Most know him as one of the driving forces behind OnePlus and the brains behind iconic devices like the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2. But there is more to Carl Pei, co-founder and head of Global, OnePlus. We try to find out more about the man behind the tech and the products by asking the man himself. What follows is a decidedly un-Techy and supremely personal Q&A about a man who has turned the phone world on its head but insists that he is “just a guy.”


1. What does your name mean?

A Google search tells me Carl means “a peasant or man of low birth.” Heh, maybe not the most flattering.

2. Do you have a nickname?

For the longest time, I was known on online forums and in games such as Counter-Strike as Err0r. Haven’t used nicknames for a while though.

3. Which is your favorite film?

I watch a lot of movies and enjoy the usual suspects. One movie that I really like, that probably isn’t on anyone’s favorite movie list, is Accepted. It’s about a guy that didn’t get into college, and starts a fake college to not disappoint his parents. However, the stunt becomes more and more elaborate, and eventually he has to defend it in front of a jury. Perhaps I’m a dork, but his speech can get me quite emotional.

4. Which is tour favorite book?

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is a book that impacted me quite a bit. It’s written by a dying father to his kids, giving them guidance on how to live life. I like this quote quite a bit:

“Find the best in everybody. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.”

5. What song would you play if you are happy? Or sad?

I don’t feel sad that much. I’m not ashamed to admit that I listen to a fair bit of Taylor Swift no matter the mood. I also enjoy 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.


6. If you could be a gadget, which one would you be?

The first thing that comes to mind is a Kyoto Ceramic Knife. It does one thing, but is probably the best in the world at doing it. It’s efficient, timeless and beautiful. Becoming better at focusing and prioritizing is something everyone can benefit from.

7. Which is your favorite non-OnePlus gadget?

My new 12″ Retina MacBook. People who complain about the specs just don’t get products.

8. What is your favorite dish?

I enjoy and cycle through all types of cuisines, but something universal that I hold close to heart is ice cream. Chocolate ice cream.


9. You are stuck on an island, and can keep only five gadgets. Which ones do you choose?

There’s a certain sense of beauty and freedom in having less. Five gadgets is too much. A smartphone and a power bank should be enough.

10. Being happy is…

Doing what you love and losing yourself in it.

11. Carl Pei is…

Just a guy

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Associate Editor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.