Kai-Fu Lee, the chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, on Thursday delivered a speech at GMIC Beijing 2017, spoke about the relation between scientists and entrepreneurships in the context of Artificial Intelligence.

Being a scientist himself who went onto entrepreneurial path, Lee had a lot to say.

“There’s no doubt that innovation is important, but it’s a lot more crucial to create ‘useful’ innovation,” he said. “Scientists are often fascinated and moved by their own research projects, and may think their ‘cool’ innovation is exactly what humans would need,” said Lee. “But in fact, this might turn out the other way around.”

Kai-Fu Lee speaking at the GMIC Beijing 2017. Photo from GMIC.
Kai-Fu Lee speaking at the GMIC Beijing 2017. Photo from GMIC.

The 55-year-old thought leader stressed that scientists and entrepreneurs are essentially different.

“Scientists pay attention to details and believe that slow work yields fine products, whereas entrepreneurs strive for speed and changes,” he said. “Scientists pursue research breakthroughs, whereas entrepreneurs go after business value.”

Stressing upon the contrasting natures of scientists and entrepreneurs, Lee remarked that it is the scientist that needs to understand that users and clients are ‘God’. He said that scientists should be more cautious when they participate in entrepreneurship. “Scientists are smart and often have many ideas in mind, but a startup will die if you wait to perfect every little detail,” he said.

“We should think more about how to combine and leverage both entrepreneurs and scientists in order to to let them do what they’re most capable of,” he said.

(Top photo from GMIC)

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Timmy Shen
Timmy is a writer at AllChinaTech. He's passionate about photography, education, food and all things tech. He holds a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Write to him: timmy[at]allchinatech.com

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