Carl Pei is a Swedish entrepreneur. He is one of the co-founders of the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer OnePlus. Pei is the founder and CEO of the London-based technology company Nothing Technology Limited; the company launched its first smartphone ‘Phone 1’ globally on 12 July 2022.
Soon after his birth, his family relocated to the U.S. from China and lived there for a couple of years, before finally settling down in Stockholm, Sweden. Carl Pei spent most of his childhood in Stockholm. Pei was initially interested in subjects like Science and Philosophy, but due to less attention on studies, he ended up with average grades in school. In 2008, he enrolled himself in the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden, to pursue a Bachelor of Science. However, he dropped out of the course in 2011 to work full-time in the Chinese smartphone industry. Carl Pei- LinkedIn
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Not much is known about his parents. He has a younger sister.
Carl Pei started his career in 2010 with the telecommunications and technology venture Nokia. He worked there for around three months.
After quitting Nokia, Carl created a fan website for Meizu, a Chinese consumer electronics company. The website came to the notice of Meizu’s Hong Kong branch, after which the company offered Pei to work in Meizu’s marketing team in 2011.
In November 2011, Pei started working as an international marketing manager at Oppo; he directly worked under Pete Lau (Chinese Entrepreneur) in the company.
In December 2013, Carl Pei, along with his senior Pete Lau, founded OnePlus in Shenzhen, Guangdong; Pei was just 24 years old at that time. The Chinese consumer electronics firm launched its first product OnePlus One in April 2014. Although the company released the phone with a sales target of only 50,000 units, the device sold close to a million units in its first year, making around $300 million in revenue. OnePlus One was followed by OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
OnePlus 2 was launched by the company through a virtual reality video on YouTube that crossed 296,000 views in October 2020. In June 2017, the company released one of its fastest-selling smartphones OnePlus 5.
Carl Pei looked over the design and marketing department of OnePlus since its inception in 2013. He resigned from his position of Global Director in the company in October 2020 to start a new venture.
Carl Pei founded the London-based consumer technology company on 29 October 2020; Pei announced Nothing to the public on 27 January 2021. He established the firm with a mission to remove barriers between people and technology and create a seamless digital future. The company has mustered a number of investors including Tony Fadell, the inventor of iPod, Kevin Lin, the co-founder of Twitch, Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, and Casey Neistat, an American YouTuber.
Nothing launched its first product ‘ear (1)’ on 27 July 2021. Its first smartphone ‘Phone 1’ was launched globally on 12 July 2022.
- Included in the Marketing Week Vision 100 list (2016)
- Included in Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his influence in the technology industry (2016)
- Included in the Fortune Fortune 40 Under 40 list (2019)
- Entrepreneur(s): Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs
- Gadget: Kindle Paperwhite
- To-Do List Manager(s): Email Inbox, Calendar, Asena, Trello, Jira
- Music Band: Coldplay
- Singer: John Mayer
- Book: How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
- Quote: “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. And that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it-you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” by Steve Jobs
- School of Philosophy: Stoicism
- Carl Pei’s favourite pastimes include travelling, reading books, and listening to music.
- He is fluent in several languages including Chinese, English, and Swedish.
- In an interview, Pei revealed that he had a hard time focusing in school, and he used to spend as little time in school as possible. He further revealed that he used to spend all his time on the computer once he was back home from his school.
- In an interview, when asked about his workspace setup, Carl Pei said,
My workplace is actually very messy. I’m trying to get all my work done in the office and not take any home. Oftentimes, it means staying very late and having a lot of stuff on my desk. My workplace setup consists of a 27-inch iMac with a Magic Trackpad left of the keyboard. For music, I use a nuForce u-DAC 2 and a Graham Slee Solo amp together with the Sennheiser HD650s. It’s bliss.”
- He is a casual drinker.
- In an interview, he disclosed that a few years back he used to wear the same print T-shirt every day; He used to own nine of the exact same T-shirts and used to wear one every day.
- He has huge admiration for the American business magnate Steve Jobs. He also has a small bobblehead of Steve on his work desk. Once, he even went to see Jobs’ movie barefoot, thus offering a tribute to him. Carl also has a similar career path as Steve Jobs as both of them first co-founded a successful technology firm and then quit the firm to start their own venture.
- Carl is trained in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
- Interestingly, the popular OnePlus tagline ‘Never Settle’ was coined by Carl Pei. Having a knack for short and impactful taglines, Pei also coined the famous term ‘Flagship Killer.’
- He is fond of ice-creams and has confessed his love for the same several times on his social media accounts.
- Pei revealed that he was an anime fan during an Ask Me Anything session on Instagram. For the 2019 Halloween, he dressed as Naruto Uzumaki from the popular Japanese Manga series.
- During an interview, Pei disclosed that he was once a huge fan of Apple products.
- Post the launch of Nothing’s Phone 1, #DearNothing started trending on Twitter in India. Apparently, the hashtag was used by South Indian people to taunt and criticise Nothing and its founder Carl Pei after a fake Phone 1 unboxing video was uploaded on the popular YouTube channel ‘Prasadtechintelugu.’ The video, meant as a prank, featured the creator unboxing a fake Nothing Phone 1 box. However, the box turned out to be empty with a letter inside it that read,
Hi Prasad, this device is not for South Indian people. Thank you.”
The letter was written in a dotted font that resembled the font that was used by Nothing in its promotional material. Soon after the video was released online, many people including tech enthusiasts, who were waiting for the release of the phone, mistook the prank as official communication from Nothing and started criticising the brand on Twitter (for the fake letter that the company never wrote). One of the tweets read,
#DearNothing…Even we are part of India!”