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Five Years of Never Settle: The inside story of OnePlus

  1. Dale F. Copywriter Staff Member Dec 17, 2018

    Dale F., Dec 17, 2018 :
    insidestory.jpg

    Hi friends,

    Today marks the fifth anniversary of OnePlus – and what a journey we’ve shared so far.

    When OnePlus was created in 2013, our small team had one goal in mind: to share the best technology with the world. Back then, we felt unhappy with the Android smartphones we saw on the market – so we decided to create something better; something we’d be proud to use ourselves.

    As the years have gone by, our small team has grown. We’ve gone from a few people to over a thousand, and with each new year comes new experiences, new challenges, and new memories. But no matter what happens in the future, we’ll never forget our past.

    Through forum posts, videos and keynote speeches, we’ve seen the OnePlus story through the eyes of our founders, @Pete and @Carl. Being a new member of the OnePlus family but a long-time OnePlus fan, however, I was dying to get more information about life at OnePlus in its earliest days. So, at the OnePlus 5th Anniversary party this weekend, I tracked down and chatted with a selection of the company's longest-serving employees, who were more than happy to share their journeys with us.

    Mingyu Zheng (@Mingyu), Product Manager. Joined OnePlus: December 2013.

    I was the first employee to join the global team at OnePlus – I even helped set up our community forums! I was here when our office was still just a concrete shell. Before the heating system was installed, we’d sit working at our desks wearing blankets to keep warm.

    As a member of the small team that helped launch the OnePlus One, I recall the morning that a special delivery arrived at the office. After spending months working late into the night, our initial OnePlus One prototypes had finally arrived. We eagerly removed the prototypes from the box and passed them around. It wasn’t until after a few moments of admiring them that a colleague remarked, "Where are the speaker grilles?".

    Image 2018-12-17 at 10.19.jpg
    One of the first OnePlus One prototypes. Notice anything unusual? Image credit: Michael Sharanda

    We burst out laughing and crying at the same time. It turned out that the manufacturing team hadn’t drilled the speaker grilles into the prototypes’ frames, so we had to order new ones. When you work so hard on perfecting the tiny details, a misstep like that can really get you down. Even though it was disappointing, all we could do was see the funny side and try to move on.

    Today, we still run into small issues like that one, and we still deal with them the same way – by staying positive and trying to learn something from the experience.


    Even though OnePlus is now a huge global company, deep down we’re still just that group of people pulling together to put out the best product we can. But now, we have a heating system!

    David Sanmartin (@David S.), Head of Marketing. Joined OnePlus: February 2014.

    I started around the same time as @Mingyu and I can confirm her heating story! The company had just moved into the current building way ahead of its completion, so we started basically working in an unfinished office. I thought to myself, "What have I done? Is this the startup life?". Luckily, I stuck around long enough to see that it was worth it.

    I think we've got a long way to go before we can call ourselves "one of the big players", but the turn-key moment of OnePlus was the launch of the OnePlus One. Before that, in the eyes of the press, we were simply making bold claims about this amazing product of ours. It wasn’t until our community and the media held the OnePlus One in their hands that they realized that we were serious.

    5 Dec 2015 cold meeting.jpg
    A chilly meeting takes place before OnePlus' heating system was installed. Great hat, Carl!

    For the launch of the OnePlus 2, we did a small media event in San Francisco. In order to show sample devices to reporters, we had to flash them with the latest software and add some apps so the reporters could take pictures and interact with them.

    A week before the launch I flashed each of the devices manually. I don't remember how many exactly, but it was definitely more than 40. In fact, if you watch the four-year anniversary video on YouTube, you can see me sitting on the floor of the office flashing the phones. Once we landed in the USA, a colleague and I spent the night in our hotel setting up a bunch of devices with apps and Google accounts, as we had the media event the next day.


    Ritij Khuran (@Ritij Khurana), Media Buying Specialist. Joined OnePlus: September 2015.

    I remember the time right after the OnePlus 2 launch. Amazon used to do a lot of our marketing and it put up a lot of billboards for us. In November 2016, we put up one of our own billboards for the first time at Bangalore airport. I went to the airport at night when the workers were putting the billboard up and I stayed there till it was complete. When the billboard was finally finished, I was filled with pride as I looked at it. That was the day I felt OnePlus as a brand had arrived and was here to stay.

    Then there was the time when we first put a full-page newspaper ad in the Times of India. I remember this was for the OnePlus 3T. I woke up at 4:30 am that morning to check the newspaper for the ad. Vikas, general manager of the India region, took a copy of the newspaper to China to show it to everyone, and @Carl put a picture of it up on his Instagram account. I couldn't have felt prouder.

    Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 15.02.33.png

    Carl proudly displays an ad for the OnePlus 3T in the Times of India.

    My favorite OnePlus memory, however, is from a week before the OnePlus 5 launch. It was the Friday night before the launch, and everyone was almost ready to go home. That Sunday, India were playing Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy Final (a huge cricket event that only comes up once every 4 years - it's like the Indian Super Bowl). I was super convinced that OnePlus should be involved in the event, and I had a lengthy discussion with Vikas about including a teaser video for the OnePlus 5 during this event. I then prepared a presentation and Emily spoke to Carl and Pete night about it later that night.

    By that point, it was way past midnight in China, but Carl and Pete both agreed to my plan. The video was a success, and it was one of the highlights of the year for our marketing efforts. The fact that Carl and Pete replied so late at night just showed how much every employee’s opinion is valued at OnePlus and how open the founders are in terms of their availability to us.

    Lin Yuan (@DTONE), Design Project Manager. Joined OnePlus: December 2013.

    My job interview was basically a quick chat on the phone with Carl, as the team back then was tiny compared with today. Now, OnePlus employs around 1000 people. This is what makes it funny when I remember that Carl once said to us, “Wow, the company is growing so quickly – we have almost 50 employees now!”.

    In the OnePlus One days, as the team was so small, we were working about 12 hours a day, six days a week. So much hard work was involved, but it was worth every moment once we saw the finished product. It was really satisfying to see something we spent so much time to create finally come to life, especially as people seemed to love it so much.


    5 Dec 2015 early team.jpg
    Team members strike a pose with Pete and Carl in the early days.

    My favorite OnePlus memory has to be from my first week here. I was sitting at my computer working on the Never Settle logo, and a colleague I’d never met before came over to give me some advice on how it should look. After he finished speaking, I looked up and said to him, “Who are you?” You can imagine how embarrassed I felt when he replied, “Pete Lau.” Sorry, @Pete!

    Speaking of Pete, he’s a very hands-on person. People might imagine a CEO of a huge company to just be in boardroom meetings all day, never engaging with employees. But Pete is involved in every stage of product development. It’s normal to see him chatting with colleagues around the office and offering them his input. And I think it’s safe to say that every employee recognizes him – especially me!


    David Yang (@David Y.), Community Manager. Joined OnePlus: May 2014.

    I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with the OnePlus community for almost five years now. During those years, there have been countless beautiful memories when it comes to interacting with our community members. The ones that have touched me the most have been and always will be talking with our community members face-to-face.

    Thanks to my amazing job at OnePlus, I’ve been given many chances to go abroad to fan meet-up events, which help me better learn from our community friends. I had so much fun at our Australia meet-ups, at our first global moderator event, at the Hamburg and San Francisco Open Ears Forums, and at our London and New York City launch parties. I remember discussing with @cdnfarmer that each of us live thousands of miles apart but we were sitting together having breakfast and chatting. The OnePlus community is such a magical thing.

    Gathering.jpg
    Community members and OnePlus colleagues gather for dinner ahead of the OnePlus 6 launch event in London.

    Our community connects so many amazing people across the world, and OnePlus is truly a company that listens to its community’s feedback. In fact, we recently sent out samples of our new OnePlus Explorer Backpack to our community accessories testing group. Based on their feedback, we changed the design, which also meant we had to postpone the sale date. This proves how valuable our community of users is to us.

    What's YOUR OnePlus story?

    We’ve shared our memories, and now it’s time to share yours.

    From the excitement of receiving a OnePlus One invite to the thrill of seeing the smooth lines of the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition for the first time, what’s your favorite OnePlus moment? Let us know below and we'll award you with a special OnePlus 5th Anniversary forum badge!

    As we celebrate this special day at OnePlus, we’d like to end by saying one last thing to our community: thank you. You’ve been there alongside us throughout this adventure and we couldn’t have made it without you. Just imagine what we will achieve together in the NEXT five years.

    Never Settle.
     

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  2. PradyumnaB Gingerbread Dec 17, 2018

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018

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  3. dalmia09 Jelly Bean Dec 17, 2018

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018

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  4. OPO OOS lover Jelly Bean Dec 17, 2018

    OPO OOS lover, Dec 17, 2018 :
    So in the end OnePlus did hate the OnePlus 2 so much that it didn't even include anything realted to it except Amazon Marketing
     

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    NovinDavis, snke, omarmawal and 9 others like this.
  5. YRJ KitKat Dec 17, 2018

    YRJ, Dec 17, 2018 :
    aha! what a nice thread, @Dale F. you joined late but caught up too fast [e]1f609[/e]
    great thread, lovely read!
     

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    Sujknair, Dresa91, manuel19 and 5 others like this.
  6. Dale F. Copywriter Staff Member Dec 17, 2018

    Dale F., Dec 17, 2018 :
    Thanks @YASHPLUSONE. It's a dream come true to go from OnePlus fan to OnePlus employee :sunglasses: And there will be a lot more stories like this coming up - just think of me as the community spy on the inside (^_^)
     

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  7. Cheetosdust Starting Point Expert Dec 17, 2018

    Cheetosdust, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Thank you for the lovely post, @Dale F.

    Happy birthday OnePlus, congratulations on everything you accomplished so far - and the heating system. :)
     

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  8. YRJ KitKat Dec 17, 2018

    YRJ, Dec 17, 2018 :
    I'll keep in touch, let's leak all the details B-) [e]1f602[/e]
    hahaha XD
    so far all your threads have been full of information and I am looking forward to more of your threads "insider" [e]1f609[/e]
    *fist bumps*
     

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    Deepak.Si, Sujknair, Dresa91 and 3 others like this.
  9. Mr_Cyrox KitKat Dec 17, 2018

    Mr_Cyrox, Dec 17, 2018 :
    My story ain't samething special like OnePlus but it's samething ;)

    I used to having tables for a daily driver and a "Phone" at the same time (Yes I carried all the time a tabled with me... And no don't ask me why)
    For about 3 years I struggled with garbage camera's, horrible software (Samsung bloat... Juck :p) and bad battery life...
    After those 3 years (mid 2017) I decided to finally get a "real" phone...
    Searching around my initial budget was 350€ and I found out the "Xiaomi phones are pretty cheap and seem to have good reviews" I thought "Should be better then tablets at least" but then I hesitated and thought again that there must be sameone who has better skins then they...
    And searched around more and I came across a phone "OnePlus 3" it had incredible reviews and seemed like a dream phone at first glance...
    Later I discovered that there was a better 3T it was recommended by many reviewers and I was thinking to sit it through surely the company "OnePlus" can make a device later on as the OnePlus 5 launch was soon here...

    After the launch waited couple of months to see the reviewers opinions and I was happy enough to order a OnePlus 5 6GB 64 GB ROM model...
    And I don't regret it not even one bit...

    Performance was fast and smooth, camera was and is great (Please don't kill me for this) , battery life was and is still amazing and all around a great phone...

    One day tho I made a simple mistake on rooting and custom rom instalations and "bricked" my device...
    Naturaly I searched around for help...
    Then I remembered that I had an app called "Community" that I uninstalled as I thought it was bloatware and not needed for me...
    I got the app back and wasted no time to ask for help (Cupcakes can't search, period ;)) a few great users like @Hydra Bob and @idkwhoiam322 helped me out to recover my device from my own stupidity :confused:

    Didn't know how to "repay" them so I decided to join this community and help out other... And obviously shit post here and there :rolleyes:

    And that's my story on how I found myself using a OnePlus device and how I joined the community :)

    This was my first time doing anything like it so feel free to laugh at it :(
     

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  10. Dale F. Copywriter Staff Member Dec 17, 2018

    Dale F., Dec 17, 2018 :
    Thanks for sharing your story with us, @Mr_Cyrox : ) I'm so glad you brought your OnePlus 5 back from the dead with the help of the community - you now officially have a zombie phone (◕‿◕)
     

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  11. youbi Portuguese POC Assistant Head Moderator Dec 17, 2018

    youbi, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Great read, thanks for sharing those great stories.

    Happy birthday OnePlus, you have indeed come far and showed that there is always opportunities if you think outside the box and try to do things from the heart and by listening to your community feedback. :)

    As for my story, I've told it before but to sum it up. I was a happy Iphone user, and basically entered this place to try and buy a smartphone for my girlfriend birthday (since she was still using one of those dumb Samsung phones). :sweatsmile: But I was blown away by what I found and how great this community was, and as time passed I discover so much more around here that I end up leaving the Apple world and never looked back again. :p
     

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  12. Waterdroid KitKat Community Expert Dec 17, 2018

    Waterdroid, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Happy anniversary OnePlus. I'm glad to have been here for so much of your journey.

    To plenty of years to come!
     

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    Deepak.Si, Sujknair, YRJ and 9 others like this.
  13. Alvie The Lab - OnePlus 5T Reviewer Dec 17, 2018

    Alvie, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Congratulations on 5 years :)

    My favourite OnePlus moment was going to the launch event for the 6. The event was incredibly fun where we got to meet with other fans, the moderators and content creators too.
     

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  14. Plenkske Dutch POC Assistant Head Moderator Dec 17, 2018

    Plenkske, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Awesome to read this. Thanks for sharing the stories and pictures !
    Also, again, Happy Birthday OnePlus ! 5 years already... time flies when you have fun :)

    Its almost impossible for me to choose. Thanks to OnePlus I met so many people from different countries, I could have never imagine that. Does that count as a "moment" ? :p
    If I really have to choose then it must be the Global Moderator event in London, back in October 2017. Such an epic weekend with this great group of people from all over the world. So many memories in just a few days... :hearteyes::blush:
     

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    Sujknair, YRJ, SoniaB and 6 others like this.
  15. B.yashaswi Ice Cream Sandwich Dec 17, 2018

    B.yashaswi, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Nice one @Dale F.
    What made me to be in this community or to buy a OnePlus phone it was the days when i was pursuing my inter 2nd year and my friend was having a OnePlus 2 smartphone i was like pretty shocked to see this thing in my hand as i was a tech enthusiastic i used to see daily about the lauches of smartphones and their leaks in that way i came to know about OnePlus 2 then after my friend purchased it that was the time my heart went towards the OnePlus company and the habit of reading tech news and leaks continued by which the rise OnePlus 3 took place in me and which stole my heart and as i joined in undergraduate course it was the time to have a smartphone and i was talking to my parents to buy it and as i was wanted it very strongly and did asked for one waited for it patiently as it was not that immediate and continued reading smartphone leaks through which came to know about OnePlus 3T then i thought now this is my time and i need to get one and talked in home and ordered one and waiting for it to arrive but it did not arrive within the mentioned time then immediately i called to the Amazon customer care and spoke to him gave details about it and don't know what happened i received a call within 1 hour from the delivery person and was asking me what is there inside then i said a smartphone that person received a call from them to deliver now as the given time was already completed and he handed over to me as i had no patience to grab it i opened it and felt in my hands that light weight, metal back and that was the time i expressed my feelings towards it through social media by posting in fb and insta and showing my parents this thing like a great one and they were like this is just a smartphone and i explained that this is different from all others standing like a leader from all other ones this is how all things happened and slowly understood about the community where i came to know that this is just not only a company or brand this is something more than the company and its an emotion, its a love, its an happiness, its an masterpiece that everyone could buy.My love towards the company was at one level when i purchased and now after joining this community and seeing everyone that is especially the staff speaking took my love towards it into an another level. I hope that this thing remains as same as before :)
    Ps: Congratulations on completion of 5 Years and like to see the growth of it but with the same name that the brand which listens to the community
    Five years of NEVER SETTLE made ONEPLUS 6/6T smartphones of the year 2018.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

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  16. Cheetosdust Starting Point Expert Dec 17, 2018


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  17. Sai Krishna Thorata Ice Cream Sandwich Dec 17, 2018


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    YRJ and Dresa91 like this.
  18. Moin2200 KitKat Dec 17, 2018

    Moin2200, Dec 17, 2018 :
    I'm so happy I've been a part of the community since the beginning to see the company grow so much makes it all worth it.

    You all deserve so much praise for all the hard work and countless hours that has been invested in a idea to never settle.
     

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    YRJ, SoniaB, Dresa91 and 1 other person like this.
  19. script Marshmallow Moderator Dec 17, 2018

    script, Dec 17, 2018 :
    Congratulations OnePlus

    I'm here for a Loooooooooong time, and I enjoy every day. One of my personal special moments has to do with the first mod meeting in London in 2017. This was in general an awesome event, meeting all the fellow mods in person, that I had talked to in chats only before.

    A few weeks before the meeting I had the idea to design a poster that we all can sign at that meeting, and that the staff members later can take home and pin to their wall of memories.

    The moderators liked that idea and, on top of that, they liked my design proposal. Then the famous @Reivon Choccoli , who is really a designer, and the whole team worked on that first proposal till it was finished.

    Then, in London, we both presented the poster to the whole group, all moderators and staff members, including Pete and Carl. And they all liked the poster. That was -for me- a very good, memorable moment.

    Later we all signed it and now it hangs on that wall in Shenzhen.

    1c.jpg
     

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    David Y., eye842, woSch and 19 others like this.
  20. eye842 KitKat Dec 17, 2018


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