iAsk x China Daily | You Sold Robust to Become an Investor?

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中国日报-企投家何伯权

小舍小得,大舍大得,有舍有得,不舍不得。

Letting go of something, no matter big or small, will bring you equal rewards; no trade-off, no gains.

—— 何伯权

乐百氏,这个现在看来有些陌生的企业在20年前曾创造了商业奇迹,但如日中天之际却突然被达能收购,创始人何伯权选择退出,一片哗然,他也一度被认为是资本阴谋下的出局者、外资挤压民族品牌的牺牲者。

Robust, a company brand that seems remote nowadays, created a business miracle 20 years ago. Yet, it was acquired by Danone at its prime time. Boquan He, Founder of Robust, chose to opt out upon acquisition, which turned out shocking to the market. He was once considered a loser outcompeted by capital conspiracy and a victim of foreign investors suppressing national brands.

29岁创业,32岁成名,40岁“卖”了乐百氏,外界眼中,他像悲情英雄一样,被资本伤害,带着悔恨、气愤、无奈黯然离场,在哈佛访学一年后,何伯权低调回国,成立今日投资,那时还很少有人注意到他。但当他作为7天连锁酒店投资人和创始人郑南雁一起敲钟上市时,人们知道,何伯权又回来了。

At the age of 29, he started his own business. At 40, he “sold” Robust. In the eyes of outsiders, he was struck by capitalism like a sorrowful hero, opting out with regret, anger, and helplessness. After studying at Harvard for a year as a visiting scholar, Boquan He went back to China secretly and founded Invest Today. At that time, few people noticed him. But when he and Nanyan Zheng, investor and Founder of 7 Days Inn respectively, rang the bell together at NYSE and made the company go public, people realized that Boquan He is back into business.

1999年,39岁的何伯权把乐百氏的年销售额做到了20亿;2011年,51岁的何伯权上榜“福布斯中国最佳创业投资人”;2018年,58岁的何伯权接受了艾问创始人艾诚的访问。

In 1999, 39-year-old Boquan He achieved annual sales of RMB 2 billion at Robust; in 2011, 51-year-old Boquan He was crowned “Forbes China Best Venture Capitalist”; in 2018, 58-year-old Boquan He got interviewed by Gloria Ai, Founder of iAsk.

故事一:

Story No.1:

1992-2000年,是乐百氏和娃哈哈争夺最激烈的八年。面对娃哈哈的崛起,乐百氏不再是乳酸饮料的绝对霸主,面对宗庆后的步步紧逼,何伯权开始寻找帮手。

The period between 1992 to 2000 was the most intense eight years of competition between Robust and Wahaha. In the face of the rise of Wahaha, Robust was no longer the absolute hegemon of lactic acid drinks. Distressed from Qinghou Zong’s aggressive moves, Boquan He began to look for help.

让人不解的是,比娃哈哈晚4年引入外资的乐百氏,在2000年将92%的股份拱手让给了法国达能,一同交出去的,还有何伯权手中的权力。

What was confusing was that, Robust, which introduced foreign capital four years later than Wahaha, handed over 92% of the shares to the French Danone in 2000, along with Boquan He’s power.

2001年11月30日,“乐百氏”召开特别会议,秦鹏代表达能总部宣布接受何伯权等5位创业者集体辞职的决定后,会场顿时骚动起来,何伯权上台尽量语气平和地阐述辞职原因:“我们对乐百氏今后发展战略的认识与控股方达能发生严重分歧…”话音未落,已有哽咽声,“从第二天起,我就消失了,这样离开是最好的。”

On November 30, 2001, “Robust” held aspecial meeting. On behalf of Danone’s headquarters, Peng Qin announced that Danone accepted the resignation decision of five founders of Robust including Boquan He. The audience suddenly fell into chaotic discussions. Boquan He stepped onto the stage, trying to explain the reasons for resignation in a calm manner: “There has been severe divergence between us and the controlling party Danone, regarding Robust’s future development.” He started whimpering even before finishing the sentence. “Starting from tomorrow, I will disappear. Leaving like this is for the best.”

在“卖掉”乐百氏前,何伯权做过一个叫“沉船”的心理游戏。他在一个彻底黑暗的环境里,躺在地上。老师说,何伯权,你已经死了,被放进棺材里了。“轰”一声,“棺材”盖上了,他听到土落下来的声音,“创立乐百氏最初的三年,我什么都没有,没有钱,没有市场,但很有激情,任何困难都不是困难;三到五年之后,逐渐有点疲惫;七到十年,我就觉得怎么会每天都是这样?”

Before “selling” Robust, Boquan He had played a psychological game called “Sunken Ship”. He was lying on the ground in a completely dark environment. The mentor said: “Boquan He, imagine that you are dead and have been put in a coffin.” “Boom”, the “coffin” was closed; he heard the sound of dirt falling. “During the first three years of founding Robust, I had nothing – no money, no market, but I was very passionate, not intimidated by any difficulty. But after three to five years, I got a little tired; after seven to ten years, I asked myself why is it like this every day?”

艾问何伯权:卖掉心爱的企业有多难?

How hard is it to sell a beloved company?

何伯权

何伯权:在乐百氏最初的时候,什么都没有,人才也没有,钱也没有,市场也没有,品牌也没有,但你干得很开心,很有激情。但五年、七年之后,就觉得有点闷了,七年、十年的话,那个时候就真的是基于一种责任,已经是没有激情了。

Boquan He: At the beginning of the establishment of Robust, We had nothing – no talent, no money, no market, no branding. But we were very happy and passionate. However, after five or seven years, I felt a little bored. After seven or ten years, it was purely driven by a sense of responsibility, with no passion at all.

很多人都说(乐百氏)是你的儿子不能够卖,那我说的话就公司真的是不能当做自己的儿子,太惨了。我觉得它是一个产品,等于是水一样。我生产一瓶水出来,我也有感情,你说一毛钱卖不卖?我肯定不卖,对吧。一毛钱有没有搞错,一毛钱你就想拿我一瓶水。但是一块钱呢?一块五呢?我就卖了。

Many people say that Robust is your son, don’t sell it. In my opinion, the company can’t be your own son. It’s too miserable. I think of it as a product, just like water. If I produce a bottle of water and have feelings towards it, do you think I should sell it at 1 cent? I definitely won’t, right? Are you kidding me? You want to buy a bottle of water from me for a cent. But what about 1 yuan? 1.5 yuan? Then I would sell it.

但企业的话就有很多人说,我创的企业我不会卖的,因为它是我的儿子。对,儿子的话就出多少钱,你都不会卖。但它就假如是企业呢?一百万不卖,一个亿,十个亿,一百个亿,一千个亿,总有一个价,你是愿意卖的,可以卖的。最起码90%以上的人可能会卖,会到一定的价格,觉得公平,合理。

But many entrepreneurs refuse to sell their business because they think it’s their son. Right, people wouldn’t sell their real son at any price. But what if it’s a business? If you don’t want to sell it at 1 million yuan, what about 100 million, 1 billion, 10 billion, 100 billion? There will always be a price point where you’re willing to sell. At least 90% of entrepreneurs are willing to sell at a certain price that they think is fair and reasonable.

艾问何伯权:卖掉乐百氏,你失去了什么?

what did you lose from selling Robust?

艾诚、何伯权

何伯权:从乐百氏的角度,那我觉得它最起码现在看到的收获还是好的。现在我回去的话,跟原来那些员工聊,我觉得整个档次提升了好多。从过去乡镇企业的员工,变成世界五百强的员工,在里面可以学到很多东西,系统性的也学到很多,他的身价也高了。

Boquan He: For Robust, at least it has harvested some gains. Nowadays, when I talk to the original Robust employees, I feel like they have leveled up a lot, transitioning from a township enterprise employee to a Fortune 500 employee. At Robust, they can learn a lot systematically, which increases their value as well.

与我个人而言,我更希望内心平静、快乐,能够更加自由地做自己想做的事情。而且做起来的话不是紧绷绷的,是能够比较轻松,能够应付的了。最后我觉得质量非常重要,也就是说你的生活质量也好,工作质量也好,必须要有余地。

Personally, I prefer to have peace of mind, be happy, and free to do what I want to do. Even when I get down to business, I don’t feel stressed out anymore; I can stay relaxed and handle situations. Therefore, I think quality matters, meaning that both life and work quality need some space.

故事二:

Story No. 2:

将自己耕耘12年之久的乐百氏拱手相让后,何伯权仿佛带着“悲情英雄”的名号消失了。待他再次回到人们的视线之中,他已经凭借投资人而非企业家的身份,站在了世界资本市场的中心——纽交所。

After handing over Robust which he had worked for 12 years, Boquan He seemed to disappear with the name of “Sorrowful Hero”. When he returned to public sights again, he became an investor rather than an entrepreneur under the spotlight of the global capital market – the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

2009年,7天连锁酒店赴美上市,何伯权作为投资人和联席董事长出席开盘敲钟仪式,仪式上的何伯权按住开市按钮整整15秒没松手。

In 2009, the 7 Days Inn went public in the US. Boquan He attended the opening bell-ringing ceremony as an investor and Co-Chairman of the Board. He did not let go of the market-opening switch for 15 seconds after turning it on at the ceremony.

此时大家才知道,何伯权早在2003年就成立了今日投资有限公司,并投资了包括久久丫、喜茶、爱康国宾、诺亚财富在内等十余家企业,投资回报率惊人。

At this point, people realized that Boquan He founded Invest Today as early as 2003, and invested in more than ten companies including Jiujiuya Duck Neck King, HEYTEA, iKang and Noah Fortune, with incredible investment returns.

他放下了乐百氏创始人的身份,也放下了成为中国首富的机会。在他按住的15秒里,何伯权头脑中浮现过什么,我们不得而知,但再次回归的何伯权想做什么,答案已经明晰。

He let go of the identity of Founder of Robust as well as the opportunity to become the richest man in China. We would never know what was in his mind during the 15 seconds of holding the switch. But looking back, what Boquan He aimed to do is crystal clear.

艾问何伯权:如何尽好本分做投资?

How to stay devoted toinvesting?

何伯权

何伯权:第一,我都投很早期很早期。第二的话,就是投的很少。一般投早期的话,投都投很多,就广撒网,我投是很少的。第三的话就是,我基本上不会去做尽调,我也没有人去做尽调。大部分的话就都是这样聊聊天。第四的话就是,别人说你这样的话,拍脑袋去做决策。我说我脑袋都不拍,我是拍大腿的。谈起来觉得这个过瘾,这个好,那我就投。这些它就可能都跟常规的投资方式,都不一样。但我自己坚信一点,就是我必须要做我自己比较熟悉的。

Boquan He: Firstly, I always invest at very early stages. Secondly, I don’t invest with a large amount. For early-stage investments, I invest in a vast quantity of projects with minimum amount. Thirdly, I never conduct due diligence. I didn’t have any due diligence team either. I usually just casually chat with them. Fourthly, despite that other people judge my “captain’s calls”, I would invest as long as I enjoy the conversation. It might be different from regular investment patterns, but I firmly stick to one principle that I need to stay within the sectors that I’m familiar with.

我觉得还是要守住自己。真的是,每一个人所知道的东西非常非常少。但对于这个世界来说,那么少的东西,已经足够大了。这个世界上,你占有一点点,已经是足够足够的大了。那为什么不去集中精力,就将这个井挖深一点,而不是扩大。因为再扩大的话,可能表面都没有水,都是沙漠,那不如就挖深一点。

I think we still need to hold onto our strength. It’s indeed true that people have extremely limited knowledge, but it can be vast enough if you can occupy some area in this world. So why not focus on digging deeper instead of expanding wider? If you keep expanding, you might not even gather water on the surface but create a desert. You might as well dig the well deeper.

而且,你真的是要沉得住气,不然的话你根本上没机会赚钱了 ,为什么是你赚了?大家都看到这个,都瞪着眼,两眼发光去赚钱,为什么是你呢?守住这个,赚钱的机会,还是非常非常多。

Moreover, you really need to be patient, or else there’s no chance for you to make a fortune. Everyone can see the market opportunity and stares closely at it, yearning to make money, but why can you succeed? If you stick to it, there’s still plenty of opportunities to make money.

到目前为止,我最骄傲的一个投资项目是诺亚财富,大概3000倍、4000倍的回报。

So far, one of my most proud investment projects is Noah Fortune, generating around 3,000-4,000 times of return.

故事三:

Story No. 3:

一年前,著名财经作家吴晓波定义了“企投家”,他说,在过去的二十年里,企投家是全球商业界最大、也是最值得关注的新型成功者,马云、孙正义、柳传志、埃隆·马斯克……他们重新定义了企业家在这个时代的使命。

A year ago, famous financial writer Xiaobo Wu defined “entrepreneurial investors”. He said that in the past two decades, entrepreneurial investors achieved the most prominent and noteworthy new type of success in the global business community, including Jack Ma, Masayoshi Sun, Chuanzhi Liu, Elon Musk etc., who redefined the mission of entrepreneurs in this era.

中国的商业文明正从产业商业时代,向产融商业时代急速地迭代衍变,一个没有资本意识和技能的企业家是不合格的,也根本无法适应新时代的生存竞争形势。

China’s commercial civilization is rapidly evolving from the era of industrial commerce to industrial and financing commerce. An entrepreneur without capital awareness and skills is unqualified and cannot survive the competition of the new era.

我们看到一类叫做“企投家”的新物种出现了,他兼具企业家和投资家的融合性角色,具有鲜明的两栖型特征,一栖于钟爱的实体产业,让它迭代进步,永续发展,一栖于“非理性繁荣”的资本市场,让自己的财富在运动中增值。

We have witnessed the appearance of a new type of business person, called “entrepreneurial investors”, with a distinctive amphibious features of entrepreneurs and investors. The entrepreneur character is fond of the real economy, which progresses and develops sustainably; the investor character is dedicated to the “irrational and prosperous” capital market to create more value to their wealth via investment activities.

他们的存在方式,代表着未来的风向标和新的商业之美。

Their way of being represents the trend of the future and the new charm in business.

艾问何伯权:企投两段论的成功之道是什么?

What is the key to successof the two-stage theory ?

何伯权

何伯权:边做企业,边做投资,这个是不是最好的选择,那我这个是打问号的。从我自己经历来说,我希望他要有一个很好的界限去界定。企业就是企业,投资就是投资,只是你是一个连续的一个过程,是一个阶段的过程,还是一个同时的过程?假如我继续做乐百氏,我做了投资不会成功,因为乐百氏的话是我的全部,名誉、地位、金钱全部都来自乐百氏。所以我大部分的精力都会集中在乐百氏上面,对其他项目的话,就只是关注。

Boquan He: Is running a business while conducting investment the best option? I’m not sure about that. Based on my own experience, I hope that there should be a boundary to define them. Business is business; investment is investment. Yet, it can be a continuous process, aprocess of stages, or a simultaneous process. Take myself as an example. If Ihad continued running Robust, I wouldn’t have succeeded in investing, because Robust was all I had. In terms of reputation, social standing and wealth, Robust brought me all of those. So most of my energy would be dedicated toward Robust. As for other projects, I would just pay some attention.

我自己就是这样,停了企业,然后我用在企业里面积累的经验、财富、人脉,再去学习投资,找到了我自己的投资风格。三十到四十岁,我做乐百氏创业,四十岁到五十岁我做投资,五十岁之后的话,基本上是公益,或者是自己的生活、自己的爱好,就更多是在那里。

For me, I stopped running the business.Then I took advantage of the experience I gained from the business, the wealth I accumulated from it and the network I established through it, and learned to invest. Afterwards, I found my own investment style. From thirty to forty, I founded Robust. From forty to fifty, I focused on investing. After fifty, I became more devoted to charity work, my life and my hobbies for the most part.

难得来到这个世界上几十年,真的是让自己经历的更多会更好。那怎么去经历更多?人生的话就不会是一条,只是一条直线,连续的直线。它应该是以一个波浪式前进。做任何事情的话,你不要想象自己会越做越好,然后永远都会做好。但我觉得企投家这个概念,或者这样一个定性是对的。

Lifetime of several decades is precious. It will benefit us more if we experience more. How do we gain more experience? Life is not a mere straight line or a continuous straight line. It should be a wave of progression. Any undertaking might not get better and better as you expect it to be or maintain optimal forever. But I think the concept or the positioning of entrepreneurial investors is correct.

—END—

企投家海报