How resilient are you? Here’s an amazing story of how to bounce back when things get tough:
The Elon Musk of China, 43 year old Jia Yueting, was under such financial stress 2 months ago, in November 2016 he wrote a letter to the staff and shareholders at his company, LeEco, telling them of the financial issues and saying he was cutting his salary to one yuan (15 cents).
To make things worse, he had used all his listed shares in Leshi Internet as security against the loans he had taken, but Leshi Internet’s shares had dropped 30% and all the shares were at risk of being lost in a margin call. So the company suspended trading in its shares – and they have been frozen ever since.
What happened next? While the world was on holiday at the end of December, Yueting staged a turnaround as dramatic as the one Elon Musk achieved in 2010.
The result? Today he announced a $2.2 billion cash investment from property developer Sunac China Holdings, for 8.61% of the company – which gives him the cash he needs and now values LeEco at $25 billion.
Who is Jia Yueting, and how did he create a company that’s now worth $25 billion?
Born to a teacher and housewife in 1973, his first job was in a government tax office. When he was 31, in 2004, he launched “Leshi” (which means “Happy TV”) as the first Internet streaming TV company. Over the next 6 years it grew into the Netflix of China, and in 2010 – when Elon Musk was broke – he listed the company and became a billionaire.
From there, he launched a series of new companies – LeMusic (live concerts), Le Vision (films), LeMobile (smartphones) and Le VR (virtual reality), which all became part of “LeEco”.
Jia Yueting is 2 years younger than Elon, and has been largely unknown in the West – until January last year, when he launched “Le Supercar” at CES – to compete with Tesla. The car is being built by LeSEE – his electric car company in partnership with Faraday Future.
Then, in February 2016 LeEco made Fast Company’s 2016 “Most Innovative Companies” list, and in July he bought America’s leading smart TV maker, Visio for $2 billion… and the US tech industry began to take notice.
So if Yueting has been so successful in growing a billion dollar business, how did he end up in such financial trouble?
Yueting, like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and many leading entrepreneurs, drive their businesses to the upper limit of growth. For Yueting, 2016 was the first year he entered the US market and costs rose dramatically.
In his November letter he described the situation as “a simultaneous time in ice and fire” and said “We blindly sped ahead, and our cash demand ballooned. We got over-extended in our global strategy.”
Some think that when you achieve success, the problems disappear. The reality is that as things multiply, the risks grow with the rewards.
Success then, feels less like flying higher in the sky and more like sailing deeper in the ocean – with higher highs and lower lows.
So if you’re on that journey, get ready for the ride.
Yuetlng, like other great captains before him, is on a journey which just became more epic.
He was on the verge of losing it all and then bounced back by using every great entrepreneur’s secret weapons:
Resilience and perseverance.
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” ~ Jack Ma