It’s hard to talk about the OnePlus as a quick start of the smartphone since its close ties to Oppo, Vivo, and giant electronics BBK, but it’s still hard to overstate the impact of Carl Pei, the long-time public face of the company, which confirmed its departure today. As a marketer and brand builder, he uses a combination of bold promises, real talk, and unconventional marketing campaigns to turn on smartphone enthusiasts just looking for a great deal in a community of OnePlus fans.
In a blog post on OnePlus forums, Pei said he “expects to spend some time decompressing and reaching out to my family,”; without addressing why he is doing it now. Rumors suggest he had an affair with co-founder and CEO Pete Lau, and / or Pei left to embark on his own new adventure, but his memo is not the same as someone’s words leave for a new job.
Either way, it seems suddenly: Android Central at Android Police reported that he left the company four days ago, and OnePlus was not ready to answer questions about where he went and why. Perhaps the company just doesn’t want to distract from the new phone it launched on Wednesday: the OnePlus 8T. Pei, meanwhile, spearheaded the development of OnePlus’ less expensive phone: the Nord.
Here is Pei’s full memo:
After almost 7 years on OnePlus, I made the difficult decision to say goodbye.
I grew up spending enormous time on the internet, developing products and communities. Seeing that ideas in someone’s mind can become a reality and affect people’s lives has given me a lot of joy, and I know early on that this is the path for me.
The world did not need another smartphone brand in 2013. But we saw ways of making things better and dreamed of shaking things up. Better products. Lower hand to our users. At a more reasonable price. Fast forward today, and the OnePlus is a powerful force to be reckoned with when it comes to the flagship of smartphones. And with Nord’s new product line, this success will continue in new market segments.
It was only 24 when OnePlus started, where I spent most of my 20s, and where I also grew up. From the nervous interview with my first employee, to dealing with panic on the stage the first time I showed a product, to learning how to manage a team … The journey is real. The things we have done and learned, I can not begin to imagine a more rewarding adventure.
Our community joined the movement before we even had a product, back if we only had ambitions and ideas. From having hundreds of you show up to have ice cream to me, thousands attending our launch events, and tens of millions buying our products worldwide; I want to thank all of you for believing in us throughout these years.
And the team. The amazing people I was lucky enough to fight alongside. The friendships I have made here are the most important part of this journey. To them, the company is in the capable hands.
I am eternally grateful to Pete for taking a chance on this kid without a college degree, which is not in his name but a dream. Trust, mentorship, and camaraderie will never be forgotten. Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.
I do not regret trusting my gut feeling, and this time it was no different. In recent years, the OnePlus has been my singular focus, and everyone else needs to take a backseat. I expect to take some time to decompress and reach out to my family and friends. And then follow my heart to what comes next.
We interviewed him several times on new smartphone launches, and you can almost tell how the company has changed by reading each other.