Su Jun: Perfectionist Spirits Created Smartmi Technology
At the end of 2011, Xiaomi Technology completed round B financing, totaling 90 million USD, with an estimated value of 1 billion USD. A number of technology companies in the Xiaomi ecological chain have been developing rapidly, one of which is Smartmi, led by Su Jun. Smartmi focuses on researching and developing environmentally friendly appliances. How has Smartmi been able to do so well in such short time? This is a puzzle many entrepreneurs are trying to solve. Recently, I had the opportunity to follow the CEO Study Group to Smartmi, where they talked with Dr. Su Jun, the CEO of Smartmi. They discussed the core competitiveness of his enterprise, and how he maintains his passion for product design as a top-level product manager. The experiences he shared are very useful for other entrepreneurs looking to succeed.
CEO of Smartmi Technology; Designer of the Xiaomi Air Purifier; Professional Doctorate in Design from the Tsinghua Academy of Arts & Design; former Director of the Department of Industrial Design, North China University of Technology; Executive Director for the Greater China Area in the International Design Union; former product designer for LG Electronics, Lenovo, APTECH, Artiart, and other companies.
Good Products are our Core Competitive Strength
The core competitive strength of the Xiaomi ecological chain is distinct from other companies. As a whole, the Xiaomi ecological chain is about maintaining an open mindset. Xiaomi emphasizes team building, building a people-focused R&D team, and recognizing that the success of an enterprise is intimately linked to having an excellent, effective and coordinated team.
Dr. Su Jun prefers to consider their core competitive strength from the customer’s perspective. He believes that the way users identify with the product is more important than marketing strategies. Thus, making good products is Smartmi’s core competitive strength.
Dr. Su also explained why Smartmi Technology is able to design high-quality products: One - the developmental state of the industry is lacking; Two - manufacturers all have different attitudes; Three - consumers’ purchasing awareness is increasing. All these factors drive his company to design high-quality appliances focused on providing a smart, comfortable and beautiful user experience, such as the highly-praised Xiaomi air purifier and the recently launched Xiaomi fan. It is good products like these that help Smartmi expand the market and guide new consumption trends. This is the core competitive strength of Smartmi.
A Product Manager must be a perfectionist
As the helmsman and the top product manager of Smartmi, how does Dr. Su Jun design a perfect product? Drawing from his years of experience in the industry, Su Jun says that he always does his best to create a product that will provide a perfect user experience. In order to design a perfect product, he modified the diameter of the small intake holes in the Xiaomi air purifier over 20 times; To determine the optimal positioning of one warning light, he provided more than 5 different schematics for comparison. Improvements in product packaging often go through at least 100 proofing experiments.
Only this kind of painfully long process of continuous progress and improvement, combined with a passion for perfection, can bring customers a new kind of healthy home appliance experience.
Dr. Su advocates that, when product managers are designing new products, they must be passionate about their product. Improvement comes from picking the very best out of comparisons, from feeling out the product from the customer’s perspective, and from offering timely, reasonable suggestions for improvements.
Su Jun has always firmly believed that one small improvement can affect lives of tens of millions of people. The Smartmi he leads is confident about how to design good products, and putting their perfectionist spirits to use to design products that consumers are most able to identify with. He considers this to be the core competitive strength of his enterprise.