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在线翻译:
szdaily -> People
Young CEO sweeps market with legendary app
     2014-June-20  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Tan Yifan

    cicitan2011@gmail.com

    FORTUNE favors the prepared. Even if Guo Lie, the initiator and CEO of hot app MYOTee, claims his success was like winning the lottery, he remembers the hardships and frustrations he once experienced before he became a well-known figure.

    Guo’s name first appeared on social networks thanks to the various cartoon profile photos created by his app, MYOTee, whose Chinese name literally means “cute faces,” popped on the screens on Sina Weibo, the most popular Chinese microblog, Tencent’s QQ instant chat software and WeChat.

    Last week, Guo’s team released the company’s latest user numbers, saying that over 30 million netizens have downloaded MYOTee and are active daily users.

    “We enjoy creating surprises, and Guo is the source of our surprises,” said Taiwanese programmer Xu Fubao, who is known as Paul in the app’s online introduction, to Shenzhen Daily. Xu, one of the co-founders of MYOTee, said Guo is both flexible and interesting to work with and is a great visionary.

    A disobedient student

    Born in the late 1980s, Guo said he had a typical Chinese 90s generation attitude, one marked by disobedience, a disdain for old things and a sense of freedom and individuality.

    “I wouldn’t consider myself a good student who seldom missed a class and always got a high score on exams,” said Guo, who majored in industrial design at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. “I was absent for a lot of classes when I was in college and spent my time on the things that I was more interested in.”

    Guo said he only attended classes he enjoyed and applied what he learned in several business-related competitions.

    “I educated myself in college and benefited from some classes that I attended,” Guo said. “Unlike my classmates, I did not receive a degree.”

    “But now when I look back, I guess it was better that I didn’t receive a graduation certificate, because most investors prefer people whose college life wasn’t smooth,” he joked.

    From Tencent to

    self-employed

    After his graduation, Guo moved to Shenzhen and got a job at Tencent as a product manager.

    “I was strongly influenced by Pony Ma [founder of Tencent] and Zhang Xiaolong [vice president of Tencent], who is also a graduate of my college,” said Guo. “I learned many useful things from my work at Tencent, and soon I was bored and started conceiving ideas for my own business.”

    Guo said that after working for just a short period, he realized that his chances of promotion were too slim.

    A man with ambition and the desire for freedom, Guo quit his job last January, not even waiting for Chinese New Year to receive his year-end bonus.

    “I told my parents that I was unemployed, and to my surprise, they gave me their full support,” Guo said.

    Guo left the Tencent building and began working in his small rental apartment in Bao’an District.

    “Sometimes I felt quite alone facing such an empty house,” Guo recalled.

    But loneliness was not the only thing that bothered Guo.

    To develop new software, Guo invited several young but talented people he once met at an IT business competition to join him.

    “In the beginning, they worked with me just as a part-time job,” Guo said. “As a fulltime employer to myself, I spent all my savings very quickly and dared not even go out so I could save money.”

    Guo said he ate a lot less during that time and suffered from malnutrition. “My weight decreased to less than 50 kilogram, which is very thin for a 1.75-meter-tall adult,” Guo added.

    To continue his project, Guo’s parents decided to support him financially for a while even after his first project, a voice-combined WeChat expression app, officially launched.

    But it didn’t receive high praise from users.

    Although their first trial flunked, Guo said he built a stable friendship with his partners. “We are all young and love new things. We believed we could make something together eventually,” Guo said. “Only fun people can create fun products.”

    A cartoon dream to IDG investment

    Starting in August last year, Guo and his partners finally reached their goal — they created a small app that can easily help users design a cartoon-style profile photo. They call it “Lianmeng,” known in English as MYOTee.

    “It is a realization of our cartoon dreams,” Guo explained. “I am a huge fan of ‘One Piece’ [a famed Japanese animation with over 600 episodes] and my partners also like the animation or love cartoons.”

    “Our inspiration came from a special creature, the telephone bug, in the cartoon,” Guo said. “It can transform into the appearance of its owner.”

    Inspired by the animation and the spirit of the main character Monkey D Luffy, they even added luffy’s hat into the app as one of the accessories.

    A few months passed since they started developing the app and Guo was anxious about the future of his team. But after Guo received his first IDG investment with millions of yuan this past January, all things turned positive.

    “Since then, all my part-time partners quit their jobs and joined me to form the new company,” Guo said.

    They moved to Guo’s apartment and soon launched the app in both the Android and Apple stores.

    As an app that somehow meets the demands of Chinese netizens, the users increased from thousands to millions within a few months.

    On May 30, about 90,000 and 45,000 users downloaded the app for Android and Apple devices, respectively, and three days later the number increased to 348,000 and 200,000, respectively. As of June 14, over 30 million mobile users have become fans of the app.

    “I was really surprised by its popularity,” Guo said. “Just like Flappy Bird, our app won users’ hearts without any heavy promotion.”

    “I think the keys for us to win in such a competitive environment are first, we understood the needs of the 90s generation, and second, we value the responses from our users,” Guo added.

    Rational attitude towards online bubbles

    MYOTee was not the first app of its kind in the app stores. Many apps such as “Moman” camera and iMadeFace are familiar to users.

    Facing the fast-changing market, Guo said he was confident about his app and plans to make it a daily mobile necessity for users.

    “It is abnormal for MYOTee to have such a sudden increase of users,” Guo said. “Actually we have seen a decrease these days. But as the best computer engineers and best cartoonists are working on my team, I am confident about the future.”

    Talking about the future of MYOTee, Guo said they updated it every few days and will add other functions so users can create pictures to express their feelings and can interact on social media.

    “We are discussing a second round of IDG investment, and are confident that the app will become an example for other apps to enter the market and operate in a new way,” Guo said.

    “We have two goals; the first is to prove that young people are capable of achieving big success; the second is to build a young IT company that wins people’s hearts,” Guo said. “The best thing to do is to bravely be yourself.”

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