‘Despite All the Money, I’m Not Happy.’ Startup Lessons from Sohu CEO Charles Zhang; 张朝阳精神危机:我什么都有 但居然这么痛苦

‘Despite All the Money, I’m Not Happy.’ Startup Lessons from Sohu CEO Charles Zhang

Mar 12, 2013 at 14:00 PM by C. Custer, in OpinionStartups


Sohu founder and CEO Charles Zhang is, by the standards of most tech entrepreneurs, doing very well. His startup has long since blossomed into a full-blown tech giant, and success has brought him both prestige and heaps of money. Yet in a recent interview on Yang Lan One-on-OneZhang told the host that he is actually miserable:

I think there’s something wrong with me. I truly have everything, and yet I am so miserable. Happiness is totally unrelated to how much money you have.

Zhang has reportedly removed himself from the day-to-day operations of the company and has stayed out of the public limelight (for the most part) over the past year. In the Yang Lan interview, he revealed that this was because his anxiety was making it impossible for him to work. He also said that he had found his success was changing him:

Successful people often have this need to do things their own way. [After I became successful] I became more of a perfectionist; I wanted to control the outcome of everything, and even felt that I could live to the age of 150.

More details and quotes from the interview are here for those who can read Chinese, but instead of speculating about Zhang’s mental state, I just want to highlight a couple of the things we can learn from this interview. Many of us are entrepreneurs searching for that big breakthrough or investors working hard to turn money into more money, and Zhang’s reminder that money cannot buy happiness might be cliche, but it’s important to remember. Of course, that’s not to say that having lots of money isn’t nice (or at least I imagine it’s nice; if anyone wants to send me a huge sum of money I’d be happy to give that lifestyle a try and review it here). But if money is your endgame, it’s possible you’ll end up like Zhang, standing at the top of a pyramid and wondering why bothered to climb it in the first place. The other thing Zhang’s interview reminds is that success can and does change people. Maybe Zhang’s issues are deeper than that and maybe they aren’t — I’m not qualified to speculate on anyone’s mental state one way or the other. But it’s important to keep an eye on your own psyche as you move through the entrepreneurship process and make sure that you’re OK with any changes that are happening. Becoming more of a perfectionist might be a good thing to some people, but others may want to avoid becoming a domineering control freak (and let’s be honest, there are plenty of startup founders who fit that description even before they’re successful). We wish Zhang the best, as we do to all entrepreneurs at every stage of the game from bootstrappers to billionaires. At the same time, though, I wish that everyone in the startup scene would spend a little more time thinking about their own definitions of happiness and the effects being an entrepreneur can have on their psyche. We spend so much time talking about what technology is innovative, and yet many of us are chasing the exact same goal: make a globally relevant product and get rich. Perhaps sometimes we should approach our own thinking patterns with the same spirit of disruption and innovation we bring to hackathons and tech conferences.

张朝阳精神危机:我什么都有 但居然这么痛苦

2013年03月05日 01:59  新浪科技 爱文

















About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: