“Be open minded.” These weren’t words of advice that I received but something I came to understand as I progressed through my career. Dogmatic people do not change the world. I remind myself daily to keep an open mind so that I can continue to put forth innovations that transform the way people interact with one another around the world. I’ve faced many challenges since launching and outside of the box thinking is the only way I made it this far.
I had the pleasure to interview Yuki He. Yuki is the founder and CEO of LiveMe, the fastest-growing independent live broadcasting app with 70M users globally. Prior to Live.me, Yuki led the Clean Master team at Cheetah Mobile which went on to become a flagship product, achieving over 300 million monthly active users, and a leading source of revenue for the company. Formally a top product manager for both Tencent and Kingsoft, Yuki has 15 years of experience working in China’s Internet industry, including three and a half years of overseas product experience.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
In 2007, I was transitioning into a new role at a new company when the two executives who brought me onboard and had been very supportive suddenly resigned. The new executive was conservative and tended to take a traditional approach to business, making it difficult for me to implement changes or garner support for my ideas. All of my initiatives became harder and harder to push forward, and I often found myself wasting time moving in the wrong direction. All the while, I was watching my competitors grow rapidly in a short period of time.
The biggest thing I learned from this experience is that in the corporate world, you can only move forward along set routes and you’re restricted from various aspects. Only when you become an entrepreneur do you gain the ability to choose where, when, and how you move things forward. That’s why I left the comforts of a publicly-traded enterprise and embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and started the live broadcasting app LiveMe in an entirely new field. When I’m paving my own path, the isolation and self-restriction I experienced in the corporate world no longer exist.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
While live streaming technology itself is not new and disruptive, I believe that the way we are using live streaming at LiveMe is. The typical live streaming experience is passive, like streaming and watching a live sporting event on your TV, desktop or mobile device. Viewers learn back and enjoy the experience, and the content happens just so happens to be live. LiveMe, on the other hand, provides an active viewing experience that we call “live broadcasting.” Viewers are invited to become a part of the live experience and engage with the hosts and other audience members.
This new experience is entirely driven by viewer engagement, and it provides an interactive way to take part in the live broadcast. One way we’re doing this is through a virtual gifting feature which allows fans and creators to exchange virtual gifts that carry real cash value. It’s a way for viewers to show their appreciation and reward their favorite creators. For creators, LiveMe provides new revenue streams.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
My grandmother and mother are my greatest mentors. They are both very independent and enterprising. After my grandfather passed away at an early-age, my grandmother took a job and raised several kids on her own. My mother also works very hard and a well-known teacher in my hometown. All of the women in my family are very independent, so that trait rubbed off on me and I gradually learned to become independent just like them.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I’m going to push boundaries and try to find new opportunities to expand the world of live streaming for our users. So far at LiveMe we’ve been successful in introducing a number of new innovations, like the Broadcaster Development Program, which empowers independent creators from all walks of life, to our Safety Advocate Program, a new initiative aimed at leveraging our dedicated community to help make LiveMe a safer place for everyone. We’ve also launched some new products in the last year like Cheez, a short video app, and Fluxr, a live streaming app for gamers and their fans. I’m a firm believer in constant improvement and so we revisit our ideas a lot and think of ways to make them better. We are going to continue brainstorming innovations that challenge the status quo and stretch the limitations of the imagination.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Sure. I would say the three best pieces of advice I’ve received are to be independent, open-minded and optimistic.
The first would “be independent.” It’s easy to get comfortable with relying on others, especially when you work in a large company. But when you become an entrepreneur, you don’t always have that luxury. I learned quickly that depending on others sometimes has the unfortunate side-effect of making you doubt your abilities. Instead you have to embrace your independence, which will ultimately give you all the confidence needed to succeed far beyond your wildest dreams.
The second is, “be open minded.” These weren’t words of advice that I received but more so something I came to understand as I progressed through my career. Dogmatic people do not change the world. I remind myself daily to keep an open mind so that I can continue to put forth innovations like LiveMe and Cheez that transform the way people interact with one another around the world. I’ve faced many challenges since launching LiveMe and outside of the box thinking is the only way I made it this far.
And finally, “be optimistic.” Being optimistic doesn’t mean being happy all the time. Instead, it is about finding the opportunity in failures and seeing the benefit in conflict. Keeping a positive outlook when things get tough has been a game changer for my ability to think of creative solutions to any problems I may face.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
I really like the book Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder written by Nassim Nicholas. It teaches you to grow from a volatile or strenuous situation instead of letting it knock you down. Antifragility is one of the great talents all successful entrepreneurs possess. The book is a great read and I highly suggest it for everyone!.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
In my opinion, all entrepreneurs deserve respect, regardless of industry, business size, or influence. Howvever, the person I admire most is Elon Musk. He is a genius when it comes to entrepreneurship and an adventurer with no boundaries in his thinking. I’m inspired by his ability to combine imagination and execution to bring ideas like SpaceX to life. We can all be more like Elon Musk, refusing to set restrictions on ourselves and being brave enough to face adventures head on.
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Originally published at medium.com