Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, Gives Critical Early Startup Advices
Robin Li is the CEO and Founder of the internet giant Baidu in China. Baidu is known to be the Google of China and in some cases it is consider bigger than Google in China. What made Baidu so successful? Robin Li goes over a few early strategies that he implemented early on that led to long term lasting growth.
Baidu As A Startup
Back in the early 2000s, when Baidu was still a new startup, the company barely had any money. In the beginning Robin, had trouble securing seed fund and other funding opportunities. When he was finally able to secure a 1.2$ million to bring back to China, Robin Li ran into another problem. The problem was that at the time 1.2 million was not a whole lot of amount compared to the other existing technology giants in China. Other startups had huge and flashy offices, while Baidu had a small regular office. Employees always wondered why other startups had so many luxury accessories, but Baidu didn’t. At the time, Robin Li had one of the hardest decisions to make. He had to decide how he wanted to spend his money. Robin Li told his investors that Baidu will be able to last 6 months with 1.2 million, but when it came to spending the money, Robin was wised and prepared for 12 months worth of funds. 6 months after Baidu’s initial funding, the internet bubble burst and it was near impossible to raise another round of fund. Good planning by the CEO allowed Baidu to survive pass through the next 6 months.
Do Better Than Your Competitors
Robin Li said, “Because you are a new comer into the game, with many other search engine competitors, you must do better than them and have better technology than them” His advice for an upcoming startup is to do better than your competitors. Use better technology and provide an overall better service. In other words, over deliver so that your customers are happy about your product. Robin Li said that after numerous arguments with the internal board and advisors, Baidu made the decision to switch from back end to a consumer-oriented system. One reason for Baidu’s major is success is because Baidu ensure that their top priority is being customer-oriented.
Worked Directly With Baidu’s Engineers
Robin noticed that his startup’s technology was lacking in the early stages. He knew he had to improve on that, so he approached all his engineers and said, “Come in early at 9 everyday, and the first thing we will do is have a meeting and set milestones” Being able to set milestones and having meetings twice a day allowed the startup to solve problems at a much quicker and organized way. Robin had meeting with his engineers twice everyday for the entire first year of Baidu’s establishment. He also told the engineers to not treat him like a CEO, but instead treat him like a project manager.
Robin believes that those were the 3 main reasons that led to baidu’s success.
Baidu, today has grew to a giant business and company. Baidu is mainly used for everything on the web in China from movies, search, music, plugins, cloud systems and many more.