Interview with Zeng Dejun, founder of Elvis

You may never own an Elvis radio product, but you will most likely see this classic, retro and versatile product by your side or on social networks. It is a real crowdfunding product and the first generation of Red is a rebirth of decades of radio complex. It comes from a post-50 entrepreneur-Zeng Dejun.

▲ The little prince of Elvis

You may never own an XOG·Mechanical Optical Domain Cube speaker. It is unlikely that you will find this avant-garde, complex and tough product in a trendy store or Douyin. It is a speaker and a fingertip top. The combination of RGB light strips and flashlights is also a trendy play for vision, hearing and touch, and a reflection on the future and youth. It also comes from a post-50 entrepreneur-Zeng Dejun.

▲ XOG·Mechanical Optical Domain Cube Speaker

The hippie is me?

XOG is a new brand of Elvis Presley, which is different from the keywords of “Quality and Sentiment” of the Elvis brand. Its keywords are “cyber audio, technology, and fun”. XOG is not the only brand that makes similar styles on the market, but in my opinion, it is special because it was hatched from Elvis and made by Zeng Dejun.

The general impression of an old man in his 60s is that three generations are living in the same house, enjoying life, waking up early to play Tai Chi, and playing chess in the park in the afternoon. But the Zeng Dejun in front of me is not like that. Even though he only landed on a business trip at 3 o'clock last night, he was still energetic. When he picked up his product introduction, he spoke and thought very quickly.

What surprised me more was his clothes: a T-shirt with a crayon Shin-Chan pattern and a waistcoat jointly named Supreme and NorthFace. Zeng Dejun said that he bought this vest from his possessions.

Wearing trendy brands and trending apps, Zeng Dejun is definitely a trendy person.

So after talking with Zeng Dejun for half an hour, I was convinced in my heart that XOG, a trendy brand that looks very young in the future, came from Zeng Dejun.

Except for his biological age and appearance, he is actually not connected with the word "old". But returning to a young state is not all the experience of the post-50s. It is not a question of how much melatonin you drink, but is related to the thinking patterns in the brain.

At least for a while, Zeng Dejun did not escape the limitations of his age and age.

▲ Stills of "Pirate Radio"

Zeng Dejun said:

Older people like me have seen a variety of cultures. During my growth, some of these cultures were insensible, some were preferred, and some were disgusting. But in fact these cultures, especially those that are insensitive and offensive, all depend on their own perceptions.

For example, hippie culture and hip-hop culture, I was disgusted at first. These cultures were introduced to China in the 1980s. Flare trousers and airplane noses were all said to be negative and decadent at that time. I was educated like this at the time.

Later, when we were making hippie cultural products, my whole body would collapse, and I was opposed to it at first. So at that time, Levin (Note: the original editor-in-chief of "City Pictorial" & Chief Content Officer of Elvis Presley) gave me two books, "On the Road" and "Dharma Wanderers", and the movie "Pirate Radio". After reading it, I found that my original perception was completely wrong. I even discovered that I was an old hippie. It turned out that this was my nature.

This belonged to the poverty that I knew at the time, which limited my imagination.

After realizing this, Zeng Dejun said that he was open and began to embrace the outside world and multiculturalism.

In the first two years, some investors even stated that they only voted for the post-90s because many people have the stereotype that being older is an obstacle to entrepreneurship and innovation, and it is difficult for the elderly to update their thinking. But conversely, after Zeng Dejun was able to break through his cognition and reconstruct his cognition, his past accumulation and experience would be a huge wealth.

Zeng Dejun told Ai Faner that a veteran in the consumer electronics industry had contacted him several times, and he had been hesitant to invest in Elvis, but in the end he didn't do it. The main reason is that Zeng Dejun is working on a ToC product, and he does not believe that he can do a good job in ToC products at such an age.

XOG is to expand the boundaries of Elvis

From disgusting the hippie culture to discovering that the hippies are actually me, Zeng Dejun made a breakthrough in his own cognitive limitations, which gave him the foundation of thinking to be both Elvis and XOG two completely different temperament brands at the same time.

But when the Elvis brand is already very successful, there must be a reason to create a new brand.

▲ The color scheme of many Elvis products pays tribute to the hippie culture

Zeng Dejun said:

XOG is actually to expand the boundaries of the Elvis brand. We say that the Elvis brand is biased towards the aesthetics of life, which is the cute and lucky type. But when we look at the entire society, the culture is very diverse. Our original products have more female consumers, but in fact, in the audio market, female buyers are a minority. From a proportional point of view, we are still a relatively small group.

So we are outside the aesthetics of life, to do the aesthetics of science and technology, the aesthetics of machinery, the brand XOG has its own tonality, not the kind of fortune of Elvis Presley. Everyone has formed an inertial impression of the Elvis brand, but we don't want to educate consumers, so we made a sub-brand under Elvis and repositioned it to represent what this group of people wanted.

At present, there are two main products on sale under the XOG brand: mini portable speaker mechanical optical domain Cube and desktop speaker mechanical optical domain Shell, priced at 599 yuan and 1,299 yuan respectively. For domestic brand speakers, this price is not cheap. , The smart speakers produced by many mobile phone brands look more cost-effective.

▲ XOG·Mechanical Light Domain Shell

But when Zeng Dejun handed these two products to me, I knew that XOG did not intend to survive cost-effectively. He compares the vest on his body:

Before, I thought it would be enough to buy a functional vest of 99 yuan on Taobao. Now I buy a functional vest, and I bought it for 5,999 yuan. But what is the difference in function? Except for these joint logos, the color has changed from military green to black, and there is no change in function. What is changing is emotion. The two vests feel different when worn.

Why does it exist? Not because I am alone, but because there are people like me to support it.

When the economy develops to a certain extent, the consumption concept will also change, and the cognitive preference for society will also change.

At the same time, Zeng Dejun also emphasized that XOG's products will not be branded premium products. At least, in terms of materials and workmanship, the cost of XOG's two products is not low. For example, the mechanical optical domain Cube is very small. In such a small space, it incorporates speaker, fingertip gyro and flashlight functions, and then fully controls the knobs and buttons, while maintaining good sound quality. This challenge to technology and production is not small. , To make innovations in motors, power amplifiers and power supplies.

▲ The mechanical structure of XOG·Mechanical Optical Cube is quite complicated

Zeng Dejun said:

For our general product, one production line is enough for 20 people, the mechanical optical Cube has about 40 people per production line, and the mechanical optical Shell has about 100 people.

The assembly of this mechanical design is too difficult. Many of them are non-standard components. There are a lot of screws inside, all of which are hexagonal. There are various colors and sizes inside and out. The entire production line is required. People go crazy.

In Zeng Dejun’s view, the original intention of XOG may be to expand the boundaries of Elvis, but its vision is not only to make products that are more futuristic, harder, and more complex than Elvis’ products, but to look forward to making differentiated products. A "Made in China" brand that is leading in culture, design and technology.

▲ Zeng Dejun made China’s first commercial HiFi amplifier in 1992. The amplifier is the common name for tube audio amplifiers.

Zeng Dejun has a recognized title called "Father of Chinese Tubes". He is one of the earliest pioneers and entrepreneurs in China's audio industry. He has been dealing with radio and audio for forty to fifty years and he is finally able to say it in this era. This sentence:

Now when we talk about China’s creation, it has this kind of strength. I have seen the changes in the audio industry over the past few decades, and I really admire the various products of Sony and Apple. Now we will not regard them as competitors, because we are not the same existence, which is what the post-90s like to say, different fireworks.

Digital players make "playthings"

To some extent, Elvis’ popular product, The Little Prince, is actually a Renaissance. Coupled with Zeng Dejun's age, I once thought that he was a nostalgic person.

In fact, nostalgia and innovation are not contradictions. As mentioned earlier, Zeng Dejun likes multiculturalism and pursues trends. He can coexist well with his strong radio complex, and the elderly can also be fashionable.

▲ Elvis "wild" speakers are now under the XOG brand

XOG·Mechanical Optical Domain Cube is derived from the previous "Wild" series speakers of Elvis Presley. The new design has three main features: a ring-shaped breathing light is added; a transparent barrel-shaped packaging is added; a fingertip gyro module is added. Only these two changes make a retro military-style product become futuristic.

When I expressed my curiosity about this design and asked where the inspiration came from, Zeng Dejun did not answer me directly, but took me to his office.

The most important things in Zeng Dejun’s office are various digital products: radios of all ages, Apple’s first iPod, Sony’s first Walkman, Sony’s first MiniDisc Player, first MP3, iPhone’s first generation, etc. There are hundreds of electronic products of various ages in it for a solo exhibition.

In his 60s, Zeng Dejun, besides the labels of audio engineers, entrepreneurs, and fashion enthusiasts, can also like to mention the label of "veteran digital player". In fact, he can also be a "jewelry researcher", " "Product Manager" or "Radio Engineer" or even "Lecturer in Missile Control System" (Zeng Dejun has more than 20 years of military and military academy career).

Enough life experience allows him to have enough product insights.

Zeng Dejun said that adding lights and fingertip tops to the original "Wild" series was his proposal:

At that time, when the mechanical optical Cube was made internally, it was necessary to add a knob. It felt like a click, which was very decompressing. I think the reason why the knob is decompressed is because it has a feel and hearing, but it still lacks visual experience. So I said to add lighting, and add a fingertip top, and then integrate into the vision, so that the sensory experience is very complex, and people's emotions will change accordingly.

The light that turns on and the spinning top are derived from two life experiences of Zeng Dejun. When he was a child, there was no electric light at home. Apart from the kerosene lamp, the only artificial light source was a flashlight, but at that time flashlights were not affordable for ordinary people, so flashlights were both mysterious and admirable to him. In fact, many organisms have phototaxis. Even if humans do not have such strong phototaxis, they still love light.

At the same time, he also discovered that his young grandson, who was not born a long time ago, could not speak or express himself, but when he saw the small windmill turning, his eyes would be attracted; even when feeding him liquid food, he would eat when the windmill turned. , He doesn't like to eat if the windmill doesn't turn.

In short, although it is the first batch of products under the XOG brand, the mechanical optical domain Cube can already represent a product view of Zeng Dejun: not to make products with "you are not many, without you", and there is no soul if you do not. No sense, purely instrumental thing. XOG hopes to provide additional emotional value in addition to the basic functions, so that users can "play" and be happy.

Zeng Dejun, who has already started his business five times, doesn't want to do the same thing as others.

Zeng Dejun, who loves trends more than most young people, is open-minded, and diversified in thinking, in fact still has an inescapable anxiety in his heart. This anxiety comes from age. he tells me:

Working with young people in our company is a good thing for me. They can make me younger and they can make me understand the society better. Sometimes when I hear "Borrow from Heaven for Five Hundred Years", I can understand that it is such a mentality.

I always have a countdown ticking sound in my heart, you may not have this countdown feeling. In my countdown time, I don't want to waste a minute and a second to do worthless things.

In the plastic greenhouse of destiny, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too much pesticide once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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