Li Yongfu is a senior researcher at the national laboratory of Jiangnan University in East China’s Jiangsu province. But the professor has another string to his bow with a breakthrough in food technology that has made him a successful maker.
Brown rice is healthy but notoriously difficult to cook. Its health benefits include reducing the possibility of getting cancer and diabetes. Professor Li was devoted to cracking the cooking dilemma and eventually came up with a solution.
But during the process he had to endure exhaustion and failure before making the breakthrough. “I got the inspiration from my research on grain fermentation and then put the idea into practice. But the early period of research was not successful as we didn’t know if we could ever get payback for the manpower and material resources used,” he said.
He admitted that he wanted to abandon the effort but in the end he hung on in the belief that “trying one more time’’ would eventually lead to success.
Finally, a breakthrough emerged and a bowl of palatable brown rice has become a reality. The passion and vigor he dedicates to his work is evident in his forties.
According to his colleagues he is acknowledged as a workaholic and they told the reporter that he is nicknamed “madman” for his enthusiasm.
“In fact, I like this nickname. Even though I’m in my forties, I can be as passionate as a young man for my work,” he said. When sharing his experience, he said a good maker knows how to create a unique product for future use and he knows that hard work and commitment are the key ingredients to success.
Hitting the right note
Three young makers plan to hit the road to fame and fortune, starting from their own studio that is attracting talented musicians. The confined studio they now share sees Zhou Jian, Li Xun, and Xiao Jia surrounded by different musical instruments and recording devices.
They believe they can help more and more music lovers to make their own music in unique ways. The impulse of making a private studio came from a love and passion for music. “Most people start with both rationality and passion, but we begin with only love and passion,” said Li Xun.
He admitted that they set out on a blind impulse in the hope of building a music studio of their own. But the idealistic passion finally encountered tough reality as the initial studio operation model was simply not profitable enough to operate.
Not long after the studio was put into operation they found out that even if the studio operated twenty-four hours a day, it was still impossible to cover costs and make ends meet.
“We figured out that passion is not enough to succeed. To succeed, we also needed long-term plans,” he said. They realized that many of the aspiring musicians who came to rent the studio for recording had voices as good as professionals and they could make their own music with these talented people.
That was the vision but they needed profits. “If we only focused on music and took no account of financial returns, our business would be doomed to failure,” said Xiao Jia. By changing the operation model the studio increased its popularity among local musicians and fans.
They also tried to help some music lovers make their own albums. Concerts could be next on the agenda. Their venture has led to a deeper insight into life. “We have harvested a lifelong friendship. No matter what happens to our business, we will be brothers forever,” they said.
Chemistry and innovation a potent mix
Innovation is the only hope for a company in the long run. For the experienced makers, the most difficult thing is how to adhere to it. Zhu Xuejun runs a chemical enterprise and he understands this principle.
Given the current economic background, his company seems to be thoroughbred with a stunning increase in income and profit. The enterprise was built on an adherence to innovation and determination to transform.
According to Zhu, the first step that an entrepreneur needs to take is the transformation of his philosophy of running a business. If you stick to an outdated model, you will lead a company to a dead end, he said.
He concentrates on innovative technology in new energy which is an industry of huge potential in China and aliphatic amine (chemical compounds used in the energy sector) are the main products. The aliphatic amine is widely used in oil and gas exploration, wind power equipment, concrete and other chemical products.
“I never expected that I would become a member of makers”, Zhu said. By utilizing the industry-university-research cooperation, he eventually made the enterprise one of the top three aliphatic amine producers in the world.
“The importance of the brand is self-evident for an innovation-oriented enterprise. But how to transform us from a mere manufacturer to a front-runner in innovation and building an industry-recognized high-end brand is more important,” he said.
In the age of innovation, how to adhere to innovation is a major issue. “As far as I can see, if I rest on my laurels just because I have state-of-the-art technology or a famous brand, I would be displaced by the new makers in the future,” he said.
When asked about his secret of success, he said to be a maker is easy but to be a persistent maker is hard and achieving this means the difference between short-term success and greatness.