It has been hard to talk about OnePlus as a scary startup of smartphone ever since its close ties with Oppo, Vivo and electronics giant BBK emerged, but it is still hard to overestimate the impact of Carl Pei, the longtime public face who confirmed his departure today. As a marketer and brand builder, he used a combination of bold promises, genuine talk and unconventional marketing campaigns to make smartphone enthusiasts simply look for a good deal in a community of OnePlus fans.
In a blog post on the OnePlus forums, Pei says he “looks forward to taking some time to decompress and catch up with my family”
Whatever it looks like abruptly: Android Central and Android Police reported that he had already left the company four days ago, and OnePlus was not prepared to answer questions about where he had gone and why. Maybe the company simply would not distract from the new phone it launched on Wednesday: the OnePlus 8T. Meanwhile, Pei led the development of OnePlus’ cheaper recent phone: Nord.
Here is Pei’s full note:
After almost 7 years at OnePlus, I have made the difficult decision to say goodbye.
I grew up spending huge amounts of time on the Internet, building products and communities. Seeing that ideas in one’s mind could become reality and affect people’s lives gave me lots of joy and I knew early on that this was the way for me.
The world did not need another smartphone brand in 2013. But we saw ways to make things better and dreamed of shaking things up. Better products. Built hand in hand with our users. At more reasonable prices. Fast forward to today, and OnePlus is a powerful force to be reckoned with when it comes to flagship smartphones. And with the new Nord product line, this success will continue in new market segments.
When I was just 24 when OnePlus started, this was where I spent most of my 20s, and also where I grew up. From nervously interviewing my first employee to facing serious stage fright the first time I presented a product, to learning to manage a team … The journey has been real. The things we have achieved and learned, I can not begin to imagine a more rewarding adventure.
Our society joined the movement before we even had a product, as all we had were ambitions and ideas. From hundreds of you popping up to have ice cream with me, thousands attending our launch events and tens of thousands of millions buying our products worldwide; I want to thank you all for believing in us through all these years.
And the team. The amazing people that I have been lucky to fight side by side with. The friendships I have made here are the most precious parts of this journey. With them, the company is in skilled hands.
I am eternally grateful to Pete for taking a chance on this child without a college degree without anything other than his dream. Trust, mentorship and camaraderie will never be forgotten. Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.
I have never regretted having confidence in my gut feeling, and this time it is no different. In recent years, OnePlus has been my unequivocal focus, and everything else has had to take a back seat. I look forward to taking some time to decompress and catch up with my family and friends. And then follow my heart on to what’s next.
With gratitude, Carl
We’ve interviewed him a few times at new smartphone launches, and you can almost get a sense of how the company has changed by reading each one.