Father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson recognized a problem in the beekeeping industry – harvesting honey was disruptive to the bees, and often resulted in the beekeeper being stung. “There must be a better way,” Cedar remembers thinking at a very young age – he began beekeeping when he was only six years old. Stu and Cedar tinkered with designs for almost a decade before coming up with the Flow Hive.

Stu and Cedar launched an Indiegogo campaign in February 2015 that would quickly become one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history. Their humble goal of $70,000 was reached within minutes of going live. Flow Hive holds the title of the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo. So, what’s their secret?

For starters, they had identified a problem and pain that seriously lacked a solution. Bees were already on the forefront of people’s minds – Flow Hive offered a way for people to be connected. Stu says, “I think people saw Flow as a sort of drawbridge to connect them with the natural world.” Nothing like this product had ever been offered before, and they had an already established niche market of beekeepers – but their market extended past that because of the usability of the product. With Flow Hive, anyone could be a beekeeper.


The Internet played a massive role in the success of Flow Hive. They started a social media campaign less than a month before their Indiegogo campaign began. The goal was to tap into their personal networks and gain a few beekeepers, but the videos Cedar had made for the campaign went viral – the Andersons attribute it to help from friends and family and a genuine interest in bees and the concept of beekeeping. Their campaign page was clear, descriptive, and showed the passion Stu and Cedar had for their project. By the end of the campaign, Flow Hive had raised over $13 million from 38,000 contributors.

Flow Hive is a perfect example of how the Internet can exponentially grow the success and reach of a start-up. Without it, there’s a slim chance we would have heard about a normal father-son duo from Australia and their groundbreaking idea to innovate beekeeping.

Check out the Andersons’ story of the Flow Hive invention process:

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