Xinglu Lin is a legend among internet entrepreneurs. Although he was born in the 1980s, as an internet veteran, he has been working in the internet industry for many years. His legendary stories have been widely known – he dropped out of junior high school at his first year, having learned the 26 English letters only, with which he taught himself to code; he then started to write programs, worked as a webmaster, founded DoNews, the largest IT writing community in China, as well as the personal portal websites platform named P.CN. Those who have been deeply involved in the internet industry all know that there is a legendary “internet special forces soldier” nicknamed Xiao Lin by the insiders.
Xinglu Lin also has a dazzling career – InfoHighWay, China Motion, Hi-Tech Wealth and 265.COM, almost all of the companies he had worked for are top ones in the internet industry.
Along with his legendary stories and dazzle comes a series of products he developed himself, including a personalized website named ByteMen, SMS application gateway upgrade for China Mobile, embedded application development, independent development of search engine software, corporate competitive intelligence system and so on.
After working in the internet industry for many years, Xinglu Lin’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm was also ignited in the incessant boom of entrepreneurship. His many years of experience in the internet industry gave him a deep understanding of the latest technical advancements, offering many possible directions to move forward. His pioneering research and development capabilities were also acclaimed in the industry, and many gaming companies reached out to him for cooperation, while he declined them eventually. “Personally speaking, I am not interested in games. Many people I know have been looking for good opportunities in the game industry, and they invited me to join them, while I declined them. They made it, and they get rich. There are many examples around me. I think they have nothing to do with me. Although everyone needs to make money, it is not the life I want, or at least I do not want to make a fortune in that field, and that is why I have never chosen game as my direction. However, in my opinion, education is something that is important and meaningful,” Xinglu Lin emphasized, “education is a meaningful undertaking, which is worth the effort.”
Devoted myself to childhood education for childhood happiness
Making money is very important, and living a meaningful life is even more important. Therefore, it is essentially important to choose the right direction of starting a business. As for the direction, Xinglu Lin’s daughter made the choice for him.
“When my daughter was two years old, there was one day I made her some literacy cards with great interest. My daughter had a great time learning some English letters. Looking at her smiling face, I thought of the responsibilities a father shoulders, all of sudden I realized that childhood education might be the direction worth pursuing. ” Xinglu Lin recalled that his daughter’s smiles set the direction of starting his own business. In 2011, the ideas for childhood education were developing in Xinglu Lin’s mind.
To be well prepared, he began developing products in his spare time after work. The first product called Children’s Animal World was released on iOS system. Soon after it was launched, it had more than 300 thousand downloads, giving him great encouragement that this was quite promising.
On January 1, 2012, Xinglu Lin officially resigned from the company he had worked for to start his own business. He began to strive to make excellent childhood education products wholeheartedly.
Setting the direction was the first step of starting a long journey, and how to move forward was the topic that kept Xinglu Lin thinking. He started from creating an app about children’s audiovisual library, and then changed from making original content to starting a platform. Xinglu Lin kept exploring how to dive deeper into children’s world. After a few adjustments, the app was renamed Kids Gift, and its content creation was always based on the purpose of warmth and love, which was Xinglu Lin’s ideal world for children as well.
During the entrepreneurial process, Xinglu Lin welcomed another baby in his life, and Dong Dong had a little a brother – Bei Bei. Playing with Dong Dong and Bei Bei every night was the happiest moment for him, and in the communication with his children, Xinglu Lin understood children’s preferences and needs better. During that time, smart devices were developing rapidly in the market, and robotics research and development was booming. Sensing the trend, Xinglu Lin and his friends shifted their attention to the intelligent robots for children.
Make smart devices popular with both children and parents
Making a robot for children to use or a robot that can keep children accompany became their primary goal. After rigorous research, development and production, and continuous trials, a product named Xibot Kids was finally launched in 2015.
This robot for kids featured a cartoon modeling of a lovely cat, installed rollers to make it easy to run around, and simple and clear interactive interfaces. Parents could play different roles through Xibot to talk to their kids, using the voices of many cartoon characters.
Xinglu Lin’s two children naturally became the first users of this intelligent robot. Now, his daughter is already used to video chatting with him using this robot. Although video calling is the function that you can find on any smart phones, after all, cellphones are designed for adults instead of children, and Xibot is exclusively designed for children.
When Xibot was designed, many of its functions started from such simple and practical details about life. In addition, Xibot will provide SDK for third-party developers, which also creates more possibilities for its interactive and entertainment features.
Xiao Lin was responsible for the software content of Xibot; he used his previous experience accumulated in the app production. “In terms of childhood education, we have the Kids Gift, which is very mature, to support content creation, including story-telling pictures, children’s songs, videos and so on. As the content cooperation progresses, more content from third-parties will be included,” said Xinglu Lin with great confidence.
Their second smart device for children named Ximirror is being prepared for release. Currently, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on Taobao. Ximirror is an intelligent cognitive tool for children aged 3 to 6, which utilizes artificial intelligence for childhood education. Its main functions include object recognition, dialogue, AR interaction and video calling. When a child aims the Ximirror at an object, the Ximirror will tell them what the object is, and display the corresponding English word and relevant information. Children can thus learn and explore the world independently in the interactive process, without relying on adults.
Starting a business is like running a marathon
Xinglu Lin’s goal is to make products popular with both children and parents, not those games that are highly addictive, giving parents a big headache. He always remembers that education is a meaningful undertaking that he wants to take on with a sense of mission. He also remembers his two-year-old daughter’s smiles when she saw the cards he made. His daughter Dong Dong is the first user to try his products, so he always wants to make a product that his daughter would love to use. This is the mindset he has throughout the production. Sebastian Faulks said, “Sometimes, I do believe in a certain type of larger blueprint, and I believe in all levels of experience. Everything can be explained.”
Xinglu Lin believes that starting a business is a long process, and passion alone is not enough. Starting a business is not like a 100m sprint race but a marathon, and patience is ultimately important. Surely, there is a difference between starting a business and running a marathon. When you run a marathon, the destination is fixed, and all you have to do is to run forward. Starting a business requires you to constantly struggle with the goals you set previously, because the market changes so quickly, and no one knows what the next wave is going to hit, so you must not be stubborn but adapt yourself to the changing circumstances.
“After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that,” said Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. This warm and profound children’s storybook is also Xinglu Lin’s favorite. What is the purpose of one’s life? Xinglu Lin often thinks about this question. When he was a teenager, he told himself that he would become a valuable man to the society, and at that moment, he found his purpose.
From: China Profiles (October, 2016)