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04 November 2019 04:36

Airtable

Bloomberg The BBC's weekly "Boss" series introduces different business leaders from around the world. This week, we spoke with Howie Liu, founder and CEO of the fast-growing spreadsheet startup AirTable. Silicon Valley boss Howard Liu believes that this idea can earn tens of billions of dollars. He told the BBC that if there was luck, his company AirTable would become the person who executed it. "This is a huge opportunity, no different from the size of Amazon, Facebook or Google." There is no irony.

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No one understands our thoughts, but now

"I just thought that this would be a huge change in how people interact with software." Is there a big idea? Spreadsheet, but better. Spreadsheets, but is more abundant. Professionals (such as accountants) typically use spreadsheets to sort data, generate charts, and sum. But most of us find that they are too technical to be used in the basic way. How the first "killer app" calculated changed everything AirTable changed this, Mr. said Liu, it is so easy that there is usually no People with coding skills (such as people on cattle farms) can build complex cloud systems for their work, such as tracking cows and equipment. The app has been a huge success, attracting entertainment company Netflix, electric car manufacturer Tesla and magazines and website Time and other well-known customers. According to the latest round of financing, the company's market capitalization has also reached 1.1 billion US dollars (850 million pounds), although the product has only been sold in the market for four years. Getty Images photo, illustration Salesforce boss Marc Benioff advised Mr. Liu and his partners when they first started. At the beginning of the company's establishment, it was difficult to explain this concept to investors. Mr. Liu admitted that he was the CEO of AirTable and co-founded the company in 2012. "The concept of spreadsheets is even earlier than calculations. Spreadsheets are the first killer application." Therefore, when he and his partners use them with their " The Pitch Deck participated in the investor conference, and they offered little to what investors usually expect to hear. "All of the pitch decks you see show a graph of growth and market size, and all the similar things. We don't look like that." Instead, they There are philosophical reasons for AirTable and how it changes the world of work. AirTable photo, illustration AirTable tries to make spreadsheets easier to use "To be honest, I think a lot of eyes are dead. I clearly remember some situations, even if investors say yes, they say' we don't really understand what you are saying' Eventually, to attract these investors to join the confidence of the AirTable team itself, Mr. Liu said that in this early stage, this may be more important. "A good idea of ​​having a bad team will fail, and even an unknown idea with a great team can succeed." [' Thought we are Chinese? [19459010MrLiugrewupintheUniversityCityofTexas"twohoursfromHoustonandthreehoursfromDallas" He joked that his family background was too complicated, and his mother did not even try to explain this. Until he is about 10 years old. "My four grandparents are Korean," he said. "But during the Second World War, they moved to China like many Koreans. My parents were born in China, but moved to the United States before I was born." His parents thought he Will become "that kind of story is too confusing until he has to explain to him the family history paper for him. " I interviewed my grandparents, I remember myself waiting for the first Second, I thought we were Chinese? I am very confused. from copyright, copyright Liu Haowei photo, illustration Mr. Liu's background is Korean, but he grew up in the United States. Very little confusion, learning coding. When Mr. Liu was 13 years old, he picked up his father's book about programming language C++ and taught himself in just a few weeks. At the age of 16, he began studying computer wing design at Duke University in North Carolina.. Here, he met his final AirTable co-founders Andrew Ofstad and Emmett Nicholas, although the three had to wait until later to work together. Mr. Liu's first business was customer relationship management (CRM) company Etacts. It was acquired by software giant Salesforce in 2011 and the amount of the acquisition was not disclosed. This sale provided financial guarantees to Mr. Liu when he started AirTable, but his reflection made him feel a little empty. "I am finally fortunate to have this financial result that changes life," he said. "But, in a sense, this is a failure, because we have never really built a real business, an organization that has its own culture."