Success Story of Carl Pei Building Nothing Smartphone Brand

Ritika Deshpande

Carl Pei Nothing Founder Success Story

A year ago, we all were pulled into a whole world of nothingness. No, it’s not as profound as it sounds. We’re just talking about the “Nothing” phone, which went on sale on 21 July 2022, and left everyone baffled. We’re here to talk about the creator behind this nothingness. 

Carl Pei, famous for being the CEO and founder of the tech company, ‘Nothing’, is a Chinese-Swedish entrepreneur, with an impressive knack for technology and innovation. With a drive to stand out from the rest of the crowd, he co-founded Nothing, an extraordinary tech company.

Journey From OnePlus to Nothing

After having spent most of his childhood in Sweden, Carl Pei moved to Shenzhen, China to explore business opportunities. He moved back to Sweden to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the Stockholm School of Economics in 2008 but later dropped out to pursue what really mattered to him, technology.

During this time, he made an online fan page for a Chinese company called ‘Meizu’, which became so famous that he secured a marketing job at the company! After working for a year at Meizu, he started working under Pete Lau, as an international markets manager at Oppo.

Interestingly, in 2013, Lau and Pei both left the company and co-founded OnePlus. What a turn of events! After intense hard work and way too many nights of working till 4 a.m., OnePlus became his breakthrough.

However, after 7 whole years of merely focusing on one company, in 2020, he was left with Nothing. [Excuse the puns, we’re clearly having too much fun with it.] Nothing was Pei’s brainchild which was founded during COVID-19, which meant a lot of extra struggle to get everything done, with issues related to getting a team and a supply chain, etc., rising. 

While talking about OnePlus and Nothing, he says, “What Nothing is doing is very different from what OnePlus is doing, we have a very different strategy when it comes to products, we just need a couple more years for people to really understand what we’re doing”.

Why Nothing?

Well, for starters, Nothing is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. With a fantastic build quality, the Nothing Phone has a transparent back revealing the intricate design of the hardware, and a funky circular design [known as the Glyph interface] that lights up in so many cool ways.

Nothing Phone 2 Glyph Interface
Image: Nothing Phone (2)

The unique never-seen-before features and the little tweaks and distinctions from your regular Android smartphone can only be experienced, not explained. And undoubtedly one of the coolest features of the phone is the Glyph interface mentioned before. It is so impressive that we just couldn’t talk about it.

You can customise it according to your needs and wants; you can see your battery percentage with the help of the shiny progress bar, track your order from your favourite food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, synchronize the interface with your music, and heck, even make your own unique ringtone. 

Nothing recently dropped ‘Nothing Phone 2’ in India on 11th July 2023, which is entirely manufactured in India! 

Competing with Apple

When we first set our eyes on Nothing, we all noticed its clear resemblance to Apple. Growing up, Pei was a Steve Jobs fanboy and has voiced his thoughts on Apple products multiple times. Here’s what he has to say about the multinational tech company. 

When I grew up, Apple was this magical place where they were inventing the future. Every new generation of products was really exciting. Today, they’re making great products, some of the best, but they’re the default choice and it’s not that interesting anymore. I think over time, the focus on product innovation has become less important to them than business-model innovation, and that’s fine. And today there’s nobody else taking the vacuum that Apple has left”.

With a delightful personality, he is one of the most reachable and approachable CEOs ever and is always down for a joke or two, even if it’s about his own Company. Nothing’s official YouTube channel is filled with him reviewing Apple and other Android products with not-so-subtle comebacks and absolute wit. 

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