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Liang Rubo, Co-Founder and CEO of ByteDance “Managers are usually very much inclined to clarify company policies. This force, like gravity, tends to push any organization towards the establishment of even more rules. When it is the case, we must resist the pressure of the said force, or it will keep companies locked in a permanent rigid state.” Recently, Liang Rubo, Co-founder and CEO of ByteDance, was invited to Source Code Capital’s “2021 Code Class Entrepreneurs Annual Meeting.” He delivered a keynote speech entitled “Keep Extending and Avoid Rigidity,” in which he shared some observations regarding how Bytedance maintains its organizational vitality and enhance management efficiency. ByteDance currently has over 100,000 employees in more than 200 cities around the world. How to implement scalable and effective management in an extensive, diversified, and fast-growing global organization is without a doubt a challenge. According to Liang Rubo, ByteDance’s practices include: 1. Establishing a basic management system to ensure administration efficiency; 2. Attaching importance to the cultural construction, and the alignment of ideas while increasing consensus and creating flexible rules; 3. Ensuring the implementation of management actions through a system and making good use of data to better assist the decision-making process; 4. Ultimately, it is necessary to make managers responsible for management decisions to ensure management effectiveness. The following is the transcription of the full speech: Hello everyone, this is Liang Rubo. Zhang Yiming previously shared his management idea of “Context, not Control” at a past Code Class gathering. As an organization size increases, it also gains in complexity, which can lead to confusion. This can be remedied by the recruitment of new talents to the team, as well as providing more context to people already in the firm, instead of adding more rules and processes which might in return create more disarray. These notions are derived from Netflix’s culture of “Freedom and Responsibility.” Today, I want to share with you some specific practices we adopt at ByteDance. Rules Overload May Lead to Organizational Rigidity ByteDance is now a very complex organization. We have over 100,000 employees in more than 200 cities around the world. Our colleagues work in different fields such as content platforms like Toutiao, Douyin or TikTok, business verticals that span both online and offline, such as Dongchedi, as well as corporate customer-oriented services such as Feishu or Huoshan and education market with Dalijiaoyu and so on. These businesses, by nature very complex and with different requirements, require the support of large teams. In addition, our organization is still growing at a very rapid rate, almost effectively doubling every year. ByteDance is a large-scale, very diversified business and a fast-growing global organization. Zhang Yiming, during his prior Code Class sharing, said that if an organization does not choose to be small, it must then be ready to face the difficulties that are likely to arise with its increase in size, and therefore in the complexity of its organization. A conventional approach is usually to add rules and processes to maintain order, but this can lead to organizational rigidity. Why? Because the department in charge of making those rules needs them to be as detailed as possible in order to avoid problems. This dependence on rules diminishes the momentum of a company by preventing it from looking for more optimal solutions. We are in an innovative industry, and the situation we face is often malleable and requires agility. If impeded by too many restrictions, employees will be unwilling to look for a better, or more optimal solution. When confronted by rules, people are naturally more inclined to follow them, rather than breaking them. Rules will also deter them from looking for new opportunities. Rules do actually inflate the cost of innovation by increasing the need for trials and errors, the fear of doing something against the set policies, and ultimately decreasing employees’ enthusiasm for innovation. Especially when there are major changes in the industry, when the company needs to move forward and inertia is not an option, the accumulated sum of rules and processes become a severe hindrance that will create major issues. For us, on one hand, the large scale of our organization means that we need to pay attention to management efficiency to ensure that it can be scaled without creating excessive confusion. On the other hand, we must also pay attention to its effectiveness to ensure that the organization does not become too rigid, and allow ourselves to maintain a certain flexibility in order to find optimal solutions. Management Solutions are Not Uniform So, what was our approach? First of all, you need to pay attention to cultural construction. We believe that through a company’s cultural construction, we can achieve more consensus in the company. With a common culture and philosophy to guide everyone, we do not have to rely on a heavy set of rules, and people are able to work in an equitable environment with similar standards. I remember a meeting where someone suggested that our decision-making process was unclear and recommended that we established more rules. For example, if no decision was made or no agreement could be reached within two days, then a solution should be proposed by a higher level of management. After discussion, we believed that such a rule should not be set. If this was implemented, many similar decisions would have followed, reducing the overall efficiency of policies. We should emphasize on responsibility and pragmatism, and promote initiative to keep the company moving forward. It is far more efficient to highlight fundamental points than to establish more regulations. In ByteDance, we have basic management mechanisms, such as budget, MBO, sequence levels, compensation specifications, performance appraisal, etc. However, all these processes are not uniform. They are informational, directional, and interrelated. Everyone has the liberty and the responsibility to make reasonable decisions based on the actual situations. Due to the lack of homogeneity, many of the company management tasks are difficult, and few people are actually able to handle it. The decision-making...
Source Code Capital has announced the closing of its latest USD $1 billion fundraise. With the completion of the new fundraise, the total assets under management at Source Code Capital have now reached a grand total of USD $2.5 billion and RMB 8.8 billion. This USD fundraise received enthusiastic backing from both new and old investors, with 100% re-up support from existing long-time Limited Partners ("LPs), representing strong cooperation between Source Code Capital and institutional LPs from all around the world.
Recently, Cao Yi, CEO and Founding Partner of Source Code Capital, shared his “Reflections from Six Years of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Source Code Capital” with the guests present at the 2020 Code Class Investor Conference and Smart Manufacturing Summit.
Source Code Capital has announced the closing of its most recent RMB fund at RMB 3.8 billion. With the completion of this successful RMB Fund IV fundraise, the total funds under management at Source Code Capital have now reached a grand total of USD $1.5 billion and RMB 8.8 billion.
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