I often get the question of how I got involved with Maxthon. I mean how does a Swedish/Israeli guy becomes a partner in a Chinese company? The answer is, thorough LinkedIn. Belive it or not. Not directly, but in-directly. Here's the story:
It all started when I was working at ICQ (an AOL subsidary) and was trying to track down Nicklas Zennstrom from Skype for an idea I wanted to explore. I then found that the missing link between be and Niklas Zennstrom was a Danish fellow called Morten Lund (early Skype investor). To get to Morten I had to go through a contact I had at MTV in London, another Danish guy called Henrik Werdelin - now VP at Joost.
Morten was quick to respond, but said that Nicklas was just too busy those days (I doubt it has changed ) so why don't I come by Copenhagen and he would give me a bunch of more interesting deals... I accepted his invitation, went to Copenhagen and then spend a day with Morten discussing Bullguard (his main baby then) and a number of other ventures for ICQ.
Nothing really came out of this meeting, more due to the lack of action from ICQ and less from Morten. However, it was the beginnning of a friendship that led to countless hours of IM chats for over a year. Morten kept pitching me on behalf of all kinds of ventures he was involved in or was planning to get involved in. At that time, I was really fed up with the total incompetence and lack of understanding of what was going on on the Internet at ICQ (and AOL too for that matter) and had started to look around for the next challenge.
Of all the ventures Morten and I discussed, nothing really seemed attractive to me at that time. Partly because I didnt want to relocate from Israel and partly becasue it just didn't make me excited. But things changed.
One early morning in late November 2005 Morten Skyped me from the Arab Emirates and asked me to have a look at a new browser he had stumbled upon. He was quite excited. 20 Million download in a year! And it was created by a Chinese developer living in Hong Kong!
Since I just had downloaded and converted to Firefox, my inital reaction was" Who needs another browser" ? But Morten just said: "Just download it and you will see.." Said and done, I did. I was converted - again! Maxthon was so cool, and they story behind so fantastic that I agreed to take on the challenge.
Morten wanted me to become a business partner and take the company to the next level. How could I refuse? After I made up my mind I spend the 4 months in endless IM conversations with BloodChen - Mr. Maxthon himself a.k.a. Jeff Chen. It was my first experience in Chinese psychology and negotiations. It taught me a lot of patience..
Jeff and I finally reached an agreement and signed it off - without ever having met...Talking about an original start of a new venture. Two years has passed since I joined and I haven't regretted it for a second. Maxthon is an amazing piece of software, but more than that, Maxthon is more like a movement of passionate fans and co-developers all over the world. We have actually become the only Chinese Internet/Software company with a true global footprint. And we keep on growing like crazy.
That was my little LinkedIn story. Hope you liked it. What is yours?
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