The first season of the 996 podcast was extremely popular in the tech community. If you have any interest in the tech world in China or you simply want to better understand Chinese culture when it comes to work habits and life he 996 podcast is amazing. In a very interesting decision, the creators changed the name of the podcast after season 1 and it is now Evolving for the Next Billion by GGV Capital.
Hans Tung and Zara Zhang do an amazing job and it is well worth your time to listen to the first season which is titled 996 but if you are looking for it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts you will now need to search for Evolving for the Next Billion by GGV Capital. If you are wondering, 996 stands for 9 am to 9 pm and six days a week which is what the Chinese work week tends to be; especially for motivated entrepreneurs or business minded people.
Unlike in the United States where we like to check out around 4:00 or 4:30 pm and never work weekends, the Chinese actually enjoy working 12 hours a day and six days a week. Imagine how much more you could get done if you worked a 72 hour week. Imagine if your favorite Midlothian, VA dentist were open until 9 pm and was open on Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm. Yeah, not happening.
The way I heard about the 996 podcast and Hans Tung and Zara Zhang was on a carve out on The Acquired Podcast. Later, David and Ben interviewed Hans Tung and Zara Zhang in the The Xiaomi IPO episode. It is a fascinating listen if you have any interest in smartphones, technology or general business stories. There are a number of interesting business strategies Xiaomi uses that are not used in the United States. For instance, users of the smartphone have the ability to directly talk with employees of Xiaomi. Imagine having an issue with your iPhone and being able to talk to an Apple engineer immediately. No going to an Apple Store and trying to explain it to some 26 year old “techie”. An actual Apple engineer addresses your issues within the hour.
While this is not possible with American companies, it is in China. Go listen to the 996 podcast and the Acquired Podcast on Xiaomi.