A Special Forces Soldier

It is hard to believe that the designer of this widely acclaimed software program has not even graduated from junior high school. After struggling for more than 10 years in the IT arena, Xinglu Lin has grown from an ordinary webmaster to the founder of a small-scale network company. Because of his unique power of execution and excellent teamwork ability, Xinglu Lin was once nicknamed “Special Forces Soldier” by his colleagues. Even though he has grown into a business manager, his business philosophy still make you feel extraordinary.

Picture: “Special Forces Soldier” Xinglu Lin

Xinglu Lin’s business card looks very unique. It does not have his title, his office location, or landline phone number, which is in contrast to those business managers who are keen on adding titles on their business cards.

“Our company is a new start-up, and we have a relatively young team of 15 people.” Xinglu Lin explains that there is no particular need to highlight the position of CEO. In fact, as one of the three founders of the company, Xinglu Lin is mainly responsible for technical planning, and he undertakes the daily management of the company as well.

Xinglu Lin joined InfoHighWay at 17, and he joined China Motion in 1999. He launched the IT writing community – DoNews.com in 2000, and in 2001, he joined Hi-Tech Wealth. He established Smartphone in 2003, and before transitioning to the founder of P.cn, Xinglu Lin’s title was the CTO of 265.com.

His brilliant experience was accompanied by a variety of products developed by himself including the personalized website – ByteMen, the SMS gateway upgrade for China Mobile, enterprise information collection system, and embedded application development. He had independently developed software search engine, FTP search engine and enterprise competitive information system from 1999 to 2004.

The rough road to success

Although I was told before the interview that Xinglu Lu was a typical post-80s successful person, when I met him, he still surprised me because he looked so young. At 28, he has more than 10 years of work experience including programmer, webmaster, network engineer, and product manager. He has a steady personality and a strong sense of logic, and the experience accumulated during those years has give him the qualities that many people at his age do not have.

Xinglu Lin mentioned there have been two events so far that could be marked as the turning points in his life. One is when he had his first computer, and the other is the emergence and popularity of the internet.

In 1993, Xinglu Lin dropped out of school when he was studying in grade one in junior high school. Influenced by his cousin, who was interested in radio technology and was studying computer science in an electronic vocational school, Xinglu Lin got to know computer coincidently. At the end of that year, although his family was not rich, his father spent more than 6,000 RMB to buy him a 386 computer.

Xinglu Lin had no excellent academic background, but due to his diligence, he quickly familiarized himself with the basic functions of the computer. In this learning process, he saw two names in the WPS program – Bojun Qiu and Ming Li, whom he admired greatly, and they had a profound influence on his life plan.

“Since then, I have no longer been an ordinary worker in the society, but have gradually become a programmer, a white or blue-collar worker,” said by Xinglu Lin. Having a clear direction, Xinglu Lin studied Assembly Language, C Language and other computer knowledge by himself, and he gradually tried to develop some small programs. To his surprise, he even found some buyers for his programs, which gave his whole family a sense of relief.

In 1996, the internet began to spread all over the world, and Xinglu Lin found his opportunity in this wave. “Compared with working as a programmer in a company, making more friends through the network undoubtedly brings me a greater room for development,” said by Xinglu Lin.

In 1997, recommended by his online friend – Yizhi Song, the General Manager of the Shenzhen Office of InfoHighWay, Xinglu Lin joined InfoHighWay at 17.

Having gained a better understanding of the network, Xinglu Lin aimed at the position of webmaster, so he passed the NOVELL CNE certification through self-learning. The webmaster job brought him not only a recognized qualification, with his talent and effort, Xinglu Lin set aside a large amount of time for studying the network, and he taught himself some more advanced technical knowledge.

From late 1999 until now, Xinglu Lin has been engaged in the research and development in wireless network and the development of personalized and industrialized application platforms.

Ten years of hard work to make a sword

Xinglu Lin was obviously a lot more excited when introducing the personal portal product promoted on P.cn. This product was initially conceived at the end of 2004, and the official preparations began in 2005. In May 2005, a team was built for this product, and the research and development work has been going on for more than two years. It has been exactly ten years from 1995 when Xinglu Lin first started to work to 2005 when he officially began to operate the plan of P.cn. Xinglu Lin made a remark about himself, “It takes ten years of hard work to make a sword”.

“In 2005, suddenly I could feel I was in a state of excitement the same way I did many years ago when I discovered something new. It feels much clearer now than it did when I had my first computer,” said Xinglu Lin.

The personal portal product launched on P.cn a year ago now has more than three million test users. The initial target was ordinary public users, but in the actual testing process, we found that most of the users are relatively high-end white-collar employees.

Inspired by this phenomenon, the company is gradually making some attempts in the industrial and corporate applications. Different from the corporate IM tools released by Tencent, the personal portal product can be extended to the corporate OA level. Currently, some corporate users are reaching out to us to have negotiations about this point that they value greatly.

Corporate users choose the Web approach because it is relatively cheap in deployment and it is easy to use, and both of these two features are included in the product on P.cn. In addition, the personal portal can achieve what OA based on pure Web approach cannot, which would offset the complexity of deployment.

Many industry insiders mentioned that under this framework, we have before us a greater prospect for the corporation and industry-oriented applications, not just at the individual level.

“In terms of application, with the help of this product, corporate employees can quickly obtain work-related information from both inside the company and from the industry. Because of its strong versatility and extensibility, weather forecast, search assistance and other applications can also be easily implemented,” said Xinglu Lin. In fact, this has already demonstrated a taste of industrial application.

As an initial attempt, 365heart.com will utilize this product soon. For a medical company, they want to obtain their own information, and doctors and medical departments hope to receive information through this product. The website has already had its own user group, and they can subscribe to some industry-related news on the website.

“As for our competitors, they also want to add more features to their products to gain a leading edge in the industry,” said Xinglu Lin.

A webmaster also needs to be ambitious

Xinglu Lin, who used to perform well as a webmaster, has an in-depth understanding of the role that a webmaster plays in the informatization process of small and medium-sized companies.

From the perspective of information publication and collection, Xinglu Lin has divided the information application of small and medium-sized companies into two categories. One is companies have the need to obtain some information, and the other is companies want to publish some information. The OA approach can satisfy the first need, but its ability to deal with the latter is relatively weak. Now many companies or virtual host providers provide specialized services for small and medium-sized companies to build their websites. Many small and medium-sized companies have the desire to build their own websites, but they are often faced with technical and cost difficulties.

From the perspective of IT management in small and medium-sized companies, Xinglu Lin believes that they are faced with more issues. Although many small and medium-sized companies have hired some webmasters, who can carry out simple tasks such as hardware maintenance and removing computer viruses, generally speaking, both business managers and webmasters still have a lot of shortcomings.

The problems that business managers have are their lack of IT management awareness and the lack of planning for the corporate IT deployment. On the other hand, the shortcomings of webmasters are mainly reflected in their lack of learning awareness and the unclear direction of their career development.

Xinglu Lin believes that many webmasters do not fully understand the benefits of doing network management. If a webmaster can do an excellent job in the maintenance of the IT system, their later work would be much easier. However, the reality is that many webmasters are stuck in the tiring process of repeated installation of operating system and killing computer viruses.

“In large companies, the work practices are more standardized, while in small companies, webmasters often do their job alone, without the guidance from others, so it is very difficult to have a breakthrough.” Xinglu Lin believes that the lack of a consensus between business managers and webmasters is the source of problems in the IT management of small and medium-sized companies.

“A webmaster working in a company needs to be ambitious,” said Xinglu Lin. His initial intention to work as a webmaster was not to overcome the difficulty of accessing the internet, but to capitalize on this opportunity to learn more stuff, and this mentality gave him the opportunity to improve himself.

It would be valuable to bear in mind that this is not only a suggestion from a company manager, but also a summary of the successful experience of a brilliant webmaster.

From: Computer Business Information (February 18, 2008)

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