Unleashing Work-Oriented Inspiration with XMind Founder and CEO Brian Sun

Unleashing Work-Oriented Inspiration with XMind Founder and CEO Brian Sun

Sunfang is the visionary founder and CEO of XMind and a real chill boss who never lets his members work overtime. Even so he has developed the most popular mind mapping software tool in the world.

Over the past 16 years, XMind has become an indispensable and practical part of the lives of countless users, serving as an all-purpose mind mapping and brainstorming software tool. Empowereing individuals in their work and studies, countless small ideas have transformed into life-altering moments of creativity and innovation.

During the prestiguous annual TedxShenzhen 2022 we had the honor of inviting Sunfang, who was a distinguished speaker of the conference, to drop by MOFT to talk about the future work styles and current state of work life. Particluarly now, as we focus more on the essence of work style in the time of pandemics, our talk, aimed to uncover sensible trends in this uncertain time, and to grow new directions. 


Q: From an XMind manager’s point of view, what do you think the future work style and ideal workspace will look like?

First, I think there will be multiple work styles that go hand in hand. And we will need a flexible work environment to coordinate and switch different work styles based on the types of problems. Generally, I have classified work problems into three types: what to do, how to do it, and specific issues during execution. 

For startups like MOFT and XMind, all the more strength would be put into exploring the first two directional problems: what to do and how to do it. In the fast-changing environment of the Internet age, everyone’s thoughts are constantly changing as they are exposed to new things. There could be disconnects in both understanding and attention, so we need full face-to-face discussions to reach a consensus on the value. Even without special situations, I would ask our overseas members to fly to Shenzhen regularly to meet and talk. I believe this is the real value of the future workspace, which provides scenes for people to have smooth, good conversations.

By the way, I love having a hybrid office like MOFT, with booths, small chat rooms, meeting rooms, and public lounge areas that are as comfortable as our own living rooms. Without feeling cramped, people can choose a workspace that suits their needs, making it free and efficient to have a quick meeting or brainstorm at any time.

Going back to the third issue at the execution level, focus is a primary consideration, and the benefits of remote working stand out here. When all of our members worked remotely during the pandemic last year, we found that our IT productivity increased significantly without the distraction of chat and the one to three hour commute. So I hope that once the first two problems are solved, our members can go home and spend the least amount of time on the most accurate efforts.   


Q: What are  your primary productivity devices right now? What considerations led you to choose these devices?

For the need for functionality and portability, I have MacBook Air and iPad with the Magic Keyboard to switch for complementary uses. In addition to being the CEO of XMind, I also teach Buddhism. When my work is text-based, such as regularly sharing information on my own public channel, the iPad with the Magic Keyboard is more than enough. When my work is code-based, such as developing an app and website about Buddhism, I would use the MacBook Air which has more comprehensive features. In fact, aside from being in the office once or twice a week, I spend more time at my favorite coffee shop and getting work done. 


Q: As an early user of our phone stand, we value your opinion greatly! Would you kindly share your valuable insights on our products?

I first discovered MOFT on Taobao where the recommendation is quite accurate, as I am originally a heavy user of phone stands. At that time, I found the orb-shaped phone stand (MOFT O) was great fun and ordered several dozen of them to give to friends. Its sound and feel are addictive when you snap it on and off the phone, and I am the type of restless person, so it can be a little stress-relieving toy. There is another stand that allows you to stand up to work (MOFT Z) hitting the mark of many of our members, especially our techs who have to sit for long periods of time. 

MOFT products have surprised me a lot because there always seems to be another way to use them. Like when I start using XMind for divergent thinking during brainstorming, there is always a branch left empty. As I look at that empty branch, inspirations and thoughts will keep popping up to fill it in. On this basis, my thinking will continue to diverge and look for new connection points. In a sense, good design is probably connected, always leaving room for other possibilities.