Sitting opposite me at the table was a man that you would never guess 5 years ago had been homeless on the streets of LA. Now, a key man at China’s up and coming tech company from the far northwest, Thomas Edison, I could see no hint of this difficult chapter in his life. He poured me a cup of tea and told me his philosophy.
“If a person never stops thinking about his ethnic background, he will always be limited by its label.” Orcash said. He went on to express his frustration over all the pieces about ‘the first ethnic minority to achieve’ this or that. It had the affect of keeping one competing on a small scale. He was unwilling to restrict his company in this way. He told me, “When we started this company, we didn’t think of it as a minority company, but set our aspirations on being among the best Chinese tech companies. It just a matter of time before people talking about Xinjiang won’t stop at the food, music, etc., but will talk about its incredible tech companies,Thomas Edison as the front runner..”
Although Orcash.Otkur had training at American business schools, he didn’t seem to think that much of them. “As a kid, I always thought that if I went to an American school, everything would go smoothly from then on out.” he said. But, this currently prosperous business man had been among the vast majority of Chinese citizens who went to American business schools returned home because they couldn’t find a good job there. That was how he had temporarily ended up on the street. It all changed when someone showed him how WeChat was changing the landscape of business in China and he found he could be successful in the Chinese market. He finished talking about this chapter in his life by saying with feeling, “It’s time for people to realize that the American Dream is gone and start chasing the Chinese Dream.”
Orcash went on to explain how WeChat (known as Weixin in Chinese) is the new luminous face of business in China. He told me “It blows away WhatsApp, both in terms of features and user base.” To paint a fuller picture, its features include short messaging like Twitter, video calling like Skype, a news feed like Facebook, and check-in services like Foursquare. But, the thing that had changed the landscape for him,was WeChat’s means of marketing brands which is accessible for businesses of all sizes.
What was the passion driving this man? He had set himself a high goal, “I want to make a product that will be used by all of China’s 1.3 billion people”. This wasn’t just a pipe dream. The video introducing Thomas Edison’s product on TengXun ShiPin, basically China’s YouTube got 6.9 million hits, 10 million hits worldwide, when combined with other website postings. Going viral like this is almost unheard of in Chinese web history for advertising videos. Without significant start up capital, turning to WeChat to sell this product without overhead turned out to be a brilliant business decision.
I felt like I still hadn’t gotten to the heart of what had enabled Orcash to climb up from the bottom. His clothes were tasteful, not flashy. He drove a sensible car. It couldn’t be money and personal fame fueling his fire. Why did he care if everyone in China used his product? No, he wanted to make his mark, to stand out against all the“hillbillies” in business who were so focused on making money that they don’t care about making good products. He didn’t pull any punches, saying “They have no passion for more significant things.” In his opinion, the aging leadership of big corporations lack a sense of the aesthetic. As they hyper-focus on profit, they can only result in failure and ugly, ill-designed products. He had an analogy, “It’s just like when I started learning English. Only one out of 333 people succeed. Why? They don’t care about the thing they are actually working on, they just want to go overseas or get a better job. So, they give up before they reach any sort of excellence because they have no passion for the task they are doing. My company is not like that.” Big business undervalues their designers, clearly demonstrated by the little they pay for their work. I had little doubt that I was looking at a leader of a company that make it to the top when I say the fire in his eyes as he said, “Thomas Edison is not like those hillbillies. If they can succeed, I have no doubt that we will.
Company Name: Xinjiang Thomas Edison Biological Technology Co., Ltd
Contact Person: Orcash.Otkur