Hailin's Weblog

September 4, 2009

Kaifu Lee’s farewell letter

Filed under: social — Hailin @ 10:08 am

TechCrunch has a short post reporting Dr. Kaifu Lee’s next career move.  The post made fun of Google Chinese translation.  Well, I decided to take 20 minutes off my busy schedule, and translated his letter in English.

Farewell to Google

Kaifu Lee

Time flies and it’s been another four years. In retrospect and looking back at the four years I spent at Google, all the happiness, successes and challenges kept on flashing in my mind like a movie. In this touching farewell moment, my heart is filled with gratitude. In the past four years, Google China has steadily grown into a stable, mature and well-managed company.

During the whole four years, I’ve strived to bring to China the sprit of Google – equality, innovation, fun, and audacity. This process has not been easy, but we adhered to our beliefs and values steadfastly with intensive perseverance.

We have focused on perfecting Chinese search, and have suppressed the temptation to develop more cool and ostensible products. Today, the quality of Google Chinese search is the most accurate, most comprehensive, and most real-time among the peers. We have also developed several dozens of new products, expanding the territory of Google China. Among those, Google Maps, Google mobile search, Google mobile maps, Google translations are the best in China. In addition, we introduce the music search, which allows users to enjoy the copyrighted but free music for the first time, creating a new model for free music download in the whole world.

I am particularly impressed with the conducts of our employees, who developed timely products to help China combat devastating snows, earthquakes, and hurricanes, confirming my believe and that Google China employees love not only Google, but also China, and that they possess not only creativity, but also loving hearts.

I always smile heartily when I walk into some café shops, and see young people using Google integrated search, or looking up the real time traffic maps, or listening to copyrighted Google music, or selecting an iGoogle ‘skin’.

Google is both a great and lovely company, and I’m very grateful for this life-time opportunity to build Google China from scratch. I’ve learned a lot in the process – Internet technology, innovation models or values.

I have no regret on what has been achieved at Google. However, there is still one regret in my life and I want to tackle it. In the past 20 years, I have had the privilege to experience Apple and Microsoft in the PC era, to experience Google in the Internet era, and to see all three world-class companies growing and become successful. I have had the privilege to do the most creative work when both the silicon valley and Zhongguancun were ascending. My knowledge in the tech arena and my insights learned are my most valuable assets. I deeply hope to pass these assets on to young people in China.

My next step is to, together with young Chinese entrepreneurs, create new technological marvels. I want to take initiative to do some overall planning. I have reached this stage in my life that my heart tells me that it would be too late if I procrastinate.

So, although Mountain View, CA offered me an olive branch and hoped me to stay for another four years, I have made up my mind. Deep inside my heart, I want to help young people fulfill their dreams, and in the process, fulfill my own entrepreneurial dreams.

This past weekend, I was finally relieved from business strategies, career transitions, and knowledge transfer. I will comb my thoughts over this weekend, and soon will share with you my next plans.

Whenever I think about this step, I think of Steve Jobs famous saying:

“have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

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