Interview| Insta 360: The young should dare to dream, to try, and to play!
Original: NJU Youth
Starting a business can be fun, they say.
Established by Liu Jingkang and his team, graduates in 2014 from the School of Software Engineering, Nanjing University, Insta360 focuses on research and application of holographic imaging technology, with the 360 °panoramic camera as its core product.
The team brings together graduates from Nanjing University, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University.
“Play more as life is short,” Insta360 tells people. It hopes that people can use their products to record every wonderful second of life in 360degrees.
From a start-up team on campus to a specialized enterprise,Insta360 is growing
But never loses its essence of having fun.
Our initial idea was to have fun
Insta360 has become a legend. Established in 2014, it has now received series B financing of several hundred million yuan. Its products sell worldwide with agent cooperation in more than 50 countries and regions. Among these products, 4K beta received iF product design award; Nano is Facebook’s first choice for VR panoramic camera, which was even specially reported by CCTV.
What has been driving the team to remain committed to development and innovation?
Our initial idea was just to have fun, Said Liu Jingkang.
But clearly, what Insta360 has done is far beyond having fun.“
The Insta360 Nano panoramic camera, for example, was initially meant to be an affordable VR panoramic camera for the public,” explained Liu. “Judging from social networks shares, it has achieved this goal. What’s more, it also became Facebook’s first choice for VR panoramic live.
“In the G20 Summit this September, ‘People's Daily,’ Phoenix Net and other mainstream media recorded lots of interesting news with Nano. Photographers using Nano to record interesting VR panoramic weddings has become a hot topic on Wechat’s Moments, which is claimed to be a new growth point in the wedding industry. In addition, its live streaming function is also welcomed by customers.
In the pursuit of having fun, Insta360 discovered the new blue ocean of the panoramic camera market.
The team started from live streaming,” said Insta360. “The idea of a VR panoramic camera, derived from the improvement of immersion and interactivity that were poor in traditional live broadcast. People working on images always have the natural desire to break through the limit of perspectives. The VR panoramic camera provides an immersive universe perspective, like God’s View in aerial photos. Panorama technology itself is not a new field, but we are to develop a panoramic camera that has a universal value.
From live streaming to the panoramic camera, the team has changed its business focus, but it remains committed to “having fun.”
Because of the fun, the team chose to develop a panoramic camera. It chooses to make more breakthroughs in the hope of developing a more interesting panoramic camera.
When it comes to the prospects of the panoramic camera, the team believes that it boasts huge market prospects although it is still in the initial stage. With an improved product line and the layout in professional and mass markets, the VR industry is bound to witness a vigorous spring.
Designed to develop the best panoramic camera worldwide, Insta360 will also introduce more new products, both for the professional market, and for the consumer market.
Starting a business is an interesting practice
It seems that the Insta360 team is born with entrepreneurship. “Starting a business is an interesting practice,” as they put it.
They remain committed to building their own brand, from a start-up team on campus to a specialized enterprise, from V live streaming to the goal of developing the best panoramic camera in the world.
Why did they choose to start their own business? Probably all entrepreneurs have the desire to change the world or to create wealth, according to Insta360.
In the beginning, we only thought that it had a lot of fun and may generate a large sum of money, but inside there was a belief that it was worth trying and keep going.
Initially we hoped to receive more orders, and established a business model through V live streaming. Having achieved this goal, we wanted to break this perspective and started to develop a panoramic camera. Later on 4Kbeta made a hit in the enterprise market, so we began to develop and produce products on the large scale for the consumer market. Our adherence paid off in July when Nano was introduced to the market.
From a campus team to a specialized enterprise, Insta360 experienced joy and excitement as well as the birth pangs.
In its initial stage, the team faced pressure imposed by R & D and volume production. From the start-up team to large-scale operation, the company also needs professional management. The Insta360 team is also growing with the company.
The biggest change is to learn how to be responsible,” said CEO Liu Jingkang. “When designing an art work, we are only responsible to ourselves, but when designing a product, we should be responsible to the team, to users, to the market as well as to the investors. We should have clear judgment before starting to design a product. In the process of research and development, we need to take market demand, production costs, user experience and other things into consideration. After volume production, we should also carefully plan the sale, marketing, after-sale service and update of products.
Liu Jingkang knows well that the dream and livelihood of his team members rely on their products. He has to be rational, reasonable and perseverant all the time, and he must take up the responsibility not only for himself but also for his team."
“Be Honest and intelligent, Study hard and Act Sincerely.” At the same time, the team also wants the work to be interesting.
Many Insta360 team members graduated from Nanjing University. The university’s motto “Sincerity with Aspiration, Perseverance and Integrity” was also the principle the team followed when they started out.
The team even has a deeper understanding of this motto after they set up their company. They give priority to the virtues of being honest, brave and conscientious and hope that their team members could support and help each other by their common belief in these virtues and values, promoting the work of the whole company.
“I have gained necessary knowledge and skills during my study at Nanjing University,” said Liu about how the university helped him with starting his own company. “That is very helpful to the development of new products. Besides, the university actually encourages students to become entrepreneurs and supports us with a relaxing environment, which helped me avoid making unnecessary mistakes and gain a great deal of encouragement and support.”
Now, still influenced by Nanjing University, Insta360 is gradually forming its own style as a company.
“Play more as life is short.” Life is as short as falling snow; therefore, Insta360 sticks to the belief that one should dedicate himself or herself to an interesting job with a group of interesting people. “Play” is actually enjoyment of the work.
As for the running of the company, Insta 360 as a company is managed in a scientific way with the company divided into several different sections fulfilling different functions, namely, the section of research and development, the section of hardware, the section of management, the section of VR film and so on. As for the culture of the company, Insta 360 prefers a young, energetic and interesting culture with the spirit of innovation. The company hopes to let every one on its staff make full use of their talent to create interesting products and services in a relaxing environment.
“The company organizes regular staff activities every month, for example, sharing with new staff, birthday, sharing professional knowledge, team travelling, name but a few.
“Moreover, we prepare small ’surprises’ for our employees during holidays and vacations. For example, our vice president once made up and acted Santa Claus at Christmas. I myself often order hotpot to the company at night, have a dinner with colleagues and share opinions and experience with them.
“We have now 150 team members and communicate with each other by software and SNS. Generally, we are able to communicate with each other quickly and make decisions effectively.
“The atmosphere of the company is comfortable and relaxing, but everyone is demanded to shoulder up his or her own responsibility. Everyone should be responsible for the project of which he or she takes charge, and we have Key Performance Indicator for the evaluation of each one’s work. Therefore, the staff is self-motivated and willing to be dedicated to their work.
Insta 360 only offers the opportunity for people with a soul of interest to meet with each other. It is the shared dream and shared personality of hardworking that unite them together.
“Work never means being boring. Rather, it can be interesting, providing interesting people with the opportunities to do interesting things. This is probably the most attractive point of Insta360.”
For life, Insta360 holds the belief that as life is short, they will play more.
For entrepreneurship, Insta360 holds the belief that young people should dare to think, to work and to play.
For the future, Insta360 holds the belief that we are to make the best panoramic cameras of the world.
Life is as short as falling snow. Therefore, people should be brave and cherish the time by trying out new and interesting things.
“We should try to become interesting people,” said Liu. “University is the best place for learning and creating since we are able to try many new things freely. People gradually become the ones they wish to become when they keep trying different things. Nothing can make people feel more proud than just being oneself.”