Every generation has its own figures of time. And every today is entering an unknown tomorrow. In today’s world, the Internet industry is developing at a mad speed, with major changes taking place with every passing minute. And because of the rapid development, people are easily forgotten as time flies. Whether it is young ambitious entrepreneurs who have just found their place in the world of business, star investors that walk through different venues, programmers who spend hours of time writing codes in front of the computer screen, operators that bury themselves in loads of work, geeks that spend hours searching for information they need to complete their thirst for geek knowledge, or even delivery guys who go around the city under the intense sunlight, their efforts together constitute the Internet world we have right now. They might be conquering this era, or they might become only accessories of the time. Anyhow, their moments are worth recording, and worth remembering. TMTpost’s new column Photo Gallery is finally online, a new column through which TMTpost aims to use to record individuals and entrepreneurs in the Internet industry.
After seeing a well-circulated post about Jack Ma’s being refused by customers when promoting his product in 1996, Qu Jianfang, aged 58, said that he was actually at the same stage as Jack Ma.
Mr. Qu grew up in a military family and used to work in a military company. Since the beginning of the 1990s, he has been devoted to re-designing bicycles. At that time, bicycles were still the major transportation tool in China. Mr. Qu enjoyed great benefit from the market, but also got frustrated several times. In 2012, he collaborated with some philanthropists and made the recumbent bikes he re-designed one of the travel tools for students and professors at Tsinghua University.
In 2014, he invented the pull-rod recumbent bicycle, which was not only a major breakthrough for himself, but also in the history of bicycles, to some degree. His design might significantly change the incorrect riding habit of bike-riders. Of course, there is still a long road to spread his design across China, yet he was proud of himself and believed that the day would finally come when he could change how bicycles look like simply by himself.
Encouraged by the startup wave in the past two years, Mr. Qu believed that the right time and opportunity had come. Qu Jianfang, a 58 bicycle-lover, was the main character of TMTpost Photo Gallery 003.
In Photo Gallery 001 and 002, we introduced the story of a 90s entrepreneur and two middle-aged offline promotion specialists. In Photo Gallery 003, however, we are going to introduce to you the story of a 50s entrepreneur.
At present, Mr. Qu was looking for investment to hold a competition for recumbent bicycle and promote the recumbent bicycle he designed and made himself. That’s why he went to the Inno-Way in Zhongguancun, Beijing, and gave his bicycles as presents to investment firms here.
As long as he met someone that seemed to be interested, he would spare no effort in promoting his bicycles. “I can give you a model as present, and then you will figure out the advantages of my bikes,” he became quite generous when he met people who seemed to be really interested.
After trying riding the bicycle for a while, an investor spoke quite high of it, received the model as present and even introduced Mr. Qu to some investors that might be interested.
Mr. Qu would drive an Auto to carry his bikes around. He changed quite a few cars, but felt reluctant to sell this old Auto. On the one hand, he had even developed feelings with the car; on the other hand, he couldn’t afford to buy a new one at present. Mr. Qu used to be a taxi driver when he was young. According to him, that’s the time he felt most proud of himself, since he drove a Xiaji, a star car model at that time.
To make room for his bikes in his little Auto, Mr. Qu had to remove the backseat. Across Beijing did he drive his “beloved” Auto, looking for investment.
Mr. Qu made his prototype in a door and window shop near his house. While he provided the design paper and ideas, the shop owner prepared the materials and welded different parts together. After various rounds of testing and adjustment, he carried his prototype to some bicycle factories in Tianjin for mass-manufacture. However, he was unsatisfied with the bad attitudes, poor sense of contract of these factories’ owners. At present, he was in dire need of a reliable factory.
On seeing Mr. Qu, the door and window shop’s guy couldn’t wait to open his phone and showed Mr. Qu the picture he captured when watching a program in which Mr. Qu rode his recumbent bicycle along with other contestants to test the speed of his bikes.
However, the bike Mr. Qu rode was already in shreds and patches. According to him, this bike was a living database for him to further improve performance of his bicycle. “Provided that I have new ideas when I’m riding it, I will put my ideas into practice on this bike,” Mr. Qu laughed.
As long as someone seemed to be interested in his bicycle, Mr. Qu will approach them and promote his bikes, as well as his reflections on the traditional bikes.
Mr. Qu’s father was a soldier of the Red Army and even fought in the Korean War. He seemed quite proud every time he talked about his stories. After his father passed away in 1996, Mr. Qu felt quite lonely oftentimes. Fortunately, his mother was still around and lived just a few blocks away, so he would drop by sometimes.
His mother’s house was also filled with bicycle parts. Mr. Qu recalled that his family was unwilling to see him play with bicycles when he was young, but when he grew up and led a decent life, they gradually accepted his hobby and even felt glad with it.
What Mr. Qu was most proud of was that his recumbent bicycle could effectively help bicycle riders avoid crouching when riding their bikes, which could do harm to their spines and even their health day by day.
He has been looking for investors everywhere in the past two years, but hasn’t found anyone interested. Besides holding a large-scale competition, his biggest dream was to make riding recumbent bikes as one event of the Olympics, saying that: “What a shame! No Olympic event was born in so giant a nation.”
On the ceiling of his mother’s house were lots of notes of sparkled ideas and key moments of him. Mr. Qu loved recording his thoughts in this way.
Some notes were self-encouragement, others were his thoughts on some social issues. Mr. Qu used to be listed, so he would always say that “he has a soldier’s blood and the pursuit of truth is his life-long nutrient.”
There was even a quote from Steve Jobs in the door corner: Only when you put things to extremes can you change the world. Mr. Qu appreciated the line a lot and was actually following Steve’s advice in promoting his bicycles.
Sometimes, he would look up, look through these notes and get lost in thought.
According to him, he would often carry his bikes outside the storage and do some necessary measurement. For him, as long as people were still riding bikes while couching, that would be his fault. It was his hope that he would find some investors and fulfil his “bicycle dream” as quickly as possible.
TMTpost Photo Gallery
Special column of TMTpost
Aiming to record individuals and entrepreneurs in the Internet industry
Photos don’t lie, but they don’ tell the whole truth
Photos are free, but also full of traps
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @fliesslaughterhouse, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at ECHO), working for TMTpost.