Time: 8:00pm-11:30pm (UTC+8), November 16
WeChat Group: 10 Questions with Fred Think Tank Group
Xu Xiaoping: Founder of ZhenFund(ZF), Co-founder of New Oriental, famous angel investor, Chairman of China Angel Investment Association(CAIA), Honorary Chairman of China Youth Angel Investment Leader Association, Chairman of Angel Investment Professional Committee of Asset Management Association of China Securities Regulatory Commission, Chairman of Western Returned Scholars Association 2005, and Executive Director of Future Science Prize.
Fred Wang: Founder of Mars Finance, Chairman of Linekong (HK.8267), and founder of Consensus Lab, the founding partner of Geek Founders, former Senior Vice President of Kingsoft
Fred Wang: Hi, good evening and welcome to Mars Finance "10 Questions with Fred" episode twenty-seven. Today's guest, everyone may be very familiar with, founder of ZhenFund, former co-founder of New Oriental -- Mr. Xu Xiaoping. Let's take a look at Mr. Xu's experience:
In 1995, he was born in Taixing, Jiangsu.
In 1983, he received his bachelor's degree from Music Department of Central Conservatory of Music.
From 1983 to 1987, he successively served as teacher in the Art Teaching and Research Office of Peking University, Minister of Culture Committee of the Youth League of Peking University, and Art Director of Art Troupe of Peking University.
From 1987 to 1995, he studied and settled in the United States and Canada and obtained a master's degree in music from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
From 1996 to 2000, he acted as Chairman of Beijing New Oriental, and Vice President of New Oriental school, one of the "three carriages" of New Oriental.
From 2000 to 2006, Vice President and Director of New Oriental Education & Technology Group.
From 2006 to 2011, after New Oriental went public, Xu Xiaoping left the board of directors and began to engage in personal angel investment.
From 2011 to present, Xu Xiaoping, Qiang Wang and Sequoia Capital China have jointly founded the angel investment institution "ZhenFund".
In 2016, he was listed on Forbes magazine's Midas List as the best global venture capitalist.
Mr. Xu is a great master whom I have always respected. His open mind, sense of humor, and compound growth experience crossing education, entrepreneurship and investment are scarcely seen in most of today’s investors. So, China's education circle is not necessarily need Xu Xiaoping, such as New Oriental, ha ha. But Xu Xiaoping's influence in China's venture capital circle is unique, you know, Mr. Xu is very skilled at getting projects.
As early as a few months ago, I was drinking with Xu, and I invited him to "10 Questions with Fred" when he had time, he agreed at once. I can't imagine we waiting until now.
Xu said, I am his bosom friend, and my “10 Questions” has been encouraged by him for many times. Today, I hope that the long-expecting dialogue will be wonderful and useful for you all. I also hope that through tonight's "10 Questions", we can learn about a more real Xu Xiaoping. Now, Mr. Xu, let's get started.
"The 'platinum decade' of Chinese entrepreneurship is coming!"
Fred Wang: First question, a few days ago, an article named "2018, the year when the golden age for entrepreneurship ends", was widely circulated in the WeChat moment and caused great responses. As Shakespeare's Hamlet said: To be, or not to be, that is the question. Many people subconsciously think the "darkest hour of entrepreneurship" has really come. How many entrepreneurs can survive on the current fierce competitive path? As the head of a well-known investment institution, do you feel cold behind your back?
Xu Xiaoping: I didn't feel any cold, on the contrary, I feel extremely warm in my heart. There is a Chinese proverb from the Warring States period called "three people spreading reports of a tiger makes you believe that there is one around". It is said that if one person says that there is a tiger in the street, people may not believe it, but if three people all say that there is a tiger in the street, people will believe it. So if there are three people on the street saying that a tiger is coming, I want to be the fourth person who says loudly that there is no tiger at all.
Even if a tiger does show up in the street, I'd be the one who leads it out the door, or who locks it up.
The past "golden decade" (2008-2018) of Chinese entrepreneurship is exactly the time when I devoted myself into angel investment. In my opinion, the Chinese entrepreneurship is just like “the sun at 8 or 9 o 'clock in the morning”. There is no hint at an end of the golden decade. Unless we give up on ourselves.
In 2018, the "golden decade" of Chinese entrepreneurship is indeed over -- but in 2019, the "platinum decade" of Chinese entrepreneurship is coming!
In early November 2018, at Youth Angel Investment Leader Association Shanghai Forum, I said to my friends in venture capital circles from all over the country: "The investment pace of ZhenFund has indeed slowed down in 2018". We are famous for our fast-speed and large-volume investments, but “we invested about 25% less in projects in 2018 than in previous years".
In fact, I unconsciously misled others. For today's interview, I asked for a series of data from ZhenFund’s legal and finance department. Figures and facts show that in 2018, more projects and more money were invested by ZhenFund than in 2017. The number of ZhenFund’s projects being invested and re-invested by the peer funds, also exceeded that of 2017. We may feel hesitant, but our actions have always proved our confidence in the future of Chinese entrepreneurship.
Churchill inspired the British people in the "Darkest Hour" of World War II: "The greatest fear is fear itself." I would like to say to those who lack confidence in Chinese entrepreneurship: the greatest confidence comes from confidence itself.
Fred Wang: The past ten years is called the golden decade of entrepreneurship. It is also the decade when China's mobile Internet market quickly overtook Japan and caught up with the United States. According to CNNIC data, in 2008, the number of China's Internet users was 298 million, and ten years later today, this number has grown to 802 million, of which mobile Internet users accounted for 98.3%. Most of the super-unicorns made their fortunes during the decade-long boom in mobile Internet growth.
However, it seems that the balance of mobile Internet dividends seen by media and investment institutions is not much. More and more resources, including brand, traffic, channels, capital, talent, IP and even technology patents, have been highly concentrated in a few leading companies. Under the Matthew effect, 2018 has also become a troubled year for many entrepreneurs.
According to a 36Kr survey, about 82% of entrepreneurs are "in need of financing", of which 40.2% are "cash-strapped" and nearly 10% are waiting for a "lifesaving money". The old star entrepreneurs also have a difficult time: in the face of "broken capital chain" rumors again, Yonghao Luo bluntly said that "the company indeed has a crisis, please give some time to Smartisan"; Wei Dai, founder of ofo, said bluntly at an internal staff meeting that "We must survive, even stand on our knees". The popular concepts such as wearable devices, smart hardware, self-service shelves and P2P are fading rapidly.
In addition, I have noticed that there is no phenomenal popular mobile game or APP emerged in 2018. Will the tide of mass entrepreneurship, the slogan that entrepreneurship drives employment, soon become a thing of the past?
Xu Xiaoping: It is unfair to say this. Isn't Douying rising in 2018? I believe that many of the products launched in 2018 will be really popular in 2019. And Xiaohongshu really made a hit this year.
Moreover, "entrepreneurship drives employment" is not just a slogan, but a result. Not only is the result not declining, but entrepreneurs of this era are gaining more momentum. I would like to talk about a 2B project we invested in, "Meicai". Ordinary consumers generally do not know about this company, but they must have been indirectly served by it. Meicai focuses on solving supply chain problems for the catering industry. The founder, Chuanjun Liu, once suffered a huge failure in starting his own business. Less than four and a half years after restarting his business, Meicai now has more than 35, 000 employers, and next year the number may hit a staggering 80, 000-90, 000.
How important is employment to a person, a family, and the society? Allow me to tell a story of my own. I know people are tired of hearing stories about me delivering pizza to support my family in North America. I'm going to tell you a story that I've never told before. In the early 1990s, during the hardest time for me to find a job, I had a friend from Peking University who was work in an American publishing company. He said Xiaoping, I have a job for you here, but it is a little wrong for you -- doing packing work in the warehouse.
In today's China, working as a packager in a warehouse must be the lowest paid and lowest level job. But at that time, this job opportunity gave me a hope for the future. I immediately got ready for this job and wanted to do well, to be promoted to Courier, to drive through the streets and alleyways of North American cities, proudly and decently... Unfortunately, I didn't make the trip because of my American work visa problem.
Even now, I really remember the pain of failing to find a most common job and the joy of finding a lowest paying one. That Meicai created 35,000 jobs in four and a half years is a miracle. ZhenFund is not a large company, but it has invested in numerous companies that have created dozens, hundreds, even thousands of job opportunities. I think here lie the pride and hope of our entrepreneurial era.
Such an era cannot and will not come to an end. We should do everything we can to ensure the continuation and upgrading of the golden era of Chinese entrepreneurship and usher it in a new "platinum decade".
Fred Wang: There is a very interesting phenomenon that, in the online game field that I am very familiar with, including PC game and Web game, almost all entrepreneurs, including the front-line design and production teams, studios of big companies, are talking about two questions: Whose system and war prototype can be copied? Where we can buy cheap traffic? Nothing else. Therefore, it is not difficult for us to understand that PUBG’s emergence become the final kill for almost all entrepreneurial game companies. The production cost is amazing, and the cost of copying is too big, because Tencent and Netease has already been heavily guarded there, small companies even don’t have the opportunity to copy, let alone those who are struggling to raise funds. It is too difficult for common enterprises to make innovative game products. Many innovators live proudly and die tragically.
"In my opinion, if the golden age of entrepreneurship really comes to an end, the next one is going to be more dangerous and exciting, with steep slopes ahead and no broad avenues." This is a text I wrote in WeChat moments a few days ago. Do you agree that the path of grassroots entrepreneurs has been blocked?
Xu Xiaoping: I do not agree with the statement that the path of grassroots entrepreneurs is blocked. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine roads that lead to success. If one path is blocked, we can take another one. Xing Wang (founder and CEO of Meituan) has taken nine roads. Chuanjun Liu, founder of Meicai that has created 35,000 jobs in the past four and a half years, has once suffered a disastrous defeat. In the era of entrepreneurship, all roads lead to Rome.
Fred Wang: Is it more and more difficult to start a business? You are also an extraordinary entrepreneur who has lived through that extraordinary time. With Deng Xiaoping's southern tour speech in 1992, you and Michael Yu caught up with the entrepreneurial tide. Back then, there were not as many hip concepts for tech startups as there are today, and the government did not encourage "mass entrepreneurship" either.
An old generation entrepreneur once said to me in private that from the 1980s until the end of the last century, the person who starts the business that is not allowed by the government can often success. This is the first golden age of adventurers, comparable to the first Europeans entering the American continent.
In that era of entrepreneurship, do you see opportunities or difficulties? Is this a good time to start a business, or a bad time, compared to the old days?
Xu Xiaoping: Starting a business is getting easier and easier. This is the best time to start a business. (When I say easier, I mean the overall environment is getting better.) The reason why I jumped into the torrent of entrepreneurship in 2006 and 2007 is that even in 2008, when the global economy was facing the biggest crisis, I still felt the entrepreneurial vitality and opportunities of Chinese society.
China's entrepreneurial miracle is the Chinese economic miracle itself. Can you imagine a Chinese miracle without BAT and TMD? I once talked to idaxiang.org founder Zhangjin Huang about how much easier it is to start a business today than in the 1990s, he said, many of the pioneers had bulldozed glass debris and rocks on the road ahead, smoothed the road out, so that the entrepreneurs are allowed to run down the road with confidence and joy.
Finally, I would like to say that in the worst and best environments, there are losers and winners. It was the financial crisis in 2008 that led to the miracle of sharing economic like airbnb and uber. So if, to say the least, the pessimists are right, there is also a new swathe of golden opportunities as big as those in any entrepreneurial ages.
"We have invested more projects in 2018 as of now than in the whole 2017"
Fred Wang: Second question, as for the topic of today's conversation, you may be one of the best people in China to answer this question. Not only because you, as the co-founder of New Oriental, witnessed the first entrepreneurship tide after Deng Xiaoping's southern tour, but also because of your 11-year venture capital career since 2007.
According to media statistics, you and your ZhenFund have invested in over 600 start-ups, over 100 in 2017 alone. It can be said that ZhenFund is the venture capital institution with the largest volume of investment in China. In these companies, there are several trendsetting listed companies as well as a number of rapidly rising unicorns. I am sure there have been many deaths. Have you kept track of the death rate in the businesses you invested in?
△Many projects Xu Xiaoping invested in
Xu Xiaoping: Speaking of New Oriental business, I have a lot to say. I remember that when I just returned to New Oriental to plunge myself in the entrepreneurship in 1996, the fourth ring road was only a short distance from the Asian Games Village to Zhongguancun, which was built for the Asian Games in 1990. On a trip back to Beijing, it took me four hours by taxi to get to Wudaokou. I remember when we are around the railway area at Wudaokou, the traffic jam made me prefer walking instead of taking taxi. But it turned out that it is too congested even bicycles and pedestrians cannot go through. This scene is unforgettable for the rest of my life.
It is on this road that New Oriental, Lenovo, Founder, Sina, Sohu, Baidu and other technology giants developed. And today, you can walk along the fourth ring road and think of it as today's entrepreneurial road, sometimes there are heavy traffic jams, sometimes accidents, but today's fourth ring road is far cry from the one in 20 years ago. It is true of today’s entrepreneurial environment in China.
Different opinions can actually inspire people to think. Had it not been for the article "the end of the golden age", I would not have felt that I had something to say and accepted 10 Questions of Fred Wang, although I have long expected it.
As for the specific projects we liquidated, I have asked the legal department, and the number is much less than I thought. This is not a good thing to boast about. The performance of the fund does not depend on the volume of liquidation companies, but on how much is the multiple that exits. Whether you've failed once or not is not important, in fact, most of the time, we prefer people who've started businesses.
Fred Wang: The breadth and volume of ZhenFund allow me to assert that Xu Xiaoping's investment territory may already be the best ecosystem sample among Chinese entrepreneurs. People have different views and judgments on whether the golden age is over or not, but I believe they are more willing to listen to the facts you have seen.
Can you share this sample with our community through "10 Questions with Fred" today? Are the ZhenFund entrepreneurs still having a good time? How many are "cash-strapped" and how many are waiting for "lifesaving money"?
Xu Xiaoping: About the current state of our entrepreneurial enterprises, I want to tell a story. This is an early project of ZhenFund called NICE. Entrepreneur Shou Zhou has suffered from 4 or 5 transformations, Qiang Wang and I invested in him 7 or 8 times. It finally had survived until the arrival of the era of photo sharing. The company created the image tagging, which has been imitated by photo communities across the country. Within a year, Nice's valuation had rocketed from $8m to $300m. His investors are not only ZhenFund, but also some prestigious investment institutions as Warp & Weft, Morningside Venture Capital and Tiger Fund.
However, having money is not always a good thing. In the following two years after getting a large sum of money, NICE fell into a growth dilemma. The company had not held a board meeting for two years, and we had not dared to disturb Shou Zhou for two years, for fear of posing more pressure on him. Just when we thought the company was dead, the exciting news came that they were turning into e-commerce relying on their powerful community and user tags built by photo sharing.
This is a niche but surprisingly active market -- fashion sneakers business. A surprise gain was seen in the early July and the gain has doubled in every month that followed. In the past November a very aggressive sales plan has been achieved, and the increasing momentum is growing.
This story is a classic and exciting entrepreneurial story. Anyone who hearts about this will be extremely excited and their eyes will be lightened up, thus realizing some kind of true meaning of entrepreneurship: as long as you do not give up, or keep seeking a breakthrough, you are likely to create your own legend.
Fred Wang: Have you talk about the current situation with entrepreneurs invested by ZhenFund? What advice did you give them? Is ZhenFund really slowing down its investment? Is it getting harder for ZhenFund to find the next unicorn? And, how do you describe the current situation with ZhenFund LP?
Xu Xiaoping: Some of the old star companies that we have invested in, such as Dayima, mia.com, DeepGlint... all have experienced such a near-death situation, and found a new growth point after transformation. I believe they will become new star companies. We did not slow down the pace of investment in 2018. We have invested more projects in 2018 as of now than in the whole 2017.
Investing in unicorns is a dream of every fund. For ZhenFund which is mainly engaged in angel investment, we must spot a "unicorn egg" in the early stage, otherwise once the egg hatching, their value is often beyond our range, such as our angel project "Happy Sharing" which only has millions of dollars of valuation in angel stage. Within a year, its valuation soared to $four hundred million. Grasping the earliest stage of a project is our way of survival, and is also a skill that we should constantly develop.
In addition to market, scale, team and other conventional elements, we will also maintain a high sensitivity to the macro environment. For example, in respect of the trend "copy to China" a few years ago to "copy from China" today, we made the layout of going abroad at a relative early time. And the artificial intelligence is really hot in recent years -- when artificial intelligence just began to take off, there is statistics shows ZhenFund has invested in the largest number of artificial intelligence companies than any other investment institutions. We have several unicorns in the field of artificial intelligence.
"A group of world-class hard technology companies will emerge in China in the next decade"
Fred Wang: Let's talk about something bigger. As we all know, over the past 40 years, China has gone through a great reform of opening up to the outside world and effectively invigorated its economy. Meanwhile, China has opened up a large part of the market to private entrepreneurs, many of whom started from scratch. In labor-intensive areas, we like to mention our low labor costs, which is regarded as our biggest competitive advantage in the global manufacturing market. The rise of pearl river delta and the Yangtze river delta have made us no longer envy the Four Asian Tigers.
After entering into the information age, especially the Internet age, the science and technology industry in China has entered a brand new era, we no longer mentioned about the advantage of low labor costs, but won a great competitive advantage by grasping the global technology trend, understanding the Chinese market much deeper, and defeating many technology companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Google, and Uber with business models that foreigners are not accustomed to.
I suddenly feel, this is a depressing problem because, in the past years, the condition that relying on the market instead of technology actually has not much changed. The natures of demographic dividend theory in the field of Internet startup today and the so-called labor cost superiority that we have been proud of in the past many years in fact are the same, and this is why our nation doesn't like to talk about technological innovation.
This reminds me of an article of Xun Lu, "Has our nation lost its confidence?" How many years has our nation lost its innovation power? Why do we sigh that the golden age of entrepreneurship is over just because the disappearance of mobile Internet dividends? And how this perspective triggered so much responses?
Xu Xiaoping: No wonder you need to talk to me, you are always so pessimistic, and I, always so optimistic, haha. Our nation's innovation power has made amazing progress in the past 40 years. Your question should be, how can we further improve our innovation power? ZhenFund has invested in a lot of high-tech companies, hard technology companies. These companies are not so high-profile and well-known, but I am very confident that in the next decade, a batch of world-class hard technology companies will emerge.
I think your question actually reflects the entrepreneurship phobia. Over the past decade, one of my major tasks is to tell people that starting a business is the best choice for your life and the least risky thing for your career. I'm going to say this for the next decade, until the end of time.
Fred Wang: I heard that you go to schools like Stanford every year to look for investment opportunities. If you compare Chinese entrepreneurs with silicon valley entrepreneurs, what do you think the former lacks?
Xu Xiaoping: I think the differences between them are getting smaller and smaller since the achievements of Chinese entrepreneurs are as well as that of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. But on the other hand, the real gap lies in hard technology, innovation, and institutional guarantee.
Let me tell you a story: when Uber was just launched, the San Francisco municipal government once took Uber to court for impairing the interests of San Francisco taxi drivers, and the young Uber won the lawsuit. From this case, we can see that Silicon Valley and even the whole United States have a set of predictable protection system for innovation and entrepreneurship; Even if the city government objects to you, you can safeguard your right by legal means. This environment gives entrepreneurs the institutional confidence and security to launch innovation programs that takes years to implement. This is where we are going to learn.
Of course, China cannot copy the US approach, but it will be of great significance to Chinese entrepreneurship and innovation if Chinese authorities give entrepreneurs some means to appeal when they decide to close a company. I am very glad to see that, after the private economy symposium, the government departments have taken many positive measures to protect enterprises.
Fred Wang: Thank you and very inspired. In recent years, there has also been a phenomenon that some Chinese companies at the start-up stage start to talk about "going to Silicon Valley" and "going to India", which are two different views.
For example, we first talk about "going to Silicon Valley", I asked some of them, the reason almost made me laugh, is that engineers in Silicon Valley do not like to work overtime, we work harder than them, Chinese people are far more diligent than them. Have you seen lights at Tencent Tower at two in the morning? I don’t know how these companies feel after hearing this.
What's more, in recent years, we have started to mention "going to India", because India has a large population and has never had family planning. They has the demographic dividend that we are losing. We can sell Indian young people their first smartphone, first game, and introduce them to online shopping.
To be honest, I think the latter is more reliable. There has the marketing methods and psychological advantages we are good at. What do you think of these views?
Xu Xiaoping: The American market should be the most difficult market for Chinese companies to conquer, although we have successful products like Musical.ly. But India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, where the entrepreneurial market condition is far from China. As a result, there was a craze for "going abroad" in China in the past few years. Arguably, the opportunities brought about by these new markets are an important part of the platinum decade ahead for Chinese entrepreneurs.
This is not to say that the United States has no opportunities for Chinese entrepreneurs, but that China's entrepreneurial experience can be relatively easily replicated in the above countries and regions. Ling Tie, my colleague in New Oriental, invested in an ice cream company in Indonesia. The entrepreneur was from Mengniu ice cream division, and the company soon competed with Luxue with the sales volume of 9 figures.
US companies are focusing on the global market when they start businesses. The United States, with a population of only 300 million, has created bigger companies than BTA such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, but China's BAT has not formed an effective occupation rate in the overseas market, so that, for a new generation of Chinese entrepreneurs, the overseas markets is one of the best stage in platinum ten years. The US market is the largest and best in the world, and I hope that in the next decade, we will see Chinese companies gain mainstream share in the US.
Suicide-like investment made Xu Xiaoping who he is.
Fred Wang: Has China's venture capital industry also entered a difficult time? Let's start with a review: in 1996, the National People's Congress passed the law of “The People's Republic of China on promoting the transformation of scientific and technological achievements”, which for the first time incorporated the concept of venture capital into the legal system. After more than 20 years of development, venture capital industry has become an important driving force of China's economy. Over the past two decades, venture capital institutions have invested about 4 trillion yuan and more than 40,000 enterprises in China's equity investment market, according to public data.
But these 20 years, especially China's local venture capital industry, has faced a lot of difficulties. In 2001, the Nasdaq bubble burst, leading to the full decline of China's venture capital industry. The venture capital winter of lacking of people, money, and exit channel, has continued to 2005; In 2008, the financial crisis swept across the world, venture capital industry was hit hard; In 2011, the downturn of concept stocks in the secondary market and the decline of investors' enthusiasm and trust in Chinese concept stocks also led to the shrinkage of the whole industry.
Now, many people in the industry believe that with the overall economic environment downward pressure gradually increased, the good days of the venture capital industry comes, can you feel this? It has been 7 years since the establishment of ZhenFund. Which year do you think has been the most difficult? What was the best year ever?
Xu Xiaoping: ZhenFund (including Qiang Wang and I personally before it is institutionalized) has invested in 800 enterprises, accounting for 2% of the 40,000, which is also worthy of pride.
For the fund, the best days are when we have a rich exit return. The rest of the time, maybe not. In the first few years when ZhenFund was founded, it should be said that we had a great time. We made friends with a large number of excellent entrepreneurs and won a wide reputation with a new set of playing methods and various ways of being very close to entrepreneurs. But there is only one purpose: to invest in the best projects and get the highest return.
With the development of China's golden decade of entrepreneurship, there are more and more investment institutions and more and more investors investing in top projects, one excellent project after another has emerged around us. At this time, my pressure began to become more and more obvious. In the past, there was a saying that "under the fame, it is actually difficult to match". Regardless of reputation, the final test on ZhenFund is actually a word - return. Qiang Wang and I broke into the investment field, which can be put in a word -- idle, but did not expect that now we works day and night for the investment performance and got indigestion.
Before institutionalization of ZhenFund, Qiang Wang and I had invested with money of ourselves. Losing money or not, it is our own business. We don't have to face a lot of LPs and the public to report our transcript. But now, ZhenFund gains some reputation, and its performance at all times needs to be tested by the public. So, I admit that I've lost the cool part of investing -- to help the young, losing money is not a fearsome thing -- and we're starting to think more about returns.
Fred Wang: I have always believed in the idea that one generation creates a definite group of people, not only for entrepreneurship, but also for VC. Jun Lei said that "go with the trend", which is very great. In VC field, for example, the first group of the technology entrepreneurs contributed to the achivement of Quan Zhou and Xiaoge Xiong of IDG, the e-commerce gave opportunity to Neil Shen of Sequoia China, while the mobile Internet gave opportunity to Ying Zhang of MatrixPartners, even O2O made Xiaohu Zhu of GSR Venture. Venture capital institutions of different investment style, direction, and time has different playing methods. So, here are two questions: first, what made Xu Xiaoping? Second, every VC grows in a certain period of entrepreneurial explosion, so what kind of VC can achieve cross-cycle development?
Xu Xiaoping: The entrepreneurs you mentioned are very great investors. The projects they invested are among the best in the world, both in terms of growth rate and rate of capital return. Facing all these people, my have a mix of feelings. On the one hand, I feel shocked and proud of them; on the other hand, I feel myself incompetent and insignificant. I can say that they set great benchmarks for all investors, but on the other hand, those benchmarks seem so insurmountable.
Entering the investment is indeed the highlight of my career. I thought I had escaped the world dealing with Michael Yu, but unexpectedly, I jumped into the circle of Neil Shen and Ying Zhang who really are masters. Everyone says it is good to change career, but it is also troublesome. However, being in the same industry with these great investors has brought new goals and pursuits to my life.
As for the question "what made Xu Xiaoping". I think is the unreserved and whole-hearted faith and support for Chinese entrepreneurs since I started to make angel investment. This kind of commitment, I can even use an extreme word to describe - suicide-like investment. Suicide-like investment is the investment that forgets to maintain healthy circulation of cash flow. It is this desperate belief that has earned me some trust among entrepreneurs.
I invested so aggressively that I once had personal cash flow problems. I once talked to a top investor about my predicament, but found that he has the same trouble. An investment is usually about millions of dollars. Once you want to withdraw, it will take at least 3-5 years. And the entrepreneurial opportunities in China are coming by the hour. Once you're in the business, you're constantly tempted to do something you can't resist. There are, of course, so-called "rational investors" who only invest in a few projects a year, but I'm the passionate investor who is unstoppable when I found good entrepreneurs. Looking back at the investment path I have taken, my faith and true feelings, has received rich returns.
What kind of VC can grow across cycles? In the process of cross-cycle development, anyone who believes in the disappearance of the golden decade of entrepreneurship is likely to disappear with it. But if anyone believe in the opening of the platinum decade, they can reap the dividends of a new era. If I had to give anyone one piece of advice, it would be a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency is important for entrepreneurs, especially for VCs whose investment behavior will last for years. The fund that is prepared for danger in times of safety and believes in future development can achieve cross-cycle development.
Micheal Yu ranks the first, Qiang Wang and I are behind him
Fred Wang: Fifth question, let's talk about New Oriental Education & Technology Group again. Here we will take you as an entrepreneur as the premise of dialogue. As an unusual entrepreneur in history, you must be familiar with many problems. In my opinion, entrepreneurs are most difficult when encounter two kinds of state: one is at the beginning, no money, no source, no products, no customers, 99% of people can't take this critical step; a lot of executives who come from big companies have this problem. They are used to the sense of superiority that they have the situation well in hand and the decision-making power. The other one is that when a start-up reaches a certain stage of development, it will soon enter a stagnation stage. The bottleneck comes and even if it tries its best, it cannot achieve growth. The latter is more painful, the so-called growing pains. In the more than 20 years since New Oriental Education & Technology Group was founded, has there been a period of stagnation and hesitation? This has implications for today's entrepreneurs.
Xu Xiaoping: The New Oriental decade, that is, the decade I was in New Oriental -- from 1996 to 2006. We really did not encounter any period of stagnation or hesitation. I remember that in 2000, New Oriental cooperated with Lenovo to set up New Oriental Lenovo education online. One day, a New Oriental person in charge of the project called me and said, Mr. Xu, is there any room available in xx class? I said no, really no, even Micheal Yu's nephew can not apply. That colleague said: ok, now even Micheal's nephew applied, kick him out and empty the position, because a relative of Chuanzhi Liu (Chairman of Lenovo) wants to apply. In this story, I don't know whether this story is fabricated or not, but it perfectly reflects the golden ten years of New Oriental.
Fred Wang: Here comes a sensitive question. Because of the movie “American Dreams in China”, a large amount of the people in China are familiar with the stories of New Oriental. It is a movie you invested in. Starting a business is difficult and teamwork is even more difficult. I heard that Micheal Yu, Xu Xiaoping and Qiang Wang had much more quarrels than Xiaoming Huang, Chao Deng and Dawei Tong in the movie. Haha. When had disagreement, how could you three come to an agreement other than by arguing effectively?
△“Three carriages” in New Oriental
Xu Xiaoping: This problem is very simple, at first we quarreled in his home; Later, we quarreled at the board of directors. Most of the time, we listen to Micheal, because he is the boss. Qiang Wang and I also admire his management ability from the bottom of our hearts. He is a excellent CEO. But in a few cases, if we can’t come to an agreement when we all hold on to our views, we start the system of board of directors. The board of directors is a restraint on the management. If this method fails, then there is only one way -- resort to the shareholders' meeting, dissolve the board and let the shareholders' meeting choose the person who agrees with the chairman. This is corporate governance, an optimal system developed over the centuries by human business civilization. Such discussion and decision-making mechanism has been launched many times in New Oriental.
We all know the superficial meaning of corporate governance, but to truly understand its essence and respect its guidance, it can be said that it has paid a heavy price and gone through an extremely tortuous road. Once, I was ousted from the board, Qiang Wang resigned as chairman and Micheal Yu lost his position as CEO. But in the end, we all reached the top of our careers under the guidance of these two words.
Fred Wang: I've always believed that a company with three or more partners has a natural problem. I just discover this rule that, starting a business, one leader is always needed. One person is too lonely with no one to discuss. The efficiency is too low when there is three persons. But the situation is totally different when two people make decision. After Qiang Wang and you left New Oriental, Micheal is more reasonable and comfortable. I wonder if you agree with this. What about the cooperation between Qiang Wang and you?
Xu Xiaoping: At New Oriental, Micheal ranks the first, Qiang Wang and I are behind him. But the beauty of new Oriental's early partnership system is that all three of us had our own responsibilities: Micheal was mainly responsible for exam training and business management; Qiang Wang was mainly responsible for basic English training and corporate culture; and I was mainly responsible for brand promotion and student consultation. However, Micheal is responsible for more important parts than both of us, among which the responsibility is also greater.
Personally, I think it is most efficient for three people to participate in decision-making. One person's decision-making seems to be the most efficient, but often one mistake can bring all the efficiency to zero. Two people are lonely too, because it's hard to make decisions once a disagree appears. So, when there are three people, according to the logic of business management, 2 vs 1 situation can make the highest level decision. So, the number of people in all decision making agencies is odd, not even.
I don't want to leave New Oriental. No matter what others think, my biggest dream -- although I no longer think so, but I still think it is a pity -- is that I am always willing to stay in the board of New Oriental and help Micheal make New Oriental an infinitely great cause. When I feel regretful, I sometimes tell myself that the cooperation of "three carriages" brought New Oriental to the New York Stock Exchange. These three brothers from the grassroots (except for me being the second generation of officials), started their business, entered the market jungle from Peking University and finally walked out of the jungle successfully. This process and result has been a good story and legend of brothers' cooperation. Thinking of this, I also feel that my experience in New Oriental is perfect and worthy of pride and satisfaction.
Two real reasons to start ZhenFund
Fred Wang: Sixth question, I had a drink at your house this March. You said, when you just left the New Oriental, although there is a lot of money, but one day walking on the sidewalk near Guomao Road, looking at the young people walking fast around, you suddenly want to cry. You feel like everyone has something they're passionate about and you don't seem to have anything but money. I can understand that. Is that the reason why you really want to embark on investment and eventually establish the ZhenFund?
Xu Xiaoping: After I left New Oriental, there was indeed a moment like what you said. When I saw the young people walking around quickly, busy and overjoyed, I suddenly wanted to cry. This feeling is like I broke up with Micheal and New Oriental, and it had been hovering around me for at least five years until the formal establishment of ZhenFund.
Later, there may be two purposes making me start ZhenFund. First, when I doing investment, I saw the value of myself to young people in the eyes of entrepreneurs who had gone to New Oriental. Second, I see making angel investment is the best way to realize my failed dream of New Oriental. In November 2011, ZhenFund made first speech trip to a North American universities. We called the trip a rainbow trip, and the story of the rainbow trip came from a slogan we put forward in New Oriental -- New Oriental is a bridge for further study abroad and a rainbow for starting a business back home.
After several years of exploration, Qiang Wang and I finally set up a "rainbow" for overseas students to start businesses back home with our own capital, experience and appealingness. And the spectrum of this "rainbow" is the same as the mission of New Oriental that I have vigorously promoted in New Oriental. So, in December 2011, we joined hands with Sequoia, to institutionalize ZhenFund. We also regard ZhenFund as our lifelong career.
Fred Wang: ZhenFund is almost seven or eight years old. It is not easy. But you are still very passionate. Do you know that the state of many entrepreneurs are way far from you? Today's New Oriental is still famous brand in China education. Compared with Micheal, are you really willing to be a successful investor rather than an excellent entrepreneur?
Xu Xiaoping: Entrepreneurs are indeed the most valuable asset of the times, and will go through all kinds of unimaginable hardships. Entrepreneurs are really not easy, but for investors, the main challenge is to find the right entrepreneurs to give money out, and then the work is done.
For me, ZhenFund itself is an entrepreneurial project. In the years that I can see in the future, I will make every effort to carry out the ZhenFund angel investment career to the end. In that sense, I am now an entrepreneur. After all, revolutions are all about contribution (hahaha). In China, during the golden decade and the platinum decade of entrepreneurship, investors are indispensable and an integral part of the ecological chain. So I am willing to be a humble investor and pave the way for entrepreneurs.
The era of cyber celebrity is an era for grassroots to rise
Fred Wang: How to choose entrepreneurs? I have noticed that you have made many wonderful sharing, and we have roughly summed up your investment standard, which is "Xu's three standards for investment". I have a friend who came back from studying abroad, good-looking, privately told me, he would go to find Mr. Xu for investment, and would surely make it. The so-called "Xu's three standards for investment" are: good at talking, good-looking, famous school graduates (better be western returns). This may seem a little bit superficial, which may be different from common thought that investment requires deep insight. For example, we should find the inside beauty of people. To tell you the truth, how many projects are actually invested according to these standards?
Xu Xiaoping: Did this friend of you get our investment? If he did, please find him and get the money back for me!
We do have the "Xu's three standards for investment" -- that is, the entrepreneur's 1, learning ability, 2, working ability, 3, leadership. This is the "three Ls" theory that we ponder every day. "L" is the first letter of force in Chinese (力: li). Learning ability is not necessarily need a prestigious degree, otherwise I will be very stupid; the working ability decides your level in the workplace; it is proved that people with strong working ability are more likely to success in starting business. As for leadership, we will take the ability of your partners into consideration. The quality of your partners reflects your leadership.
As for the rumor that my preference for overseas students, this was indeed the case in the early days of ZhenFund. Since I started my career as an overseas study consultant in New Oriental, there is of course a natural resource of overseas students. But with the rise of local entrepreneurs in China, it is 50/50 for overseas students and local entrepreneurs in all the CEOs ZhenFun invested.
Fred Wang: I remember a book called “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, wrote by Neil Postman. Many people may have read it. The book has a point: all public speaking right is increasingly appeared through the form of entertainment, and finally become a cultural spirit; in the future, all industries are entertainment industries. So, in a word -- amusing ourselves to death, tough roles of each era have their own unique form of expression, "cyber celebrity" came into being in this era.
In fact, in many people's eyes, you are a typical cyber celebrity, and you not only belong to the investment circle, your influence even affects the technology industry, and even the public level. At a public event in 2016, you joked that you were the "second cyber celebrity" in the venture capital industry, and joked that XXX was the first. But in fact, many people think you are the investment world's "first cyber celebrity". Being a cyber celebrity, how much you have expected and how much not? How much fame that the name "Xu Xiaoping" brought about to ZhenFund?
Xu Xiaoping: Cyber celebrity has a certain derogatory meaning, because in the Internet era, everyone can become a "five-minute celebrity", Internet significantly makes it so much easier to become famous and popular. The fast up and down of cyber celebrity has been unprecedented highlight. But, as long as the cyber celebrity has high-quality content, and has the ability to continuously create content, he can make successful brands and achieve great things.
Fred Wang: “As a celebrity, you have to be able to afford as much slander as you can receive praise,” said Bingbing Fan, a popular actress in China. You see, she said so, and she did so. At this point, the new secretary of the entertainment industry discipline inspection Yongyuan Cui may understand more than us. Have you ever thought that as such a big cyber celebrity, what is the biggest risk you have to take one day? Seriously.
Xu Xiaoping: I think the cyber celebrity phenomenon is the best thing for the Chinese civilian class. For those young people who have nothing, as long as they open an account, whether on Microblog, Kuaishou or Xiaohongshu, they can stand on the same starting line with the people having the most resources. Therefore, I drum and shout for the arrival of cyber celebrity era. In my opinion, cyber celebrity era is an era for the rise of class and grassroots as well as achievements for all the people.
I think what you really want to quote is what President Roosevelt said: "great rights come with great responsibilities." Fame itself is a kind of influence, the influence is in all aspects. For example, when you invited me to talk about the prospect of entrepreneurship in China, I readily agreed, because I wanted to use my status as an "entrepreneurial cyber celebrity" and influential investor to express my optimistic views on the future of entrepreneurship. Personally, I am in awe of fame that the public and society gives you. To meet the public's expectations on celebrities, I think it is not enough even devoting my lifetime.
Fred Wang: I observed not only you are a super cyber celebrity, you also invested in Chen Ou, Zhenyu Luo, Papi and many other cyber celebrity entrepreneurs, this can be called "Xu Xiaoping cyber celebrity army". I do not know which of them is the most popular, who is not so popular any more. No one can compared with you in this field, haha. Is Zhenyu Luo the least attractive, right? The conclusion is handsome and achievement are inversely proportional. Of course, I admire Zhenyu Luo who started as an IP entrepreneur very much, starting from individual IP logical thinking to a knowledge sharing platform "Iget" with a large number of IP.
As for projects successful obtains financing and development via cyber celebrities, I think you must have a lot of experience. Today is an era when everyone talks about cyber celebrity economy, there is nothing wrong with being a cyber celebrity. But when entrepreneurs become web celebrity, there is often an illusion of successing in advance. Will you continue to encourage entrepreneurs you invest in to become cyber celebrity?
Xu Xiaoping: I think people are disparaging and miss the orthodox when speaking of “cyber celebrity”. The center of mass communication has historically moved to the Internet from the television. I want to say that the Internet can create celebrities, also can subvert brands.
To answer a serious question: will I continue to encourage our entrepreneurs to continue being cyber celebrity? Yes. The person who is good at using network will win. The purpose of a business is selling things. When you selling something, you have to let people know about you. The Internet is the most powerful and cheapest medium, even free if you do well. But the core problem is: cyber celebrity should grasp two things: timing and values. If your product fails the expectation of the public, being popular worth nothing, and if your opinion offends the public, being popular is the worst thing.
Top three projects Xu Xiaoping thinks Zhen Fund had failed
Fred Wang: How come no one likes to talk about failure honestly? Xiaobo Wu once published a book called The Big Failure, and it was actually one of his best sellers. Younger generations today probably don’t know about it, but this book was about the rise and failure of many once successful companies, probably one of the earliest text books on failure in Chinese economy history. It’s a pity that most of the books in the market are telling people how to become the next Alibaba, Tencent, or Xiaomi these couple of years. It was the same with Xing Wang. No one cared about his failure, but Meituan’s success was surrounded with praises and compliments.
No one tells people that the internet industry had too many failures. Maybe no one wants to read a book on failure nowadays. It is the merit of luck in success, but scones oneself when fails. All failure and reasons led to it were because of that person’s self. In these few years, I’ve only seen Chen Nian from Fanke talked about his failure. I can’t control whatever fate plans. We could talk about that later. By being human, I think we could talk about failure honestly. Chuanzhi Liu said, entrepreneurship is just like conducting oneself. It was 1997 when I heard this from him, that’s also when I joined the industry, the impression definitely left a mark.
So let us talk about failure. You’ve shared once to not being superstitious on successful cases but learn valuable lessons from failure and seek common mistakes from failures. You even founded Zhen failure research institution in 2017, and changed its name to Zhen Institution in October this year. Why did you change the name? I personally think the failure research institution was an interesting title. I am not sure whether the institution researched in failure or invested in failure? Could you please tell me frankly on the top three cases that Zhen Fund had failed in? What are the three projects that you regretted to miss out?
Xu Xiaoping: The few projects that I’ve failed in will really bring tears. Should I still continue?
First project as many would know is Royole, which is a super unicorn with a valuation of more than $5 billion. I did not invest in them when I met with them because the valuation at the time was $30 million for A round. And we were angel investors, and did not invest in A rounds. This is a typical “cognative error” and it has cost us hundred million dollars.
The second project that probably will make me look bad is VIPKID, which is also a super unicorn with valuation of few billion dollars right now. Although we have invested in one million dollars at its valuation of 1000 million dollars because the founder Cindy was persistent and never give up on me. But the investment story is truly an ache at heart. The founder of VIPKID Wenjuan Mi came to me during angel investment phase with a valuation of 0.3 million RMB at the time. But I’ve missed her for many reasons. Now I look back at it, the real reason lies in my lack understanding of her. When Cindy came to me, she was already a senior manager of an English training school ABC in charge of sales over few billion RMB a year. Only if I’ve spend more time communicating with her and get to know her second L and her capability, I would not have missed her.
Another project that I regretted is the Little Red Book. Although Zhen Fund is the angel investor for Red Book, but due to valuation issue, we’ve invested only a few points. When I met with Wenchao Mao, I give him $3 million valuation, then $5 million valuation after discussion. But he actually wanted $8 million valuation because another fund has given him a higher offer. After all, we managed to only invest a few points because Mao never give up on us.
Fred Wang: As a famous investor, do you think the biggest failure for investor is invest in the wrong project or to miss a project?
Xu Xiaoping: I think the success or failure of a fund depends on what they’ve missed and not invested wrongly in. The average investment amount during angel round is usually between 5 million to 10 million RMB. So the loss is only $1-2 million if we’ve invested wrongly. But if we missed a good project, the loss could be $10 billion or more of possible return. The nature of investor is to invest in more and better project and not to miss projects with huge return. My heart aches when we talk about this subject! Let’s change topic…
Three main reasons for entrepreneur’s failure
Fred Wang: People say that the chance of an entrepreneur goes to IPO or merges with high price which lead to safe exit with high return for the entrepreneur is only 1%, “a successful entrepreneurship” in layman’s term. Entrepreneurs cannot guarantee to outrun 99% chance of being failures. Based on your observation, what are the three main reasons for entrepreneur’s failure?
Xu Xiaoping: The top three reasons would be: one, they have no money to buy lunchboxes; two, they have no money to buy instant noodles; and three, they have no money to buy steam buns. My answers are these three, because I believe as long as the person lives, and do not give up, then he/she will not fail. I’ve seen many cases of entrepreneurs persisted and rise back up from ten million or hundred million losses. They are the phoenix of nirvana in entrepreneurship.
Previously mentioned Chuanjun Liu was originally co-founder of Wowotuan (Chinese “Groupon” type of app) and lost an unbelievable amount of investment. But he has reorganized his spirit and effort, learned from his failure lessons and succeeded in making Meicai. Founder of Nice has also transitioned many times before standing on the cusp again. Another type of failed entrepreneurs could work for their stronger competitors and return to entrepreneurship when ready. We have just recently invested in a startup that’s been merged by their competitor, while they are working for their competitor right now, they are also re-organizing the team. I think that’s a brilliant idea! All successful businesses are similar, but all failed ones have different reasons. True failure is not learning from previous failures.
Fred Wang: Everyone faces failure differently. Every entrepreneur is their own Shakespeare. I am bringing this up to you right now because what’s more important than learning from failure is the mental issue of Chinese entrepreneurs. Whether you believe it or not, I will be starting a psychiatric consulting agency for entrepreneurs in ten years. Beginning this year, one of my friends from gaming industry chose to end his life at age 35. A Tencent related serial entrepreneur jumped off of a building in August. [sigh] I actually really don’t want to talk about this. With the growing competitiveness, psychological pressure has been growing heavier. As a entrepreneurship mentor, what can you do for them?
Xu Xiaoping: I can’t talk about this topic for reasons that life is the most superior form in this world, and death is the biggest tragedy to human. I have my condolences toward the aforementioned people and let’s find another chance to talk about this, maybe a featured article. I have a lot to say regarding this topic, but now is not the right timing.
Suicide is related to person’s psyche, and mental health issue itself is a major issue. Mental health is the foundation of all health considered. I can only say that China is still somewhat behind in this aspect. It is up to everyone to seek resources and take care of themselves. I also have very upsetting moments, and I usually try to seek professional help and it works for me. I recommend to resources: Simple Psychology and Know Yourself invested by us.
Are robots coming into our lives soon?
Fred Wang: Are robots coming into our lives soon? Zhengyi Sun indicated during a CNBC interview recently that artificial intelligent robots will increase to 10 billion, equivalent to human population in 30 years. This massive amount of robots will redefine human labor in every industry. Most human labor will be replaced by AI robots, as Sun warned during the interview. Similar warning was given by Musk: “this is the biggest life threat faced by humanity.” Hypothetically speaking, in 30 years, will our descendents live in a generation of robotics if what predicted were to happen?
According to the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind，Yuval Noah Harari says agricultural revolution is the biggest fraud in human history as it worked better for wheat than for human race. In fact, wheat domesticated home sapiens instead of the other way around. Wheat, from a wild grass, manipulated human to widely grow and spread them, causing actual physical adaptation by human race. Will robots be the next domesticator to human?
Cixin Liu mentioned at a sharing meeting in October that AI has already started to control human kind, but he also indicated the correlation between “artificial and intelligence” in AI, as the intelligence built in are man-made. There still exist many technological hurdles between today’s technology to actual AI. I agree with Liu’s view and hope to see human technology slow down to allow human to interact with nature more primitively. There is a saying that the ones left behind takes the beating. Competition between human kind might lead to winning of other kinds. Maybe robots in this case?
Xu Xiaoping: This is a deep topic. Who controls who is an eternal philosophical question. When we are creating so many different things, these things in return reshape us. We have created cell phones, and it is said that cell phones now control human beings, and yet, people just smirk it off. We have created mobile vehicles, and how do we get out if we don’t have cars? I respect ones giving us warnings regarding technology going out of control, but I also believe in human power of developing mechanisms to control their own fate.
Human to technology relation reminds me of a Greek myth Pygmalion. As a talented Greek sculptor, Pygmalion created a beautiful stature of women out of ivory and fell in love with it. He prayed to the Gods to make the statue into his wife which was answered by the God of love for pitying him, and made the statue into a real woman.
English/Irish playwright Bernard Shaw created a modern form of Pygmalion’s Greek myth which then inspired the popular My Fair Lady musical. The story is about a phoneticist Henry Higgins bets with a friend to train Eliza Doolittle, a flower girl into a lady. Higgins then falls in love with Doolittle, as from being disgusted by women into worshiper of love and eventually gaining happiness and willingly to accept Eliza’s temper.
Technology and human kind has a relationship that could be described by the fable of Pygmalion. The most horrifying man-made creation would be nuclear weapon, and it is not out of human control. On the contrary, nuclear weapon has human race in control, as it controls the demonic part of human nature, for keeping the impulse of going to war within. Most people believe nuclear age has no wars.
So in one aspect, technology controls human is from human’s willingness to admire, hold in awe to a target that’s created by themselves. AI to human relationship will be the same. I have unlimited optimisms toward AI, and I’ve also praised highly of Elon Musk and Cixin Liu or the ones that keep us reminded of the fast growing technology. Romanticism and rationalism work hand in hand, and eventually will bring a bright future for human race.
Fred Wang: Stephen Hawking is one of the smartest human beings in the world. Actually I think Hawking: My Brief History is a much more interesting book than A Brief History of Time, because Hawking: My Brief History includes Hawking’s unyielding life story. I highly recommend the book to everyone. I believe life’s meaning is bigger than anything. I also recommend the book to you.
You’ve once said, the greatest spirit in the entrepreneurial age is to embrace new things and the unknown. Human’s age in an instant, not from the first wrinkle or the first grey hair, but from rejection of new things. I was very inspired. A friend asked once: “Fred, what’s your biggest accomplishment from working for someone to doing your own startup?” I answered: “If you’ve been in the spot to experience it, then you will find entrepreneurship is the best self-cultivation, it is a reshaping process of one’s personality.”
I think, whether it is to embrace unknown new things or to self-cultivate, or despite the uncertainty of entrepreneurship, all entrepreneurs should keep their beginner’s mentality to keep learning and moving forward. I hope every entrepreneur to not waste youth, live up to a great age, and actualize their life’s goal.
Xu Xiaoping: At the end, I want to express my unlimited optimism toward the next ten years in entrepreneurship. Let’s not just talk but actually act on it, in the years of platinum, to actualize your dreams.
Fred Wang: Tonight’s conversation was very solid, full of inspirations. Thank you again for joining us for being a wonderful guest on “10 Questions with Fred”.