The CEO Speaks. The Pete Lau Interview (Part I)

  1. Cheetosdust
    Moderator Moderator Jul 16, 2018

    Cheetosdust , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Photo added by @David Y.

    And here we are. It was never an hourglass to finally reach the title you already read, because I never thought that title would be possible. I always expected silence when I asked the OnePlus Staff and I was always greeted with kindness, love and the sense of timing standing still. It will always be a surprise the humanity of the majority of this team.

    So here it is, an interview with another OnePlus Staff Member. So here it is, an interview with Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus. And here we are. I still don’t really know how a CEO of a company says “yes” to a regular forum member, but I will do what I ever did in these threads - remove myself from the equation, because these threads were always an attempt to let the forums know a little better the humans who work for the company we all know.

    As you can read in a minute, this one won’t be different. We talked about Pete himself, how he founded OnePlus, how he interacts with the staff. We also talked about the technology he would love to have on the OnePlus devices and what product did not get the reaction the company was expecting (and what product exceeded those expected reactions). And we even talk about how months are necessary to develop a product.

    This is Pete’s stage now. I just hope you like reading it as much as I love writing it. And I wish you’ll learn something new. I know I did. Finally, I also hope you value this gesture: the time of a CEO who decided to write back to a random user on these forums. Part II of this interview will be posted shortly, but I have to mention both parts would not be possible without the incredible work and open arms of @Eric Gass and @David Y. And obviously, an heartfelt thank you to @Pete himself.

    Hello Pete, thank you so much for taking the time for doing this, I’m sure it means a lot to the community. It means a lot to me. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your story before founding OnePlus?

    Hi Cheetosdust, thank you for giving me the chance to share with the community.

    My life became product focused as soon I finished college and took a job as an electrical engineer at BBK. I was fascinated with all things product and knew there was much to be done to improve the products at the time. I felt this is what the world needed, and this has been my mission ever since.

    At the time, I remember very clearly having experiences that enlightened me. One example were the earliest Bluetooth earphones that came out - those big earpieces that were really expensive. I was fascinated with the technology and bought one for over 1000RMB ($130 - huge sum of money for me fresh out of college) to try it. The technology worked, but the user experience was pretty terrible. The worst thing was the battery life. Less than 2 hours, and it took ages to charge.​

    Do you actually know and interact with every employee of the company?

    OnePlus is now almost 1000 strong globally, so I unfortunately do not have a chance to interact with each and every team member. BUT, my door is always open. They know I am always available to be reached directly.

    Each quarter, I get a chance to sit down with our entire team and share how things are progressing for us as a company, where the challenges are and how we are addressing them. This is a very frank and open discussion, and I enjoy the chance to see and hear from everyone.​

    On a scale of 1-10 how hard is it to be the CEO of OnePlus?

    I would give this a 9/10. The reason for this is that I think a 10/10 would make the job sound like mission impossible, while 9 means there is a way forward. It’s an incredibly difficult (and interesting!!) team effort.​

    A lot of users on the forums keep asking to this day to add or remove features to the next phone. Usually, when is the design of the next product finalized? I’m not asking obviously to gives us an exact date, but are we talking weeks, months before the production starts?

    This will actually vary with different functionality and components of the device. Hardware for example might be set 8-9 months in advance, but certain elements of design will continue to be iterated closer and closer to perfection in the months following. Software even more so - the software iteration process never stops.​

    In The Verge documentary about the making of the OnePlus 5, you said that you like to have something like a “full screen display” on a OnePlus phone, but the “resources were limited at the time”. Is there a feature right now that you would love to incorporate in a OnePlus device but you can’t because one reason or another?

    FAST wireless charging. Without compromises. We have tested and will continue to test wireless charging technology going forward, but for now, we have not yet found a solution that meets our expectations for speed and convenience. This technology also still results in a thickening of the device and a heating of the device in the charging process.​

    Since you’re the CEO of the company, I need to ask you if there’s was a product you were expecting the fans to have a better reaction?

    The OnePlus X. We aimed to create a best in class flagship-lite product, and although the community loved the design and thought the product was beautiful, most still preferred flagship devices. This reaffirmed our positioning as a flagship only company and culture.​

    And a product that people loved even more than you were expecting?

    Our new Bullets Wireless earphones. This is the first Bluetooth earphones product we created, and the bullets have been overwhelmingly well received. We are very excited about this and appreciate all the feedback our community has contributed towards this new product! Due to such positive feedback, our production quantity fell short of expectations, but we are doing what we can to ensure adequate stock in the future.​

    I already asked this to David, but since you’re the CEO, I feel like I have to ask this to you too: what phone are you using right now?

    I am actually using a Midnight Black and a Mirror Black OnePlus 6 right now. I have OxygenOS on one, and HydrogenOS on the other, and I use both throughout the day. I do this to maximize experience across both products and offer as much realtime feedback as possible to our teams.​

    On a totally unrelated question, how many months in advance do you start using the next phone of the company?

    As soon as our first EVT [Engineering Verification Test] device is ready, I am there testing and playing around with it. For me, it’s critical to get the device in hand to observe all aspects across design, hardware and software, really digging into the holistic experience. Some have come to call this process the “Pete Test” :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2018

  2. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Jul 16, 2018

    dsmonteiro , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Wow. Just wow.

    Congrats, @thecheetosdust for this interview and thank you, @Pete for doing it. It's great when we see you engaging with the community in such a meaningful way!

  3. NeVeR_SeTTLe
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jul 16, 2018

    NeVeR_SeTTLe , Jul 16, 2018 :
    You got the top dogs, Cheetos! Hats off to you ;)
    Interesting interview. Thanks for sharing this. :)
    Now I know Pete is open and reads his PM's ;) I wonder what I will have in store for him :D

  4. Lancelot_69
    Lollipop Jul 16, 2018

    Lancelot_69 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Good interview and questions @Cheetosdust! Thanks for answering @Pete

    Sun90, Bouncer71, pa5t1s and 11 others like this.
  5. meatandy
    Oreo Jul 16, 2018

  6. Moin2200
    KitKat Jul 16, 2018

    Moin2200 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Very great read, and interesting answers! But thanks to Pete for doing this and to you cheetodust for taking a chance and doing this interview.
    Really feels like Pete cares a lot by making such a busy man as himself available for the forum.

    pa5t1s, Bobbie63, manuel19 and 7 others like this.
  7. Tobikage
    Nougat Jul 16, 2018

    geo07, Sun90, Andrei R. and 13 others like this.
  8. Moin2200
    KitKat Jul 16, 2018

    Moin2200 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    This was very interesting, I would have loved to see it incorporated to the 6 but thought they simply didn’t want to use it.

    It’s great to know they have been experimenting with the technology and is waiting for a faster charge. Since Samsung is about to announce a faster wireless charging tech for the note 9 makes me hopeful for a future wireless enabled oneplus device.

  9. GopalB.
    Nougat Jul 16, 2018

    GopalB. , Jul 16, 2018 :
    You are awesome @Cheetosdust!!!
    Thanks for this...
    Can't wait for Part II now!!! [​IMG]

    Sun90, Bobbie63, manuel19 and 4 others like this.
  10. script
    Moderator Moderator Jul 16, 2018

    script , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Great interview and initiative, cheetos. Congratulations x And ofc Tyvm to @Pete.

    What a coincidence: here's my [let's talk] idea :)

    [Let's Talk] What you want to tell Pete and Carl?

  11. youbi
    Assistant Head Moderator Assistant Head Moderator Jul 16, 2018

    youbi , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Wow, so what we talked about it actually happened. :D glad to see this come true.

    Now time to read. :sweatsmile:

  12. AnonymousWP
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jul 16, 2018

    AnonymousWP , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Nice :D. Wonder how you accomplish this all. Your own, pinned threads, threads on the frontpage as thumbnail.. How do you accomplish that as a non-mod? @Cheetosdust.

  13. Moin2200
    KitKat Jul 16, 2018

    Moin2200 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Shhhh let them think they care.

  14. gaster
    Moderator Moderator Jul 16, 2018

    gaster , Jul 16, 2018 :
    That's a great post and review buddy. Thank you for your time and thanks to @Pete as well that he cooperated with you on this. Well done and thumbs up from me.

    Afzal Khan, RogueS4, pa5t1s and 7 others like this.
  15. the_o2
    OnePlus 9 Series Expert Community Expert Jul 16, 2018

    the_o2 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Well done mate, nice to read it again :)

    pa5t1s, Cheetosdust, manuel19 and 5 others like this.
  16. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Jul 16, 2018

  17. nyzproof333
    KitKat Jul 16, 2018

    nyzproof333 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    Aaaannnnd what did we learn? Nothing. What value did you bring to him during this BS "Interview".....none .

    Someone already mentioned it but it seems a little scripted and vauge. I'm sensing shenanigans here.

    Sujknair, AcmE85, funmunke and 2 others like this.
  18. Martin_VN
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jul 16, 2018

  19. nyzproof333
    KitKat Jul 16, 2018

    nyzproof333 , Jul 16, 2018 :
    I see the normal cast of characters run in here literally tripping over each other and this little stunt.

    My b*llshit alarms are going off like crazy. This is really taking it to new heights.

    Sujknair, AcmE85, akshayr723 and 4 others like this.
  20. B.yashaswi
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jul 16, 2018

    Cheetosdust likes this.